Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When mommy got sick

Hello everyone,

It is me OBB. It has been a tough start to the week for me - caught some crappy flu over weekend that totally knocked me out. There is nothing worse then being stuck in bed before you actually have to be "stuck in bed" for a month. I was so frustrated and was furiously trying to still get all my work done. That plan obviously went to the pits.  I think my oncologist put it best when she called me yesterday after checking me out earlier in the day for any dangerous infections and said "Are you okay? Ok I know you are okay but are you really okay?" Hmmm... tough question. I am functioning - I wake up every day, do the same thing, I find things to laugh and smile about every day and I feel like hope is alive and well. So yes I guess I am okay but I am oh so tired and my body is just breaking down.  And I could think of about a million other things I would rather do then get bones removed and replaced with metal. So I had to listen to my body and finished work today in order to focus on getting myself healthy and ready for this surgery which is now days away. Tomorrow we go in for a full day of pre op tests and meetings with my medical team. I might actually be given some clue as to this whole mysterious procedure that I know so little about which will help us plan the next 4 weeks of our lives much better. And did I tell you that Captain AC (my mom) will be coming over to join in the rehab party!  So now I will look forward to a weekend to rest - get a pedicure, be with my husband and daughter and enjoy my mobility before the real work begins on Monday.

Something that has been weighing on my mind alot since my last entry has concerned my daughter. I have written alot about her and how central she has been to my attitude towards this whole cancer experience. She makes me suck it up and just be what she needs most - her mommy. And I succeed in being that...most of the time. The last time we went through cancer, she had just turned one and we didnt even think about informing her about any of it. It wasn´t relevant to her nor could she understand. Of course she noticed differences in her mother and what I could do for her but it just isn´t the same as now. She knows I am different from other mommies now and that I have pain. She gets distressed when I can´t get out of bed or I have to go to the doctors. And she takes her toy medical kit out alittle too often to give me a routine physical. But at the age of three do I really want to introduce her to the horrific word that is cancer? I feel like it is too early and that it might just be scary. One of my earliest childhood memories of sadness was when I was about the same age and I woke up early one morning to find everyone in the house crying. My grandmother had died of a heartattack the night before and everyone was grieving her. With my limited understanding of the revolving door that is life, I just started to cry along with everyone else because I didn´t know what else to do. I didn´t understand it. So I feel that maybe it is too much to tell her what is happening in great depth. I will tell her that mama needs to have an operation to fix her ouchy and wont be able to pick her up for awhile but that it doesnt change how much I love her. I just want to be there for her at the end of the day and she wants to be with me in any way she can. I guess I will need to find the little things that we can share while I recover like Eskimo kisses, puzzles on the bed and watching Tinkerbell together. I often think about her, years on, reading this blog herself. Seeing first hand the trials we went through as a family and also how she was the ray of joy and hope for me through the darkest days. So I guess I have my answer - I want to maintain her innocence just abit longer. It is a cold hard world out there and I dont want to expose her to it any earlier then I need to.

I thought it was fitting to put in an excerpt from the book "The Year of the Pale Sunflower" by Silvia Roncaglia and Cristiana Cerretti. This book was written by two breast cancer patients who were also moms, to help children deal with their parents becoming ill. One of my surgeons brought this book back for me from the European Breast Cancer Conference last year and I recommend it to anyone facing a similar experience. Facing cancer with young children is a different experience all together - you need different strategies and ways of explaining things. But in the end we all want and need the same thing - for our families to stay the same - intact and together.

"That´s it," Mum explains, "nothing really belongs to us. You are my children because I brought you into the world, but you belong neither to me nor to Daddy; you belong to life, which is much bigger then we are. And Daddy and I, we too belong to life, just like the sunflowers, the moles, the bees and the everything. And this life, so vast and mysterious, turns in cycles; there is a time to plant and a time to harvest, a time for summer and a time for winter, for the flower to bloom and the mole to eat its roots. There´s a place for a different, pale sunflower too. And there´s a time for sickness and a time for health. "

Right now we are experiencing our time of sickness but the clouds will eventually clear and the sun will shine again and the flowers will bloom. And just like that - a new chapter begins for us.



  1. Hello beautiful OBB! Another beautiful post full of tough choices, brave faces and your love of life and family. I agree with you... though your cute-as-a-button daughter knows something is awry, she cannot understand it, and maintaining her innocence about it makes complete sense.

    Thank you for sharing that passage from "The Year of the Pale Sunflower." It says it all perfectly, as do you. Good luck at your pre-op tomorrow. Will be thinking of you. ;-)

  2. Hi OBB, I am not a young mother, but I am a mother of a young child, in addition to two adults. No matter what the age of our children (mine 23, 20 and 11) to comprehend the full breadth of our disease is too overwhelming (and unnecessary). All of my children know that something is "awry", but to burden them with all the nuances, while they are busy living and building their lives...? Well, for me, I too cannot in good conscience strip them of their innocence - at any age. Life will do that on its own all too soon.

    I SO HOPE that the surgery goes well and sunflowers will be blooming again for you soon. ~ TC