Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why It Hurts

“There are memories that time does not erase... Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.” 
― Cassandra ClareCity of Heavenly Fire

As I have done a lot lately, I have tried to write this blog entry many many times before. But once I wrote the last word, something held me back from putting it on here for everyone to see. I can’t put my finger on it exactly - what it is that is wrong with them. Maybe I was too honest, or maybe I was too dark or maybe it was a band-aid job to cover what I really wish I had the guts to say. Whatever it was, those graveyard entries were not meant to be so I am hoping that when I get to the end of this one, I will press “publish” and finally get some words out there into the web universe. I will start with the good news. I did in fact ace my last PET scan which my Facebook world would have found out about many weeks earlier. This is becoming a regular thing and it is truly fantastic to continue on in this state of remission. The whole scanning process is a mental rollercoaster - you go up, you go down and basically all around the entire spectrum of emotions. I am always so shocked how weird I feel afterwards. I feel like I should be screaming from the rafters, cracking open a crazy pricey bottle of bubbles and celebrating this special thing called Life! But I often feel lost, angry and confused by my own reactions. You prepare yourself for every possible alternative and I guess that mental exercise really messes with you. I always recall those precious moments before I head to the hospital to get the results and I always think - “Are these the last real normal moments I have before I take a sudden turn down an incredibly dark road with no way out?” It is always when I am giving my daughter her last hug and kiss and hoping this isn’t our last untainted memory before it all falls apart again. Having to even entertain those kind of thoughts must really mess with your head and might explain the weird place I am often in after this process concludes. So we are still cancer free. What’s next? Ever since a cold and dark day in November, 4 years ago in a fluorescent lit doctors consultation room, I was told I was special, that I was a mutant and that parts of my body wanted to actually kill me. It wasn’t a total shock, I had been expecting it in a way and it also gave a logical reason why a 31 year old new mother would suddenly be fighting cancer with no warning. In a freaky messed up way, it made sense out of the madness swirling around me. It answered the crazy question why my mother and I ended up fighting breast cancer at the exact same time. I had the BRCA 1 gene or as I apallingly read lately in an article - the Angelina Jolie gene. Sorry Angelina but it ain’t yours and there really is nothing sexy or glamourous about this gene. Ever since that day, my journey got a little longer and a lot more complicated. First, we removed my one lone healthy boob to give me some asexual symmetry. It was a good thing I decided that at the time because had I reconstructed the one, I would have been external uni boob, as after all the extra radiation treatments, scarring and surgeries, there is no chance that I will ever be given a new pair for Christmas. This the boob-free body I will live and die with folks. So with two bombs gone, there was only one more to deal with. It has been the harder of the two because of what it signified and of what it would be taking away. BRCA 1 gave me an almost 85% chance of getting breast cancer but it also gave me a 75% chance of getting ovarian cancer. So what does a girl do next? She removes what she has to in order to stay alive because what other choice is there. Now I have been public with my struggles to want a second child and I dreamed that maybe it would become real one day if I survived my relapse. My logical side told me it was impossible and taking risks weren’t worth it after everything but the fantasy side of me kept on dreaming and wishing that maybe it could happen. This dreaming wasn’t helped by my daughter’s strong desire for a sister and her constant questions as to why I couldn’t give her one - just one. It was so hard to hold in the tears whenever she asked me that - knowing the answer that she would just never understand..not now. But after chasing after my little miracle and searching high and low for some doctor to tell me there was a way, I have come to the point of acceptance that this isn’t going to happen. The decision has been made and the grieving must now begin. On Wednesday morning this coming week, I will walk into the hospital and resign myself to the fate that I have been given. No more fighting, no more dreaming. The time for those things has come to an end. Now there is nothing but the eery silence that comes with the reluctant acceptance of a situation you no longer have the strength to fight. It is really quiet now. Only I can hear the tiny aches of my broken heart or the little sobs that I hold deep in my throat so that no one can hear my pain. Like when you squint your eyes up so tight and hard to hold in those tears that so desperately want to flow. Because you know if you let just one tear escape, there is waterfall of pain following closely behind it and you just don’t have the strength to keep it all in and you don’t want anyone to know how much it hurts. That is how I feel right now and that it how I will feel when I put my brave face on. That mask has come out so many times over the last few years that its edges have become worn and bent kind of like my heart feels today. So I will need the strength of a thousand armies and the bravery that only a mother would know. To tell myself why I am doing this - it’s for them I whisper quietly under my breath. It’s to keep me here for them. That’s the most important thing in the world right now. And when the scars have healed on the outside, I will start the healing on the inside and hope that it will all be okay. It will all be worth it because I am here and the pain will be weakened by their love. I just wish it could be easier sometimes….some days feel so much bigger than you can handle and I already feel engulfed by what it waiting for me in just a few days. I just need to keep my eyes on the lifeline that I building through all these decisions that will keep me connected to my little family. I will be alright... I have to be.