First off, I want to take a minute here to thank everyone who has been following this blog, sharing it and giving me amazing, heart-warming, tear inducing, spirit lifting feedback. When I started in February I wasn’t going to share with anyone. I thought I’ll just type away and see what happens. To my complete surprise it’s been really emotional for me, and as in anything in life the unknown can be frightening. To be honest I knew I’d have two regulars (mom & papa – I love you!) so I wasn’t too worried. The comments and messages I’ve received are marvellous. I think you are all amazing, strong, awesome, the list could fill a thousand pages. So I’ll continue as part of my vows to do what makes me happy and enjoy the process, this is part of pushing forward for me.
Last night I went to the park with my son who is seven to play ‘soccer’. What was I thinking? It was cold, windy. Can I just say I love the term polar vortex, it should be a drink you could order in the Caribbean. I think the polar vortex was back last night…come on we need the WARM sun. Anyway, he said ‘I want to go to the park’, ‘my parents never take me anywhere’ – trust me my kids have very full schedules with hockey, competitive soccer, birthday parties, playdates blah blah blah… ‘Daddy you are always texting or sleeping’, ‘mom you are always cooking or cleaning dishes’. I like to state that we do our best as parents, we’re not always perfect but we do our best. Of course he was using guilt tactics to persuade us to do what he wants. I don’t fall easily for them, but I went because in the last couple weeks things have taken a turn with my children. Especially my daughter. I think she might be at an age where reality is starting to click and sink in. Up until now my kids have been going along unaffected by cancer, still too young to truly grasp it. The pendulum is starting to swing.
I’ll explain, people often say to me ‘you are so strong’, ‘you have a great spirit’, ‘you have such a positive attitude’, ‘how do you handle everything?’ The truth is I don’t know. Except it may be because so far I felt my kids weren’t aware. And when people say ‘how are you feeling?’ it’s such a complicated answer I usually say ‘I’m fine’ and then I add ‘truth is I feel ok, but it’s the mental game that is the worst for me right now ‘. I love my husband, my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my in-laws, my sister & brother in-law, extended family & friends….but they all would be fine if something happened to me. Yes it would be sad. Obviously. Worrying about my kids is what keeps me up at night – there is no greater love. Period. But you know what is interesting?….they are also what gives me the most strength. To be honest, how I keep myself from not completely falling apart whenever my brain opens that big dark door is to immediately slam it shut and move to another thought. Self-preservation tactics.
The thing is it’ll be 8 years that I’ve been a member of the crappy cancer club. You ask why? Remember I said in one of my first post you gotta be cool that I instinctively knew something was wrong inside my sexy breast in September 2013, but I purposely didn’t feel for anything until November (in denial). I will explain, On July 11, 2007 my husband who was 34 years old at the time, went to the emergency room for appendicitis and had an abdominal CT scan. The scan not only revealed he needed an appendectomy but also that he had cancer. After further tests over the next few weeks (bone marrow biopsy, ultra sounds, MRI, chest X-ray, bloodwork) he was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Leukemia. More specifically;
- Small Lymphatic Lymphoma
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
This type of cancer is described as slow growing and treatable. However it is not curable. After his treatments (the poison) were completed in March 2008, he went for a stem cell collection of his own newly ‘clean’ blood. This process is similar to giving blood only a much larger quantity is collected. It’s preserved frozen and stored for a possible stem cell transfusion in the future if the cancer returns. The doctors explained it like this ‘it’s not a question of if the cancer will come back, it’s a question of when’. In medical terms they refer to this as the watch and wait approach. We’ve been extremely lucky so far that it hasn’t returned. Amen. Lord have mercy. At the time of his diagnosis my son was 2 months and my daughter was 2 years old.
So you can see why I didn’t run screaming to the emergency when I knew something was wrong in my body. This is when I’ll say… I don’t like pity parties. I don’t like to complain. I like to look at what we have and know that we are lucky and very blessed. So far we have been healthy enough to raise our children and move forward every day. No one knows what the future holds, so I cling to what I have today and that is enough.