When I first heard my diagnosis I was pretty scared. But it wasn't until about the 50th phone call that I realized cancer could potentially = dying. During the initial stages of my diagnosis, I got the impression that my cancer was pretty straight forward and "treatable". But really, I had CANCER. Cancer kills people every day. It hit me, during a conversation I was having with a very close friend that I may actually die. I know we are all going to die someday but I could potentially be dying. How could that be? I was only 38, had finally found the man I loved and respected who loved and respected me back and had two very little children. I couldn't die now, I was just getting started.
I remember saying to my dearest friend, that she would have to look out for my children and Tim. How would they manage? Who would take care of them? How was this actually happening to me? That question I asked myself several times a day. I am a good person, why me? What had I done wrong. But then I would suck it up put on my happy face and lo
ok at my children, play with them, hold them, feed them, and clean them. I pushed forward through every day because of them.
My biggest fear was that they wouldn't remember me if I were to die. How could they? They were so young. I remember lying on my couch, shortly before my first surgery. My mother was here and we talked about how the kids would remember me. I don't know how many of you know my mother but she is a photographer and a damn good one. Within about a week or so she had made two books, one for Wyatt and one for Nate, titled "The Story of Us". It was and is perfect.
Leaving my children the morning of my surgery was heart wrenching. The thought of never seeing them again or them never seeing me again was unbearable. I truly felt my heart ache as the car pulled away. They had appeared to have no clue what was about to happen. I had brought a picture of them with me into the hospital, I vaguely remember bringing into the operating room with me. But do remember telling Dr. Menassah I was doing this for them and would get through it for them.
When I woke up from the surgery I was happy to know I was actually still alive. With the exception of the boobs, I was in one piece. I had a lot of fear about having a stroke during the surgery, not sure why that was what I was worried about but it was. When it was time for me to come home about two days later, we had decided that my mother and aunt would take the boys back to Long Island, while I got through those first few days. They knew I had a boo-boo but didn't know how bad it actually was.
When the kids came home we had a plan in place because I couldn't lift them and Nate was still in his crib. How bad did that suck! Couldn't even lift my own children. I figured out ways to do it. I would sit in my comfy chair and Tim would put them on my lap. I would get down on the floor with them. But it wasn't the same. I felt half full, half empty and very pathetic. But if you came to my house you would never see it. I would put on my happy face and charming personality and make you feel very comfortable.
"Mommy is your boo-boo all better?" Was a common question in my house. "Can you lift me now?" usually followed. It is amazing to imagine what goes through an almost 3 year old and a 2 year old's mind. To this day, Nate will still bring up that time when I couldn't lift him because of my boo boo's. If that is the only thing he remembers I am happy about that. For me it is the mortality or immortality that I still keep locked inside. I have seen a lot of people die in my 40 years. Some have been old, some have been young but NEVER did I imagine I would be faced with the thought of dying.
This is dedicated to my children, Wyatt and Nate, who gave me the strength to get up every day and put on my happy face even when I didn't really feel like being happy.