this wasn’t going to be my life (by Judy)

It was going to be easier than it is, less complicated. Maybe that’s what we all grow up thinking, believe when we’re young and have our futures before us. We’ve maybe lived with some of life’s complications (some, of course, have already had very complicated lives), but . . . the fairy tale, the husband, the child(ren), the living a long long life, the happily ever after — where does it go?

Don’t get me wrong. My heart is full as I write this — full and yet hurting at the same time. Paradoxical. Complicated. That’s what life is like for real. Full of paradoxes, full of complexities that I would have never dreamed about.

Children? Easy — get pregnant . . . or don’t. It doesn’t matter how children come to you, does it? Love is the only thing that matters. “All you need is love.” “Love conquers all.”

Only it doesn’t. It’s important, of course, but we find out that it’s much more complicated than that. Children are complicated whether they’re biological or adopted, and if they’re adopted, that adds layers of complexities that I think we continue to learn about throughout their lives.

Growing old. I know why I’m thinking of this one so much. Because my one-year remission anniversary is just around the corner — December 9. Of course I’ll make it until then; I have no tests, no lumps, no telling symptoms that would make me think that I won’t celebrate one year of remission in a few days. Still, it makes me think, once again, of what I’ve been through in the past almost two years and of my mortality, of how long I may have on this earth. I have a prognosis which says one thing. I have a belief which says that only God knows and it may be many years, that I may beat the odds. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get scared.

The two things may seem somewhat unrelated, but of course as so much in life is, they’re not; they’re intertwined. When I was first diagnosed with Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer and given a certain prognosis, the first words out of my mouth were, “but I have a (at that time) six year old son.” My first thoughts were of Energy Boy, of raising him, of wanting to be around for him. Despite any complexities, any difficulties, any losses for him with his adoption, I was heartsick to think that I might add yet another loss in his life if I were to die while he was young.

This wasn’t going to be my life. I wasn’t supposed to be worrying about how long I’d be around for EB, my health, his ability to cope with yet more loss. It just wasn’t going to be.

Things were on a good path when I was diagnosed. And then I felt like the world fell out from under me. Like the world that I had known had completely turned inside out, like there was nothing I could rely on anymore.

I got through it, of course. With God, with prayer, with medicine and wonderful doctors, I’m here today and about to celebrate one year of remission, and praying to move on to my second year . . . and third . . . and fourth . . . and so on. If I have my way, I’ll at least see EB through his formative years, through graduation from high school. Anything else will be extra, will be a wonderful bonus which I will gladly and gratefully take.

I simply don’t want my boy to experience any more loss in his young life. Not now. Not soon. Not even in five, or seven years. I don’t know that there is a “good” time for him to experience more loss, but I want to be there for him as long as I can be. God willing . . . God willing.

No, this wasn’t going to be my life . . . but it is. I’m simply trying to live it as well as I can, with what’s best for EB in mind. With God’s help, I will.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:31


Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.


6 Responses to this wasn’t going to be my life (by Judy)

  1. Michelle says:

    This post is beautiful in its simplicity and complexity all at the same time. I hope you get to celebrate many more remission anniversaries and see that little man grow into a big man. You are making a difference with your life (even though it wasn’t what you planned), and hopefully that counts for something.

  2. Laurie says:

    Amen. Amen. Amen. When I was told I was stage 4, my first words were “but I have two young boys.” I understand.

  3. whymommy says:

    Strong and beautiful.

    You’re living it, Judy. You’re living it. May you continue to do so for a long, long time.

  4. Very beautiful, Judy. Such an honest entry. We wish we had more control over life. So many women we’ve talked to say that all they can do is live life one day at a time and live it well. The truth is, things aren’t always black and white. Life is messy. Thank you for your honesty.

  5. also–we’d love to be added to your resource guide. Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. You can find out more here:

  6. […] Cross-posted to Mothers with Cancer. […]

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