June 4, 2011
Last night my 12-year-old daughter got in trouble with her father and he just barely raised his voice at her. Her response to this was to look at him and say, do not yell at me. I wasn’t sure if my husband’s head was going to explode or not…it was touch and go there for a while. My reaction, on the other hand, was to cry. This has been happening more and more often lately. I went to the grocery store and my husband told me I bought the wrong kind of cheese – I could feel my chin quivering and the tears forming in my eyes.
I’m turning 42 this month. I know what menopause feels like, because I had the honor of going through it when I went through chemo. Not only is it my birthday this month, but it’s also my 2 year cancer free anniversary – which means it’s been two years since I’ve had a hot flash or a major mood swing. So, ok, I’m going through menopause, right? Am I just starting menopause at the ripe old age of 42? Is this a carry over from chemo? Is it cancer? Is it cancer? Is it cancer? I get so tired of thinking that.
I see my oncologist every 4 months now. It’s been 5 months since my last appointment. Putting off going to the doctor doesn’t change what the outcome is going to be. Intellectually I know this. When they found the lump in my breast, they told me to trust them, because it was probably nothing. Boy, were they wrong that time. If I hear that again this time, I think my head will explode.
December 30, 2009
2010 has got to be a better year than 2009. I’d rather not live through another year like the one I’ve just gone through. I’ve heard about women who have battled cancer for YEARS! Not just one year like I have, but more than one – you know, like two years! Or more!
There is one woman whose blog I follow – she’s going to be receiving chemo treatments for the rest of her life. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that. How do you wake up in the morning knowing there is no end to having poison pumped into your body? I can tell you how: you just do. She’s been called “amazing” and “strong” and “an inspiration,” but like me what she really is is a mom. There are days you wake up and think: That’s it! I don’t think I can do this anymore! But you remember all the people who love you and you love back. And you try very hard not to imagine a world in which your children grow up without their mother, but sometimes you do think about it and it makes you stronger; it gets you out of bed. Your determination grows and you know you’re going to kick some cancer butt (for me that lasts about 15 minutes then I start whining again.)
It’s funny what chemo will do to your brain. When I say funny, I don’t mean “ha ha” funny either. I mean funny in a sense of “give me a second, I’m having a hard time even remembering my name right now”. Today I heard my children having this conversation:
Jacob: Do you remember the day we had to dress up at school as the person we wanted to be when we grew up?
Allison: Yeah, I dressed up as a teacher. I wore boots, a turtleneck shirt and blue jeans.
Jacob: That’s how teachers dress?
Allison: Yes! Duh!
I didn’t say anything even though I was thinking: That’s how teachers dress? But mostly I was thinking how I had absolutely no memory of this dress-up day for them. I was hoping my daughter would ask my son what he dressed up as – I was too ashamed to tell them I didn’t remember this day. And then I thought back on all the special moments I should have remembered this past year: my son’s birthday in April; my daughter’s birthday in July; valentine’s day; Easter; MY birthday… all of it is blank. All of it! I’m sure Tom or my dad or maybe even I took pictures. I’m going to go find those pictures and stare in amazement that I was part of those days.
The point is: cancer stripped a year of my life as a mother from me. I was too sick to help out in the raising of my children, and the things that I might have actually done, I don’t remember. This was only one year for me. One. The number one doesn’t sound like much, but when it comes to the life of my sweet children – being robbed of one is painful. I pray my nightmare journey with cancer is over – if it is not, I will do this coming year exactly what I did last year…survive anyway I have to. I’m a mom – it’s what we do.