While I am generally able to be surprisingly positive about most things, I don’t want to give you the impression that I shit rainbows and that everything is puppies and love around here. Today is a good day to talk about bad stuff. I really struggled with this post because I couldn’t decide if writing about these things would make them more real somehow. Ultimately, I decided that sharing them might make my burden a little lighter and help me come to terms with some of these things as my new reality. So here are my “top” nine things that have been hard.
- The first time I told a stranger I had breast cancer. He was the lovely young man who did my bone scan after my diagnosis. I left Ryan in the waiting room, and the man started my IV and asked what brought me in. It seemed like I was talking about someone else when I told him.
- When I was told to immediately wean Kieran. This was also on diagnosis day. Having breast cancer means you can’t breast feed. I did not cry when I was told I had cancer. But I did cry when I realized that Kieran’s last feed had happened earlier that day and that things would never be the same.
- I was Kieran’s primary caregiver. 6 days after diagnosis, I couldn’t pick him up. My surgery made it impossible for me to pick up my son and cuddle him. Ryan has done an amazing job of taking care of Kieran, but there were days I was too sad to get out of bed.
- Pumping and dumping after surgery. After my partial mastectomy, I still had milk and was in danger of developing mastitis. I had to pump daily to wean my very confused breasts. I hated pumping on a good day. This just made me angry and sad.
- The long nights between my diagnosis and the scan results that would tell me if my cancer had spread. Those five nights were exhausting. Sleep was non-existent, pacing was mandatory. I would sneak into Maddie’s room and just lay beside her until the sun rose.
- Ryan’s explanation of how we had been together longer than we had been apart. That our lives and selves had become so intertwined that he didn’t know how to be himself without me.
- Wondering how Ryan will cope without his Rhea and how Maddie and Kieran will cope without their mama.
- The fear that my children will know me through pictures. That I may never see Maddie graduate from grade school or walk Kieran to his first day of school or know what they look like as adults.
- The crushing guilt that because of me, my family has to endure this. And that my children now are genetically predisposed to cancer.