April, 23 2012
Damn April 23.
I will never forget April 23. It's just another day for most people, even the people that know me. I want it to be just another day for me too. I'd like to forget, I really want to.
What I remember about that day is my girlfriends keeping me busy that morning. Since they knew I was waiting for a phone call from Dr. Hunt. They took me to my favorite place, Target. If I am ever having a bad day Target is usually a good solution. While filling our red carts, there happened to be a small earthquake.
I still wonder was the earthquake a sign? A sign of the shit storm that would follow that afternoon.
As Carson slept upstairs, I had just sat down on the couch and began nursing Maddox. It was exactly 1:00pm when Dr. Hunt called. All I heard was "Reed Sternberg cells present...Hodgkins lymphoma."
Everything went still. I heard nothing but ringing in my ears. I asked the doctor to repeat what he had told me. When he told me for a second time I felt like I had ADD. I just couldn't comprehend what he was saying no matter how hard I tried to listen.
That moment and the fear of cancer still feels so fresh. The unknown and the waiting. The vomiting and hair loss. It's all so familiar. And it all sucked. It's only been a year but it's been a whole year. I want to forget. I don't want to be the crazy hypochondriac that goes psycho the second my body feels something different. I want to forget all of it ever happened even though it is behind me and it's over. Because, I guess what I fear most is the "what if's."
I can still taste the chemo in my mouth sometimes. Anything that resembles red kool-aid (one of my chemo drugs looked like it) makes me want to vomit. Since we moved I'll never have to step foot in the oncology office where I received treatment, thank God. Just being there for a check up made me feel ill. I can no longer drink water out of my camelbak water bottle. It was the water bottle I took with me to chemo and I would drink as much water as possible out of it in an effort to flush the poison out of my body. Just drinking out of it makes me sick. So I finally bought a new water bottle.
I'd love to forget all of that too...
Forget all the bad news of April 23, 2012 and the shit storm that followed.
But of course if I forgot the bad news I wouldn't appreciate the little daily miracles nearly as much.
The book Carry On, Warrior was given to me by my sister-in-law . The woman who wrote the book was diagnosed with Lyme disease. At the end of the chapter where she talks about being diagnosed she writes this:
"Sometimes bad news is the best way to see all the good quickly and clearly. Bad news has a way of waking us up sort of like a cold water in the face. We might prefer waking in a gentler way but we can't argue with the efficiency of the cold water method."
So yes, even though I would love to forget April 23 and what it brought, I won't be able to. The daily gratitude cancer has given me is one thing I can be thankful for.
Life is hard. Myself and my family have had our share of heartache. Probably more than the average family. But each healthy day on this earth is a miracle to me. I really do believe it is the small moments in life that make it worth living. It's being in the other room and listening to Jared read to the boys. Or unloading the dishwasher only to look over and see Maddox dancing with his little Elmo radio. Really there is nothing cuter than a baby dancing. And riding in the car last night, telling spooky stories and listening to Carson whisper "once upon a time..." as told us his 3 year old version of a scary story.
Those are the moments that get you through the rest of it all.