(Alex and I shopping at Marshalls)
Alex (6): Why do you have to take that medicine anyway?
Me: Well, the doctors found something yucky inside of my body and the medicine helps to kill it.
Alex: What’s it called?
Me: It has a long name. We will just call it yucky.
Alex: You can tell me the long name. Or whisper it to me.
Me: It is just yucky.
Alex: Where is it?
Me: Inside my boobs.
Alex: That’s weird.
Me: Yep. And when I’m done with the medicine, I will have a surgery where they take off my boobs to make sure all of the yucky is gone.
Alex: They are going to take off your boobs? . . . Wow. You will look so . . . young.
Me: Well, they are going to make me new ones.
Alex: New boobs? That’s crazy.
Alex: Can I have those Angry Bird underwear?
Me: Check to see if they are size 6.
Alex: They are.
Me: Throw them in the cart.
(Andy and Alex snuggling with me tonight after books)
Andy (3): I miss your hair.
Me: I know buddy. Me too.
Andy: When we’re at the swimming pool it will be back?
Me: Yes, this summer it will start growing back.
Alex: Andy she has yucky stuff in her boobs.
Andy: Yucky stuff in her poops??
(lots of laughing by all 3 of us)
Alex: No. In her boobs. Mom, when you get the new boobs are they going to be chubby?
Me: I guess they might be.
Alex: I don’t want you to get new boobs, I like yours how they are.
Me: Me too, buddy. But I will still be the same Mommy –no matter what.
Andy: Mommy, I like your fuzzy hair. (Kisses me on the lips.)
Alex: Mommy, do you think I will ever have to take that medicine?
Me: I hope not buddy.
Alex: I don’t think 6-year-olds are old enough for it.
Me: I love you.
Alex: I love you too, mommy.
Andy: Mommy rub my foot. (I rub his foot.) No, like this. (He shows me how to rub it.) No. Scratch it. (I scratch it.) Thanks, mommy. You’re the best mommy. (Kisses my face.)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I know my kids don’t know what “cancer” means. I could call it cancer instead of “yucky”. But I just can’t say that word to them. When it’s over I will. When they are older I will. But now it is still too scary to say to them.
Tomorrow is chemo # 3. A lot of you have reminded me that after it’s over I’ll be halfway done. If you’re a long distance runner you might understand that this brings me little comfort. The second half is always harder. Bigger hills, less water stops, more muscle fatigue. I actually said to my co-workers today: “It’s like halfway through the race knowing the hardest part is still to come, and when I finally finish- they cut my boobs off.”
I guess that is not very positive of me. So I am trying to refrain it in my mind — the way so many of you have encouraged me to do.
The chemo is not poison. It is medicine. Life-saving medicine. Medicine perfected for my kind of cancer. Medicine that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Medicine that will allow me to run another half-marathon. Or ten. Or a hundred.
The second half is always harder. But it does contain the finish line. And even though I will have other battles to face after I cross it, I get to cross it. And that is something. It’s not nothing.
Yes, I’ll have surgery, and possibly radiation — but I still get to go shopping with my six-year-old and buy Angry Bird underwear, and have my three-year-old kiss me on the lips and tell me he loves me. Even in the midst of cancer there is happiness and pleasure. Even in winter there is sunshine.
I took a nap in my parents backyard yesterday. When I woke up –this was my view (see pic.) Life is good my friends — even when it is not.