Thanks to On This Day on Facebook, I got hit with all the feels. One of my memories is from six years ago, a photo album of S and AJ, full of pictures that squeeze my heart. They’re so little. Every picture shows their personalities. The glints in AJ’s eyes, the grin on S’s face, the certainty they love and are loved.
I have a lot of regrets in my life, but the regrets I care the most about center around S and AJ. I’m a champion in the mommy guilt olympics. I can make myself feel badly for the stupidest things, and it all stems from how badly I want my children to remember how desperately I love them because I’m still afraid I will not be around in a couple years to tell them…to show them.
Back in September of last year after I was first diagnosed, A and I took a walk around our neighborhood one evening so we could talk about what we were going to do. We talked about how much we didn’t know and how what we knew scared us. I remember telling A that if I survived the next year, when all the treatment was said and done, could the four of us take a three day weekend to a beach somewhere. The beach is one of my happy places, but it actually matters to me because my children have never seen a beach. We’ve been to Florida, to Alabama, live in a state that kisses the Gulf of Mexico, yet we’ve never taken the kids to the beach. I regret that.
I have a Herceptin appointment tomorrow. I have another Herceptin appointment on August 26. Then, there’s September 16. It’s my next appointment with Dr. O. It’s my last scheduled Herceptin appointment. After that, God willing, I’m done with this year of treatment. Then what? Good luck? May the Force Be With You?
It’s basically luck of the draw.
As I stare some hard dates in the face, as I stare the end of another summer in the face, as I stare mortality in the face, I cower. I want to hide. I want to slow down time. I want to cower in the false comfort of treatment. I want more time to spend with just my children. I want to pretend I’m not plagued by the shadow of cancer. I don’t want to have to put my “I’m fine” mask back on for work. I don’t want to have to smile and pretend I’m not scared this could all start over again. For the moment, I have no evidence of disease as far as we know. That could all change in an instant.
I know Dr. O says I’m going to survive this, that she firmly believes everything has done its job. I know Dr. O is confident. I take some comfort in her certainty. I just don’t feel it.
This has been the hardest year of my life, but I feel like it’s only the beginning and this coming year may be equally hard as I transition from cancer patient on treatment to cancer patient on maintenance.
I miss the ignorance I had in July 2015. Ignorance, then, truly was bliss.