“I love all your parts, mama,” He said. “I love your eyes and ears and your nose and your boobies…” the list went on and on and my heart swelled with love for this little boy. No longer a baby – no chubbiness left in his angular little body – but still he would be in need of his mama’s love and care for a long time to come. So, head bent, muscles straining, I will fight and fight and fight to give that to him. My light at the end of the tunnel? That sweet face, that freckled nose, those beautiful eyes that reflect love back at me. Whatever it takes.
I was jolted awake by the breast cancer diagnosis my very good friend received last month. The mother of a three-year-old, my heart broke for her because I knew it would not so much be what she had to face that would keep her up at night, but how it would affect him. I sprang into action to do what I could to support her, and then scheduled my own long overdue mammogram.
I wasn’t that worried when they called and said they wanted to take more films. I a little worried when they did a sonogram, and I could clearly see a mass. When the surgeon came in to perform the biopsy, I made jokes and babbled about Ronin.
I kept thinking, “What are the chances we both have cancer right now?” I thought it sounded like the most unlikely thing in the world.
So when the nurse called with my results, I breezily took the call in the car, expecting to breathe a sigh of relief with the news.
“Are you crying happy tears, mama?” Ronin asked when I pulled the car over, trying to concentrate on what I was hearing. I assured him that they were. But of course, hearing the words “invasive ductal carcinoma” made me anything but happy. I was panicked, terrified. I couldn’t look at my boy’s face.
From Monday til Thursday, I just sat in limbo, having no other information than I have cancer. So I had PLENTY of time to review all my past mistakes – from too much sugar, to aluminum deodorant, to drinking water from plastic water bottle that I let get hot in the car. I stared at my boobs, and wondered how they could turn on me like this. I woke at 3am most nights to review the worst information I could find. Then I finally got my head on straight. I bought an adult coloring book to avoid the internet. I briefly considered giving up coffee, then thought maybe just cutting back would be a better idea. I started a Caringbridge page to keep people updated, so I won’t have to talk about cancer 24 hours a day. I hugged and hugged and hugged my kid.
I’ve had my first consultation with a surgeon, will meet with an oncologist today, and then get a second round of opinions later in the week. I’ve learned some things about my cancer – the good and the bad- but I’ve also learned that they just don’t really know what they’re dealing with until they go in and take a look.
But I know this: whatever shitty path it takes me to get there, I’ll get through this and come out ok. The statistics are in my favor, and I have a great motivating factor to fight it with all I’ve got.