Sunday, May 5, 2013

So now what.

I've been consumed on this cancer road since October, dreading my next steps on the way to recovery. Pregnant needing a thyroidectomy. Finding a balance of drugs that wouldn't make me sick, 126 pills a week. Giving birth to my beautiful daughter. Soaking up every second of our short breastfeeding time together. Weaning her. Endless doctor visits and scans. Bills. More bills. Blood draws and cancer hospitals. A six-week preparation for radioiodine treatment. Thyroid hormone withdrawal. Hypothyroidism. Low iodine diet. Isolation.

My whole life has revolved around cancer for seven months.

I haven't been living.

My daughter is two months old and I feel like I haven't allowed myself to fully enjoy her because I've been holding myself back, knowing that I would soon have to leave her for treatment and not wanting her to need me while I'm away. I've prepared myself not to cry when my two year old asks if he can come to the "hobital" with me. When he calls up and asks, "Are you all better, Mama?"

I feel like now that I am alone in my hotel recovering from it all I should allow myself to cry for hours to get it all out of my system, but I don't feel sad. I feel lost. And I still have a lot of uncertainties in my near future. A body scan on Thursday to see if there is cancer left behind. Yearly scans. The difficult path to regulating my hormone levels and climbing out of my sluggish hypothyroid state. Gaining weight back. Finding color in my face.

I've never been one to hold back before now. I've never been afraid to get hurt in my relationships. But cancer is different. Cancer is a game changer.

I want to be back here, back in this video. It is summer of 2008 and I have no clue that my life is about to change drastically: marriage, two babies, giving up my career, battling cancer. All I care about here is singing and praying that the dogs don't start barking while I try to record the song on video. And they do.

How could I let cancer become my identity? Easily, I suppose. We all are consumed by our own mortality. I turn thirty this year and my love will be forty. His beard is starting to show signs of salt and pepper gray. Your loved ones battle cancer with you.

I get to see Dylan and Katie today for the first time in four days. I'm not even that excited to see them. My need to protect them from exposure to the slight leftover traces of my radiation is stronger than my need to hold them. And so I feel guilty as if I don't love them enough. But the truth is that I love them too much.

I will give anything--anything--to be with them for the next sixty years.