Whenever I am near a computer or a notebook, I start jotting down thoughts and feelings I have about being a “cancer patient.” I assume that at some point I will turn these little bits and pieces into larger blogs. These assumptions prove, most times, inaccurate. They sit and wait for me to come back to them, but mostly the emotion is out and I no longer have need of it. Yet, I decided I wrote them so I might as well share them. So, in other words I’m going to give you a bunch of random thoughts and tell you it is a blog.
In both nursing school and my education classes, I learned that a person should never be identified by a disease or condition. They are a person that has something. By this logic, I am not a “cancer patient” but a person who happens to have cancer. While I never had trouble with that before now (I have a cold, I’m not a cold patient), I catch myself often thinking I am “cancer girl.” I have said it before, but cancer is taking over my life. It is as much alive as I am, taking away the bits and pieces of myself I would once use to identify me: soccer player, nurse, wife, lover…etc. Lately, I am patient. On good weeks, I might squeak in wife and lover. On bad ones, I’m lucky if I can consider myself a decent employee. My husband has become the nurse; my good friends have become caregivers. I have become cancer girl that lies on couch. I hate those days, because as much as I wish to do more I am just physically unable and it drives me crazy.
I often read news articles and blogs to start my morning. One particular blogger, Alice from Fertile Action, happens to cover cancer topics as they relate to her life. Recently, she commented that during her cancer, she used to want people to stop whining about the small things. She wanted to scream, “Shut up! I have cancer!” at people who complained about broken nails and the heat outside. I know her feelings; in fact, I’ve caught myself saying to people, “Really? I have cancer and I whine less than you about things.” Mind you, I have a whole blog to whine in and most people don’t take to the net to whine about the heat. It doesn’t stop me from wishing people would just stop complaining about the unimportant things and move on.
Cancer has forced me to change my perspective slightly. I honestly don’t care about the heat or cold; they still suck, but really they won’t kill me so I should stop complaining. It’s opened my mind to new things; I want to try acupuncture and alternative treatments to work along side the chemo. What have I got to lose? Money? That won’t help me if I don’t make it.
It’s also forced me to be more spontaneous. When people complain that they may have to put off a trip to next year, I want to shake them and tell them they might not have a next year. Take it now and worry about the credit card later. There’s always later for Discover; trips and tomorrow are promised to no man. This isn’t my normal mindset –and I will confess that I am not exactly living up to this myself. I just am tired of hearing when and someday. My when is “When I beat cancer” and my someday, I hope, is years and years from now. I just hope I get to see both when and someday.
I know I keep promising a blog with more specifically graphic and wonderful details of how much having cancer sucks, but daily life just keeps happening and I don’t always get to the blog. Some days, I’m busy sitting around using television and music to distract me from how I am feeling. I don’t want to think about stage 4 cancer anymore, or whether I might not be here a year from now. I don’t want to think about my husband of a year being a widower before our lives together even really had a chance to begin. We can all die any minute, but my demise lingers before me like a promise rather than a distant threat. I don’t like it at all.
Add to it the fact that several (and by several, I mean at least five) of my friends, who of course are all friends on Facebook, are pregnant and it’s like a giant torture fest. While I’m happy for each of them, especially those that are welcoming their first little bundle of joy and poop, I’m also insanely jealous. I’ll admit it; I’m a giant five-year-old about ready to throw a tantrum over it. I want it now —clearly I learned nothing from Willie Wanka and his umpa lumpas. The frustration for me isn’t like that of your average newlywed that is trying to get pregnant; I’m not even allowed to try to conceive (not that I could even get pregnant despite the desire.) I am fighting for my life and the rest of my life just has to be on hold for it. I’m going crazy!
While walking to Milo’s work the other day –we live about a mile away—I started writing a note to him in my mind. I realized, as I was dictating this note to the oblivion, that the real issue with wanting a baby is legacy. I want to leave something behind besides a blog people will someday abandon and some savings. Like all people, I want to leave my mark on the world in a way that might change things for the positive. A baby is a lasting legacy of genes, family and love. I want that with my husband.
In other words, I don’t want to someday be forgotten.
My husband is an amazing man. He is kind, generous, friendly, and loving…everything I could want in a partner. Milo is going to be an incredible father; I have no doubt about that. I married him because I knew I had not only found my other half, but a man I would be fortunate to start a family with. I told him as much when we were dating. By not being able to start a family with him, I feel as if we both are being deprived…and some poor baby hanging in the ether.
Yet, as much as I love him, I think my biggest fear is that he will forget me. Old memories, for Milo, are distant stories of which he can recall bits and pieces. Without his friends’ assistance, he often forgets details and shrugs off encounters. I don’t want to be a distant memory, a “I was once married to this person.” If we had a baby together, he’d be able to pass on the memory of me, his wife, to someone else. I’d be remembered.
Who really wants to be forgotten that badly?
I realize that this all sounds a bit selfish and one-sided. Maybe someday I will finish the letter I began on that walk and you can see there’s more to it than that. Right now, I am just analyzing myself as best I can.
And I still want a baby.