Stef turned 12 yesterday and amidst the celebration of the start of her final year as a tweenie, I'm filled with thoughts of when my oldest was born. She was a delightful, happy baby, a precocious toddler and preschooler, and a warm and loving child. She still is. She has a heart of gold, a soft spot a mile wide, and a genuine kind heart. She's a good kid and a tribute to her family.
When I think of this long road to recovery, I have to say that the driving force for me from the very beginning has been to be able to help my own girls if they ever have to face the cancer monster. I don't want them to be alone. I want to be with them every step of the way 20, 30, or 40 years from now. Steffie had great fear that my cancer and my mother's BC 6 years ago meant she would absolutely get cancer. Of course, this isn't true and although we've told her, this lurks in her mind.
I don't want her to be afraid. I want her to live and enjoy her childhood. I want her to have her mother back the way I was before. I know that's not physically possible but I so want cancer not to rule our lives anymore. I don't have high expectations for a fast recovery. I'm taking my time. I just want to know that there's an end to the road.
I took the excessive but I feel, quite necessary step of having an elective left mastectomy to prevent revisiting this nightmare in the future. I gotta admit, I'm gonna be downright pissed if this cancer comes back. I mean, LIVID. If that seems dumb, then so what?!
I've been calm, except during my princess moments. I don't cry, unless I've got a damn good reason. I've managed to be alone with myself and not freaked out for about 3 months now. Coping is something I can do. I just don't want to ever, ever revisit this time in my life again.
That's a conundrum because my Steffie has been growing and changing right before my eyes during the biggest crisis of my life. So has Jackie. So has Kate. And while I feel the immense pressure to blot these months of my life out, I can't because of my kids. I don't want to forget these important days, their important achievements, or the daily changes in their lives. Steffie is growing into a delightful young lady. Jackie is becoming such a big girl and Katie, she's such a good student - she's just amazing. Watching her work her way into adulthood, making decisions, and still realizing she needs us to help sometimes warms both Bill and me deeply.
I need to figure out the answer to my question of how I save these memories and pack away the ones I'm tired of - the cancer ones. Maybe there's a recipe somewhere...