What happens when you leave your oncologist’s office after discussing your options and then head to Orlando for a weekend full of amazing activities including the premiere of Chimpanzee, interviewing Dr. Jane Goodall, and touring beautiful Kissimmee, whilst suppressing all of your emotions for 5 days?
You promptly return home and fall apart.
I left Orlando yesterday to come home and I drove as quickly as I legally could to make it to my six-year-old’s birthday party at the skating rink, which was planned at the very last minute (as in last week). I began to laugh at myself for having to do what my mom calls, “change hats,” so quickly and so often this past week but that’s just what moms do, right? It’s their job to change hats and I think that’s the part that makes a mom’s job so hard.
In the duration of one day, moms must change their hats a (few) hundred times, from their “work” hat to their “home” hat, to their “friend hat” to their “mama bear” hat and “vixen” hat (yes, moms have those — the hats are limitless, by the way, sometimes they’re helmets) often with little to no notice. I think that’s what makes moms great. Except that I didn’t feel great or like I was doing a very good job at changing hats actually, in fact I felt pretty transparent, like I was on the edge and barely holding on and at any given moment I could break. Into my “I’m losing my shit” hat.
Anyway, I put on my “mom party hat” and the smile that goes along with it (I was really excited for this party!) but from someone who usually plans somewhat elaborate birthday parties, it was a little difficult to take a step back and have a party in which everything was taken care of from the beginning to the end. Although it was quite nice to just sort of “show up” to my son’s birthday party and not have to worry about a thing. Just saying. Except for the Jack Sparrow cake and the favors.
This was sort of his dream birthday party anyway, which sort of helped me feel like I wasn’t a total slacker. He had begged me to have a skating party and I thought, You’re in kindergarten, I’m not sure that your crowd is quite up for the skating party yet (I wasn’t skating until I was about 8, purple skating skirt and leg-warmers and all). But I think everyone had a good time, I know both of my sons had a blast, in fact they actually happily and completely surprised me with their perseverance and staunch bull-headedness at ages 4 & 6 to become better at something. More on that later.
I got there 15 minutes before it started and I roller-skated with them and I was transported back to 1987 (I didn’t even break anything!) All I needed was some Madonna. They played Justin Bieber. (Oh well.)
Everything was going swimmingly until about halfway through the party when the sensors began to overload and there was nothing more IN THE ENTIRE WORLD that I wanted other than to go into an empty room and cry my eyes out. My “just a regular overwhelmed person” hat wanted to come out and it was trying to push my “mom hat” out of the way but I had some more suppressing to do.
So I held on (barely) until the end of the party, and the drive home that seemed to take forever, and the entire process of bathing the kids and putting them to sleep, and then? It was time.
And I completely lost it.
Over the past 5 days, all that I had been told on Wednesday had not had a chance to sink in. I didn’t have a chance to think about all it would entail yet. And I was sort of glad for that. But when I had gotten a chance to think about it all, it consumed me.
I felt bad for my husband, who didn’t know what to say. He just sat there and hugged me while I cried.
Over everything and over nothing.
I sobbed about having no more kids.
I sobbed about having all those parts just being taken out. It makes me feel so, I don’t know, empty.
I sobbed about having no reason to have a baby Bjorn or any of those baby accessories or bins and bins of clothes that I have, all saved and labeled by sizes and ages.
I sobbed that I’ll never breastfeed again. I had saved my pump, it’s in my closet.
I sobbed that I’ll never need all those baby things. I was looking for an Aim-A-Flame to light some candles because my house was stinky for some reason (it wasn’t me) and as I was searching through the junk drawer I found a binkie and a bib and there are still tiny shoes and socks and other things that just sort of emerge as if out of nowhere, from all around my house.
I cried that I’ll never be pregnant again and I cried about having been mad at all the annoying things about pregnancy and all those things post-baby, like the midnight feedings and the lack of sleep. And I got angry and sad that perhaps I didn’t appreciate it all enough. Did I rub my little baby heads enough? Did I kiss their tiny squishy bellies enough? Snuggle enough? Play and laugh enough? Eat their fingers and toes enough?
Their little profiles and the way their round, perfect butts look when they’re sleeping on their bellies in their sleepers, all clean and napped and fed.
Oh dear God, sometimes I want a do over.
Just to, I don’t know, make it right. In case I got it wrong. Any of it.
I wish I could think about all of this in a practical way (look at how much space we’re going to have now without all those bins! We can make that room a play room now, now that we won’t need a nursery! No more periods on race day and bleeding into the ocean to be eaten by the sharks! Not that that ever happened to anyone, but it has crossed my mind, you know.)
But I can’t just yet.
I’m not ready.
I am looking forward to “the cansuh” being taken out but I am not really looking forward to the surgery itself.
I’m going to feel like they’re taking something else from me. Even though I know they have to take out that evil little troll, they’re taking all the good out with it too because they have to, I get that, but I.HATE.IT.
I HATE IT.
I HATE IT SO MUCH IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM.
I am in the middle of scheduling the surgery and I’ve had a couple of questions for my doctor, who gave me his email address by the way (awesome), like “What stage is the cancer?” It’s 1B1 adenocarcinoma. (In case you were wondering too. He emailed me right back. I think I love him.) And “Even though you’re leaving in my ovaries, will I still have eggs?” The answer is yes. And secretly yes, I do wonder if I’d ever try to use them in some way. Probably not. Whole ‘nother topic. And, “I have that hernia still there, will that be a problem?” No, we’ll probably fix that too while we’re in there, a combo platter. Bonus. I’m paraphrasing here, not quoting.
I am just waiting for the date now, it’ll be within the next couple of weeks.
I’m sorry for the long post, but it’s what happens when I have 5 days to suppress and/or allow the build up to occur.
I still appreciate all the kind thoughts and love you’ve sent me over the past week and a half and in every medium. I have definitely not felt alone at all, at any given moment, through any of this and I’m so thankful for that. I have a lot to write about my trip in the coming week (my Chimpanzee review is coming out today! YAY!!!) and I still have a lot to write about “The Cansuh,” (I do still find some parts of it funny, oddly…) so I’ll be changing writing hats, too, and I hope you can keep up with it without thinking, “How can she write about the Cansuh one minute and then air boating the next?” Oh, it’s possible. I know it’s weird, but it’s all about the hat changing and writing honestly (besides my family) is what makes my world go round.
Anyway. I suppose I have a lot more thinking and mourning to do, I’ll just let that happen naturally and embrace it.
I am still not ok, really, with any of this. Though I am finding that it’s ok to say that. (Why not? It’s the truth. I might as well be honest.)
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