Wow. A year already. One year ago today we found out Colin had cancer. My chest still gets tight thinking about it.
I still remember my last moment of innocence. Colin was leaving for the hospital (for the second time) with his stomachache and I didn’t give him a kiss because I was angry it took him so long to go to the hospital.
He called from the hospital and said it was probably diverticulitis. I googled.
You all know what happened after that.
The month and a half after Colin’s cancer diagnosis, waiting for Colin to heal from surgery and for his appointment at Cross Cancer Institute, was the longest time of my life. When I went in for a doctor’s appointment with my 4th pregnancy at almost 18 weeks and found out that there was no heartbeat, I sat in the waiting room for an hour, watching the second hand on the clock. Waiting for the ultrasound tech to call me in to confirm what I already knew. Tick. Tick. Tick. Last November and December was like reliving that moment. Only it went on and on and on.
I don’t know how I would have kept functioning through that time if it wasn’t for the kids. I had to get out of bed. I had to go through the motions every day. I took care of them.
I felt dead inside.
My dreams, our dreams, growing old in rocking chairs together, watching the grandkids…. Gone.
Old friends, new friends. Everyone wanted to help. There were a few shoulders I cried on. A few friends who kept me grounded, who I know that will be there for me until they are hauled kicking and screaming from this planet. I’ll never find the words to thank them enough, but I know they’ll read this. And they know me. So they’ll know everything my heart says that I don’t know how to put in to words.
And then we met with that first oncologist Neither Colin nor I wanted to accept what she said. So we tried another doctor. A better doctor. He gave us hope. There might not be forever, but at least there’d be a tomorrow.
As the months passed, I stopped mourning what wasn’t going to be. I stopped being angry about the future that had presented itself. The kids and I planted flowers and bulbs and we had the most amazing flowerbed that has ever existed in front of this house. We planted fruit bushes and rose bushes and trees. And as everything sprang to life, I started living again.
The kids and I walked every day. We’ve been to every park within a 5 kilometer radius. We had many double cookie days – we’d go to Save-On for one free cookie and then go to Sobey’s for a second free cookie.
The kids and I talk about life and the future…. And we cry together and we’re scared together, but I always tell them that we have daddy right now. And right now daddy is doing fine and as long as he keeps doing fine we’re going to have him for a really long time.
I’ve gone back to school to get a degree in Elementary Education. I figured that the odds say that I’m going to be a single mom with 4 kids one day, so I had better get myself in a position where I can align my schedule with theirs. 3 weeks off a year won’t cut it. Hopefully that’s a concern that never comes to fruition, but by this point we all know that the future is unpredictable. I took one class in May. May was rough. Colin was pretty sick but fortunately my mom and dad were able to help out and I got one class over with.
I’m taking three more classes right now. Colin’s been doing great for the last three months and my mom and dad help out on chemo and blood work days. Anyone who knows me knows that I love school. This degree is no different. I love thinking about things beyond diapers and groceries. I think it’s great for the kids to see me working on school, plus I’m going to be able to help the kids with their math homework since math is a whole lot different than it was when I was in school. I’m worried that by the time I finish this degree a school board will take one look at the old lady that marches in and they won’t have room for me, but who knows.
It’s easier if I don’t think long term. NOBODY knows what’ll happen long term. Not to me, not to Colin, not to yourself. When I get overwhelmed, I listen to this. https://youtu.be/2Kuj-PGC8rE. I think it might be about being in a gang or something like that, but like the song says: “Ain’t nobody gonna die today. Save that trouble for another day.” When tomorrow gets to be too much, I focus on today.
We’re all here. We’re all happy. We’re relatively healthy. I’ll take another 20 years of this. Colin just has to keep on keeping on. Ánimo, right?