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Monday, March 8, 2010

When the Winds are Howling...


So I know that change is part of life, and I wouldn't mind it if it was just an occasional light breeze or maybe even sometimes a moderate wind that blew through my life, but that doesn't seem to be how things are working out. The winds of change are not blowing gently but instead seem to be howling all around me. After awhile you get sort of used to it, you start to be able to tune out the chaos and fear, you tape your windows and build your little sandbag wall to hold back the floods, you buy a good raincoat, boots, and strong umbrella, and it works... most of the time, but there are days that, like it or not, and try as you may to fight against it, you get swept up into the storm and the reality of it all crashes over you. These storm swept moments can come at anytime, without warning, but most often I find that they creep in at night when all is quiet and my mind has a little time to try and rest after the craziness of the day. In the quiet all the "what ifs" start to play themselves out in my, all too vivid and active, imagination.

Sometimes my imagination focuses on my actual cancer diagnosis. The fact, the reality, that I have cancer is something that, on most days, doesn't seem quite real. I mean, I know that I have cancer, the chemo treatments, if nothing else, are a constant reminder of that, but it's something so big and so foreign that it's hard to wrap my mind around. And because of that, I am usually, blessedly, able to push that fact to the back of my mind and not really think about exactly what my cancer could mean. But, in the quiet, reality has a way of creeping in and I find myself battling the storm again. I think, sometimes, of how, while he is positive and optimistic and pleased with how I am doing, my doctor does remind me from time to time that my condition could change at anytime and maybe change quickly. My liver is right now free of tumors and that is fantastic, but at the same time, my liver is full of holes, some relatively large, from where they have burnt out those tumors. Because of the holes, and because even though it is regenerated to pretty much normal size, I, in truth, only have the left lobe of my liver, my liver is more fragile than a "normal" liver and could, for lack of a better way to put it, just decide to not work, or not work as well, at any time. I feel okay, I look okay, and right now my liver is functioning really well, so that is a fact that is easy to push out of my mind, but sometimes it does creep back in. And think about that, it's terrifying! What would happen if my liver started to fail? I am not eligible for a transplant. Liver failure, from what I understand, is painful. What would I do? I am not really that scared of death, but the actual dying frightens me. And then what about my lungs? The tumors are spread throughout both my lungs and cannot be surgically removed. The chemo is, right now, keeping them from growing and possibly even shrinking a few, but for how long will the chemo work? And if it stops working then what? I've kind of gotten used to being able to breathe and think it might be difficult if that were to change. And I laugh about it now, but sometimes, when I am out in the howling winds, it's more than a little scary.

And then there is my biggest fear. Like I said, I'm not really scared of death. That is to say, I'm not all that scared about what will happen to me after I die. But I am scared of the actual dying and, more than that, I am scared about what will happen in the lives of those I leave behind. Not that I imagine myself to be all that important, and while they may miss me, most people would be able to carry on without me, but it is my little Aria that scares me the most. Of all the people in the world, she is the only one who I can convince myself that she needs me. And I love that little girl like no one else on this earth. Yes, I love my husband and my family and my friends, with all my heart I love them, but my little girl is different. I love Kylynn in a way only a parent, maybe only a mother, could understand. And sometimes the thoughts of what it might be like for her if I died creep in and I am thrown out into the storm and it is from these thoughts that it is most difficult for me to find my way back from. Some nights I just sit by my sleeping little girl and cry. How long do I have with her? Will I get to see her grown up? Will I at least be able to see her into her teens where she might be better able to understand and cope with my death? And then there are all the other questions that fly though my mind. Who will comfort her when she cries in the night? Who will iron her shirts for school? Who is going to make her lunch and remember to fill out her forms and permission slips for school and help her pack her backpack? Who is going to take her to school? Who is going to take care of her when she is sick? Who will help her with her worries and problems? Who will plan her birthday parties and take her to her friends' parties? There are thousands of these questions and, for sure, her daddy would take up many of these duties, but it's not the same as having mommy. Above all thoughts and fears, the ones concerning Kylynn are the ones that trouble me the most. How could I leave my precious girl?

Things are constantly changing in my life. There often seems to be no solid ground and constant motion is the only way to stay above it all. But that is exhausting and sooner or later I have to stop and rest. And sometimes in what should be rest, the storm sneaks in and crashes over me, and maybe that is okay. It is, after all, only sometimes and a good cry does make me feel a little better. Even on the rainiest day, when the winds are howling in the dark of the night, there is the promise of the sun in the morning and the renewal of hope. And we carry on, we have to, there is no going back and changing the past but there is today and tomorrow...

4 comments:

Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

"weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning."
- Psalm 30:5

Roses Are Red, Violets are Violet said...

Thank you for being so transparent. I know it must be scary...and overwhelming at times to think of all the possibilities. I appreciate your honesty in sharing this. You are loved.

Rebecca said...

Amy and Katie, Love you both!

Kelly Cates said...

I didn't know you had this blog. I will definitely use it to stay updated. I just finished wiping the last of the tears that were lingering on my cheeks. Having a daughter the same age makes it very hard for me to read/think about what you're going through. I make myself do it though, because it's only a minuscule fraction of the pain I know you go through and I won't ignore that. Thank you for sharing. You are always in my prayers.