Today I've got the call that most people dread, but is all too familiar for me, my family, and unfortunately my husband. "We think you may have cancer (again)" This year (2013) marks my 5th year of remission since my surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN. I remember everything all too clear from that time in my life. Many mis-diagnosises at various hospitals that my insurance covered - then I pushed for a biopsy of what they believed to be a "Goiter" in my neck when nothing else was adding up. I've always had this crazy intuition when it came to my health (even Pipers - no one wanted to believe she was ASD. A mother always seems to know) That Biopsy the doctor swore would be 'nothing' but a 'peace of mind for me' came back positive for Cancer. After the Nimrod doctors I was dealing with - fate (and family friends) lead me to Vanderbilt Hospital and more amazingly in the arms of a Dr. James Netterville. One of the best head/neck cancer surgeons in the world. That time of my life now seems like a distant memory and it was such a whirlwind of emotions. It was also the reason behind my first "project" AnonymousWifeDiaries.com a place where women could go when they felt they couldn't talk to anyone about what they were feeling. Cancer is a bit of a crazy one. As the "patient" you try and act happy and positive all the time because if you act as scared or as sad as you may feel - your family and friends will start to act the same (how depressing). So, if you stay positive in public - they in turn do the same. It keeps us all sane. Except for at night time - when we "the patient" go over and over in our heads what we wished we would have done, how we have children that need us, husbands that surely can't do those mommy moves with the scraped knees and broken hearts that will come. We women are a powerhouse! We are strong when we know others need to be and when we are alone - we find our time in solitude to be weak. We find our time to cry it out and to pray to God asking him to just "let me be okay this time and I promise......" I'm sure we've all had that chat to God or whoever will listen up there whatever your belief is.
These routines are all too familiar for me. So, now being faced with the possibility of the CRAPPY "C" word popping up in my life again has me thinking differently this time. This time - I'm ready for whatever life wants to throw at me. I'm stronger, I'm wiser, and now, I have a family and a little girl who needs her mommy because she has a lot of work ahead of her as well. Together Piper and I have already proved to be a powerhouse - we are both medical mysteries, we defy the odds, we excel when we should give up, we are strong headed, and we always get what we set out to achieve. Have I cried today? Yes, I have (Don't tell my parents. Luckily they are too busy to ever read my blog lol) So, if you see them - don't mention this post. (Thanks in advance) You know, it feels good to cry, its cleansing to the soul. But, unlike my first go round with the "C" word - this time I'm not scared, and I have this crazy feeling that everything is going to be fine. Tomorrow I have my next round of testing and another biopsy. So, hypothetically speaking - lets say I get the call that says:
"Congratulations - you're fine, sorry to scare you!" This is what I'm (obviously) hoping for. But, you know what the thought of "C" returning has done for me? Its kicked me in the face as a wake up call to say "HEY! LIFE IS SHORT ERIKA!! REMEMBER, what we talked about last time??? Do what you love - work for/with people you like - have friends/family in your life that add value - forget those that bring you down and cause drama - and most of all make sure you spend more time with those that love you instead of breaking your butt to try and save money to go home to the states to visit on top of trying to have a nice home, nice car, and nice things. I've realized if people want to see us - they are just as capable (if not more so) to save up their money and travel across the world, like we do. Not to mention -putting Piper on a plane now that she is almost 3 with ASD is pretty Traumatic to expect her (and us) to partake in that kind of adventure. Yes, she did great at 5 months & 12 months but, ASD and 3 years old (with limited speech & understanding) is really pushing your luck and our sanity. Second - all the material things I had as a kid I'm striving for so Piper has the life I had when I grew up is ridiculous. Growing up in New Zealand vs United States (TN) are VERY VERY different. Average income is the same 50k - yet the median home price is almost 400k where we live. As opposed to the states 50k and median home in TN 150k (I read its 120 - but we'll go 150). Food, gas, clothes, electricity, everything is cheaper in Tennessee. So, my point is, what am I doing? My life is 1 huge ball of stress. Stress in the home with all Piper's therapies and courses I'm taking, Stress learning the ropes of ASD and dealing with people who don't understand it or think we're bad parents because they have no idea what parenting an ASD child is like, Stress being a single mom (since my husband lives out at sea about 5 days a week) Stress working so hard for a company who's VP is one of the rudest people I've ever met and has added absolutely no value to my life just increased the stress level. So, this blog is a vent/rant - to remind anyone who is reading this - Life is short! You never know when it will come at you with vengeance. So appreciate these little hiccups. Whether or not the diagnosis comes back as "C" or not - What has changed is me, no matter the outcome. I've always been a positive person - I see the good in people - the good in life - the good in the bad - the glass half full. But, I think I needed a wake up call that I'm taking on too much for all the wrong reasons that in the end - adds no value to myself, to the legacy I want to leave behind, and most importantly to my family. So, this is my note to myself to reflect on as a reminder that life is short - If I'm lucky enough that this isn't "C" word - I need to appreciate the wake up call in my 30's and enjoy more things in life, stop stressing about things I can't change, and most of all.... enjoy everything around me that brings me happiness.
On the other side if I get the:
"We're sorry we are back to the "C" tango" - Well that will stink I've always wanted Piper to have a little brother or sister and that will be pushed out for a while. But, aside from that - the above still applies. Life is a lesson - if you're not learning - you're not living! So, yup - this will totally STINK - but I guess the world needed a wake up call. Perhaps its me that needed it - or someone close to me - or someone reading this. You never know the reasons for things but 1 thing is for sure... there is ALWAYS a greater plan than we know. So trust in that and all will be fine. As I'm writing this blog this song has just come on Pandora Radio (Below) I felt like it was for Piper and I. Our theme song for each other.