I latched on to the possibility of having breast cancer. I mean, a doctor doesn’t mention something like that without good reason, right? They wouldn’t want to worry me needlessly, I’m sure. Sunday, December 23 was a total pity party. Why me? What if I die? How much time will I have? I am cursed with a photographic memory. I remember everything I read. I have read about inflammatory breast cancer, and I knew that the odds are not good.
I started making contingency plans. How can I make sure my kids will remember my love for them? How can I make sure my youngest remembers me at all? How will John, my husband, fare as a single dad? Can I do anything to help him find a new wife who will be a loving stepmother to our kids? I realized that I am not afraid to die for myself. I am afraid to leave my children motherless.
John is my polar opposite. He is steady, solid as an oak tree, and almost unshakable. He tried to coax me out of the chamber of imagined horrors, so I worried about the best case scenario instead. Okay, so if this is cancer, I’ll have to go through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I’ll lose my breasts and my hair. I’ll throw up all the time. I’ll have no energy. It sucks, but I can live with that. He reassured me that he would still love me and find me beautiful when I became bald, boob-less and barfalicious.
Pain and self-pity aside, there was a family Christmas party the 24th. I made up my mind to suck it up, be positive and have a great time with my family. Act healthy. Act happy. Act calm. It may be our last Christmas together, so it better be a good one. There were so many perfect moments, and I made sure to get photographs with my parents, my sisters, my nephew, my husband and my kids. I’m usually the one who takes the pictures, but this time I overcame my natural urge to hide behind the camera. Faced with mortality and/or imminent disfigurement, I better leave some happy, smiley pictures for my kids. Ruminations on pain, disease and mortality would have to wait until after the holidays.