At an age when my life was ahead of me, I was constantly peppered with questions regarding my future children, my family, my goals, my career, my employment status, my educational goals and how I would achieve them.
All required a similar answer: I have cancer. This is not an option for me right now.
I’ve since learned how to mind my own business and never ask these questions.
Nothing would break my heart worse than having to explain all my dreams, my ideas, and the life I had planned were no longer available.
It was especially difficult for a woman like me, who had previously had opportunities showered upon her, and who had never once failed to achieve what I had put my determined mind to.
My determined mind has not sent me into remission. This understanding still is cause for tears, and may always will be. Please, never suggest this is something I could cure with my mind. This is an insult of the worst kind.
The faces of those whose questions I answered honestly, when able, where all the same: shock, then awe, and a flood of questions in their minds.
“But you look so GOOD,” they’d say, as if you could tell just by looking that my blood formed tumors in my lymphatic system.
On one occasion, I was shopping for a friend who was pregnant, and for lotions to help with my radiation. The perky sales girl was sooo happy I was having a baby.
No, my friend is having a child. I AM having radiation.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” After a few minutes of awkwardness, I was given some fabulous gifts to make my life easier.
This is a common problem among chronic disease sufferers of my age.
When this friend had her baby, she went home and suffered with double vision and the loss of feeling on one side.
She has MS, and must cope with the reality of raising a child in the face of her disability.
It is possible to raise a child while experiencing functional loss, just as it is possibly to raise a child while undergoing treatment for cancer.
It’s all in the quality of time and experience with the child, not the quantity. Quantity is not something we as ill young women have the luxury taking for granted.
Enjoy the time you have.
***The Kevin Lyttle song, an old skool college favorite, is for my girls like this, and some homeboys, who have been with me and understood this mindset for years***