The hardest part of living with cancer so far, has been seeing my girls live through it with me. They are 8 and 10 years old - way too young to have to live with sick parents. They have been forced to grow up quickly in the past few weeks: helping around the house, getting themselves ready in the mornings, and taking on more responsibilities for what's happening in their own lives, as I often appear to be the dead beat mom who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, can't do much around the house, and forgets about field trips and choir practices on a regular basis. I look at them differently now....I'm in awe of them. They are beautiful, becoming-independent girls, with their own likes/dislikes, emotions, personalities, and opinions. I love who they are becoming. They take care of me and have so much compassion. They can talk about cancer without getting emotional and move on like it's no big deal because they are completely filled with hope that this is just a bad season in life. They dread my hospital visits and not having me at home. This dread shows itself in lots of ways. They are extremely possessive of me right now: they argue over who will sit beside me when we watch a movie. They can't sleep without giving me 10 hugs and kisses each night. They sleep together so they can console each other. I am thankful that they have each other. I know full well that they will be changed by all of this; we can't live through this and not be changed. We pray that they will not become bitter or resentful, but rather stronger, more compassionate, more dependent on their faith in God, and closer to us and each other. We are hopeful that good will prevail for them, but it's a lot to live through right now.
The next hardest part is watching my parents live through this (again). My brother Jason died from leukaemia 33 years ago; he was seven years old. It seems so unfair that they have to watch a second child live through cancer. I know my diagnosis has stirred up sad memories. I know they both wish it could be them instead of me (but I'm glad it is what it is). My prognosis is so much more promising then Jason's was - this gives them hope. I've heard the saying, "you never stop being a parent". My parents are living proof if this. They check on me each day, care for my physical needs (and my family's) when we can't, and would do anything we ask. I'm thankful for the friends and family members that are supporting them right now because they need it. They are grieving just as we are. The waiting for more information is as painful for them as it is for us. And they are experienced with this process, this trying difficult process.
I was told "when you get diagnosed with cancer, your whole family gets diagnosed." This is so true. Pray for our family: our girls, my parents, my brother and his family, Darryl's parents, Darryl's sisters and niece. We are going through this together. We are so thankful for our families. Every member has been extremely supportive; helping us cope.
Darryl cannot be forgotten in all of this. I told him this weekend, "if I have to go through this, I'm glad it's with you." And I meant it. Just his presence makes me feel better. He has held my hand through every appointment. He's held me as I've cried. He helps with my injections every night. He listens to my endless talking/analyzing. He is the absolute love of my life. I could not get through this without him.