Although I wrote this about three years ago (a year before my cancer recurred and my diagnosis changed to Stage IV), I'd like to share it with you here. Much has changed since then and, yes, I eventually kicked those kids out of my bed! Chin up, ladies, and look for those sweet little moments that make you smile.
There’s a cat at my feet. That is, there is a cat between my feet. He seems to prefer that spot for some reason. Perhaps he delights in watching me twist and turn while trying not to disturb his slumber as I carefully get out of bed. At any rate, this is a morning ritual which I find strangely comforting. Just like waking up with my children beside me. My daughter, Meghan, sleeps soundly on the far side of the bed. My son, Jimmy, dreams peacefully in the middle.
Okay, I admit that one mom, two kids and a cat in the same bed sounds rather uncomfortable. Sometimes when I get jabbed with an elbow or wake up cold because they have hogged the covers I am inclined to agree. Nevertheless, this crowded “family” bed has been their preference since sometime last year after their father passed away. Bill was only 47 years old and died of a heart attack in his sleep. There was no warning… he was just suddenly gone from our lives. This unbearable grief, combined with my children’s worry that my breast cancer might someday return, eventually led to our crowded sleeping arrangement.
Breast cancer survivor. Yes, that’s me. I love that word: SURVIVOR. These past two years have certainly been something to survive, to say the least. My husband and I grew even closer as we found our way through that frightening experience. He was my rock and I miss him so very much.
I spent seven months fighting the “monster”. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. My husband, our children, my parents, and our entire extended family were so supportive. Friends and neighbors were also there to help. I will always be eternally grateful to them all. Especially my gynecologist for her determination and willingness to look further, my wonderful surgeon for his thorough and meticulous work, my caring and skilled oncologist for developing my treatment plan, and all the physicians, nurses and staff of the St. Vincent’s Bruno Cancer Center. I truly owe them my life.
There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about all that these people have done for me and thank heaven that I have survived in spite of the hardships I’ve endured. If there’s one thing I have learned it is that breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence. On beautiful mornings such as this I am reminded how good it is to be alive, to be healthy, and to be loved.
How could I doubt it when I open my eyes and view my little family so close. I know what you’re thinking -- it’s time for them to sleep alone. We’re working on that, as well as trying to find our way without their father, my dear husband. But for now…
There’s a cat at my feet. My children are beside me. Life is good.