I spent the ten days after my cancer diagnosis driving to doctors’ offices, arguing with insurance companies, undergoing various body scans, and trying not to think about—or at least to not latch onto—worst case scenarios. Am I going to lose both breasts and my ovaries, too, and pass along a cancer gene to Sophie and Harrison? Does that pain in my stomach mean it’s spread? Worst scenario of all: Will my babies grow up without a mother?
When Josh and I met with the oncologist for the second time, ten days after my initial diagnosis, and she told us that the MRI and CAT scans showed no signs of metastasis, I gripped Josh’s thigh and teared up for the first time in a week. I was going to live. I was going to live! (Or at least I wasn’t going to die any week now of cancer.)
I wasn’t planning to say anything to the kids, but when we got home, it slipped out. I told them that we had just gotten good news from the doctor. Harrison stopped in his tracks to ask what. (Rare that he hears me the first time I say something. Rarer still that he actually responds right away. But he literally stopped in his tracks.)
“I still have breast cancer,” I said, “but the doctor says I’m going to be okay.”
Harrison ran over with a big smile and a big hug and such big relief in his nine-year-old body that I wanted to scoop him up and never-ever-ever let go.
Now I really have to be okay.