Friday, May 19, 2006

The Grass is Always Browner ...

One thing that's kind of amazing about cancer is how often those fighting it, either themselves or their caregivers, will point to someone else fighting it and say, "Oh, but you have it so much harder." It is sweet, and it shows a lot about the empathy in folks.

I've had friends such as Boobless Brigade Master who are fighting cancer themselves, say something about how they think *I'm* so brave. How amazing is that?

I can understand the sentiment. Those of us who have kids, like BBM, would give anything for our child to never go through anything life-threatening. Once you have a child, it's your big fear.

And, on one hand, I have wished a thousand times that it could be me fighting the cancer, not Little Warrior.

But on the other hand ... since I have sworn to be brutally honest in this blog ... there have also been those times when I've felt a little grateful to not be going through cancer myself.


First, of course, was realizing that I am not the one with cancer. That might sound pretty obvious, but it's not. And apparently that's normal. It's a natural instinct for a mother to "take on" her child's cancer.

Having a baby who was, at the time of diagnosis, 100% breastfed, just magnified that. For those who haven't had that experience, it's a bit peculiar in that you don't always know where the baby ends and you begin. You eat cabbage, Baby gets gas. Baby gets thrush, your breasts break out in a rash. Some research even indicates that your breasts somehow "know" when your baby is sick and your milk changes. (Now, I don't know what my breasts are making of this whole chemo thing. Ha.)

So, occasionally, at the start of this, I had to tell myself, Hey. You're not the one with cancer. Little Warrior is.

And occasionally, I was shocked to find that that was a bit reassuring.

On one hand (I'm running out of hands, here), it's just simple logistics. If I were the one with cancer, we'd have to figure out how to get the baby to take a bottle, since I couldn't nurse her, someone else would have to step in to help with the other three kids, etc.

But on the other hand ... haven't we all had the feeling before? Looking at someone going through a horrible situation and thought, "I'm glad it's not me"?

At the very worst of what we've experienced, there were, God help me, moments when I thought, well, if the worst happens, I will still be here. My other three children will still have their mother.

Of course, the fact that I would still be here ... would have to keep on living ... was also a terrible feeling.


Boobless Brigade Master said...

It's as amazing as you are!

I can not imagine dealing with this ugly beast on any level and having more than one child!

I just flat out can't!

You hit the nail on the head.
I have never, ever been afraid of death. Even when I was growing up as a child. Never!
However, once I had Daisy...I began to immediately fear death for her. She has her entire life ahead of her afterall!
Not to mention...she is my life to some degree and I whoelheartedly belive that if something were to happen to life would also end at that very moment. I also wholeheartedly believe that my physical life would end shortly thereafter...because I would end it.
Having said that...I can not imagine having to soldier on for the sake of other children...while at the same exact time being afraid and paranoid (because I know I would be!) that what to hell would happen if something happened to one of them next!
Holy Freakin' Jezeebus!

And feeling relieved on occassion that you aren't the one with cancer is in no way, shape or form horrible.
That my friend, I think, is basic human instinct on one level.
And down right Mama Bear on another. You do have other children...that need you just as much as the next one does!

Ya know I see parents on TV, when they're children have been kidnapped or are missing, pleading via the media to please have their child returned home safely...and it's made me feel like a horrible mother! Because I don't think I could do that. I don't think I could plead for my child's life.
Sounds horrible doesn't it! And is horrible to some degree. What I mean to say is...if something like that happened, I think I would either be curled up in the fetal poisition and incomprehensible where speech was concerned altogether
or I would be out and involved in the hunt and wouldn't want to waste my time pleading with the monster that probably took my child in the first place. I'd want someone else in my family to do it...but I couldn't.
And believe me when I tell ya...there has been more than one occassion since being diagnosed that I've rehashed the past, which some times appears to be littered with stupid choices and decisions on my part...and I've wished to just not wake up the next day because parts of me think Daisy would be better off.
Sensibly, I know she'd never be better off without her parent...but that fact alone doesn't keep it from crossing my mind once in awhile.
Cancer is a tricky, cheeky monkey to play with...especially when ya just want to kill the damn monkey and not play to begin with!

Anne said...

I dont know if I ever really told you..but I think that you are probably one of the greatest moms ever. No one would ever doubt that you would do anyting to take this away from LW. There is a small part of me that is glad that my mom is hot here to have to watch me go through this. I cant imagine how it is to have it be your baby.

And no sane person would ever want cancer. But... if we could trade it off (like you having it instead of LW) then I would be sharing my cancer with everyone. Every friend I know or have ever known could take a 24 hour shift until it was all gone. :)

You my dear have NOTHING to ever feel terrible about. I think that you are wonderful and I am so that I know you.

Anne said...

That was supposed to say "I am so glad that I know you". It kinda sounded like I was saying that I was what an ego I have.