Today was one of those days. I titled this post Robust because it wasn’t all good or all bad, it was both, just a lot of both. I somehow decided it would be a good idea to fill out the 3 year old well check questionnaire for Chloe first thing this morning. Questions like can she pedal a tricycle, turn pages in a book and speak sorta understandably are reasonable but they made me cry. When Claire turned three we were in a fierce legal battle with the district and life was overwhelming. I think we had a few friends over for cake but we didn’t get any pictures, it’s sad to think about. In contrast I am overcome with joy as I watch Chloe leap off her bed naked while she plays parachute with the fairies just about every day. It was with a heavy heart that I got the girls ready and took them to school. I then went and sat by the water, listening to the gentle waves and filling my lungs with that wonderful salty sea air. I then walked to get some coffee and meet up with a friend that wanted to learn to cook, from me, how exciting! Few things touch my soul like cooking in groups of one or more. I love food and the only thing that makes it better is getting to share it with others. It was a privilege to have Lizzy over, to share stories and laughter as we worked through much of the CSA stuff that had piled up in the vegetable drawer. It was also quite nice to have an extra set of hands for peeling carrots and de-stemming the kale and chard, the whole process went much faster than normal with less work, was fantastic. I left to go pick up Chloe with a fridge full of super great food and our home smelling amazing, perfect for a drizzly day. We then took Lizzy back to the happy place where I got more coffee (addict, I know) and Chloe ran around giggling and high-fiving everyone, it was pretty great. As we headed home to rest I talked to the doctor that I had seen on Monday. She had found a thing on my head, that might have been cancerous so she cut it off and sent it to the lab. As it turns out, it is cancer. I was half prepared for this. I had thought of it as a bad skin problem that is easily fixed with a really sharp knife. As the doctor went on and told me about the surgeon that would be contacting me and the procedure that would happen, she said something that changed my thinking. She told me that as treatment for cancer went, this is really great, that is, it is easy on the body with great results. I thought to myself, cancer treatment? No, this is a skin problem. Well, I guess it is sorta both. I thought that I was fine but I think that I went into shock. After a quick stop at home we went to take Claire to PT. As Claire walked on the treadmill I needed to adjust the straps on her legs. Typically, I stop the treadmill to do this but I hit the start button, while it was already going, didn’t notice that it was still going and wondered while I was having such a hard time fixing the straps while poor Claire was still trying to walk, a true Miss Amazing moment. After that I figured that I might not be as fine as I had previously thought. I called Jared and was so thankful that he was able to leave an hour early so that our children didn’t have to depend on me for dinner, who knows what I might have done. Maybe I would have given them uncooked frozen burritos or just mashed potatoes with nothing else. Captain Awesome was on the way, I knew that I could hold things together until then, it was nap time after all. As I sat killing time the phone rang, it was our case manager that was calling about some requests I had made. She said that she had good news and bad news and asked which I wanted first (you must know that Claire has a great case worker, we love her and she is truly an advocate for Claire). I responded that the last person who called me told me that I had cancer so that I really didn’t mind either way. The poor lady, she wasn’t expecting that. It was weird to say it out loud, to hear somebody respond to it. We talked about my plan for surgery next week and also the additional respit that I had requested, luckily the only bad news she had was that they aren’t paying for the rett conference and in the scheme of things, that really is just fine. Eventually Captain Awesome came home and took over. I went off to Costco (because that’s a good place to go when you aren’t thinking clearly???) and got cookies for Chloe to take to school tomorrow for the big b-day celebration. While I drove I thought about how surreal the whole day was and how dramatically I have changed in how I deal with stuff. When I got diagnosed with Chrone’s I told myself that I was just glad it wasn’t brain cancer, it could be worse, I’d be fine. When Claire was diagnosed with Rett Sydrome I was thrilled that she wasn’t certain to die soon as we had feared. In both instances I stayed strong but not today. I felt more human. I was scared and a little disturbed. I know it isn’t a super big deal but I am letting it have some weight as I imagine other people often experience with similar circumstances. All in all I feel well rounded. To be able to go from grief at the loss of a typical life to the celebration of food and people and community and back to a place of facing the unexpected, it feels pretty full. I like my robust life even though I do wish it involved less surgeons.

2 thoughts on “Robust

  1. mj says:

    Colleen!! I so wish I lived nearby. I'm giving you a virtual hug and hope you can feel it. We'll pray for you and hope all goes well next week. We'll both be going in for surgery next week. 🙂 Miss you and your whole family. Hoping to see you in August.

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