During an emergency C-section, my doctor discovered a mass on my Fallopian tube that turned out to be cancer. The bad kind. And it had spread. So, while I soak in the bliss of being a new wife and mom at 45, I'm also dealing with things like surgeries, chemotherapy, cancer treatment and all that those entail. I try to do it with gratitude and humor, and always with honesty.
This may sound strange, but some of my fondest childhood memories are of "sick" days spent home with my mom. Obviously, not the days when I was truly "sick sick" and feeling terrible. But the days when I was just a little bit sick, too sick to go to school or out to play ... maybe just with a slight fever. Those days I got extra special treatment from my mom.
Our daughter is getting to the age where she is learning the words for body parts. She can say and identify "eye," "nose," "mouth," "ear," "hand," "foot," and "head." We figure it's only a matter of time before she starts wondering about what's "down there."
This raised the question, what do we call her little girl parts? Do we use the proper terms for private parts, or do we assign them cutesy names?
I don't know what it feels like to have a child and not have the dark cloud of cancer hanging over my head. I was diagnosed with Stage 3C widespread gynecologic cancer when my daughter was just five days old. So, despite my best efforts to live each day in the moment, there's almost always this niggling little voice in the back of my head reminding me, "you might not be here when that happens."
What I want to know is what moms, particularly new moms, did before Facebook and Twitter? Seriously. These social media outlets have saved my ass -- and kept me from losing sleep -- more times than I can count in the 15 or so months that I've been a mom.
Back in the day, where did moms turn at 2 a.m. when their babies began puking buckets? Or when their kid spiked what appeared, at least to the inexperienced parent, to be a dangerously high fever? Or when the toddler who hadn't pooped in a week began screaming with belly pain?
What did our moms do in the pre-Internet dark age?
I recently came to the realization that I may have no choice but to join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients on this planet who don't fully beat cancer but don't die from it either. The patients who fall into the third option category.