I remember the Dr. saying, “hold the nurses hands”, while he injected me to locate my sentinel node. It was like no other pain I had ever felt. I squeezed the nurses hands so tightly I couldn’t feel them. I screamed so loud, I bet the whole hospital heard me. I had to do this twice, I can hear the screams in my head, they haunt me. Next it was off to the operating room. As I lay on the operating table, in the ever so cold operating room, with tears streaming down my face, the surgeon began making his markings, while describing what it was he was going to do to my body. My inner voice was screaming, “NO, this can’t be happening to me”. The last thing I remember before the surgery of removing my breast was the anesthesiologist saying “I’m going to put you to sleep now, you do not need to hear this”. Next thing I remember was waking in the recovery room with nurses surrounding me, each one taking turns hugging me and saying “you are so young, life isn’t fair”. This wasn’t exactly what I thought the recovery room would be like. I hated pity and that’s exactly what I was getting, I began crying again, I just wanted this to end and be alone.
I was transferred to my room where I was greeted by my sister and some of my very close friends, my rocks through everything over the last couple of years. I owe my life and sanity to those that stood by me and guided me through the darkness, these were the people that are responsible for making sure I kept going, no matter what. I will never be able to thank them enough for all the sacrifices they made to help me.
There was someone else that was a very important part of my healing and the healing of my children after the devastation we’d experienced. My life was a mess and he came from nowhere. It was probably the lowest point in my life and he embraced me and my boys as if he had known us for a lifetime. I was battling depression, severe anxiety, and raising four children on my own. Not to mention I just finished battling cancer and my body image was not the typical one of a 36 year old female. I’m not going to lie, he had to deal with a lot when it came to me and my situation, but that didn’t scare him. He helped me deal with my emotions, he was my safe place, he was there for my boys when they needed a positive role model and most importantly he was my confidant. Could this person be for real? How could someone walk in my life and not see the mess it was? I guess he could see beyond the mess we were currently in and decided we were the perfect fit for him. I May not have noticed in the beginning of our relationship how great he really was because of all the drama going on in my life, but I don’t ever want to know what my life would be like without him. Having him in my life makes me realize that there are people out there that simply care. They are not looking for anything in return, they are genuinely nice, caring people.
After dating for several months, I started to feel sick. I was on antibiotics for an infection in my arm, which was causing my lymph nodes to swell and causing symptoms of being pregnant. Could this cancer again? Or am I pregnant? I decided to take a home pregnancy test, which came back positive. How could this be? Before I received treatment for cancer, I was advised that I would go into early menopause and I wouldn’t be able to have any more children, due to the aggressive treatment I was going to receive. I was given the option of harvesting my eggs, but I declined because we had four children and we were finished having children.
Now I had one more thing to add to my list of unexpected, being pregnant after cancer. I had so many thoughts and questions, but first I had to confirm the pregnancy with my family doctor. She confirmed I was indeed pregnant, the impossible was no longer impossible. I wouldn’t expect anything less from me, it seems I am very lucky for having experience in rare situations. We battled with the decision to abort or to not abort the pregnancy. It was a tough decision to make, there were so many factors to look at and no official studies conducted on women in my current situation. Was I being selfish? I already have four healthy children, am I pushing my luck? My team of doctors, which consisted of a GP, Oncologist and Obstetrician, decided they would do all the necessary testing and research to ensure the child would not be affected and it would be safe for me to have a healthy and safe pregnancy. After much testing and imaging the Dr.’s felt my pregnancy was safe for both baby and I.
This pregnancy has turned out to be one of the best things that could have possibly happened in my life. It helped with my depression, it helped my family and it brought Brad, the boys and I closer. The boys are over the moon happy that they are having another brother, it gives us all something to look forward to. This time last year I would have never imagined that my boys would ever get the chance to live a “normal” family life again, but they are and they seem pretty happy about it too.
I have learned that happiness doesn’t end, you just need to give it some time and happiness will happen again……or at least it did for me.