Today is eviction day. It’s when I am given radioactive iodine to kill all the remaining cancer cells. This will be it – this will get me closer to being cancer free.
But today, there is something that needs to be said. I did not get cancer.
WE got cancer.
My husband got cancer. He has had to do things for his wife that you usually associate with old age and the “growing old” phase. He has had to be my shoulder to cry on and calm my fears each and every time I have feared what my fate could be. He has had to be Mr. Mom many, many times. He’s been my caretaker – a role that is just as important as any one of my doctors. He’s the rock – there’s no other way to say it. He keeps our world on track when it so easily feels like it’s spinning out of control. That “sickness and health” vow – there’s no question Neel meant it. It has not been easy, but my husband is made from some tough stuff.
My parents got cancer. They have missed work and rearranged schedules so many times to be there to take me to appointments, drive to the Mayo clinic, cook me special meals, care for my children, and be there for each of my surgeries and treatments. They have had to watch their child go through many painful experiences, which as a parent myself, I know is a gut-wrenching and helpless feeling.
My in-laws got cancer. My mother & father-in-law fill in for Neel and I all.the.time. as we often head off to Omaha for things and they never complain. They constantly offer a tender hug and lots of support as we have faced bad news after bad news. They even did the low-iodine diet with me this time to show support. I felt this way even before cancer, but have felt this way 100-fold now, that I seriously won the lottery when it comes to in-laws.
My children got cancer. You guys…this is the hardest paragraph to write. My children don’t know a world where their mom doesn’t have cancer. Which is good in the sense it’s not super scary to them, because they are used to this disease creeping in every few months when we have appointments and check-ups. But I long for the day when we aren’t uprooting their lives all the time as Neel and I leave for doctors visits. And the stress of living with cancer has stolen more moments than I care to admit from me and being a happy mom for them.
My siblings got cancer. We come from the same parents and were raised in the same environment, but only one of us ended up battling cancer. I’m sure there are a lot of “why not me?” questions for them, trying to make sense of it. But my brother and sister (and I’m blessed with amazing brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, too!), get me so well and have lifted me up so many times that even though I may be the one doing the physical fighting, they have never let me feel alone in this fight.
My friends got cancer. Instead having conversations about just our kids, husbands, houses, work (and there’s still plenty of that!), we also talk about cancer – in our twenties and now thirties! It’s not natural – life is stressful enough in this phase that all of us facing our mortality like this is tough. But I have the best friends ever – they give of their time, money, and thankfully their cooking skills, and we have been supported each and every day by friends and neighbors who care for us. It’s been hard at times to receive this help, very humbling, but it’s been a huge lesson for me on how much it means when someone does take the time to call, text, write or check-in. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is going through cancer treatment, myself included, but I can tell you that saying something is better than saying nothing. I can’t wait to start repaying all the acts of kindness we have received.
There are people that do this alone. I have no idea how. My heart hurts for them, and I will always pray for them. Going into today, I feel so blessed that although there are lot of feelings, alone is not one of them.
Thank you, God, for each and every person you have placed in my life. Cancer did not just invade my body, but all those around me. And I’m thankful for all those who are rallying with me to kick cancer back out.
Please say a prayer that treatment today WORKS and cancer never returns. God bless you all!