Friday, August 19, 2011

Virginia Piper Cancer Center

Rough day today.

Had my first appointment with my radiation oncologist. And walked through the doors of Virginia Piper Cancer Center for the first time today. It's a beautiful building, tile work, over stuffed chairs, individual cup coffee makers, stone waterfall and children and seniors and me as patients. Seeing the children breaks my heart.....

The nurse and the doctor were very kind women. They went through the usual medical history questions and asked me about my past surgeries. I mention the laser surgery I had decades ago for endometriosis and the two sinus surgeries - and then we get to the pregnancy. "So you had twins..." and then "Oh! You must be...." and I stop them before the 5th word can leave their mouth because I am pretty confident that 5th word is not going to be sad or grieving. I stop it before it can go further and they get embarrassed and I get emotional and everyone feels awkward. I say something like "I have one surviving twin, my other son died at 11 days old." Or I think I say something like that. Even though I know the question or comment is coming I still stumble over the words, my mind goes blank and I just say what comes out. After 11 months I am getting better at it. A few tears come out but I don't lose my mind anymore. That's a good thing I guess...

Actually, I do lose my mind but I wait until I get in the car. It is safe to cry in the car. It's like you have an invisible barrier. It's not that others can't see you but they are so busy doing whatever they are doing behind their invisible barrier they don't have time or energy to check you out. So crying is safe in the car. I have done it for years that way. But it may not be the "why" that you might think it is - I don't mind people seeing me cry what is hard is when they take it harder than I and apologize or want to hug me or get embarrassed or say something to try to comfort me. - Just a request to anyone who may be reading this and may see me cry sometime in my life. It is okay for me to cry, I am usually good with it. If I need a hug or words of comfort I will ask or tell you. Other than that just let me cry, do not take it away from me and make it about you and how uncomfortable you feel with it. I know this is hard. I know. And I have learned that it is a common experience for those who have had a terrible loss, like the loss of a child, or maybe a cancer diagnosis, to feel unsafe to share their tears because of how it makes others feel and the strange things that people say and do when they feel so uncomfortable.

So I cried in the car. The cancer diagnosis seems so much more real now. It is not just that my thyroid is screwed up. It is not just a surgery. It is more......

And I think to myself that after fighting so hard to get both of my boys here alive and healthy, and only getting to keep one beautiful boy to raise, now a year later I have to fight to keep myself here alive and healthy. Nolan only has one mommy so I need, I choose, I intend to stay. Nolan has fought strongly to stick around with me the least I can do is the same.

Bring On the Rain - song by Jo Dee Meesina that fits this moment.

Final note - The doctor's office is across the street from the cemetery where my nephew Owen is buried. So I had to stop by to say hi, per se. I parked the car and walked to his grave site. He is surrounded by other infants. Some of them have families who decorate their sites like my brother and SIL do and some don't. And after the dust storm last night things were a mess. So in honor of August 19th I went through and wiped off the stones and plaques, set up any of the babies toys or decorations that were blown over, reorganized the flowers. It felt good to be of service in this very small way. To many parents who have lost an infant August 19th is known as the Day of Hope. "August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives." - CarlyMarie Click on her name to learn about her amazing work for baby loss parents.

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