I would tell you abut the kale chips I made today (great), but tonight I have more on my mind. I'm still thinking about a conversation I had during hockey practice with another mother who is scheduled to have surgery in a few days. I asked how she was doing, and I heard about meals already in the freezer, her doctor’s opinion about when she might be able to drive again, her mother’s upcoming two week visit to help out. As I listened I thought to myself, the real story here is not about the preparations and about her family being ‘set’ in her absence. The real story is about wanting to enjoy time with her mother and concern about her having a good visit; about post-surgical complications and being able to manage. This person unfortunately suffers from a chronic disease, and I know there are so many things I’m not hearing about.
Twice in the past I've had breast cancer; in 1998 and in 2005. My second experience was when Abbott was three and Cal was one. When people asked how I was doing I talked about the particulars of chemotherapy, and surgical preparations and complications, but not so much about what lurked beneath the surface. The anger at not being able to be fully present for that part of my children's toddlerhood, not repeatable; the issues of body image and concerns about mortality; the overwhelming knowledge that life as I had known it would never be the same again. There are stretches - whole months - I really can't remember from that period of time.
I know I'll be thinking a lot about this friend in the weeks to come.