Friday, October 29, 2010

put a bandaid on it

Everyone thinks falling in love is the hard part.  I know I did--you meet someone, go through the hoops of dating, you lie to seem better than you are--but then the truth comes out and you brace to be excepted or rejected; if all goes well you move on and then learn to fart in front of each other, realize that all people poop and so does your partner--done and done.  You decide to get married, walk through the proverbial doorway and done-------from here your life is supposed to be easy.  You are in love, you are married, you get dogs--and love said dogs, even if one is a bit crazy and sometimes bites you and freaks out for no reason.  You somewhat feel a kinship with said dog because you freak out for no reason sometimes and you are wound really tight and assume he is too--why else would a loud clap turn in him to a raving lunatic? 

You lose a family member and you think that is the hardest thing you will go through together--death is scary and death is the ultimate end.  I lost my dad and I lost myself in the same day.  Scott was there to hold me together, he was there when I was hysterical, when there wasn't enough sleeping pills in the world to give me a good nights rest, when I couldn't walk two steps without feeling like I was going to faint, when I thought it would be easier if I just was numb all the time and forget that bad things happened in the world.  That was it, that was our pain, our pain before we even got married.  And that crazy ass dog was there too, he witnessed the pain, he licked the tears off my face and pooped on the floor to give me something to do.

My dad was incredible, he was stubborn and stern as hell, but I wouldn't have the fight I have inside me without him.  We are all stronger now because of him--we were forced to break and heal--together.  My sisters, mom and I have a unspoken bond that happened when we were forced to grieve.  Scott is joined with us because he was forced to step into a role and protect all of us.  Death can come with unbelievable pain that you can't see--there are no visible wounds on those who are grieving...except the inevitable puffy eyes and swollen red nose.  I am "fixed" but am missing a piece of me--the same piece that makes me who I am........

So we had a few battles, but apparently the war wasn't over.   We bought a house, I went to grad school, we were adults and had plans and were good.  We fought over stupid stuff, just like you all do, like the garbage, money, cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming........pointless arguments that at the time seem so real and heated and the most important thing in the world...............but really, pointless.

We wanted to have a baby.  Babies are what I do--pregnant women and babies are my passion, I embrace every aspect of pregnancy and I am damn good at what I do.......damn good.  I wanted to be that good with my own baby, I wanted a baby.  We were trying to have a baby.  Now, I won't be able to have sex to make a baby with my won't happen.  Now I am a lactation educator that will never, ever be able to breastfeed.  I am unsure if I will be able to carry them embryos we worked to hard to freeze prior to surgery and chemo.  And if I do, I will be a high risk pregnancy, with no probable option of a vaginal delivery.  For most people this isn't such a big deal, people don't dream of breastfeeding and most people want drugs for birth and c-section seems like a perfect option.  I am not that woman.  In fact, I am opposite of that woman--I try to change that woman's mind and show her the importance of what her body can do, and how her baby needs her body to do such things.  Now I am a woman with limited options and when I let myself think about it I feel the pieces of me fall to the I accept the inevitable, put it in a box, tie it with a pretty bow and place it to the back of my head.  I peak into it every once in awhile hoping it has changed.......but it hasn't.

Each day isn't a gift.  It is an option.  Some days fucking suck, they do.  I am not a rosy, kittens and rainbows, type of lady. I am a realist.  I am a mama bear when it comes to those I love and would do anything to stop them from hurting or from others hurting them. I am gritty, raw, and sometimes too much for people to handle.  I am passionate and persuasive and can carry quite a wallop.  I was taught to hit once and make it count, so you don't have to hit again.  I am married to someone with more patience and understanding in his little finger than I can muster throughout my entire body.  I cuss like a sailor, I am a damn good therapist, and I will do anything to preserve a woman's right to chose their health care...even if I can't chose mine.

So our lives had a few rough bumps, we were 26 and on our way to our cross of our checklist of life to-do's. 

Stage 3 Cancer.

Our lives changed, we adjusted, we rallied the troops and we are putting on one hell of a fight.  But it is still cancer, stage 3, and that fact doesn't escape either of us.  We don't talk about it, because it is too scary.  We take one day at a time, because planning ahead seems futile when you aren't sure if tomorrow will be one of my "good" days.  I would give anything if our only concern was whose turn it was to take out the fucking garbage.  Or I was miserable and swollen because I was in my third trimester rather than going through chemo.  We are the sinner and saint mix that works.  

I sometimes sit on the floor and cry, I go through boxes of kleenex while Scott is at work so by the time he gets home I am out of tears.  I can't dance in the shower as much as I used to because my body hurts to stand that long.  I have mini-panic attacks when I get a mild-grade fever and am afraid of blood work because I don't want to have to be admitted to the hospital.  My body has turned against me, even my implants are making my life hell.  I am not the person I was before and I don't really know how to feel about this new person I have been forced to become.  I guess I have the rest of my life to get to know her.......


  1. I think you're pretty damn amazing.

    I'm sorry you're having implants issues - if you continue to have problems with them, have you ever considered having a TRAM flap reconstruction from your own tissue?

  2. The heartbreak for any woman in childbirth, is not having the birth she wanted, whether that's because she wanted drugs and wasn't given them, or wanted a natural birth and had a c-section.
    One thing our doula teacher told us was don't share too much of your own experience with birth, because theirs won't be anything like yours, and if it's better they'll think you misled them or scared them unnecessarily, if it's worse, they'll feel like a failure.
    But that doesn't mean you can't bring the empathy from your own experiences, and your experience will give you a gift of understanding that few of us in the natural birth community have.
    The same is true for your relationship, and your life in general and your ability as a therapist. Therapy rooms are filled with people dealing with something they didn't expect that life threw at them. You just became an expert in that field.
    --Amy Doering

  3. Im holding back the tears reading yuor post, it was written with such raw passion and a strong spirit, Life is a bitch and theres nothing we can do about it, except try and change the things we can and not the things we can't from that comes strengh and girl you have bloody loads of that and more. Keep focused and keep strong one day at a time and no more is a good place to be right now...Dee.

  4. You are an amazing person and I can identify with your love. There is hope on the other side. We have our lives change totally 10 years ago as my husband had a serious brain injury and like you both, life was very very very hard at first but love sees you through, love and respect.

    I know you will accept the new person you are, this is life, we had to accept our new lives too, it's very hard at first and you really don't 'get it' but you will, and you are doing it as a strong and loving couple, it's the best, it will get you through anything, it did us.

    Much love and hugs xxxxx

  5. You are very special people and one of the strongest ladies i have ever come across.

  6. Sending you lots of love and good thoughts!

  7. Dori~
    Your strength continues to amaze me. Thank you for sharing this painful, brutally honest journey with us. Your message of the power of love is inspiring and I am so glad Scott is there with you through this battle. You are a gifted writer and this blog could easily turn into a best-seller! Keep fighting, you are in my thoughts every day.

    I hope you are able to enjoy some Halloween festivities and next year you can dress up as a bad ass cancer survivor!!

  8. Dori,
    As I read your post I am reminded that I experienced my mothers death at age 21 from breast cancer and that was why I was so vigilant with mammos and such. Therefore an early diagnosis, maybe her passing made that diffference for me. We all learn from our parents and sometimes we get real good stuff from them. They help us be who we are even if they pass too soon. And yes we marry and get to share our selves with someone who can piss us off with some real petty stuff, but you know thats life we all live it and experience it. After 32 years of marriage I still get pissed about stuff, I had cancer and now Denny does. We still live each day and know we love each other even when times are hard. Don't dismiss those everyday happenings, they are part of a full life, not unimportant, but necessary. My mom said if you don't disagree one of you is a milk toast. You are strong, Scott is too, help each other through this. Cancer sucks, we all know it, treatment sucks too, but having you here next year and the next year after that and so on and on, is worth all of it. You keep up the fight and we'll keep up the prayers and good thoughts.