Strange and Stupid

It’s been such a while since I’ve last posted. To rev up my blogging juices, I’m writing directly into the text box on wordpress. This is quite literally going to be a post that’s hot off the keyboard.

Life has been busy. Sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad. Basically the goodness or badness all depends upon my anxiety levels. Menopause + dealing with cancer = CRAZY Catherine. In high school some friends used to call me ‘crazy brunelle’ because I would do rather random things (which weren’t at all random, though I guess it might have appeared that way). Anyhow, that was one of the nicknames I had, and it was funny. Now I feel like at times I might actually be losing my sense of control, and that’s way less funny. Even if I tell myself:Ā  “these feelings are from the Zoladex,” I still have waves of anguish over not being able to have children, facing a life-threatening stage of cancer, deadlines, messy apartments, fashion choices, making meals, whether Zsolt is mad at me (he never is, I just get these momentary anxious moments where I’m like, “you have got to be mad at me!” and then he says he isn’t, and all is well again).

Anyhow. Sometimes it’s no big deal. But for some of the stuff, well, yes it is a big deal.

One of these big deals is baby making.

It’s rather frowned upon to have a child while in my situation. And the problem here is that most women in my situation stay in this situation. That’s their life. So having a child? Is it wrong to give up hope? Am I betraying that little baby I’ve been imagining since falling in love with Zsolt? Maybe. I don’t know. All I know is wrong or right, I find myself grieving the idea of that baby. I grieve the bedtime stories I wanted to tell them, the heirlooms I wanted to pass onward, the trips we would have taken, the tiny shoes I would have slipped onto their feet. I grieve the daughter I’ll never have tea with, and I grieve the son who won’t get a chance to compare, back-to-back with my husband to see who is taller.

There’s this whole world in my imagination that part of me is saying goodbye to, and it’s beyond the control of my determination. It’s hard, because I’m supposed to be a fierce mother – and that, I reckon, starts even before the babies arrive. Yet here I am feeling a deep loss – and I wonder if feeling loss equates to giving up.

Life has always been unexpected. So many good things have happened that I never expected. And, maybe I’ll go on to have children, or adopt children, or love other people’s children, or sponsor children, or mentor children . . .Ā  I’m quite certain, actually, that at least some of those things are going to happen.

There is this idea that embracing uncertainly is a good thing. It is. But I like to be certain, it gives me power. I like to be certain about my priorities, my loves… even if I can’t see the future, I want to feel certain I will see the future.

Would it be really stupid for me to say I want to live? I’m in the mood to live, and I’m not in the mood yet to die. Maybe when I’m 92, or something like that. This might be denial. But if this is denial, it’s sure as hell filled with a lot lot of fear and sadness, and I don’t reckon those things go hand in hand. If I could switch off that by pushing a button for some fearless, happy denial, I’d truly consider doing so.

So, will I live through stage four cancer? Well, I’m here today. And I’m quite sure I’ll be here tomorrow. And two days ago I bought a sweater as an ‘investment piece’, explaining to Zsolt that it was worth $60 because I’ll be wearing it a decade from now . . .

There are many things going on in my head. I guess that is why it’s good to blog and just let it all go. I’m letting it go into this space. It is moving out of me and onto this page. Out of me. Out of my head. More will come to fill it back up, but it’s helpful for now. Thanks for tolerating this little blurb about nothing that is also filled with heavy emotions.

(You know what is funny? When I was first dx and had treatment, I was embarrassed to admit I was afraid it would come back … as if doing so would take away from my determination to beat the cancer. Now that it’s come back, I’m embarrassed to admit that I could be okay, because it takes away from the really shitty realities of cancer at this stage. Strange and stupid in both aspects. I want to hope, and I’m allowed to be afraid. The two aren’t exclusive to one another.)

23 thoughts on “Strange and Stupid

  1. My heart was full reading this. Your love of and desire for life is so powerful. Enjoy putting on your fab new sweater and have fun. Sending you all my positive wishes. Audrey xxxx

  2. I love the vulnerability of this, Catherine. You’re allowed to hope and to be afraid at the same time. That’s what life is all about. You’re right to see your sweater as an investment, and to feel certain you’re going to live. The opposite would be like giving up on life – and what would that achieve? So go ahead and dream, and be crazy, and be certain, and hope, and be afraid – and dare to say things out loud, so that they’re true. Reading your post has made me realise that’s what I also need to do. Perhaps we all do. x

  3. I for one can’t wait to see a photo of you in your sweater in 2023. I picture you smiling and happy and surrounded by little ones–maybe yours, maybe those of friends & relatives, maybe the 4-legged variety. Either way, the snapshot will be full of love. I very much appreciate your candor and can relate to much of it. Lots of love coming your way, my dear. xo

  4. I’ m thinking of you Catherine! And i think evrything you said makes you one really alive person! Feeling, all of this, ups and downs makes you alive! It’s when people stop feeling that they become dead inside and they shutdown completly. Reading your post, your hope shines through and through!

    Big hugs! Xoxo

  5. As a lady who is also fighting Stage IV MBC you remind me of myself when I was first diagnosis. Scared to death and not certain of anything, except the dark cloud that was following me around daily, sending me into fits of crying and emotional outburst. I could not believe this evil cancer would come back because I had worked so hard to rid myself of it. My love in life is horses, horseback riding, cleaning stalls and I had the most beautiful paint. I helped pull him from his mare and he was like my son. I trained him and rode everywhere on him, and my favorite part was driving up my driveway and watching him see my truck and he would come running, It made me smile out of pure love. One of the most heartbreaking events in my life was 1st the Stage IV diagnosis and the 2nd was being told I could not ride anymore. If I fell off I would break like an egg. After that, the decision was made to give Rex’s away to a loving family that had young girls that could love him as much as I did, and he had so much life left to give. I did not want money for him, just a good home. It took awhile for me to find the right family, and the day they came to get him I thought I would dye of a broken heart. I still get to see him occasionally, and watch those girls ride, and again I feel that pure love. I have been fighting this battle 4 years now, doing well, and have involved myself with horse activities that I can do without riding. Don’t ever give up on any dreams, don’t get to far down in the despair of this disease, take one day at a time only and live it with joy. That dark cloud is still there, but more then not now the sun finds a way to cover it up. Sending my love and prayers your way.

  6. *Hugs* I wish I had answers for you or magical potions or something somehow that would make it all better and make sense. I am sure your investment piece is quite lovely, and a wise investment. šŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  8. Hi Catherine, Yes, hope and fear… This is such a remarkable post and you covered so much in it that I can’t possibly even respond properly. But I hope you feel the love of this cyber community when you feel up, down, fearful, hopeful, angry, distraught, content – you get the idea. And maybe we should all get one of those sweaters… xoxo

  9. Don’t give up hope for children. I happened to be talking with my older daughter this morning. She is a social worker in foster care and adoptions. She was telling me that several families she had been working with for months have recently just completed or are almost completing adoptions. One was a single lady who had had breast cancer. She said approval was harder than usual, the lady had to have very specific plans in place in case she had to return to treatments that might interfere with parenting and a medical report from her oncologist. (Remember, she was single.) But, even then, it was doable.
    And she has had a number of foster parents who are cancer survivors. Foster care approval is easier than adoption for cancer survivors because foster care is hoped to be temporary, where adoption is to be permanent. But, both are options. And if a foster child becomes available for adoption and is in a home that is working out well, they do everything possible for the foster parent to be able to adopt that child.
    I agree infertility can be heart breaking, but sometimes when one thing closes to us, it is because God has another plan or path for us. But, we need to grieve our losses to cancer and infertility would be a big one.

    • Thank you for sharing this Elizabeth. I have wondered around fostering and adoption – even daring to look at a website (which is a start). I really appreciate you sharing your daughter’s story on adoption. It is good, and it does help.

  10. You are an inspiration to me, sweetie. The initial zoladex crazy has passed me by, but some days, boom. I so understand your embarrassments, I just didn’t realize others shared them. xoxo

  11. You can absolutely be hopeful and fearful at the same time. Life is not black and white. It’s gray and pink and yellow and blue and usually those colors are all mixed up. Same with our emotions.
    And enjoy that sweater. xoxo

  12. “Would it be really stupid for me to say I want to live? Iā€™m in the mood to live…” It’s the most honest, vulnerable thing to say, believe, want. As a BC grad, your words resonate and inspire. Thank you.

  13. Catherine, thanks for being so honest and inspirational. I can totally relate to your investment sweater. I’ve made several of those “investments” over the last year, culminating in my getting a beautiful dining room set that I really wanted. Enjoy those finer things in life. Life is so precious, we really do need to savor each and every day for what it is. A gift of unspeakable joy. Write on! xo

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