by Bailey Wolfe
I think everyone imagines having somebody on this earth that they love beyond all understanding, someone who gives them a purpose, someone to live for. When I got married, and again when I became a mom, my reason for living was revealed. Being a mother has affected my journey with cancer from the very beginning. The moment I awoke from surgery and heard the words, “you have ovarian cancer,” I immediately thought about my boys, my beloved boys. Would I live to see them graduate? Get married? Become fathers? Would I even be alive long enough to see them through elementary school? Give their hearts to Jesus and be baptized? The statistics are grim and initially my thoughts went to dark places. If I weren’t here, who would give them pep talks on the way to their games? Cheer the loudest when they make a big catch? Show tough love when they display bad sportsmanship? Who will ask if they’ve brushed their teeth? Make certain they’re going to bed at a decent time? Eating healthy(ish)? Reading during the summer? Who will teach them how to treat a lady? Help them through their first heartbreak? Love them even when they act unloveable? Who is going to have the difficult conversations? You know, the ones we all avoid. Who will be their safe place?
Being a mom with cancer means worry, constant and debilitating worry. Yet, it also means putting on a happy face when in reality you’re absolutely terrified. It means following along on the golf course when it’s 105 degrees and you had 8 hours of chemotherapy the day before. It means fixing everyone supper then slipping off to the bathroom to vomit because the smells and nausea are too much. It means sitting on bleachers at a baseball practice when moments before you were barely able to raise your head off the pillow. When you’re a mom with cancer it means stretching the truth, or sometimes flatout lying. No, it’s not cancer. Well it is cancer, but it’s totally treatable. It’s all gone! It’ll never, ever come back. Of course I’m not worried. It means discovering a search history with “ovarian cancer cures” smack in between “minecraft hacks” and “how to whistle with 2 fingers." It means doing and saying anything to guard their minds and protect their joy. Isn’t it ironic that my female parts, the ones that gave me my life’s greatest blessings, my reason for living, also happen to be the body parts that have tried to kill me? It is all rather inconceivable. The fact that I have had cancer still blows my mind! Yet again, in the same breath it never leaves my mind, constantly nagging with worry. Worry for my boys, my family, their joy and their futures. Worry because I am a mom who’s had cancer.