Monday, July 14, 2008

Five Months to Three Years

That almost sounds like my prognosis after being diagnosed with breast cancer: five months to live if I didn't have any treatment or about three years if I had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Actually, the title of this post refers to the age Toby was when I was first diagnosed, and the age he is today. Today is Toby's third birthday.

When I was first diagnosed with advanced cancer in December 2005, I was afraid I wouldn't make it to Toby's first birthday. I remember his first birthday party. I remember feeling grateful to still be alive.

By the time Toby turned two, I'd been through eleven months of treatment and my tumors had completely disappeared from the scans. The cancer was gone. I was fairly sure I'd live another ten, even twenty years. But one month after his second birthday, we learned that my cancer had come back. Then we learned I had tumors in my brain, liver, lungs, and bones. Living another ten years didn't seem so likely after all.

Now, it's Toby's third birthday and I'm back to feeling grateful to be alive, rather than assuming I'll be around for another ten years or more.

I don't want to get too greedy, but I'd be so happy to have just two more years. Toby will be five, and by then, he's sure to be old enough to remember me. Then I can tell him things that he'll be able to remember hearing from me later, on his own, without relying on stories second-hand. Then he'd be able to remember how my kisses felt or how hard I squeezed him when I hugged him. He could remember the way I smelled and the way I looked at him or smiled at him. He'd be able to remember things that the videos, photos, and journals can't show him; things that only he could remember on his own.

Just two more years. That's not too much to ask, is it?


Francesca Giessmann said...

Happy Bday Toby !

not much to ask at all...

your ears must have been ringing as I spent Saturday with Christa and we laughed and laughed... and you were always in the "middle" of the conversation.. .and she told me that any day now should be Toby .. and she told me how "particular" you were about proper english and now I feel very bad because this post thing doesnt have spell check... but she told me you may cut me some slack as English not my main language... I hope:)

Please go eat CAKE


Scott said...

I so wish that I could give you those two years, Shin.

lisacc said...

I so hope you get your time. When we heard about my mother I hoped and hoped she might defy the worst prognosis and make it to my brother's wedding this year, and now it looks as though she will. And hopefully be well enough to actually attend (she was only able to see photos and video of the betrothal - a special ceremony they held because she might not be able to see the wedding).

Then of course my goalposts have shifted, and now I hope and hope and hope she gets to live until their is a grandchild on the way (I think my brother has quite imminent plans for that, thankfully).

And then of course my hope will be that she at least gets to see the grandchild born.

So I will always want more and more and hope more and more. And I still want, like I used to demand from my mother when I was little and do even now, her to tell me that she will never ever die but live forever, at least as long as I am here. And I am sure your children must feel just the same.

And for them and for all of us here I hope you get those two years, and years and years longer. Decades and decades.