November 10th 2014
(Being a mom with metastatic breast cancer)
As I was walking my puppy this morning, thoughts came to my mind; wondering what has kept me going in the last 5 years. Yes soon it will be 5 years since my first diagnosis with stage 2b Breast cancer. After a surgery, chemo, radio, hormonal therapy, menopause 3 times, a separation, a fight for custody, a somewhat getting back to normal, the cancer coming back in my bones, another surgery, new treatments…it goes on…
I will be 35 this month. My daughter is 7 and a half(yes half is important at that age!) .
My day to day life is confronted with this now chronic illness. Having Metastatic breast cancer has force me to take it a day at a time. Throughout these last 5 years, my daughter has been a source for my fight. Having her has not given me any choices but to wake up each morning, even when my body/mind does not feel like it. She has helped me take things as they come, because that’s what children do. They live in the present and at this point this is all that matters: The Present.
That’s probably also why having a dog has been a blessing. This little puppy does not give me any choices; she wakes early and I have to care for her. The love in those puppy eyes is unconditional. Having her by my side makes me move. Moving makes me feel alive. Yes I am tired, but at least I feel better when I know I went for a walk and I was breathing fresh air. After we can all rest from a good walk.
Being a mother has pride in itself. But being able to pursue this life commitment with an illness that has no pity, makes me appreciate a lot more the time I spend with my loved ones. From all this, I just hope that after my time comes, my daughter will be proud of who she is and always see her mom in herself. Call it egotistical, I don’t care, because she is who she is because of how I raise her and what’s she’s gone through by my side. She has grown up seeing and feeling her mom struggle, fight, being weak. But she also sees her mother go on, making meals every day, homework, laundry, errands, volunteering at school, taking care of family and friends and going to the hospital. This child is so loved. Of course I don’t do it all alone, but I try. When I can’t, it’s ok and she knows. She loves me.
So, taking care of my self does not mean I put aside my child or responsibilities. It only makes me better to tackle it all. It’s all about love and who you love. I choose to love myself, my family and my friends. Everything else is second. If I got it wrong, so be it. It feels right for now. – Julie Szasz