I’ve been careful about not getting undressed in front of Daniel lest he see his beloved ta-ta’s and be reminded to want them. We live in a small house with one bathroom so it’s not uncommon for the kids to see me in various stages of undress when I'm getting ready. Eventually that would change with my son, certainly…but not at age 2.
Things are different now.
Anyway, the other day I was discussing surgery techniques with Michael (what, like you don’t regularly have those kind of conversations?) and without thinking I lifted my shirt to show him on my actual breast. Daniel was like a magnet and suddenly right by my side, staring at my breast and smiling while he exclaimed, “Ta-ta!” like he had seen a long lost friend he thought had disappeared. I remained calm outwardly but inside I was already in anguish. I said as brightly as I could, “Yes, there’s Mama’s ta-ta, okay, Mama put her shirt down now,” to which he put his little hand up to stop me and said hopefully, “Have some, pease?” I had the awful, gut-wrenching task of saying no, and doing so as offhandedly as I could muster. I quickly tried to distract him and handed him a little toy dinosaur that was nearby.
Then he asked if the dinosaur could have ta-ta.
Before I could think of an answer he held the plastic creature to my nipple and joyfully smiled while it “nursed”. After that he wanted it to nurse off the other breast and by that time I was utterly powerless to refuse. A few moments later something grabbed his attention and I was able to stagger into the bedroom and cry my eyes out.
It’s taken me almost a week to be able to write about this and my keyboard is sopping wet now.
I think the process of gathering all this info, learning about my options and trying to make decisions has aided in distracting me at least somewhat from the reality of loss emanating from this whole thing. But eventually, and soon, my decision will be made. Of course then I’ll probably end up in a different flurry of activities to get ready…preparing things…cooking food ahead, planning schedules, getting organized.
But no matter how busy and engaged I am there are always these moments when it suddenly hits me again…Oh my God, I have cancer -- and my life, not to mention the lives of my little family, are now forever changed.
And this is only the beginning.