40, not out

Nine months.

Forty weeks.

The last four times I have heard those words, they have been pregnant – literally – with promise.

It took a long time for me to surrender myself to love.  Life has always shown me that great love bought the potential for great pain, and quite frankly, I didn’t want a bar of it.  Every person along the road that gave me a glimpse of it, well, I peeked around corners, tempted to come out where it was all open, and raw, and throw caution to the wind, but in the end, I always ran for them there hills.  It was safer that way.

Until I saw the two lines on the pregnancy stick.  And then, all of a sudden I knew.  That I would round that corner, on a racehorse, and I’d sit in that open field, exposed, and, by golly, I’d wait for all the love, and all that pain, and I’d do it with the greatest of joy, and anticipation.  And hills?  What hills?  Because, in nine months, NINE MONTHS, I’d hold a piece of me.  All of a sudden it didn’t matter that i would wear a part of my heart, that  I had protected so fiercely, outside me, forever. It was all of a sudden so very worth it.  Nine months.

Pregnancy.  My god, I thought it would never end.  The heartburn, the restless legs, the cumbersome stomach. I don’t think I whinged about it much, but I admit to wishing it was over, and thinking how endless it was…that nine months.

It can’t have been so bad though, because I did it another 3 times.   36 months, I was pregnant.  36 months I waited for love to open me wider, and expose me even more.  Sometimes it felt like the field was kilometres wide, and there were trees, and someone was sitting behind them with a gun, but love was worth  it.  LOVE WAS WORTH IT.

Today, i am pregnant with cancer.  Today, a number was put on  my days left on earth.  Nine months.  Could I have thought at one stage that it was forever?  When it was pregnant with promise, it was.  Now that it is pregnant with death, I know I’ll never be able to slow it down as much as I want to.   I’m back in the middle of that field, surrounded by the hounds of death, and no love can save me now.  But because I risked it once, and because of the four people I risked it for, I must now fight those hounds with my bare hands.  I have nothing much in the way of a weapon.

And so, against the clinical opinion of my oncologist, and my liver surgeon, who think I would do better taking my chances with the nine months, instead of the 4 weeks or so that I have a 50% of getting, next week I will lay down in that field.  And I can only hope I’ll get out alive.

Time means different things to different people.  To me, to have value, it has to be good.  I told this to my oncologist today, when I informed him of my opinion to go through with very risky surgery.  We have been through a lot together, him and I.  When he diagnosed me with cancer  in December 2013, he gave me two chances of beating it – Buckleys, and none.  I fought him on that, every step of the way, never prepared to give up.  And one by one, surgeons came on board, and took me on, and fought for me, and to his credit, my oncologist was delighted.  I had to jump so many hurdles, and I DID.  As of last week, it seems I have fallen at the final one – but I won’t let that happen.  As I left his office today, he said he wished very much that one day he would see me again.  And, as what felt like a grudging nod to my personality, and my sheer tenacity to beat this, he said “most people would take the time on offer, but, to your credit, you have never been most people”.  And we parted with the sad sort of smile that is exchanged by two people who kind of went into battle together, but acknowleged that I am now pretty much on my own.

There is no time for Dreamworld.  We won’t be the family who is in the paper giving mum one last hurrah, and making precious memories.  I’ll go into hospital next week, and either I will come out, or I won’t.  No time to prepare.  No time to tell my husband what size school uniforms to get, what shoes, who likes velcro, and who prefers laces.  He’ll have to find out for himself what time the school bus picks up Georgia, and the phone number of the chaperone.

I know for sure why I will lay in that field.  Because no matter how hungry the hounds are, Dakota wants a guinea pig called Hazel, and a guinea pig called Abbie.  And Tana wants to know if any make up artist in the world could ever make her as beautiful as me.  Indi wants to know when My Restaurant Rules starts, and whether we will snuggle together like last year, and then after that, can we watch The Bachelor this year too?  And Georgia, well, she doesn’t say much, but tonight she sat on my lap, and pulled my hair, and said “mama’, and she gave me something that was very much like a kiss.

36 months pregnant with promise – surely that is worth fighting for?

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20 Comments on “40, not out

  1. You can’t save up life, it has to be spent to have any value.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently. I wish you the greatest of fortune.

  2. Jules, I’m right along side you and behind you and in front of you, surrounding you with prayer. My spirit rose up in me with an indignation that won’t go away.
    How dare that wretched angel of death think he can rob you of the very essence of your life and take you from those who love you so dearly.
    I’m with you all the way….. Looking forward to seeing you full of the joys of life and creating great memories.
    Jill.

  3. If I were a cat I would give you one of my lives but all I can do is send love & hope x

  4. I usually wouldn’t wish a series of the Bachelor on anyone! But I truly hope that you get to snuggle with your girls for every series they ever make and beyond. Thank you for sharing your story x

  5. another one of your admirers and cheer squad members willing your liver on to bloody well grow next week….you truly are an amazing woman

  6. Such a beautiful strong woman with a beautiful strong family. Lots of love xxxxxx

  7. Dear Julia – you don’t know me from Adam and I’m halfway around the world. Your words have called me to be more present in my own life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. When you lay down in that field and see all the candles flickering while people pray for you – know that at least one of them is sending light all the way from Canada. There is strength in numbers and though you lay alone there are mothers all across the world praying for you. Now go kick the fuck out of those hounds!

  8. You have been foremost in my mind most of the week. Am just another one of your admirers willing you on and praying that liver will do what it is supposed to do after tomorrow. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and stays with me for a very long time so thank you for sharing your heartfelt words with so many of us. I wish you complete peace tomorrow. You can do no more than you have so go for it girl, for what it is worth I would have made exactly the same decision. Squeezing your hand tight xx

  9. Hi Julia, your story touched me so deeply. I am a fellow sufferer of the dreaded “C” but my time here is unknown. What courage and determination you have shown. I have one Daughter, one Son in Law and five Grandchildren and it is those that make life beautiful. My wife and i would be lost without them. Fight the good fight and our thoughts and sincerest wishes are with you.

  10. Bare hands deliver that cancer to oblivion–and don’t keep Abbie & Hazel in the same cage without proof of their gender unless you want lots more buddies…buddies are fun too.

    Praying for smooth transitions and recovery in peace, love and support. Lots of helpers to work on the important minor details — you are covered and will live every moment always without (undue) fear.

  11. oh how I wish all your wishes come true. I will be thinking of you next week and your beautiful family and hope that you are the 50% that makes it through. So many people you don’t know are with you on this journey. From one mumma to another, my heart is with you.

  12. Another follower of your blog from EB here. If anyone deserves all the luck in the world next week, it is you. If anyone deserves to see her babies start their first day of uni / high school / school, their daughters’ graduations, engagements, weddings and grand babies, it is you. And if anyone deserves to grow old with the love of their life surrounded by children and grandchildren, it is you. But above all, if anyone deserves to have their mother by their side as they reach all of these milestones, it is your four girls . I am praying and hoping with every fibre of my being that you will fly through that surgery and be able to look at your specialists this time next week, square in the eye , and tell them ‘I told you so’. If it is true that ‘where there’s love, there’s hope’, then you have all the hope in the world willing you to get through this x

  13. Hi Julia. Just posting to say I’m thinking of you and wishing you all the luck in the world. Love Silverstreak from EB.

  14. That’s really shit. I feel for you.. Make sure you organise your life so that they can pick up some semblance of togetherness once you have stopped being there to do it for them… Shit. Shit. Shit :(

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