One more normal day


Like Groundhog Day, every morning is the same for me now.  I stretch out of sleep, reach for whatever baby has crawled into bed next to me over the course of the morning, and pull them into a snuggly spoon.  A smile starts to form on my lips, at what a perfect way this is to start the day.

And then I remember.

Every.single.morning I have to relive this horror over and over again now.  It’s like learning of it all again, anew, but the words are all jumbled.  Fifty percent.  Liver failure.  You’ll die.  Four to six weeks.  Multi organ failure.  Dementia.  It’s not a pleasant way to go.  How about you try nine months on for size?  At least it’s something.  Time to make some memories. No?  Well, it’s probably going to be your funeral.  Literally.

I’ve always been willing to fight a million battles to win this war.  There has always been going to be a day when I could say I USED to have cancer.  In the meantime, I’ve lived between treatments and operations and chemo’s and radiation treatments, and most of all between scans, in as regular a fashion as I possibly can.  There have been times when I haven’t been able to manage it, and I’ve had to call on help, but there has always been a promise of normal days again.

This morning I went to sleep at 7.10, and woke up at 7.20.  I stretched, I turned, I looked at the clock, I got slapped in the face by the horror that is now my life, and for the first time since December 11, 2013, I realised that I couldn’t rally – not today, anyway.  Because along with the realisation of what I am facing, came another even worse epiphany.

There are no more normal days.

I’ve hardly cried in 13 months.  Sure, there has been the odd teary moment, but nothing much in the way of a full scale howl, because always in the back of my mind I wondered if I let myself start, how in the name of all things would I EVER stop?

Crisis management.  That is what we went into this morning.  I had a friend arrive early with coffee and muffins and a lovely baby to cuddle.  As I snuggled her, and smelled her sweet baby smell, I felt myself really starting to lose it.  I thought about how I snuggled my own four darling baby girls to my chest, in another life time, in a dream time, when my biggest problem was sleep deprivation, and how I’d get the washing dry in the winter.

When my friend left, I left my girls playing minecraft and went back to bed.  The dam burst, and I panicked that the girls would hear me, so I stuffed the pillow into my face and screamed into it in  almost mute terror.  I went on like that for a while, barely able to breathe.  And then the phone rang.  As luck would have it, it was the palliative care nurse, but I was unable to make myself understood.   She said someone would come, and like magic, someone appeared at the door.  We sat opposite each other, and she asked me what I needed to get through this day this terrible day.  I was tempted to say a shotgun, but I settled on drugs.  Drugs and sleep.  Was it reasonable to get something to knock me out, so I didn’t have to think about this for a while?  She agreed that it definitely was, and I made a doctors appointment and rang Gaz to make the mercy dash home.  As I sat in the chemist and waited for the sedatives that would knock me out like a sucker punch, I realised there was a flaw in my plan.  Because if I went to sleep in the afternoon, I’d wake in the evening, and have to face it again another fucking time in the SAME DAY.

Before I went home, I thought I should get some lunch for my family.  So, with sunglasses firmly attached to my face, I visited that monument to normality, Coles.  As I walked around, howling under my glasses and throwing random things into the trolley, I took in the sights and sounds of what used to be my reality.  Mothers squabbling with children, gathering school supplies, lunchbox snacks, salad items for dinner, new drink bottles.  Harassed people wishing school went back a couple of days sooner….wishing their lives away.  And me?  All I wished was that I was them.  Any of them.  And right then, I made my deal with the devil.  He could have my soul.

For one more normal day.

24 Comments on “One more normal day

  1. I can’t leave a reply today ………..just sending you some living ….xxx

  2. Firstly, thank you for sharing your story, I’m a new follower and look forward to months, years of blog updates from you. I’ve never sat on your side of the fence but I have sat opposite you. I wanted to let you know how important it is to share and talk about these days with those you love, especially those that are old enough to cope because they are often looking for an excuse to hug you tighter and bawl with you, cathartic for all and surprisingly normal behaviour. Hope waking up tomorrow is a little easier than today. Your fairies are lucky to have such an amazing mum.

  3. Reference to Coles means you live in Oz. If on Victoria Peninsula, please let me know ( I’d like to ask my sis who has at least been through breast cancer mastectomy r/t & chemo, to come & give you a hug for me.

      • I live in Frankston too and have been following your story for a few weeks, thanks to Catherine Deveny. I’m taking some time off from work and would be happy to do whatever I can to make things easier for you or just to be a person to dump to, someone you don’t need to explain anything to be anything for. I’m happy to take the kids out to somewhere fun while you cry as much as you need to. In short, anything. Please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll tell you directly whether or when I can help. You inspire me to enjoy every sense and each moment so this is the least I could give back.

  4. Every ounce of my being is praying for and sincerely believing in not just one, but many “normal” days to come, Jules. So much love sent your way right now xxx

  5. You are living through a hell I cannot imagine. That you are is amazing. That you are writing about it and sharing it is beyond amazing. I wish you absolute success with the operation, yes I’d gamble that way too. You have so much to live for and your strength, although you don’t feel it now, is super-mummy human. Cry all you want, be devastated then go into that operation with hope and love. Prayers and love beautiful xxxxx

  6. Giving you a psychic hug (along with many others I’m sure). Although we haven’t met you are never far from my mind lately. Shall be willing you a speedy recovery, you’ve got this Jules, I know it.

  7. I’m hoping for the better outcome, the 50% where you’ll have many, many more normal days.. :) And that is why we gamble, isn’t it? For the chance, tiny though it might be, that we’ll win. And sometimes, we do win. I hope you will win, and if hopes can help, there’s a lot of people hoping this same thing for you.

  8. Strength and peace is all I wish for you. And that you are in the percentage who make it, however small and unlikely that might feel right now. Love to you and your family.

  9. I don’t know how long I have on this earth, most of us don’t Julia. But if I could, I would give you one of my normal days. I would ask the your massive loving following to do the same and give you one of theirs. Days that you could spend with your babies and your man and your dream house. That adds up to many many days. I can also send my will. My will to join your will and underpin your survival scaffolding. To think this is the end is bullshit. Unless you want it to be. Unless you’ve had enough. And I don’t think you have. I don’t think you’re done. One more round J. Last time pays for all xxxxxxx

  10. Oh Julia, my heart is breaking for you and your family. I don’t know you personally but your amazing words have had such an impact on me. I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and I still remember that gut wrenching terror at the thought of leaving my children, husband and my life. Waking up in a living nightmare and watching the world go on around you, while for you it has stopped. I’m not religious but I’m sending thoughts, energy, hope to you! I believe you will be a lucky one and you’ll live to wake up to many more normal days with your babies xx

  11. Big hugs, just like the ones you get in the morning that put a smile on your face.

  12. Oh Jules I don’t even know you but you fucking inspire me! Thank you for fighting the good fight – I don’t know what to say I wish nothing more for you than a normal day – xx

  13. Hi Julia, I am privileged to know you and privileged to read your beautiful words. I pray with all my being that I will continue to do so xxxxxx

  14. Sending so much love and strength to you today, tomorrow and everyday while you get better. I’m sure you promised us a book after all these adventures you’re having – can’t wait to read it xx

  15. Just a note to say I’m thinking of you lots. Yours is the kind of blog my husband hates me reading as it makes me too sad 😉 But I love your tenacity and spunk. Much love and strength to you today, tomorrow and every day as you get better, move to your dream home and deliver on that book you’ve promised us xx

  16. I don’t know you, Jules, but if beautiful words were wishes….well, you’d be able to wish your way right out of this one. My heart goes out to you as you face a terror that none should ever have to come to know. I hope with my whole heart that you can prove them all wrong. Here’s to normal days – the kind that in our naiviety we sometimes wish away, but that are, really, the days we’ll one day wish to desperately return to. I know a little of that feeling; you know a lot. Wishing you all the luck I have on your journey. Thank you for taking the time – that is so precious to you – to share your story.

  17. fear of two groundhog days in one–pure terror. Thankfully you had that revelation before taking the medicine.

    Powerful words for addiction specialists too: . “Does taking that pill stop the depression you will feel when it wears off?”

    Praying for keeping your soul and finding little moments and breaths of normal.

    I might just have to break down and join Pinterest against my will if I can’t find that pic & quote online…

  18. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly, you are incredibly generous. You are inspiring.
    And thank you for giving me the right royal kick up the arse I derserve! Whilst reading your blog today I realised how much I take for granted. I complain so much about the “normality” of my life, I should be thankful! I too wish with all my heart that I could give you one of my days. And I pray to the powers that be that your operation is a success and that you get many many more normal days of your own. x

  19. Like so many others have said – You are amazing and such an inspiration.
    I’ve only recently found your blog but you write wonderfully
    I’m another that will be waiting to read that promised book
    Best of luck to you for tomorrow

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