Posted on May 12, 2015
I went for my CT scan this afternoon. I didn’t take anyone with me, as it’s “just a scan”…results are tomorrow and Gaz will be with me, of course. I’m always ok, I just drink the drink, hold out my arm for the cannula, look at the screen on the scanner that says “chest, abdo, pelvis”, take a deep breath…wheeee, they roll me in.
I wasn’t really ok today. Truth is the anxiety is a bit of a killer when there is never going to be a happy ending, that the only “answers” I will get tomorrow is whether it is awful, or really really fucked up.
I always look around the waiting room, in the hour it takes between the contrast drink and the scan, and wonder what other peoples stories are. Are they sad like me? Dying? Lonely? Scared? I always hope they are none of those things..that they just have a bit of a pain in their leg, or need surgery for gallstones, or something that can be god damned fixed. It doesn’t help me that I am not alone, that there are probably other people in that waiting room by the law of averages that know all about the turmoil inside my head. You just wouldn’t wish it on another living soul.
I was telling someone the other day about Gaz and my trip to Vanuatu…I think it was about 12 years ago. After I told her, I was trying to call to mind the freedom of that time, that we just ate, drank, went to bed (and it was the “honeymoon period”, we went to bed a LOT 😛 ), got up, jumped in the hire car without having to buckle anyone into a seat..only worried about applying our own sunscreen…you know, things like that. But the thing is, I couldn’t. I couldn’t evoke that feeling, that memory….I couldn’t remember a time when we didn’t have our children, and it was fascinating to me that they were ever not here.
Now it’s fascinating to me that cancer was ever not here.
I tried to evoke that feeling today when the pregnant woman came in. I was sitting there trying (unsuccessfully as it turned out) to keep the iodine drink down. She wandered up to the reception desk with her partner and the receptionist asked if she had a full bladder and she said she did and made some comment about how the baby was bouncing on her full bladder and she hoped she’d get in quick. Then she sat down opposite me and I watched her and her partner exchange excited glances.
I smiled…I was genuinely happy for them. I’ve had four babies, I’ve felt that joy four times. And I begrudge it to no one. So, I sat there and cast my mind back to the scans with our babies. I remembered sitting outside the room at the Mercy hospital with Gaz, as we waited to see our first baby on the screen. We were nearly jumping out of our skin with excitement. A baby! A life filled with promise – hers and ours.
I wondered if it would help to think of happier times, so I tried to evoke that feeling, that pure joy that I know we felt that day. But do you know, for the life of me, I couldn’t. I don’t remember joy. I don’t remember innocence. I know I felt them once, but I don’t remember what they felt like. And the heavy weight of knowing that I never will again is breathtaking.
I mourn joy, I grieve for it like a person I once knew, and loved, and won’t see again. Instead of being able to enjoy the memory when the technician said “do you want to know the sex” and we said yes, and she said “it’s a little girl”, and I burst into tears, because I always wanted a little girl, all I could think of was holy fuck, what if I had known then that I would die and leave that baby girl without a mother when she was 12 (she’s not 12 until September, but I am quietly confident). I’m glad I didn’t know. I’m glad I got to feel, for a little while what this lady must have felt today. That beautiful feeling of thinking you are bringing a child into the world that you are going to see graduate from high school (hell, I’d even take seeing all of them out of primary school), and make their way into the world, have their own babies….I hope she gets to do it, too. It’s something that no one should have taken from them.
I was sobbing in the scanner….my whole body shaking too much for them to do the scan at first. Finally I was able to gather myself enough for them to do it. On the way out the nurse gave me a cuddle and more tissues and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I gave her a sad smile and said “not unless you can find the cure for cancer”.
And that’s all I wish for everyone. If you are reading this and you have to face life every day knowing that your babies will soon know a world without you in it, I’m sorry. I wish I could take it away – for all of us.