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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Reaction to Pregnancy and Cancer

In the early part of 2007 we were in the process of moving. I had a really large old house. It was one of those houses where the solid woodwork was all real. It was nice but hard to take care of. Dust was inevitable no matter how hard you tried to clean it up. I was having a terrible time at that house keeping up with the laundry. I had to walk down 2 sets of stairs to get to the basement from the main floor. The washer and dryer were in the basement. Not even side by side but each on one side of the room. Then I had to walk up 2 sets up stairs with a laundry basket, then up another flight of stairs to the floor where I our bedrooms were. If I was going to the attic it was more stairs.

I noticed how winded and wheezy I got. It was so hard on me, I can't even explain. While moving the dust was really flying in the attic and basement. Sweeping and cleaning was kicking it all up so my wheezing got so much worse. I felt....light. It is hard to explain but I was sort of light headed. Not dizzy. Just light headed. My sister was helping me one day pack up and move boxes out of the attic and it seriously was hard for me to pick up one box and move around with it. I was thinking to myself how lazy I must have gotten for that to be difficult for me. I had been working out and even doing a yoga class so I didn't understand it. I didn't tell anyone. I felt so pathetic and lazy. I tried my best but she was flying while I was barely moving. I wheezed and coughed.

I was pale as well. Ok, yes I am naturally very fair but this pale was minus any color at all. I just looked white as a sheet. I should have figured it out. I should have known. I didn't though. I assumed as the doctors assumed I was developing allergies and maybe asthma. I figured once we moved I'd get a rest. Now? I look back and remember I started to get tired way before this. I remember standing in a magazine isle at the store. I'd pick up a magazine and my feet would start to hurt. My legs got so painful and my back started hurting so bad that I would feel I needed to sit NOW. See, I just assumed it was all a part of getting older. I started first feeling those symptoms around 2004 so I was 28 years old. Ha! Getting older. I laugh now. Anyway I also remember walking around the store with my hubby sometimes. I'd get numbness and strange tingling up and down my left arm. I'd get a pounding in my chest and I'd feel I needed to sit. I HAD to sit. I remember telling my hubby I was tired and needed to go home and lie down but I was really not good at being honest and telling him something was wrong. I didn't want anyone to think I was just being a baby. That was me though. I've since received firm lectures to always tell him what's going on with me.

I didn't even know I was pregnant while were moving, but I was. We didn't get out of the house until April of 2007 and that's when I started feeling worse than usual. I felt so sick and short of breath. Not just short of breath, but painful breathing. It stung and hurt. I used to yawn in sections. Seriously I would start to yawn, stop, breathe a little deeper, stop so that it came out sort of choppy. I learned to control the pain that way. So when I moved I had to switch gynecologists. I tried to get my birth control pill refilled but the old doc refused saying I needed my yearly checkup. I begged to no avail.. So I scheduled an appointment with a new doc but she didn't have an opening for 3 weeks. I figured I was ok.I had just stopped taking the pill. I should still be protected. Wrong! I got pregnant in that small time frame. So her life to me, was just always meant to be. She overcame such odds. I started suspecting pregnancy but I had first of all not planned on more children and second of all I knew I was sick. I knew something was not right and I didn't know if I was capable of doing this.

Well, the test came out positive and I cried. I cried and cried. I just wasn't expecting it. I was sick. No one had helped me. How would this affect it? I needed to be happy. I wanted to feel the joy of bringing a new life into the world. So what did I do? I got my oldest daughter, 9 at the time and told her the news. I knew she'd be happy. She'd been praying for a baby brother. haha She was very happy, tears pouring down her cheeks. It's just what I needed. I knew her happiness would help me and it did. I was scared because I felt sick but how could I not be excited to have a new baby?

Fast forward 2 weeks. I had seen an endocrinologist for the second time. She sent me in for an MRI and here I was at the cancer center. I was in total denial of anything serious being wrong. Even though I was panting, wheezing and barely able to stand up. I still denied it all. Then, I sit down. My doctor comes in. He sits down and looks at my husband and I and starts to go on about the results of my MRI. I pretty much heard ".....we all appears.....we are pretty sure......lymphoma.....very treatable.......don't worry.....we'll make some calls......biopsy the surgeon....register tomorrow....."

So. Here I am choking back tears. Lymphoma? That's cancer. What? This isn't possible. I'm pregnant I told him. It makes things more difficult but it can be done. We have to make choices. We'll see a specialist after surgery. We'll discuss things. We were 2 hours away at this doc from my kids school. I had to go preregister for surgery for the following morning. My hubby had no choice but to make that 2 hour drive to go get the kids and bring them back to me. I felt like I lived with tears choking back into my head pretty much 24/7 those days. I should have just let them fly but I was always around a doctor or nurse and didn't want them to see me cry. So that's where it all started. I felt like it all went so fast, I didn't have time to sit back and freak out. I pushed the thoughts away and just put all my faith in God. I had to...for my own sanity. My baby girl helped me though. Instead of thinking "woe is me" and "I have cancer" I thought "I have to get better for my baby" and "I hope baby is ok" and "Oh hunny I felt her hiccup!". That was my pregnancy. I was happy and excited. She did well the whole way through. I had her to look forward to. Instead of worrying about whether or not I'd get better, I knew I would. I knew I would have something good at the end of it all. Now here she is, a big girl. She'll probably always be a teeny bit spoiled. I don't want her to ever take for granted what it took to get her here though. She'll know her story so well she'll probably get sick of it!


Anonymous said...

very tough mom. thanks for your inspiration. GBU

Sandee said...

She should know the story too. What an inspirational post. You have been through so much Sandi. You prevailed too.

Have a terrific day. :)

Lan said...

Your very brave trying to beat the illness. She should know the story and this blog of yours keep it until she is old enough to ready. God bless you always.

vooodoohoodoo said...

Your depressing days... I hope all the good things to happen for you...