Just when things settle down and the future you’ve always dreamed of, craved even, is just millimetres from your outstretched fingertips, life throws one hell of a curve ball. I don’t just mean a little hiccup or minor bump in the road, I’m talking CATCH! as quickly as the word sounds, a forceful chest pass, ball-on-fire type curve ball.
I wasn’t ready.
We’ve been so tired. Three young boys, a house to run, bills to pay, Autism to battle and everything in between. I failed to notice it, the general slowing down, the overwhelming tiredness and irritability. I put it down to stress, to the kids playing up, to money worries…
A week ago, it was confirmed that Joe merely 26 like me, has a tumour in his liver. A week ago, my world came crashing down around me, all those long and confusing words crashing like waves against my heart.
Cancer is like playing in a game of dodgeball but you’re blind folded and your hands are tied.
It doesn’t play fair.
How is it fair that someone who never drinks alcohol gets liver cancer? How is it fair that those who drink and destroy their liver are offered the new liver because they have a better chance for a full recovery?
How is it fair that a man who always works hard to provide for his family is struck down with such luck, while those who take their health and the love of those around them forgranted walk free, unharmed?
Somehow, we’ve floated through the week, through all the hospital trips, appointments and surgery. I’ve cried more tears than I have thought humanly possible, not slept, struggled to eat, all while trying to keep life as normal as possible for the boys. My heart is constantly in my mouth and my stomach is continually churning. The heaviness in my chest is suffocating. I can’t breathe. I’d do anything to make it all go away.
My heart hurts. For him, for our children.
Like a ripple in a pond, cancer hurts not only those it touches but everyone around them too. I feel powerless.
Everybody always tells me ‘your so strong!’
You know what life? What if I’ve had enough of being strong! What if I am sick to the back teeth of holding it together. What if I am tired of jumping your hurdles! We are good, honest, kind, hardworking people.
Why can’t we just be left alone to enjoy the life we’d always planned together.
I have learnt how to be strong for myself. I am naturally strong for my children, but he is my weakness. That curve ball came and hit me right where it hurts.
I don’t know how to be strong for the one who has always given me strength.
Cancer had a different meaning to me a week ago. It was stories you heard on social media, advertisements you saw on TV, a horrible horrible illness with horendous consequences for people. Other people, not us.
People. Are we not just that?
You hear phrases like it all the time…
‘Cancer doesn’t scare me’
But now it’s real.
‘I never thought it would ever happen to us.’