Edit: this all occurred in 2017, unless otherwise noted
Twenty seventeen began with a couple of very big surprises. The first one was fantastic. In January we learned that we were (still are, at the time if this writing) pregnant with our fourth child. It was honestly the first time I had been truly surprised upon finding out–the first three just came so easily to us. Despite the larger age gap between the older kids and the baby, we were excited to think about how the experience would be so much different for our girls this time around. Also, our boy wants to be a big brother so badly.
Then, just two weeks later, I received the devastating results from my neuro-oncologist. My most recent MRI showed signs that the tumor was growing back. It hit me like a train. I barely remember the rest of the appointment, but I do recall he laid out a plan to do a second resection, followed by radiation, while also adding chemotherapy. It took all I had to gather enough composure to stand up and walk out of the building.
It was the day I had feared for over a decade. Before I walked out of my radiation-oncologist’s office for the last time in February 2005, I asked him if it was “done” or might I have to deal with it again in the future. He was quite frank and told me it was likely to come back, but it could be one year, 3-5 years, who knew?
Every day since, in the back of my mind, I’ve worried about when the tumor would return, but I’ve tried to live as though it never would. As I tell people when they ask me if I’m afraid of sharks when surfing–any of us could be hit by a car tomorrow (which is millions of times more likely to happen). You can’t let fear stop you from moving forward, not if you want to find joy in life. Besides, fear and joy are not mutually exclusive. If they were, we’d all be screwed.