It's soon going to be the Year of the Rabbit, which happens to be my year. Rabbits are creative, compassionate, and sensitive. And our baby girl will be the same. Yes, we are having a baby!
Soon after Anton and I got engaged in Maui in August, we found out that we were pregnant once again. We faced this new blessing with a lot of fear, as we had been devastated by the loss of Veo in April. But as soon as we saw all my doctors, we were reassured that we would be well taken care of. The genetics department at Women's Hospital took charge of extra screenings and tests, to see if this baby would have the same defects that Veo had. We also had more appointments with my family doctor, obstetrician, and plastic surgeon, all of whom have been keeping a close eye on me.
We kept the pregnancy mum, especially from Chloe and Mylo, because Veo's death was so hard on everyone. We wanted to make sure we would spare the kids those horrible feelings and confusion they experienced with the loss of their baby brother. And with each test that I took, each ultrasound that we waited for, we held our breath. Luckily, everything has turned out okay, and we have now just been able to share the miraculous news with all our friends and family!
Baby Girl (yes, we found out!) is kicking me full force now, and I savour each movement I can feel. But it has been a difficult challenge on my body, and today when I had a check-up with my Ob/Gyn, she said, "Yes, it's going to be a long pregnancy." There is, of course, still the issue with my TRAM-flap. If you look at me, you probably wouldn't recognize that I am over five months pregnant. I just look like I went on a carb binge. The metal mesh is not budging, and I'm not sure how or where baby is growing, but she is. It does make walking and moving and turning in bed a less than comfortable experience. But I just have to take it slow. And it seems, for whatever reason, that the epilepsy I had as a child has returned somewhat, and I've had three seizures since November. I've seen a neurologist and had two EEG's, but there's not much we can do at the moment but be careful. And then there was a kidney infection which left me hospitalized in Los Angeles for five days. Whatever. I can take it!
The doc wants me to come in every two weeks instead of once a month. She and my surgeon are closely watching my growth, to see when it will be the best time to do the surgery to take baby out. It's going to be a complicated C-section, as they will have to cut through my mesh. At the same time, I will likely get a hysterectomy because of my increased risk of getting other reproductive cancers. Am I sure I want to do this? Absolutely. I've got two beautiful children and a baby on the way, and I feel that after all that, my family will be complete. I want to be around for a long time to see them all grow up.
Yesterday, I had my six-month oncology check-up, and I am happy to say that I am still in remission. I am half-way to the five-year mark, when we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, because at the five-year mark, my changes of recurrence go way down!
I'm finding that almost three years after having had my mastectomy, I'm finally at a point where I can move forward with more confidence, with less fear. I have to remember: I have survived so much, and I am a better person in the end. I have learned so much in the past three years that I can teach my children, and other cancer patients and survivors who feel so alone. In November, Anton and I have the privilege of attending a young adult cancer survivor conference in St. John's, Newfoundland (see my links to the right for info on Young Adult Cancer Canada). To say that the weekend was amazing and inspirational is an understatement. So many of us came together as a family, remembered those who were lost this past year to cancer, and motivated each other to be there for and to reach out to other young adults with cancer. One of the main issues for young people with cancer is the feeling of isolation: you have cancer but you're young--you're not supposed to have cancer. You're supposed to be starting a career, having kids, getting married. Now what? At this conference, we learned how to cope and thrive, and to help others do the same. It gave me and Anton a lot of hope and comfort.
Now we find ourselves in this new year, with new promise for positive energy and happiness. We have survived, we will survive, and we will be here to help others do the same. Cancer is always a curse, but it can be broken. When the curse breaks--when the patient breaks the curse--the only thing left to receive are the blessings.
One day, I was reflecting on all that has gone on over the past three years. It all seems like too much. But when I ask myself if I would do it all over again--if it meant that I had to do it all in order to get to where I am today, with my kids, with Anton, with this new baby that will complete our family--without hesitation, I say, "Absolutely. Yes."