Monday, February 25, 2013
Six Years After Ovarian Cancer
In some ways my brush with cancer seems so minor. And yet it changed so much about me and about what I really wanted from life. Having been pregnant with my second child when I was diagnosed I would've been at what some people thought an optimal time to become surgically sterile and proceed with life. Once I was faced with the reality that I could choose to never have any more children I knew very much how deeply I wanted to have more children. I wanted to create a community, a family, that was uniquely ours. I knew that I didn't have a moral decision to make: to remove or not to remove all ovaries and prevent any future pregnancies. I chose to proceed on the path that gave me the most peace: keep that left ovary if it was healthy. Be open to having more children. This decision gave me peace. My obstetrician assured me that most people chose the opposite route: remove all diseased and potentially future diseased organs. I will reveal how self-centered I am by saying that I consider this choice almost daily around 3-6pm. This is the time of the day that the stresses of my vocation are the most pronounced. If someone were to observe me unnoticed they would find me sometimes unsuited for this chaotic life. It is also that time of day that I am challenged to do the most Christian thing I can think of doing--to live in the present. God knows our past and future and He tells us to live in the present. And while we plan for things and mourn or celebrate things that have already happened, I feel like there is real fruit that comes from being able to embrace the present, even or especially if it's uncomfortable, and be thankful. Daily around dinner, homework, madness hour I am reminded of this challenge to live in the present. It's all I have with my kids and it's the foundation of what our future will be together. Can I discipline myself to not despair of this time? To pick up whatever shambles we have sometimes hourly made and begin anew? To choose patience and kindness with little people who rarely return it? I could've chosen two children. I could've had relative freedom at dinner time. I chose this. I didn't do it because I am a superior mother or individual, but because six years ago the thought of remaining open to life gave me the peace that transcends understanding. I've had to trust every day since then that God would use this for my good and the good of my husband and children.