Thursday, January 21, 2010
Thank you, and Happy Birthday
A year ago today was one of the most bizarre days in our family history.
At around 3PM, My sister and I were both in hospitals a few miles away from one another. I was just waking up from a colonoscopy, and she was delivering her son, D. I knew she was at the hospital and in labor, and it gave me something positive to think about all day as I sat starving and waiting for my tests. I couldn't know going in how much I would need that source of joy when I woke up. I awoke, just as in that awful commercial, to a doctor leaning over me. "Preacher Mom," he said in a very quiet, very serious tone, "We found a mass, it's pretty big, it's probably cancer, we took biopsies. I'm going to go tell your husband." and then he left the room. I was still REALLY loopy from the sedative, so I just muttered "ok" and closed my eyes. A few moments later, I awoke again, with a vague memory of what he had said. I asked the nurse to repeat the news, hoping I had only dreamed the previous conversation. A tear ran down her cheek, and my heart sank. "Not Today" I thought... even then, groggy and sedated, or perhaps, because I was too groggy to comprehend its repercussions on my reality, I kept thinking about the fact that I wished D didn't have to share his birth story with my cancer diagnosis. I just knew I was ruining everything for my little sister, and somehow THAT was what devastated me first.
Soon after, as the medicine began to wear off, the reality of the word CANCER hit, and I became much, much more self-centered than that. My sister has never held that against me, and I will always be grateful to her for that grace, love and understanding. I will also always owe a debt to D for deciding to come into the world on that day. Stories of his birth were a welcome distraction when thoughts of my own situation swirled into a meaningless void. Pictures of his sweet little face and that adorable little mouth of his gave me a reason to smile when I felt I had none.
I am pleased to say, once again, that the doctors who told me I had cancer were wrong, but I am still grateful that memories of his birth are there to redeem the memory of that horrifying fear. Beyond the blessing he was just by choosing January 21st to be born, he has continued to be a blessing for every day of his little life. He and his mommy were some of my most faithful visitors and companions as I recovered from my proctocolectomy, and watching him grow and learn and play together with my son James has been an absolute delight. I also have to thank him for bringing me even closer to my sister, whom I love so very much. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us all, Happy Birthday D.