I said goodbye to my old friend normal on August 14th in the office of an oncologist. It was a stuffy room, much too small it seemed to contain such large news. I was holding my baby, Carver, who was just shy of one month old, and I remember being embarrassed that the doctor walked in right as I was changing a poopy diaper. He seemed a bit pretentious, the doctor, wearing some type of animal skin shoes. They looked expensive. He also didn’t have that warmth about him that a lot of good doctors have, but nevertheless, we listened as he spoke. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but rather that he used words like “big problem” and “amputation”. I remember I started to feel really hot, then the room started spinning and I felt nauseous. My body couldn’t handle the gravity of his words and I had to step out of the room.
With my almost one month old baby in hand I walked down the hall and found the restroom. That’s when the tears started flowing and I simply couldn’t make them stop. I felt so awful for leaving Carey in the room – talk about the worst support person ever. I walked around the clinic for a while trying to pull myself back together, but when I went back into the room I fell apart again. I’ve never been so frustrated with myself, but I’ve also never been so heartbroken. I nursed Carver in the lobby. I think nursing my baby in the lobby of a cancer clinic was one of the strangest experiences. It’s hard to put into words why.
Carey’s reaction to the news was the polar opposite of mine. He had just found out that he had a cancerous tumor in his leg the size of a grapefruit, and he may lose his leg. He may lose his life. But the news didn’t really seem to phase him – he was hopeful, optimistic and cracking jokes left and right. But that’s Carey. Thank God he’s my best friend and knows me better than anyone else. He wasn’t surprised by my reaction, and was very forgiving that I was the worst support person ever. He also suggested that maybe one of his friends take him to the next appointment.
We were a pretty normal family before that day. Kids, work, online classes, grocery shopping, house projects – these are the things that occupied our thoughts and our time. But then normal made a not so gracious exit when cancer invaded our home. The kids and groceries and all that still exist of course, but somehow everything is different. Every day is more precious. Every milestone is more exciting. Hugs are longer and kisses are sweetly savored.
I don’t know what our new life looks like just yet, but what I do know is this: we have an unbelievable support system of amazing family and friends, God is good, my kids are super cute, and I have been lucky enough to find my great love. These are the things I know for sure.
So goodbye normal, maybe we’ll meet again someday, but if we don’t that’s ok – you were kind of boring anyway.