The purchase of a quilt for a child’s bed is probably not a significant occurrence for most people. You decide you need one, pick one you like and done. Most of those people probably don’t contemplate whether or not it’s the last one they will purchase though.
In 4 days and 15 hours I will have my next CT scan to determine if any caner is evident in my body. I have these scans every 6 months now, a big change from the every 3 months it had been. You would think that I’d be a pro at it by now. My surgery was more than a year ago and to date I have had more scans than I care to count. They have all been clear but for some reason the gut wrenching fear doesn’t seem to get any lighter as time passes.
I’ve noticed a pattern before my scans now. I’ve started purchasing things for our home. I have stockpiles of clothes for my baby girl that will more than likely carry her into grade school and she’s only one year old right now. I bought new art work for the walls and a new sofa for the living room. People that know how frugal I am probably wonder what has happened to me! I didn’t put a lot of thought into my oddball purchases until last week when my son’s “big boy” quilt arrived.
I was a bit sad to see his trucks and trains bedding go but he seems too old for it now. It’s time to update. I spent lots of time searching online and in the stores for the perfect quilt. I wanted something boyish but not babyish. Perhaps it was an obsessive amount of thought and effort put into it, but my heart sang when it showed up on my doorstep.
My first thought as I admired it over his bed was “at least I got to pick this one out in case it’s the last one I get to choose for him.” It hit me that my purchases for the home and my children give me a moment of calm that I can leave things new and improved in case I don’t get a chance to do it again. It seems dark and morbid but it gives me peace of mind. I can still leave my mark and make decisions that will stay visible for my family even if, God forbid, I became too sick to do them in the future or, worse yet, that I’m not here to make them at all.
I have no reason to believe that my scans will reveal anything but a clear healthy body except that I’ve had the rug ripped out from under me once before. I never want to feel the way I did on the day of my diagnosis. I know that just because I feel fine doesn’t mean there’s not something silently growing in my body. That’s the nature of this awful beast.
There are questions that will all be answered in less than a week but the varying degree of those answers, from devastating to exuberant, are more than I can calmly take. The questions stack up and weigh on me like a pile of bricks. Will there be new nodules? Will there be unexplained changes that require more tests? Lymph node enlargement? More surgeries? Chemo? Deterioration of my body? Financial devastation? What would this do to my children? Will I become too sick to care for them?
People will tell me that it doesn’t bear thinking about but I don’t have the luxury of turning the worries off.
My family worries right along with me and the guilt is the only thing that rivals fear for top spot. They are all innocent bystanders and I hate that my cancer is the cause of so much pain for them. I try to hide it but I’m not a very good actress. My husband can always see right through my “brave face.” I pray that my children are blissfully unaware but I know that my anxiety must have some effect on them.
In the end, which I assume is far, far away, I know that my legacy won’t be packaged up in a quilt that I bought from Target when my son was 6. I hope with everything in me that I get to make choices far more meaningful for my children and live to see them into their adult years as well.
For now I will indulge my silly urges to buy things for my home and children because it’s something I have some control over it and it brings me a sense of well being. Years from now I will look back on that quilt and smile. Perhaps it isn’t so insignificant after all.
You can contact Tricia by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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