Parents

What Happens When Someone Tells You That You Have Cancer

Mommy has responsibilities, and bedtime routines. And cancer.
06/22/2017 09:07am ET | Updated June 26, 2017

I had always wondered what you do when you leave the appointment where someone tells you, “You have cancer.” Something horrible must happen to your body immediately, right?!

Like, you probably just crumple up into a ball of anguish on the pavement outside the doctor’s office. Or, you become so overwhelmed with the horror of the situation you basically have to go straight to an ER to be assured you are still alive.

Well, on March 7, 2017, I found out what happens. You go home and take your shoes off in the back hallway. You change the water in your kids’ humidifiers and turn the light on in their bathroom. You put a new “Paw Patrol” on the television. You change into pajamas and wash your face. Because, first of all ― you are Mommy.

And Mommy has responsibilities, and bedtime routines. And cancer. And she is going to probably completely freak out at some point, but first, Mommy refills humidifiers.

That night, you wait for the news to sink in. It sort of does, it just skids off the surface of your brain. But, already your body is in fight mode. The adrenaline is pumping and your heart is wide awake in the darkness. And it does seem pretty dark. Because it is night-time.

And you want a light on all through the night. There are plenty of things to be scared of, and tonight darkness doesn’t need to be one of them. You wait to cry. You wait to freak out. Nothing happens. So you sleep. And when you do wake during the night, the light is there and your husband, and your children peacefully slumbering down the hall, and the tiny one kicking inside you, and you are OK.

And you will be “OK” ― because you are Mommy.

You made each of your children a promise before they were even born. You told them you would love them, protect them, and nurture them with every shred of your being forever and ever and ever. And last time you checked, “forever” was a very long way away. SO, it is time to shake off the darkness and fight for what you love, and to keep the promises that will not, CANNOT be broken.

So, Mommy gets up and makes coffee and school lunches. Mommy makes sure everyone’s shirts are tucked in and their hair is “just so.” But, “Megan” is thinking about cancer. Megan can’t help but think about the rogue cells that lay just beneath the skin of her neck where those chubby little arms are wrapped tight, in a goodbye hug. Megan presses her fingers on the swollen lymph nodes along her collarbone, and decides not to even allow herself to wish they weren’t there. There is no point in that.

Megan has lymphoma. And something inside of her won’t allow her to give in to thoughts that give cancer the advantage. Megan takes in a deep breath, and stands up tall with her head held high.

And nothing will stop her. Megan has a mountain to climb in the weeks and months ahead, and there is no room in her bag for desperation. She has packed faith, and strength, and determination. This March 7 may have changed things up a bit, but the real change happened August 13, 2009. That was the day Megan became “Mommy.”

And that is why losing this fight is not an option. Because her heart may be pounding against her ribs, but it lives outside her body. In the four little people she will tuck in each night. Nobody better even think about messing with Megan or a promise she made. Because she is Mommy. And Mommy crushes cancer.

Follow Megan crush cancer on her blog.

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