Yesterday, Cooper in tow, I visited my parents' house to water my mom's blossoming tomato plants. While watering the plants, I noticed at least a half-dozen oranges on their orange tree. Oranges from that tree are absolutely delicious! Knowing well that they are not an alkaline food, I craved their sweetness and wandered down into my parents' yard to pick some. Maybe I can have one every other day?
In doing so, my flip-flopped feet got pretty dirty. The tried and true way to clean them.....the pool. The pool water was warm. Warm enough that my even my dad would have gone swimming. (Dad does not go in until the water reaches 84-degrees.) The pool was like an old friend. Upon my foot's first dip, I wanted to dive in and swim all of the laps that I always told my parents I did when they inquired as to what I did that day and I did not want them to think I was lazy. With a picc line attached to my arm, I cannot do that. As Cooper looked on (he is still afraid of the pool water), something deep inside me began to hurt.
I was glad I was not alone. Cooper is a great companion. He knows when I am upset with or without outward signs. This time, I did not shed a tear, but instead jumped out of the pool as quickly as I dipped my feet in. Memories came rushing back, like racing my brother across the pool when we were kids taunting each other to see who was faster; laying poolside with my girlfriends working on our "tans"; rough housing in the pool with my dad; the time I got stung by a bee while floating in a pool lounge chair; and, more recently, the memory of taking Harrison swimming when he was barely one-year old. A memory that truly warms my heart, I remember that it was a perfect summer night....and I am not even sure if my parent's were home. In the pictures I have in the scrapbook, Harrison has a smile from ear to ear. Recollecting all of these memories, I also thought of the times where I did not go swimming because I was nervous, even in front of my parents, about how I looked in a bathing suit. Especially now that I cannot go in, those worries seem shameful now.
Solemnly gazing into the welcoming water, I wondered if I will ever be able to swim in that pool again. My brain says, "Well, of course you will be able too." I know picc lines are not forever. At the same time, I know that the reality is that I will be on some sort of chemo for the rest of my life. Maybe it will be in pill form? The thought of getting a port sends shivers up my spine. If I were to get a port, I believe it would be placed under a collar bone. I cannot imagine messing with my chest area any more. Gaining weight like a yo-yo since I was 17-years old, even when I felt the worst about my appearance, I used to take such pride in how pretty I looked in a V-neck top. Not so sure I would be able to wear V-necks with a port.
This morning, I woke up with all these thoughts racing through my head and hurried to my laptop to post this blog entry. I started to think how the entry would make me seem like I am feeling sorry for myself. However, I think this is OK. Sitting here writing it, the tears have come and gone and now I feel better.
I also realized that along with all of my limitations this summer, my cancer recurrence has brought the best gift in the world, more time with my kids. A working mom, I have never been "off" for an extended period during the summer. I have never been able to treat the kids to the "lazy" summer days that I enjoyed growing up. This is exactly what I did this summer. I even got to be the fun, cool mom a couple of times and spoil them. Those memories count for a lot. Those memories are what dry my tears and enable me to keep fighting.