If you have ever wanted to get a peek inside the everyday life of a breast cancer survivor, you might be interested in reading the following post. (It was originally published on my Facebook page this past October.) If you ARE a breast cancer survivor, I hope that this post serves as some validation for whatever feelings get stirred up on your own sleepless nights.
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It’s past midnight. I can’t sleep.
I am tossing and turning in a bed that’s not mine, with my husband sleeping 100 miles away, like he has been for the past month. (We are living apart while waiting for a promotion to come through.)
I have one child on a cot downstairs and two camped out on a bed+trundle in the next room.
After twelve years of marriage and basically eleven years of co-sleeping with babies and toddlers, I finally have a king-sized bed ALL to myself.
And I. Can’t. Sleep. 🤷🏻♀️
At about 12:30 I am starting to doze off with the help of adult lullabies (Netflix), but I’m soon startled by four-year-old Ladybug. She’s fussy and not quite sure what she needs.
After a couple of the usual midnight culprits (bathroom, drink of water), we discover that her legs hurt.
I’m never going to get to sleep.🤦🏻♀️
I pick her up and take her downstairs, propping her on my hip while we find some medicine.
As I fumble around with the child cap while trying to balance Ladybug on my hip, I stop for a moment and realize how foreign this feels. I haven’t held her like this in what feels like ages.
I kiss her forehead and wonder: When did my baby become a little girl? 😢
Somehow I feel like I missed this transition, but I’ve been there for every second.
Now it’s close to 1:00am and the medicine hasn’t kicked in yet. Feeling nostalgic, I decide to lie down in the trundle bed with a sobbing Ladybug, rubbing her legs like I have done for all of my kids whenever growing pains come to visit.
Eventually sleep comes…for Ladybug.
I, on the other hand, get swept up in memories. Of lying in this exact same trundle bed (with a different combination of kids) the last time our lives were in limbo.
I was lying on this same bed, wishing for the kids’ chatter to quiet down so they could go to sleep. But I only half-heartedly encouraged sleep because I wanted to savor every possible second with them, not knowing what my prognosis would be.
Now here I am on this bed almost three years later, wondering how time has slipped through my fingers so quickly.
I pull out my phone to turn my “lullabies” back on and realize that it’s now officially October.
The month of pink.
The breast cancer survivor guilt sets in.
I’m still here when others are not. My fight now consists of a small daily pill while others are still bravely facing surgery, chemo, radiation, and terminal diagnoses. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about all I have while others have lost, and continue to lose, so much to this disease.
I’m still here to snuggle my baby-turned-big-girl. I’m here to parent my tweens. I’m here to have menopausal weight setting up shop where I don’t want it. My hair is turning gray and wrinkles are starting to form.
I am being blessed with the opportunity to grow older, and to watch my kids do the same.
I’m here to be mom, to rub away growing pains, and sing lullabies.
I am a young breast cancer survivor who has almost made it to her “late thirties.”
I recognize that I’ve been given a gift. But this is a gift so precious that it feels like no matter what I do with it, I am still squandering it somehow.
Survivorship is like that.
No matter how precious time is, it still ticks on at the same unforgiving pace.
Especially when you can’t sleep.
I originally shared this story on the Facebook page for Mommy Standard Time. Be sure to follow me there for more glimpses into my day-to-day life as a young breast cancer survivor.