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Begin Again

May 14, 2014

I hope you never know
What it’s like to feel like ‘the walking dead’
I hope you never fully understand what I need to tell you, my son. My Tyson. My Tysie bear.
Before there was a pregnancy, before there was a glimmer of hope, before there was belief in tomorrow…
For 12 long months there was fear.
There was surgery.
There was radiation.
There was cancer.
I would capitalize it, but I like to pretend it is unimportant and stupid.
I like to pretend it doesn’t deserve a capital letter, but for anyone who has ever lived it, it deserves all caps and asterisks and probably wingdings to disguise the terror, hide the actual word and somehow take away it’s power.
Make no mistake – it is powerful.
October 2011. The journey began.
The scariest part was knowing it was a long journey and I wouldn’t feel ‘okay’ for a long while.
What I didn’t know is that, you, my son would make it all okay again.
For 12 months I did two things – worried about my life expectancy and planned my wedding – never fully believing that I would live to experience the ‘big day.’ For something like thyroid cancer it probably shouldn’t be so dramatic – the survival rates are extremely high- and it’s kindof considered a ‘good kind of cancer to have’ if you have to get one, but tell that to the 32 year old mommy that was just told she has the ‘c word’ of any kind. My brain chewed on this word, spit it out, picked it back up, put it in her purse and carried it around with her everywhere she went – worrying about it, obsessing over it, wondering if this could be the end, if life for her might be yelling ‘last call.’ It seemed unfair, crazy, impossible, but it does happen. Some people don’t live to see 40 or even 35. Could that be my life, my future, my path, ‘the plan?’
Why does my throat hurt all the time, what’s with this cough that won’t go away, why do I always have this dryness in my throat, this lump in my throat, I can barely swallow, my breathing feels shallow, I can no longer run without fearing that I’m choking, I have insomnia and heart palpitations, panic attacks at work, my throat is constantly tight. I probably have some other form of cancer. Another doctor’s appointment, another test, another ‘no answer’ result. LONGEST YEAR OF MY LIFE!
There is your Dad. The bright spot. He holds my hand, he listens, he rubs my back, calms me, tells me it will all be okay.
There is your sister. She makes it harder – I love her so much and she is so fun and learning new things everyday and she needs me. I am her Mom after all. I don’t want to leave her without a Mommy. Some days I think I create distance between us ‘just in case.’ I don’t want her to ‘feel the shock’ if I should die before I wake…
The year comes and goes.
October, 2012. I made it to my wedding day to the most amazing man I’ve ever known. Ever loved. Your Dad. He is beyond what I had ever hoped for out of a husband. Patient and kind. Quiet and giving. Stubborn and headstrong and sometimes his ‘goodness’ convinces him he knows everything (which he does not) – yes. But he loves me and I know it. And he loves his family and he shows it. He is not perfect, but I love him for that too! He changed my life. You should know that. I am a better person because of him being in my life and he makes me better and stronger every day.
I cried when we arrived to our honeymoon destination in Half Moon Bay, California. Bawled actually. Deep down I didn’t believe I would ever actually be there to celebrate that day, that moment. Didn’t fully believe I would be there for our honeymoon. And from then on, I began to accept that life was moving forward and not just standing still. It was a small step, but an important one.
Two weeks later, I confirmed what I already knew – I was pregnant. Again. My second child. After cancer, after thyroid removal. There is nothing more ‘life affirming’ than to grow another human being inside of your body – nothing to make you feel more ‘alive.’ I complained and groaned about the ails of pregnancy just like any pregnant lady – and in truth being pregnant is kindof awful- but, BUT, because of this pregnancy, because of you, life moved into a new chapter and a new direction. One of hope, one of a future, one of life. You helped me to live again. I will always be grateful for the gift of you. You have changed my life and changed our lives onto another path, onto a more positive path and as we near the day of meeting you and you joining our family officially, I am already amazed by you Tyson Christopher Gass. You are already such a blessing to me and to our family. You are the second born, but make no mistake, my life as I know it began the day I knew you were growing inside of me. Began the day I knew I would have a son. And it begins again everyday because you are here teaching me to affirm life, count my blessings and to always look to the future and the truth of life – while we are worrying about it leaving us, it is always happening right there in front of us. Enjoy it – even when it’s scary – even when it’s not perfect – even when it’s down right miserable. It’s always worth it.


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