Life In A Day

Nine months ago Rach and I told my dad that we were pregnant with baby number Two, he passed away a few days later with the knowledge that his namesake would live on through us and our children. Eight months ago I got my diagnosis and I’m grateful that it came after his passing, as much as I wish he could be here to go through this with me, I’m so happy that he doesn’t have to bear witness to his son suffering a similar fate as his. Two days ago we gave birth to our new baby girl Sadie Grey Meyer, as I delivered Sadie with the help of our doctor turned friend Dr. Grace Liu, the surge of emotions that ran through me was overwhelming. I forgot for one split second that I have stage IV cancer. For one breath, I was weightless and worry free, nothing could be wrong in that moment, I was going to live forever. And then that moment passed and a flood of tears covered my face as I remembered my reality. All the things I’ve been wondering over the past 9 months suddenly became real, will I live long enough to hear her say dada? To see her take her first steps? or sing to her on her first birthday?

  In the last six months I’ve been through radiation and chemotherapy, my hair has fallen out and only just started to grow back, my weight has fallen and risen and fallen again. I’ve laughed and cried and held on tight to Rachel and Riley during both. The reality of my situation becomes more clear with each passing second. I lay awake at night wondering if the doctor in New Jersey will be able to help me or not, the thoughts swirl in my mind and I wonder how long I have left to watch my children grow, to hold Rachel’s hand, laugh with my friends and enjoy another sunrise. I’m walking the fine line of this double edged sword where on one hand, if the doctor can help me then it will come with a drastic change to my life and its quality, if he can’t help me then the same answer follows only with a much shorter timeline. Lately I’ve been feeling so good physically and mentally, good enough that I’ve been riding my dirt bike, getting back in the gym and being more active in general. Im excited and scared to hear from the doctor in jersey because I know that whatever news he has for me will come with a massive change to my life that I’m so enjoying right now. For the first time in a long time, I really don’t feel like a cancer patient and I’m scared for that to change. Not just so I won’t be able to be in the gym or on my bike but because it will mean I may not have the strength to be with my girls, it will mean that I have to go through more treatment, surgery and side effects.

 I’m scared for this change to come right when I feel like I need my strength more than anything.  I’ll need this new found energy to persist if I want to keep up with Riley and the new baby in the coming weeks, months and years. Everything seems to be coming to a head all at once, my dads estate finally being settled, a new baby, a new hope for treatment, and Riley starting school in September. Every day gets a little more special and I just want to hold on to each moment. I’m constantly thinking about my future as though nothing is wrong, and I catch myself in the act sometimes and wonder if it’s good or bad that I’m doing that to myself. I imagine all the milestones big and small that I want to be a part of. All the silly little things that are usually taken for granted are all the things I want to do more of. If by some miracle, I am granted an opportunity to extend my life, then you can be damn sure that I’ll spend it doing all those things.

The other day (during our incredible heat wave) Riley wanted to go to the park, my stomach wasn’t feeling great on account of my medication, I was exhausted from not sleeping  because our A/C stopped working and the house was like an easy bake oven but I said okay anyways. I grabbed a couple bottles of water and lathered both of us up with sunscreen as we headed outside to brave the heat. Riley of course wanted to ride her little push bike so I walked slowly beside her, stopping every four seconds so she could pick up a rock or a flower and put it in my pocket. About half an hour had passed and we were nowhere near the park that’s four minutes away but that didn’t bother me at all. Despite the overwhelming heat, I was enjoying the slow meandering pace that she led us with. As the minutes passed, the sun beating down on us grew more intense, I wondered if I did the right thing by bringing Riley outside, I could see her skin reddening and worried she would get burnt. I offered her some water which she drank up in big gulps. A few more minutes passed and I thought maybe we should turn around and just then, she looked up at me said “dada up”. I looked down at her, smiled and picked up her and her bike. As I walked with her in my arms, tears fell down my face and mixed with the sweat pouring out of me. Riley took the opportunity to switch our hats and we had a good laugh as I trudged along back to our house. My arms shook and my stomach grumbled and contracted in pain but I found the strength and pushed forward, bringing us safely back to our still hot house. I dropped her bike at the front door and set Riley down inside, she ran off immediately and I paused for a minute to appreciate what I had just accomplished before following after her. I was proud that I carried her and her bike back home, it made me feel strong and capable. It made her feel comfortable and safe. But every moment like that is shrouded by the reality that this won’t last forever, it may not even last another day, but it happened and I felt good and I have to hold onto that feeling the same way I held onto Riley as we walked back to the house that day. 

We continue to wait anxiously as Dr.Pecora runs his tests and it’s so hard not to get scared by every little heart palpitation or headache that I have, and I can’t help but wonder if things are getting worse faster than expected. Despite feeling so good, it’s so easy to get thrown in the other direction by the smallest things. I was watching videos of me and my dad from last summer where he was telling me about not wanting to go through more chemo and I tried to comfort him and told him it would be for the best. only after revisiting those videos did I realize that I actually had cancer at that time and didn’t even know it and that was enough for me to break down and cry because now I understand what he was going through, I understand the thoughts that were running through his head on a daily basis and I only wish I could have spoken to him about it, connected with him a little more and shared this experience with him but I didn’t and I can’t. All I can do now is continue living each day to the fullest trying to squeeze an entire life into each day. 

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