Saturday October 27th 00:30am – 23 days after diagnosis; 55 hours after surgery
Tonight you will find me on my bed with my legs akimbo under firm instructions to let the air circulate around my wound (I have had four showers in the nine hours since arriving home from hospital). I was in much the same position exactly 21 years previously, as we welcomed Amy Susan into the world. I am unsure on which occasion I experienced most pain, but whatever pain I experienced 21 years ago was almost immediately eclipsed by the joy Amy brought to all our lives.
Amy was a whirlwind, a Tasmanian Devil, always smiling, laughing, curious, doing. She hasn’t had the easiest of times; she has wrestled with much yet developed into the most amazing, compassionate, wise, young woman. The last 18 months have been especially difficult. Her brother had testicular cancer, her grandmother skin cancer and then to top it all off – I go and bugger up her birthday celebrations by being called in for vulval cancer surgery.
Amy and I have a special bond; we have spent a lot of time together. We have shared a lot – and there is still little that is not shared between us. I know her biggest fear is me dying, and I know she feared me dying on the operating table on Wednesday. I did not want to “bother” her, or Emily or Joseph, with my surgery. I did not want to interrupt their busy lives or cause a fuss. I seriously considered not telling them. But my wise sister queried what if the worst did happen ….
So Joseph and Amy were here with me when I went in for surgery. On the eve of her birthday Amy welcomed me home from hospital with home baked cinnamon buns. Tomorrow Emily will arrive and spend a few days with me. My mum and dad live close by and my sister has been a rock on which I have had to depend in a way I am very unused to doing. The knicker beast is banished – for the time being at least.
Whatever the future holds, I have been blessed with the most wonderful life in which my family and my children have always been at the heart. I know only too well from the many families I have worked with that this is a special gift to be cherished dearly. And cherish it I do. The unconditional, sometimes unspoken, love we share as a family has sustained and nourished me through some incredibly difficult times. Such love has wondrous properties. I am a very lucky woman.