I don’t wanna!

“No, no!  I don’t wanna!  I’m scared!  I’m scared!  Dad-dy!  I’m scared!”

Yesterday morning was hard.  Very hard.  The doubt and fear surrounding my surgery just got to be too much, and I didn’t get much accomplished.  Not much at all actually.  Some reading, a nap, and many tears while the baby napped in the room next door and Widget and WonderDaddy were out grocery shopping.  It felt like my world was collapsing, when in fact, nothing has changed.  Nothing at all.  I’m still a survivor of 6 months of chemo.  I’m still a candidate for surgery next week.  I’m still a woman with cancer living and growing in her right breast.

I’m still scared.

With my mind, I know that the risks of this surgery are few.  That although it feels like a double amputation, it’s actually a much less severe surgery, since the breasts are outside the rib cage instead of inside the body’s core like the heart, lungs, or guts. That in fact I’ll only be in the hospital one night or maybe two, and I won’t even have to visit the ICU.  That my surgeon is excellent and has a long track record.  Mastectomies for her are routine.  Bread and butter.

But it’s still my first one.  And I’m still scared.

I remained scared all morning, until I heard the sobbing of a scared little boy in the hall.  Widget woke up from his afternoon nap early and found himself soaked; his pull-up had leaked and he for the first time felt shame.  I found him in the bathroom with the lights off, crying and shy. 

Shhhh.  Shhhh, baby.  Mommy’s here.

I gently whispered to him, reassuring him and never mentioning the urine staining his pants.  I held out my arms and hugged him snugly around the shoulders, avoiding any reason for him to be shy with me.  I suggested we both go change into sweatpants, because they’re more comfortable, and wash the sheets, because it’s Sunday.  He gently relaxed in my arms and let me help him change his pull-up “just while we’re at it.”  Eventually we opened the door and went about finding him new clothes and a snack.

Mommy will take care of you.

And soon, the incident was forgotten.  We had a lovely afternoon together and celebrated Little Bear’s first birthday.  We raced matchbox cars, built towers and tunnels, and introduced Widget to the game Go Fish.  We had dinner together, as we always do, as we always have done since Widget was first born, with only a handful of exceptions.

Mommy’s here.  Mommy loves you.

And then, we mustered our strength for the bimonthly haircuts.  I cut the boys’ hair myself, because Widget has a normal toddler’s fear, and we soothe them gently afterwards.  But still, the screams and cries (see first line, above) were terrifying, and nearly broke my heart.  It is so hard to see a child of yours afraid, insecure, and scared.

Um. Yeah.

Sorry, Mom and Dad.  I never meant to worry you.  But truthfully, surgery does scare me, just like haircuts scare my 3 year old.  But I’m still going to do it.  I need to.  I know I need to.  Even though my hair isn’t long enough to cut yet, and even though I feel like locking myself in the bathroom sometimes too, I know I need to do this.

– Because my sons need to see courage.  They need to see faith.  They need to see me here as they grow up.



53 Responses to I don’t wanna!

  1. Rebecca says:

    That IS so scary – even though, as you wrote, your doctors know what they’re doing. I can’t imagine how much strength you need right now, but I’ll keep you in my prayers as you face this.
    (And as for cakes: I either make a flourless chocolate cake – but that’s half butter – or I cheat and use one of Glutino’s VERY good cake mixes. Hope that helps!)

  2. Stimey says:

    I’d be scared too. It’s totally natural to be afraid. But you know that you’re going to come through this with flying colors.

    Poor little Widget. You were so good with him. Dare I say you were very patient. As you always are. He’s a lucky little guy to have you.

  3. ~JJ! says:

    I’d be scared too Mamma!

    You are teaching your boys a valuable lesson that they will never forget…

    (and you’re teaching me too)

    Mommy is always there…And she’ll do ANYTHING to keep it that way.

    hugs girl.

  4. Anyone in your situation would be scared. You handle it with strength and grace and your boys will certainly see that.

    Hugs and prayers and strength being sent your way!

  5. ohamanda says:

    Beautiful post! I’m praying you feel the Prince of Peace surrounding you!

  6. clifford says:

    I realize I am the insensitive cuddle-deriding testosterone-slinging Rambo (First Blood-era, to be specific) of your blog, S, but I can’t be scared for you. Am way too busy being fired up.

    You…with a bit of providence, eh?…beat one of the nastiest cancer killers on the planet. Stomped it in the huevos. Flying elbow to the solar plexus, whatever a solar plexus is.

    You will be present and accounted for to write le history book (I will terrorize Lemuria for my copy, don’t you worry)

    You will be around to ooze joy over the first time your kids write the Periodic Table from memory.

    You will be around to help Genius #1 and Genius #2 write college application letters. “Why is college so freaking expensive, Mommy?” (tell them clifford said “lazy tenured professors who teach 3 hours a day, yet don’t do research and are unavailable for office hours to boot”, but that’s just his opinion)

    You’ll be on the sidelines the first time G1 plows through a quarterback and G2 pancakes a defensive tackle. And both of them wonder why some guy keeps sending them scholarship packets from some Missippy State school, wherever that is.

    None of these things were certain 8 months ago. Now they are. What are you scared about, again? Go forth and enjoy phenomenal pain meds, woman. Then kicketh more arse. As I know you will.

  7. NoRegrets says:

    Does anyone every have more than one double mastecomy? 🙂
    Good that you are keeping in touch with yourself.

  8. Lauren says:

    I think it is only natural that you are scared. I know I would be too. But you have already shown how strong and brave you are. You will make it through this surgery much easier than the chemo (at least I hope so). As someone who hasn’t been there I can only assume but even on your worst days you have shown so much grace through your posts that I think we all feel you will do great!

    Good luck and well wishes for the best possible surgery outcomes and speedy recovery!!!!!

  9. Linda Lawrence says:

    Just to let you know we are thinking of you!

    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. canape says:

    Dang. That needed a tissue warning.

  11. Tara-Lynn says:

    You have every right to be scared. I admire your heartfelt honesty through all of this. Will be sending SOOOO many good thoughts your way for the next few weeks!

  12. Jen says:

    Still in my daily prayers. Surgery has to be scary.

    I never quote song lyrics cuz it seems so junior high but this was a great song for my mom and me.

    Hold me Jesus
    Cuz I’m shaking like a leaf
    You have been the king of my glory
    Now be my prince of peace


  13. She She says:

    This moved me to tears. You and your family are in my thoughts. Your boys are beautiful — like their mom.

  14. swimmom says:

    I’d be scared too. Such an amazing post from such a courageous and brave person. You are teaching not only your family but complete strangers a lesson in life, love, and fears. I hope if the time comes I have your grace and courage. I admire you and your honesty.

  15. nichole3 says:

    What a beautiful story of your faith. It is so normal to have experienced such thoughts. I’m praying for you.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I’d think it was a bit odd if you weren’t scared. I appreciate your honesty in this post.

    Thinking of you and your family.

  17. jenifer says:

    Wow…loved this post. You should be scared and it is totally normal, this is not routine to you. You are amazing and I enjoy reading your posts to remind me to enjoy each day with my family. Thanks!

  18. Your oldest friend's wife, Debbie says:

    They also need to see that even strong people experience fear. By watching you process fear, others can learn to lean on others and God when afraid, and then, go forth with courage & strength. You don’t have to hide your feelings. As Mr. Rogers says, we can love you just the way you are. And, we do. Lots of us out here do.

    “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4
    The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 . Standard Bible Society: Wheaton

  19. Kate says:

    I agree that this post needed a tissue warning. I would have been surprised if you had not been scared. You are teaching your children a very valuable lesson that they will never forget. We are here for you to lean on, and gather strength and courage from as you need it. Draw on us as much as you need to.

  20. The sister-in-law says:

    It’s Ok to be scared. It is OK to show that emotion to your children. It is OK to let it out. I will be praying for you. We love you !

  21. Susan K says:

    Of course you are scared. But just as you know you can’t take away hair cut fears, I can’t offer you anything that will make you feel better now. You just need to have faith and look beyond the fear to what you are getting. Cancer free! (yeah, and boobless, but hey, guys get by without them just fine, right? :-))

    I am thinking of you. Your boys will give you courage and strength to get past this fear. The way to beat fear is to look it in the eye, stare it down, and say, “you don’t scare me!”.

  22. juliepippert says:

    I agree with the SIL.

    And (((YOU)))

  23. Angela says:

    praying for you.

  24. Love you, Whymommy… It’s going to be okay.


    … because sometimes even Mommies get scared, and need lots of comfort, too.

    xoxo CGF and girlies 3

  25. Christy says:

    Being scared is something that in the end makes us stronger. It sucks to deal with it at the moment, but it too shall pass. You are an amazing women!

  26. Ally says:

    I pray that every person who interacts with you at the hospital treats you with as much dignity, gentleness, and kindness as you showed to Widget. Well done, you.

    I would be scared, too. Like you said, this is your first time. It sounds like you are in very good hands with your surgery team, and I know you are in other good hands, too– you know, the big cushy ones that belong to God.


  27. mummycha says:

    It’s normal to be anxious about this %$*& surgery. I wish for you we could be ten days from now.
    I was relieved to read that they won’t keep you at the hospital for more than two days. Don’t forget to bring comfort food with you… hospital food, that’s scary too…

    After dealing so bravely with six painful months of chemo, you’ll go through that surgery like a piece of cake. And the outcome is going to be so rewarding.

    Wishing you all the best.

  28. Alice C says:

    Go WhyMommy Go!
    If you face up to your fears you will discover that you are more powerful than you had realised. What is imagined is always worse than the reality.

  29. giftofgreen says:

    Beautiful post. You are a kick ass mommy. xxoo

  30. Ohhhhhh…… You are a brave woman. Go forth, get it done, and all of us here will be rooting for you!

  31. Bon says:

    grace and courage, Susan…you model those for your boys beautifully. like Ally, i hope everyone on your path to recovery treats you and your fear, your unavoidable, human fear, with the same dignity and comfort you offered Widget, the same open arms.

    it is okay to be afraid. it is brave to admit it. it’s the keeping going in the face of fear that makes for courage.

    i am overflowing with tears, btw, just at the tenderness of the scene with you & Widget and the pullup. i learn from you all the time.

  32. Stella says:

    I’d be scared too! I think it’s so brave of you to admit your fears and face them head on! You amaze me!
    You have an amazing amount of courage!

    Thinking of you as you get closer!!

  33. Robbin says:

    I loved this post. Absolutely loved it. Thank you for turning your fear and courage into something beautiful.

  34. Leann I Am says:

    You are brave enough to admit your fears and take us with you. Thank you so much for that.

    By the way, you’ve been given an award. Check my blog for details.

    And…you will get through this. You are so strong and have come so far. This is just the last lap of the race. It may seem like the hardest one, but it will mean the most when it’s done.

  35. […] this post hit me in a soft part of the soul.  Any mother who has struggled to put the best face on hard […]

  36. Spacemom says:

    Fear is perfectly normal. I would be far more worried if you weren’t afraid

  37. beth says:

    I have been to your blog many times but never commented, but I wanted to today because I have had the surgery – a little more than 2 years ago. It was only a single mastectomy w/node dissection but I wanted to tell you it really wasn’t that bad. I spent one night in the hospital (which I tried to get out of but couldn’t), and 2 days later I went out to lunch with my family, drains and all (I was also pregnant at the time). The recovery wasn’t too painful – the breast part actually didn’t hurt at all, only the arm.

    I hope you will not worry too much and recover quickly so you can get back to hugging your beautiful children…hang in there 🙂

  38. You are steeling yourself like a soldier going into battle, and in a sense you are, but also, in many senses you are not and what you are doing is far safer. Only on a primal, unconscious level, I don’t think our sense of bodily integrity makes that distinction. And thus, the very normal feeling of terror. Hope that helps in some tiny way.

  39. Qutecowgirl says:

    Seriously, you need to put tissue warnings. My kids wanted to know what was wrong.

    We are all with you.

  40. Angela says:

    Of course you are afraid. I remember the days before my hysterectomy…they were the longest in my life, and I was staring breast cancer in the face (breast, whatever 😉 ). I remember laughing when a friend drove to my house to deliver me (*gasp*) one of her tranquilizers, prescribed when she had the same surgery you are facing. I’m not suggesting that you take one. But I am suggesting that there isn’t anything wrong with feeling like you need one. I hope this time passes quickly for you…..you are in our thoughts every single day.

  41. Angela says:

    *wasn’t* staring breast cancer in the face. My GOD it has been a long day. Sorry.

  42. Jenn says:

    Keep on keeping on, WM.

    You’re in my prayers and thoughts and hopes.

  43. Meleah says:

    You astound me with your bravery, your unique perspective, and above all your endless heart. It is okay to be afraid and it is definitely hard to see those you love scared and afraid, especially when they are so little. But you, you are the most courageous woman I know even if we have never met and even if you are afraid. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  44. Meleah says:

    PS. I couldn’t help but link back to this post. It is truly beautiful.


  45. What a gorgeous, beeeeautiful post. You love your babes so well!

    These words pull at my heartstrings. Be well, friend.

  46. Imstell says:

    As everyone has said before… it’s not only ok to be scared, it’s expected. There would be something missing in your makeup if you were looking at an amputation of a body part or two and were not shaking in your boots. I bawled like a baby from the time they wheeled me into the prep room until I was given the “here’s a little something to relax you” shot.

    You are a strong, brave, limitless woman who will face a difficult task head on and head up. When you wake up on the other side you will be lighter and healthier and more free than you have felt in well over 6 months time. And it will be bittersweet, but worth it.

  47. maggie says:

    it’s right to be scared. wishing you much luck and a speedy recovery.

  48. Joanna says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes, how you so eloquently recount a simple experience little people go through when growing up; his wee wet pull-up just melted my heart. And your older boy’s fear of the haircut, and how you soothe so well. You are a great mama, and this is why you fight so hard; this is why you are winning this battle and will continue to do so, with strength and courage. Good for you for letting yourself feel all the emotions that come with this, the fear and pain and sadness. Going through the emotions only makes you stronger, IMO. I pray for you and believe in you and know this surgery will only keep you on the down-low for a short time. You rock. My best to you –

  49. What a precious kindness the Lord allowed you to show your little boy in this episode. Those opportunities to step outside of ourselves and minister with *such* grace come straight from the heart of Christ.

    To my shame, I didn’t find such a profound opportunity today; or if I did, I missed it.

    You are blessed.

    And may the Lord bless you and keep you, making His face to shine upon you and give you peace….

  50. Sara says:

    This was such a moving post. Before I became a parent I always thought it was the parents who taught the children about life, but isn’t it funny how so often it is the other way around?

  51. JoC says:

    Wow! Such beautiful writing!
    I learn so much from you WhyMommy.
    1) How to face crazy stressful things head-on
    2) What courage looks like (you can’t be very brave or courageous if you don’t feel the fear)
    3) “Lets both change into sweats b/c they are more comfortable.”
    What grace you have. Counting down with you.
    Thanks so much for your honesty and your posts.

  52. […] everything she can to reduce her risk of recurrence. She discusses the fears she feels about today here with such honesty and sincerity that I just can resist the urge to give her a hug and hold […]

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