A dull November morning when I left the children at the day care, I meet with one of the teachers. She has been on sick leave for a long time and the staff has been quite secretive about why she is absent. I had my suspicions though.
I see it in her eyes when she comes out of the personnel entrance. Somehow I just know. She starts to tell. About the bleeding from nowhere and the doctors who thought it could be cancer. About the scare. About the anxiety. The fear of perhaps having to leave her children. She was operated on and the doctors could thankfully say that it was a false alarm. There was no cancer.
Now she is without a womb. Puzzled. But incredibly grateful to be alive. Not having cancer. Shaken by the experience, she can continue to be a mother. I’m listening. Recognize so well what she tells me. The frighten. To no longer take anything for granted. The terrible in not having control over your life and your body. Much of what I have experienced, I have put behind me, of course thanks to the children. But also because I didn’t want to be someone who identifies herself with cancer. Surprisingly, however, much will come back when you have reason to be reminded of it.
It feels good to tell
She is only a few years older than I am. She could have been my sister, my friend. At this precise moment when we stand at the gate to the day care, it feels like I´m very close to her. There is so much I want to tell her. That I know what it is like to go from “deadly ill” to healthy again from one moment to another. What it does to you. That I know how it feels when something big within one has changed but everyone else live their lives as usual. How frustrating it sometimes is. And that I understand the need to talk, talk, talk. Let the world know what you have been through.
So I tell her. My story. That I also got my uterus removed. She is puzzled. How does that work? “I saw you when you were pregnant”. So I tell her that too. That I got my mother’s womb. She gets tears in her eyes. Obviously, I affect her. I try to convey her though that I am not telling her to overtake her story. But for her to know that I understand her.
Because in fact she affects me. Although our stories are relatively similar, there is a big difference. She is a mom when all the terrible things happen. I have touched on the thought a couple of times. Now it becomes more difficult to defend myself against it. What if it had been the other way around? That the children came first and the cancer afterwards. What if it hadn’t been possible to remove it? I feel it in a completely different way now. The fear. The power of it is merciless.
She tells. I tell. It feels good.