About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pregnancy + Cancer = A Frightening Reality

I learned a long time ago about the power which comes from putting words to your emotions. Left unsaid, fears and frustrations can become a toxic force. Lately I have been guilty of not taking my own advice because I've been struggling, and I have been hesitant to share.  Instead of openly acknowledging the situation and the fears, I have been trying to put on a stoic face. Needless to say, this approach has not been working. It's time I start being honest with others and with myself.

I have openly written about my experiences as a cancer survivor. I try not to dwell on my cancer experience; in truth I would rather erase those memories all together. I suppose my avoidance is partly out of fear of a recurrence but primarily because I don't want to be the recipient of the "poor thing" look which is often bestowed upon survivors.  I detest being viewed as weak!

Although my status as survivor does not define my life, the experience has certainly had a profound impact on who I am today. I often refer to Robby as my little miracle because, had I listened to the experts, he would not be here. I was told that although I had the heart and soul of a Mom, my body could not make that dream a reality. I never expected to receive yet another miracle which is why we were shocked and overjoyed when I learned that I was expecting again. 

Just when I began to digest the news that I was going to be a Mom again at 40, our miracle was overshadowed by a devastating report. The cancer which I have fought against and have feared for a decade, has returned. I am officially considered a pregnant cancer patient.  To be more specific, my medical record touts me as an amputee, pregnant cancer patient with advanced maternal age and active pituitary cluster tumors.  I have grown weary of labels and would much prefer to be called Peggy.

I have taken solace in the the experts' assurances that I will be okay. Approximately six weeks after the baby is born, I will undergo surgery to remove my uterus, including any (and hopefully all) malignancies. We are hoping that no further treatment will be needed, but we won't have a guarantee until after the baby is born. I am being monitored closely, but there is nothing else to be done at this time.

As if the cancer diagnosis wasn't devastating enough, I learned that the pituitary clusters which had gone dormant, have now fully ripened. A few weeks after my uterus is removed, I will again be in the operating room to remove the clusters. Thankfully we know that these little tumors are benign! I do have to admit that the prospect of neurological surgery, a few weeks after gynecological surgery, which will happen a few weeks after I give birth, has rendered me both scared and overwhelmed.

I'm hoping for the best, but my mind is spinning with worst case scenario preparations. I wish that I could just enjoy the pregnancy with my only worries revolving around integrating a newborn into our family dynamic. At times I feel such paralyzing fear that I can't move. I want to run away and hide, but I know all too well that this is not something that evasion will fix. I look at Robby or I feel the baby kick, and I know that somehow I will figure out a way to cope. After all I have to--I'm a Mom and Moms don't have the luxury of hiding.

We have tried to deal with this diagnosis internally. Other than family and a few close friends, I haven't spoken openly about the newest battles. I suppose I just wasn't ready to face it, or maybe I just didn't think I had the strength to cope. I have come to realize that this isn't news that I can deal with privately. I am not SuperWoman, and I don't have the strength to pretend that everything is okay.

Much of my hesitancy in writing about the diagnosis lies in fearing the reactions from others. I don't want to be cast as living in a shadow of despair. I detest pity and cannot bear to be viewed as pathetic. I need others to help me focus on the true blessing of this situation;I am about to be a Mom again and for that I could not be happier!

More than anything, I just want to enjoy this pregnancy and feel the rush of anticipation and excitement as the delivery approaches. Instead, I have felt guilt because I am afraid of what will happen after the baby is born. As long as my little miracle is inside me, I know that I can avoid reality. Delivery will mark the beginning of a medical journey which I am dreading. Sometimes I think that we are both safer as long as I'm pregnant.

With time, I know that these experiences will simply become memories. The latest medical blips will be added to the list of obstacles which I have overcome. I don't know how, but I do know that we will figure a way through this situation. 

In the meantime, I am sure I will continue to struggle with a roller coaster of emotions as I come to terms with what lies ahead. I'm scared, and I've never dealt with that emotion gracefully. I'm hoping that I will be able to draw strength from going public and being true to my feelings. At this point, I figured it can't hurt to be honest!


  1. Ok girl, I hope you are feeling a bit of weight off your shoulders. I am sorry you are reliving the cancer story, it should have been a bad pilot of a tv show never to be seen again, not come as a rerun. You have tons of us I am sure that are just minutes away from being able to show up at your door with dinner, childcare, errandso to run for you, housework, whatever you need just don't be too stubborn to ask. You are loved, let us help you with this load you will bear.

  2. Peggy, I have to say that a part of me wanted to weep when I read this. You are facing so much, and it makes me look at my life with joy, as the little bumps in my road are insignificant in comparison. You have a lot of joy in your own heart, though, and you seem very realistic. I feel that you will overcome this. Just make sure you have enough HELP after these surgeries. OH, and love on that precious little one when he/she gets here!

  3. You've done the hardest part, being brave enough to be honest with your feelings and sharing them. Not that the road won't be difficult, but this let's others know that you might need some directions around that curve you didn't see coming. Stay focused -the road leads to a beautiful little soul. Keep being brave and accept the help as it comes. It will be in many forms, physical, emotional and prayer. We will all help. Wishing peace of mind.

  4. Sending you good wishes from across the Atlantic. I hope the good days outnumber the bad and you come through this with much joy.

  5. Hi, the times that we need to most speak with friends is the time that we do not. Doesn't make sense does it. Why do we think that we a super human.