Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

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After each radiation appointment I now take Myrtle and Faith somewhere, anywhere, for family time. We've gone to see the floating homes on Fisherman's Warf; fed the ducks (and the mooching geese, pigeons and crows) at the ponds at Beacon Hill Park; played at the parks at Willow's Beach and at Beacon Hill Park. Monday we stopped by our friends Mike and Julianne's for an impromptu play date for Myrtle and their son Owen. 

Today I drove around unsure of where to go, I wanted different yet fun. I did a quick turn and thought Myrtle would enjoy some play time with her cousin Seth who is about two weeks older then her. I was right, she had a great time! They looked at chickens in the back yard, rolled around on the trampoline, played with toys outside and inside. 
Seth showing Myrtle the chickens.
Sometimes crappy things happen and life is messy. One thing can lead to another and before you know it life looks different than dreamed of. After a week of radiation I thought it was silly driving for an hour through rush hour traffic only to just drive home - thus the idea family time afterwards was born. 

Walking down the path to Seth's door there was a single pink rose. I stopped to smell it, (it smelled wonderful actually), Faith smelled it, then I leaned Myrtle into it. Is it possible that because of this cancer nonsense I am now literally stopping to smell the roses? I'm slightly embarrassed that getting cancer and the treatments is what got me to reconsider how I spend my time, especially time with my family. These days I am so much more grateful for the time I do get to spend with them. More on this in a moment...

Today we met with the radiation oncologist for a Q&A. I asked why if I have a blood cancer is it that only my tumor is being treated. From what I gather the plasma (blood) cells that showed cancer were in the tumor, no where else. The radiation then shrinks said tumor into oblivion.
Daddy showing Myrtle the radiation machine.
I told the him the tenderness (aka pain, extreme discomfort) where the tumor is has subsided some and I don't always feel the need to use my crutches. The oncologist replied by saying that as the tumor shrinks there will be less pain, however with the tumor gone there will be a gaping hole in my bone where the tumor was. It will take about 6+ weeks after radiation for the hip to heal (much like if had I broken it). So to support the healing and avoid a break or fracture I do need to use the crutches. 

As the doc was about to leave Faith piped up and asked when we could have more children. The short answer is that I might not be able to, which also means I might be able to too. The radiation leaves a residue of sorts that could lead to deformities in a baby if one were to procreate within the year after radiation. So it'll be us three for awhile.

Faith was disappointed to hear that and expressed it as we drove away. BUT the kicker for me was what Faith said after. She was pointing out all the positive about this permanent or temporary delay. Could it be we're both growing to be more positive?! In the end we concluded that if Myrtle was our only child we're still the luckiest parents alive and be grateful for that. As a family we learned there's no use crying over spilt milk, especially if you can slurp up the stuff that's still good.

Not everything since we got married has gone as planned. Truth is not everything before we got married went as planned either. That's just life - it can get messy. Plan all you want, but sometimes an egg can hit the fan.

I didn't plan on going bald. But I love it. I feel more like a man not using hair sprays/gels/products, and living every boys dreams of not needing to comb his hair. As my brother Dion says "Hair is for girls."

I didn't plan to live on Vancouver Island. But (now) I love it. I can't believe I lived in Alberta and sometimes feel sorry for all my family and friends living there (please send your hate mail to rubanlivesincanadasparadise@vancouverisland.youdont). 

I didn't plan on being a new daddy in my 30's. But I love it. Looking back at my twenties, when I hoped I would be a dad, I was perhaps not the most selfless individual. Myrtle has a better father now than if she arrived when I first wanted to be a dad.

I didn't plan on getting THE CALL about a tumor that was a cancer, rendering me unable to work sitting on a recliner the majority of the my waking hours for months. As I've sat here  I've learned and experienced so much with the TV OFF. Enough that sometimes I'm brave enough to dare say to myself "I'm glad I got cancer." Though, I'm more happy for experiencing a positive change within, the cancer was just a catalyst. Happy that I've been able to bond with Myrtle and enjoy watching her roll over,  crawl and take her first steps for the first time. Happy her first words were "Dadda". I'm happy to say that my marriage is growing too. Our view of what's important has been altered, hopefully forever.

Today the oncologist said my hip bone will have scar tissue only a CT Scan can see and my hip will never be or feel the same as it was. 

But neither will I feel or be same either and I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I only met you once or twice, I believe, but your blog posts on facebook caught my attention. I find them so inspiring and touching. I love the way you approach this ordeal. It inspires me in so many ways. I find myself thinking about some things you say throughout the day. So thank you!

  2. Have you ever thought about adoption? We were told that we couldn't have children and so we adopted our first 2. Maybe you can do this in reverse. Have your own child and then adopt. Something to think about.

  3. You said "Life is messy," which reminded me of a scene from a favourite movie, Baby Mama.
    After this little incident, Tina Fey asks her sister, "What if that had been poop?" Her sister responds, "I told you, life's messy - but great!"

  4. This comment is coming from someone who swore she would NEVER live in Alberta- but now does....

    I love the quote by Joseph Campbell that says, "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

    It's so very true. Children is a sticky subject for every couple and I don't know a single one who has had all their children 'as planned'. Miscarriages, stillbirth, surprises, fostering, adoption- there are so many aspects of it. Heavenly Father is the only one who know how it all will play out.

  5. Isn't there a lovely story about planning about going to Italy and ending up in Holland. How they didn't spend too much time missing all the things they didn't see in Italy or they wouldn't have gotten to enjoy the tulips and all the beautiful things that Holland had?
    Speaking as a parent of step, bio, foster and adopted children. Having children in your life no matter how you became a family is amazing. We could have mourned too long the fact that I could not have more children because of post-partum psychosize.... and missed out on the beauty of what we did have as well we may never have known the joy that is ours today. Probably no one's life is as they "planned". The key is to do what you are doing and trusting God and having a positive attitude. That video of your beautiful daughter is so sweet and your attitude is absolutely great! I am thankful you share it with all of us <3
    Oh by the way just because I had a diagnosis with psycho in it does not mean you can call me a psycho mother in law!!