Childhood to Adulthood: It's Time
Last updated: April 2023
My sweet daughter turned 18 not long ago. I feel like I only blinked. Honestly, I was always so worried about lung cancer and the future that I found a lot of time not living in the present. I would have enjoyed these years so much more had a cloud of doom had not been hanging over my head.
When it comes to lung cancer, is ignorance bliss?
Although God, knowledge, and second opinions have gotten me this far, sometimes I feel I would've been happier living in ignorance. The saying, "Ignorance is bliss," I have discovered to be profoundly true.
Once you learn about the tumor, the malignancy, the impending death, you cannot unknow it. It is forever a part of you. Regardless of how many times you try to compartmentalize or put it away, it becomes a part of you that you must live with. It's always hiding in the shadows but never a thought away.
Being grateful for the moments we have
You say to yourself, "I'm going to miss this." In reality, we should be pushing those thoughts out of our heads and really embracing those few moments in which we have been blessed enough to have.
Gratitude takes effort
Maybe it's not in our human nature to do so. Or maybe it's something we can practice and train our brains to think differently. It also took years for me to learn that the "up-to-date" Google stats are at least 5 years old.
The impact of lung cancer on my daughter
When my daughter was 7, I never thought I would see her turn 18 or graduate from high school. It was a thought, but so far away that I couldn't imagine it. When I first found out I had lung cancer, Karley's father and I got all of the opinions, and we solemnly decided to turn to our sweet girl and tell her the truth.
I had an issue with breaking promises to her. It was something I vowed to never do. She was at such a tender age and worried about her parent's death. I never thought I would be having this conversation with my only child.
Telling my daughter that I was dying
Her innocent eyes would tear up as we explained to her about heaven. We tried to put it as kindly as possible, explaining it wasn't the end. I would be waiting for her at "the pasta party."
I can never get that conversation out of my head. The way she put on a brave face in light of knowing that her mother was dying is something I cannot shake 10 years later. I put on her back something that no child should have to grow up knowing.
I feel so guilty about it, but I'm hoping it's made her stronger. In the back of my head, I do keep thinking ignorance is bliss. And maybe that would've made her life a little easier.
However, I would feel the guilt of lying to her constantly. And if something were to happen to me, without her saying she loved me or made up before, I know she would never forgive herself. That would be the absolute worst scenario. We have always had a very open relationship.
Though she will grow and make her own mistakes, all I can do is push her to make good choices. The good Lord knows I have made many mistakes in my lifetime. I'm just hoping that my telling her this so young is not one of them.
The vulnerability of lung cancer
This disease really does take you out of your element and makes you totally vulnerable. As a parent, you want more for your children than you had. I couldn't always provide that. Although, I know it's not my fault, I do feel super guilty. I don't think that will ever stop.
I wanted to give her a better life. I can only pray that I've made an impact on her and she will spread that to others.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?