I’m floating effortlessly in the bathtub. In the distance I can hear the uncomfortable cries of my daughter. I’m hiding out. Escaping my guilt and my mental torment. I have filled the tub with just enough water that for the time being living is effortless. The forces of the universe have little control over me as I float in water. Gravity has very little pull here and the toxicity and side effects from my cancer treatment has quieted down to a slow murmur.

I look down at myself and breath in deeply letting the humid air fill my lungs. At this moment its hard to comprehend that cancer is now a permanent part of my life. How can this be when floating in the tub is so effortless? In the tub there are no decisions to be made and no prognosis to process. At this moment I have even been able to release part of the grasp I have on my fleeting independence that has been stolen by cancer.

My nine month old daughter has had a fever for 3 days. This is a heart breaking time for any parent. You are powerless. This is one of the hardest parts of my cancer journey as cancer has stolen this aspect of motherhood. My weakened immune system requires that I distance myself from people who are ill. This includes my children and husband. A minor fever will send me to emergency. If the fever doesn’t clear up by my next round of chemo, I will have to stop treatment until my immune system recovers.

In the background I can hear my husband trying to comfort my daughter as she cries. I escape further into the water. I desperately want to kiss my daughter’s head to see how hot she is. To cuddle her and strokes her hair as I tell her I love her and that she’s going to be okay. I thought this was integral to motherhood. As the losses compile this one is particular is devastating. It cuts deep and right to the core. It challenges my sense of self which is further complicated by the layers of the guilt I feel.

This is why, in this moment the bath tub is my sanctuary. A place where I don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable truths of my illness. For now forced confinement is the only thing I can to do to be a good mother. I must sacrifice one aspect of motherhood to ensure another. To be with her when she is well for as long as I possibly can. To allow myself more time to make memories verses the hours I would have to spend at the emergency department. Knowing this I focus on relaxing as I float in the bath. Struggling with my desperate need to be free, I try to let go of torment and guilt and just float. Focusing on the weightlessness, on the silence, on the effortlessness of the moment.

3 replies »

  1. Sick babies was tough tuna for me too. Really sick comes on hard and fast with the little ones. Oh well Ian ‘ll keep the little one warm for a couple days while she gets better.

    Cold hard world Vs Tub Round 235
    235 Wins for the tub!!!
    Ready for another round with pruney fingers, like the hour glass slowly absorbed in lock step with that soaked in peace.
    Soon as you can when ever, dip in. Get the peace.
    …I wish we had a tub. Showers are good but when it comes to zen they don’t cut the mustard.

    filthy McFlue is smashing around here as well…Bus trips suck ill bet. Someone just coughed flu into someone else’s open mouth as they yawned exhausted from a hard days work. Batten down the hatches the sickies are here,

  2. Anna, thank you for sharing .. your writing is beautiful. your perspective into this journey is very real & truly inspiring. all my thoughts are with you Anna, and family, through every step along the way. take good care of yourselves.

  3. Anna, My thoughts are with you. Your writing is so insightful it has helped me deal with my mother in law as she goes through her journey of Stage 4 cancer. You are in my thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s