Five years ago, during this very week, I stood in a hospital in Zürich and blinked back the tears as the consultant pointed to a darkened spot on a scan of my brain and confirmed the presence of a tumor.
For those of you that haven’t heard this story before, please don’t gasp in shock. While yes, it was a tumor, it was one of the good ones (if there’s ever such a thing). More specifically, it was a prolactinoma, a benign tumor, sitting in the pituitary gland just below my brain. Not life-threatening but potentially putting an end to my chances of ever having children.
Five years ago, again during this very week, I stood in the kitchen of our apartment and took my very first tablet. A tablet with the ultimate power. A tablet, the first of many, that would determine whether our lives would be blessed with little ones or whether we would remain as a family of two.
It wasn’t the easiest of times. It was the uncertainty that was the worst. Caught in limbo and unable plan ahead. I was 32 at the time. Not yet classed as an ‘older mum’ but still conscious of time ticking and with no indication as to how long the treatment would take to work, if indeed it would work at all.
It was a summer spent pottering. I remember days spent in bed watching Gossip Girl, tired from the medication working its way through my body and in to my brain. Tired from thinking. Tired from trying not to think. Tired from being at a crossroads and not in control of which path to take. Just tired.
And now? What of this summer? Well, right now I can’t believe that I have a little boy who’s counting down until his fourth birthday. A little boy who I will be buying his very first school uniform for in a few weeks. A little boy who was once a dream but is now my everyday reality. A little boy so full of questions and the most bizarre answers to those questions if you profess not to be quite sure of something. A little boy simply brimming with goodness (and a healthy dose of mischief).
I can’t believe how our lives have changed since that summer five years ago. From uncertainty to joy. From morning sickness to lack-of-sleep sickness. From drinking Gaviscon out of the bottle at my desk in an attempt to cure the most horrendous heartburn to drinking a congratulatory bottle of beer for getting through the day after a night of teething hell.
I’m as guilty as anyone in taking what I have for granted but when I do, I stop and think back, and remember how we got here. How we got here with our two cheeky little dudes when we were once on the cusp of having a life without them.