I hug. Not a lot, but I do hug. Hugs are good, hugs are comforting. My internist has turned into a hugger ever since I got diagnosed. I get hugs all the time now. The “I feel sorry for you (with a little nod of the head ) hug”, the “You are going to be OK” hug, and  “I am happy this is not happening to me” hugs.  Hugs are different as a mono-boob. There is slight hesitation now.

My kids, however, have figured out that if they want a soft squishy hug they should approach mommy from the right. I think my son feels that loss of my breast when he hugs me.He feels mommy isn’t that soft and squishy (not that I ever loved his characterization of me being squishy after busting my ass in the gym) as before, but happy now that he has figured out a way around it. He told me one morning that he hopes I get my breast back, I told him it will grow back next summer. It’s good to be six and believe that breasts grow back.

Beyond that I don’t think my ordeal has affected him much. He asked his dad for the Friday Steak ‘n Shake runs during the time I was recuperating from surgery and feels satisfied that his demand was met. The 2 yr old only wonders why sometimes my chest doesn’t bounce back.

Having cancer gives some transient respite from maternal guilt. Its like “get out of jail free card” for a mom. You get used to being good enough and feel relieved that at least for now you don’t have to match up against the Pinterest moms with handmade hair barrettes and home made Halloween costumes. It feels OK if your kids’ lunches do not have all food group in them. It helps scare the hyper PTA moms away.

Cancer also helps zero in on what is really important for kids – spending time with them. It also allows you to get away from them to find your quiet space, your alone time. Time to think about your life and death. And then it makes you get up, no matter how tired and hug them some more. The “When I am not there, you will be OK” kind of hug.

So hug someone. Because when you really need a hug and get one, nothing works better than that, not even chemo!

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