A year ago today I walked out the door with my infant son headed to the doctors office. You know the trip, things aren’t getting worse but aren’t getting better…the ‘just to be safe’ trip. I was so sure, I left without kissing my boys, my babies, good bye. (I was gone for 11 days initially.)
As I shut the door, I unwittingly shut the door on my former life; the world I knew, in all its comfy imperfectness, was gone.
I’ve spent all day trying to come to terms with it again but I think it will always be something which cannot be fully grasped. It’s so mind bending. Tumors, emergency surgery and a baby in the same sentence, terrible. Horrific when its your child. I still don’t know how to describe it, maybe like walking off a cliff. Or better yet, like Wylie Coyote of Saturday morning cartoon fame when the cliff bottom falls out beneath him but he hasn’t fallen yet. He knows its coming, the weightlessness and fear of the impending doom. I think that is probably very accurate for us cancer parents. We’re the Wylie Coyote’s of the hospital world. We get hit with the anvil daily (some days more times than you count) but we keep getting up and trying again, fighting for our kids.
Some days you just can’t imagine being hit again and then again but you take the hit and you steel your resolve to handle the next blow…whether it is the first time you see the images of your Child’s tumor(s); or waiting on the biopsy that confirms the worst; or feeling the hot sting of tears rolling down your cheeks as you comfort your child, silently praying this time the nurse can find the vein; or the first time you sign away your child’s life as you send him off to surgery (and the second…and the third…and the forth…and so on); upon seeing the first clumps of hair fall to the pillow; as you watch the IV bag drip with the first dose of chemotherapy running towards your Child’s body; as you worry about your other children and the toll this is taking on them; receiving the thoughtful gift from the surgical nurse of a lock of hair for your Child’s first hair cut…which was done prior to his first brain surgery…no lollipops, no cameras. I literally could go on for pages with the “anvils” we’ve taken or seen other families take. Stuff that you probably don’t want to know but that we live, daily.
And yet, like Wylie Coyote, we get up. Again and again. Never leaving our kids sides, smiling when we want to cry, crying tears of joy, sleeping on our feet so our face is there ‘in case’ they wake up, loving the gift of our child (and children) and the God who gave them to us. Knowing there is a message, somewhere in the insanity’ waiting to be uncovered. Hoping it’s the miracle and praying for strength when it is not. Knowing your life is forever changed.
I guess that’s all I really know. Life is forever changed. There are many blessings we have received in this change but its hard to marry those two together and probably a topic for another day.