Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yesterday was January 18

I could never forget that date.  Yesterday went straight by me, though, simply because I didn't know what day it was.  

Today, I am sorting through LW's clothing -- this still fits, this needs to go to Assistance Ministries -- and I picked up a long, pink, one-piece outfit.  Somehow, it had been left in the drawer long past its prime.  It's size 9 months, and it looks brand new.

My breath catches.  Everything slows.  I tear up.

It looks brand new because after January 18, 2006, Little Warrior couldn't wear one piece outfits.  She needed tops and bottoms so that the port on her side could be accessed, or so that nothing would rub against the biopsy cut that went from one side to the other, or so that her kidney tubes could drain.

January 18, 2006, our life changed.

January 18, 2006, I got up in the morning and went to playgroup and had lunch in the car (chilaquiles, I remember) while I waited for our appointment with the pediatrician who I knew was going to laugh at me, worried about this strange bulge on Little Warrior, and say that it was just gas.

An exam -- a worried look on the pedi's face -- a trip down the road for an x-ray -- a phone call before I even made it home, saying, "Don't go home.  Go immediately to the Children's Hospital ER.  It looks like a tumor."  

A horrible, ghastly 1 1/2 hour rush hour, barely-moving-traffic trip to the ER.  Just me and Little Warrior, who wasn't Little Warrior at that point, she was just my sweet little baby who was a bit smaller than her siblings had been at that age.  She didn't even have teeth.

Just me and my head, which swam as I sobbed, so scared ... so very very scared.  You think the scene with the pretty girl hiding in the closet while the horror movie murderer waits is scary?  

Puh.  The mom-in-tennis-shoes stuck in traffic, headed for the ER scene is the epitome of fear.

There are no words.  There are no words.

A long, long time in the ER ... hours that felt like months.  Here came The Husband, he paced, I cried.  

Finally, late late late at night, they took us up in the elevator, where they had a room set up for LW.  I was too busy looking at LW and trying to keep her from fussing, I didn't see ... but The Husband did ... the elevator doors opened, and a sign said, "Pediatric Oncology."  The Husband nearly bent double from the punch in the stomach.  "They haven't diagnosed her yet," he thought with rage.  "How dare they put us here!"

We settled in, and then it was midnight, and January 18 was over.

2 years later, we are still paying off medical bills, even with "good" insurance.

2 years later, we still hop on the emotional roller coaster, 2 days before scans.

2 years later, we still stiffen when a child complains of a stomach ache.  Or Little Warrior coughs.  Wilms' usually recurs in the lungs.

But here it is, 2 years later ...

I am more in love with The Husband than ever.

I am back in seminary, and it feels like it's exactly where I should be.

I fuss at Little Warrior when she spills a glass of milk.

It is 2 years later ...

And we were lucky.



ms. kitty said...

Oh, dear one, I weep to think of your pain and pray you never have to endure it again.

Kaleigh said...

Yes, you were lucky. Every day you get farther away from that awful day is a victory!

Your story is so familiar to me, because of where I work. Not all the stories I hear have happy endings, but yours is already happy. Your life sounds wonderful. Full of love and laughter, heightened by your obvious appreciation of every minute.

And yeah, even though that's how my paycheck comes to be, I effing HATE cancer! I'd happily go to work to be told that there IS no more catastrophic childhood illness and our hospital is closing. That would be the most awesome way to get laid off ever.

Elizabeth said...

Hi LE. This post made me weep - for joy that LW is better, but also for all that you went through. I am loving the Blog awards because it gives me a time to think about all I have learned and the connections I have made. I love this blog of yours! There was a post where you wrote about how you can't think that God somehow intervenes and made LW better, but not other children with cancer. It was very moving, but I can't remember when it was written or if it was even this year. If you get this today, could you remind me what post it was? Or nominate it yourself? Anyway, thank you. For sharing. For being. With gratitude, Elizabeth