Monday, October 06, 2008

Cleanup in Aisle Four, Irv.

I just finished my day-before-hospital routine, doing the day-before-hospital shopping. There are three elements to this:

  • Buy food for my family to eat while I'm gone.
  • Buy food for me to eat in the hospital.
  • (And then the hard part) Buy food that might possibly tempt Little Warrior once that chemo starts pumping. Fresh fruit? Junior mints? Sour candy? Nuts? It changes day to day, what will appeal to her.

So I trudge up and down the aisles, a neatly typed list for the first two, and a tendency to analyze every single item for the last. Hmm, halva? Japanese pickles?

Unlike normal grocery shopping, which I find kind of fun, this is stressful. I feel like there is a giant neon arrow above my head, "Her Child Has Cancer!" Of course, no one knows, or cares. I'm just another frumpy housewife, filling her basket with stuff.

My chest is tight and I tell myself, "Relax, Silly." My mother is home with LW, I'm in no rush, there's nothing that I *must* find. It's not like being in the grocery store the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, searching for the last can of cranberry jelly.

But I'm looking for that magical item that will make it all fun. My big fantasy is that LW will grow up and when talking about these hospital trips, will say, "You know, I just remember those being a party, Mom! We played games and had tea parties and ate yummy things."

No, that's not my big fantasy. That's my small fantasy.

LW will grow up. That's my big fantasy.


goodwolve said...

I get this tight little feeling reading your blog posts. I can't usually comment because they would be so trite. I have no idea how you feel. I have no idea what this means to you, your family, or LW. I just wanted, this time, to let you know that even when I am not commenting I am reading. I am letting your experience sink into me. You and your family matter... even though we have never met. You matter.

Christine Robinson said...

Whatever happens tomorrow and next year and next decade for LW, she knows now and will know then, that when she had to go to the hospital, her Mommy (daddy, grandparents, siblings) was with her every step of the way. That's all that matters. What a family you all are being for her!!

MoonMystic said...

I cannot possibly understand. But I do pray. I read your blog every day and, in my own way, walk with you in spirit. Believe me, she'll remember every smile and everything you do to get you both through this difficult time.

Prayers and healing energies continue...

Nancy said...

You are an amazing mother.

Kristina said...

Your love for your daughter is palpable...I swear that I felt it enter the room as I read your post. She knows it, too - how could she not?

I have a personal experience that might help you as you wonder these things....

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my biggest fear was the impact that it would have on my daughter. I went out of my way to hide my fear, but to be honest with her about what was going on. She asked so many questions, in her childish way, and she knew of every treatment.

When it was time for me to do radiation after chemo, I took my daughter with me to the appointments. The techs let her climb on the machine, move it up and down with the buttons, and lay "like mama" (a scene which made me want to throw up, though I knew it was important for her). She knew my techs by name, made them Valentine's cookies with me, etc.

Fast forward two years, and I'm stepping out of the shower. My daughter looks at the radiation tattoos on my chest, and points at one and says, "What's that?" I calmly said, "oh, just my radiation tattoo." She says, "What's radiation?"

You could have knocked me over. I asked more questions, and she didn't remember. She doesn't remember Maria and Luz, she doesn't remember the machine, she doesn't remember the 3rd degree burns I got. She has blocked it all out.

I know my daughter remembers that I cared for her even when it felt impossibly difficult to do so; but she has forgotten so much of that terrible time.

This is my wish for you - that LW will forget. That she will remember the important stuff, but that she will forget the taste of chemo (why is it than an IV drug has a taste?!), that she will forget the boredom. She will just remember that she was loved and cared for.

That's my little wish, anyway. My big wish is the same as yours.

(Note: I don't pretend to know your feelings, and I'm not trying to tell you that this will happen to you and LW...I just hoped that my story might lend a little comfort. I hope that it helped.)

PeaceBang said...

Someone just fed me Scooby Snacks recently, and it turns out that the first listed ingredient is fruit juice. They're chewy and delicious come in cute little pouches and they might have a tiny bit of nutrition in them? Anyway, I thought LW might dig 'em.