Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting Real

You haven't been very emotionally honest on your blog, says AVI. (Annoying Voice Inside)

I attempt to ignore her. I'm busy. And life's good. Fun trips, good scans, summer's coming.
You said that you would be honest here, she continues. In case anyone else going through something similar wanders over.

I roll my eyes. But she's right.

Good news doesn't mean that POOF, all is good. Much as I'd like it to be so, I do not have the spiritual gift of restricting myself to living in the moment. The past is soaked into my skin, my hair. The future nips at my heels.

And my present isn't restricted to me and my family. Other families whom we've grown close to, whose children were on chemo at the same time as LW -- first or second time -- are connected to my heart.

On the day we got good news about Little Warrior's scans, two of those families got bad news. Very bad news. The "It isn't working and we don't know what else to do" news.

Sunday, LW turned four. Monday, another 4 year old, also with Wilms', died.

Other families get to assume that their child will go to middle school, high school, grow up. Now, the truth is, they are vulnerable, too. That's just life. But making assumptions, taking things for granted ... it's a privilege.

They say that with cancer, a gift you get is that you don't take things for granted.

There are some things you should be able to take for granted.

In 15 months, it'll be time for LW to start kindergarten. But 15 months just exceeds the window we have for assumptions.

I didn't really realize that figuring out how to live with this reality was weighing on me. Til a couple of nights ago. I had what was probably heartburn, but a little sliver of hypochondria made me ask myself, Hmm, should I take an aspirin, just in case it's a heart attack?

(It was late ... hypochondria, fatigue, and attempts to deal with it are not always logical.)

And I said to myself, "Nahhh. I mean, if I died in my sleep, that wouldn't be so bad."

Well, that was startling. I'm one of those lucky people who is aware that life is a gift, an amazing gift, not to mention a mom of 4 who feels a little responsible for their health and well-being. I am -- normally -- the type that if I go, it's going to be kicking and screaming.

So, it was a wake-up call that I need to be a little more deliberate about dealing with the fact that I do have to live a different reality than others. I am a cancer mother. It's not something I can just wish away or ignore. Depression ain't just something you watch on the weather channel to see if it'll turn into a hurricane. (Hmm, there's an area ripe for metaphor.)

Ebbs and flows. Riding the waves. This morning, my coffee is good, I can hear lawn mowers outside and LW talking to her 87 invisible friends. Summer is almost here. Plans are being made. It's a good day.

I hope you have one, too.

1 comment:

Aimee said...

This was a powerful post. I don't have any kids, let alone any with cancer, but I do know that as a cancer survivor whose goddaughters are watching their mom disappear bit by bit each day due to cancer, I totally agree that when cancer is in your life, you think differently than others.

For me, I call that BC time and AC time. Before Cancer and After Cancer. Everything is different now.