About three or four years ago, I sat on a restaurant patio at a round table with my three children and my husband. Because the children were little, I spent a lot of time answering questions from the oldest, holding the baby (Isa) on my lap, likely she was nursing. And trying to the keep the middle child’s food on the table rather than on her or the floor. All while conversing with my husband. Or at least trying to do so.
When a small, frail, older woman approached our table, I scooted my chair over to make room for her to pass, but she was coming directly toward me. She simply leaned over put her hand on my shoulder and said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Then she patted me and walked on followed by her husband.
For me, she uttered the most poignant words of child-rearing wisdom to date.
Some days seem to take forever. Evening falls as I scream about picking up the toys, brushing teeth, and whatever other calamity, because everything is a crisis, happens to befall us that day. I hope that the next day will be better.
But when I realize that the tiny toes I kissed fresh from a bath are now enveloped in leather basketball shoes, I wince. When a child I carried, first inside my body and then tucked tightly in a sling, asks me if I am okay, when I say ‘ouch’, I realize the passing of time. When the child who was once swathed in a handmade-lavender-rose-printed blanket is now asking for it with clear and concise words, I frown & smile at the same time, often accompanied by a tear or two.
We started the process of leukemia treatments in January 2009. That was six months ago.
The days are long and the years are short.
For nearly every week since January 14, we have taken our daughter Isa to her chemotherapy treatments. Some weeks we made more than one trip. One month we had a three day hospital stay. As we embark on the next phase of the journey I’d like to share what a typical day looks like for us.
You may click on the photos to enlarge them.
When I look at these photos, I don’t notice how skinny she is, or how sad it is that she screams. These things I see each hospital day. What I notice is how Papa and I could use a spa day—massages, facial, hair cuts, the works. We look beat.
When you ask us how we are we don’t explain that each week we have to hold our daughter down, we say, “Fine.” Or, “Some days are better than others.” Sometimes empathy requires personal experience.
These photos give you a peek at what we do. For some of you reading this, these things will become your life. For some, this was your life. For others, you can’t even imagine this being your life.
The procedure highlighted is a lumbar puncture. In this procedure they procure spinal fluid for testing and inject intrathecal methotrexate. The bone marrows are similar except that she lays face-down not curled up.
In addition to all that you see, she also had Vincristine and Methotrexate and Zofran injected into her port.