Sometimes I feel crazy. Being a cancer mom for over two years is crazy making. Sometimes everything feels normal and then all of sudden you are in lock-down situation in a hospital room with a sick kid. When I read stuff like the following post I realize that the crazy-making is part of the process. The following was written by another mom who obviously understands that I am just a parent of child with cancer. Thanks for reading!
A few days before Halloween I woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick. Sheer panic washed over me. I started to disinfect the house praying, wishing, hoping with all my might that Quinn would not get sick too. I moved into the RV for a few days so as not to infect her. At this point I am willing to trade anything to not have our child spend Halloween at Children’s Hospital. I can’t bear the thought of her spending Halloween in a dark room smaller than a size of a cell, listening to children and babies cry. I move towards the dark.
Quinn didn’t get sick. Ya! She got to spend Halloween with a few friends and trick or treat. I watched her excitement and joy running from house to house. I watch her “kitty” tail swing back and forth, from side to side, as she holds hands with her friends and skips on to the next house. She tires quickly but is happy and tells me she had “the best day ever”. I move to the light.
I hear as other parents talk about hiding their children’s candy knowing that I will not have to do this. I know that the next day we will mix her chemo and like every Monday add Methotrexate to the yucky mix. I know that Brian and I will listen to Quinn moan in her sleep as she does every Monday night. We know that she will sweat through her clothes and bedding and climb in with us seeking heat. I know that she will wake up on Tuesday morning feeling sick and refuse to eat. I put her candy in her room. And when her soaking wet little body slips into our bed in the middle of the night, I move towards the dark.
We take her to the park on Wednesday and sometimes on Thursdays too. She runs and plays on the jungle gym with amazing grace. She looks “normal”. She visits family and friends on the weekends, rides her power wheels without fear. Her now curly hair bounces as she plays tag and swings in the air. She plays with her grandparents, has tea parties, and dresses up like a princess. She wears her ballet shoes and watches her ballet DVDs. She spins and twirls till she gets dizzy, laughing the whole time. I move to the light.
We go to the oncology clinic. I am thankful we know our way around. I am thankful for her now curly hair covering her prior bald shiny head. She runs in the hallways past the kids in wheelchairs. She jumps over the I.V poles and darts from the baby filled strollers. I am amazed how far she has come. She waves to the other kids, and with her hands on her hips scolds Dr. Gaynon for “taking too long”. I move to the light.
We sit in the playroom across from a cute 3 years old boy waiting for Quinn’s poison to be concocted. The little boy’s arms shake uncontrollably unable to hold a pen. His mom comments about a possible nerve being hit during his last spinal tap. The same thing Quinn undergoes every other month. Quinn chemo is ready and she receives the Vincristine through an IV into her port. Brian and I hold Quinn down as she thrashes and cries. The nurse removes her bandages, pulls the needle from her chest. We release her from our grip with tears in our eyes. We get into the car thankful to head home. Brian drives, but looks through his rear view mirror every few seconds with dreaded anticipation. I sit in the back seat with Quinn. We watch her eyes roll back, her head slump over. The child who just minutes before was running falls asleep. She quickly smells of chemicals and no longer of strawberry shortcake. She gets cold and clammy. I watch her every breath. I move to the dark.
Brian lovingly carries her listless and tired body out of the car up the many flights of stairs. We tuck her into her bed. Through her sleepy eyes tells us that “its okay. It always feels better after a nap”. She asks if “maybe later we can get sushi?”. We say yes, of course. We would say yes to a Pony if she asked. We squeeze our bodies around her on her small twin bed. We hold her little hands and watch her chest rise up and down. And we are frozen. We stay, having no idea which direction to move.