Thursday, September 29, 2016

When I Might Be Drowning

What a person publishes a post entitled, "What's Saving My Life Currently," you might correctly infer that said person feels their life needs saving.

Last week was a really hard week for me.

I had a cold. I had women's issues. I had a kid going in for her second round of chemo.

And, for some reason, facing this second round of chemo was much harder for me than facing up the first round.

I think it is because chemo side effects was no longer a vague idea. It was pretty concrete as far as Meres goes. I knew we would be facing days of nausea and jaw pain. And, who wants their kid to go through that.

Meres first chemo day was LONG. The staff had said it would be long, but in all of our combined figurings, we were 3-4 hours off. One of Meres' chemo drugs requires her to be well hydrated before they start it. Hydration at this level does not consist of drinking a few glasses of water. It involves hours being hooked up to a saline I.V. drip. Two hours before chemo, two hours after.

Thankfully, some other things are happening simultaneously with those 4 hours, or this would be an extra 5 hours or so, on top of chemo.

So, the long day ended up being twice as long as I thought. Even though everything went off without a hitch. Blood counts were fantastic. Everything went very well.

I was a weepy mess on and off that first day. I think it was a perfect storm of events. The long day. The anticipation of side effects. (which thankfully, were much more mild than last time. Nausea for several days, but still good eating. And the jaw pain was manageable with Tylenol. And she still was able to eat.)

The sight of my baby getting chemo. Which is crazy, by the way. The nurses suit up in special bibs and gloves when they are handling the chemo. There is the skull and crossbones motif on the bags. It is toxic. And I am allowing those toxic substances to go into my child. It really puts things in to perspective and kind of freaks me out. But, I also have peace that we have made the right decision.

But, here is the other thing. My support group at Gilda's Club kind of freaked me out, and put me in a not good place. We attend a family and friends' group. We are supporters of someone in our life who has cancer. A parent, spouse, child, friend. Well, three of the members in our group are facing almost imminent death with their person. They are getting ready to transition from the cancer support group to the grief support group.

And, things are ticking along quite well here. But, then I get scared. We have a good prognosis. Enucleation and chemo for retinoblastoma has a 95% cure rate. But, what if Meres falls in the 5%? What if I am clinging to this hope, and this doesn't end up being the finish to her cancer journey? What if she has to have more surgery and more chemo to fight cancer in other parts of her body? Do all those people in the support group look at us and think they were in our optimistic shoes once? Poor, deluded us?

The what-ifs are a horrible black pit.

I cried with the social worker when she asked how I was handling this. I cried on my own. I cried with Mr. Hippie on our date last night, when I articulated exactly where I was at. I'm crying as I'm typing this. And, I'm betting I will cry in the support group tonight.

I know God is gracious, and merciful, and good. I know He will be with us step by step, no matter what each step holds. I do know that. I'm not doubting it.

I'm just hoping, hoping, hoping, that the six chemo treatments are the end. That I don't have to take my child for anymore chemo treatments or surgeries. Radiation or labs. That I don't have to watch her vomit or cry as she is trying to eat. That I don't have to sit passively while the nurse hooks my daughter up to toxins that are supposed to kill the worse cells-the ones that could actually kill her.

Hope that the chemo is doing its job.

Resting in the fact that the MRI showed no cancer or metastasizing in her brain or other eye.

Grace to face today.

Vulnerability to say, I'm not strong in myself. This is a really hard path to walk. Maybe I'm good enough, but not necessarily good. Fine, but not exactly okay.

In case you were wondering.