December 1, 2010
Tanner went in for her monthly clinic visit today to get Vincristine in her port. Her counts were high (too high, really) at 3,500. Dr. Mixan doesn’t know why, but per protocol, we will wait a few months to see if she comes back down before raising her chemo above 100%.
Tanner has been to clinic 5 times in the last month. During maintenance, we typically go once a month, but for counts checks, flu shot study and a fever, we happened to be there a lot last month. This morning, she just started to cry when I told her it was time to get dressed for clinic. I hugged her and told her I wished we didn’t have to go and helped her get dressed. We dropped Jake at Aunt Beth’s house and went to the hospital.
The clinic visit went very smoothly, but Tanner kept telling me the whole time that her stomach hurt and she didn’t think she could go back to school. Then, when I thought for a brief time she might make it back for recess, she rallied and was excited to go back. But, when we got in the car, I looked at the clock and there was no way to make it to recess. Tanner started yelling at me in this desperate voice, “Just drive really fast. Don’t stop for lunch. Just get me there… just GET ME THERE!”
I didn’t say a thing. What could I say? I knew it wasn’t just about recess. It was about missing things in general. Going to the hospital to get poked and get chemo while your brother spends a fun filled day at Aunt Beth’s house and your classmates get to go out for recess. Not for the first time, nor the only time. For the 60th or 70th time.
The car got very quiet and I could hear her sniffling in the back seat. I wanted to say something comforting, but I don’t know any more comforting words. I’m fresh out. “Don’t worry, we’ll just be doing this 20 more times or so for 9 more months and
THEN we’ll be done.” Yes, that would be cheerful.
Then, she told me she was sorry she yelled at me and asked me how much longer she would have to do this. “Nine months,” I said, quietly. She just began to cry and said, “I wish I was someone else.”
Again, no words of comfort. She had given up and so had I. It’s just too long sometimes. Too much behind us and too much ahead. She’s doing so well and I know I should be grateful, but I don’t feel that way lately. I just feel tired and ready to not worry about all of this.
I ended up letting her stay home the rest of the day. I just couldn’t muster up enough momminess to encourage her to go back. I’m sad for her, but in this numb kind of way where I seem paralyzed to do much to help.
I realize this post is a big downer, but if I’m being truthful, these days are just as much a part of the journey as the celebratory ones or the tragically sad ones. In between are these numb ones where caring about all of this seems like a lot to ask. Leukemia is an exhausting disease that could wear anyone down. I know we will make it to the end; even on a day like today I have no doubt of that. I know we are strong enough to endure. But, I also know that there will be battle scars that never heal as a result. For all of us. And some days, I mourn those scars and question why this had to happen at all.