Several months ago I had a dream that stuck with me. I enjoy walks/hikes and this is how this dream started off. I was walking along a trail on a beautiful sunny day and remarking to myself how perfect this hike was when I abruptly came upon a cliff. So abruptly that I simply stepped right off it without even seeing it. I landed in a raging river and while sputtering back to the surface I'm thinking to myself "How did I not see it? I don't normally walk off cliffs... this can't be happening." While I'm trying to keep myself afloat and staring at the tall cliff I just walked off, I hear a voice behind me saying "Hey, come, follow me this way". I turn to see someone afloat in a tube in the same raging river but smiling while waving me on, "The end of the river is this way, you'll be OK." Still numb and unable to think, I just start to swim my way along side her and begin to notice that the water doesn't seem as raging and I'm able to swim smoother. Getting over the shock, I look ahead and I see that there are others swimming in the same river towards the river's end, which in the distance looks so much more calmer. My goal becomes, 'get to the end of the river.' As I swim I start to feel stronger and I look back at the cliff I had walked off and to my surprise I see someone walking off it like I did, and some more already in the water behind me. I holler back to them to "Come, this way, you'll be OK!"
As I'm swimming along and gathering with others swimming and floating along the way I notice that there is a couple at the shore edge being helped out of the water. My first thought was "hey, how come they get to get out earlier", but quickly
change my thought to "its better to stay in the river" as I see and hear their cries. Yes, stay in the river and swim to the end, that is best place to be.
I woke up shortly after that. That was where we were in our journey of childhood cancer with our middle child. We had walked off a cliff we didn't see, floundered a bit as we asked "why, why our son, why our son with special needs, why our family, why us, why me." We found our way among others on a similar journey ahead of us that were more than willing to be supportive and encouraging. And yes, the reality of those who left the journey early to start a different journey of loss and grief.
Now we are further down the river. The waters are calmer and the sky sunnier. The river is still going on. How long is it, I don't really know... but I like swimming too and we are together.
Z is coming close to the end of his chemo treatment. Aug 28th is the day I think, it was awhile ago the Dr told me so I may be off a bit, but end of August for sure. That may still seem long off to some but in a three and half year treatment protocol, this is pretty close to the end. For the longest time I didn't even think about "how much longer" because it was so far off, but once the calendar flipped to 2011, I unfortunately have been thinking more about this end date, the light at the end of the tunnel.
"Unfortunately" you ask?
Why? Isn't this something to look forward too? Well yes, it is something to look forward too, but it can become obsessive too. You know the count down, imagining not having to remember oral chemo meds to give, getting Rx filled, Dr appointments, health, low counts and chicken pox. I have been so caught up on thinking about when this is all done that I started to get upset and annoyed that I still have too right now. Last Saturday I was thinking about how I am just sick and tired of having to always think and remember what meds Z needs and also sick and tired of how grumpy he can be because of some of these meds. So what should happen to a mom already really feeling annoyed and bothered by chemo
life.... a fever. Z started running a fever and had to go in the hospital to get checked out and was admitted to be put on antibiotics, run tests and monitor. Great, just great.
We've been through this all before, so nothing new, but it was a good reminder to me to get back to 'one day at time'
thinking and stop focussing on the light at the end of the tunnel and just be in the present. Guess what... I'm not annoyed anymore... for now at least... I'm only human.
Seems that everyone remembers to be thankful at Thanksgiving weekend and I am no different as we do have lots to be thankful for. First, we GET TO celebrate Thanksgiving around table of food with family and friends. We GET TO because we have food and family. We take that all for granted but it is still true none the less. And with that I encourage everyone to drop food off at a food bank collection and share in your abundance whatever it is and when you are sitting around your table with your family, take a look at them all and at the very least say "thank you" in your heart that everyone at your table is with you this year.
We have an extra thing to be thankful for this year. It is our biggiest, most bestest thankful thing and it is that our son finished a long 3 1/4 years of chemotherapy at the end of August. I was reminded last night when an ear infection started on him and I brought him in to get checked out. I expected it to be a quick look and antibiotics and we are out, but he also had a fever. Since he is considered immune compromised for several month after chemo as well, that meant blood tests to check his counts which if they were low he would be admitted, which in turn would mean not able to attend and host thankgiving dinners this weekend. It's happened before and you learn to roll with it, but I'm am very thankful that his counts were good after all and he could go home with antibiotics and a follow up on Wednesday.
So this Thanksgiving we also GET TO be together as a family.
Yes, I am Thankful.