Wednesday, June 8

Carpe Diem

School's out around here, and that's supposed to mean lots of trips to the pool and hanging out outside. But Mother Nature seems to have different plans.

We've had some wacky weather here, and it's still much cooler than "normal" (whatever that means) for this area. Tons of rain, even though we live in a desert. Cool temps, even though we live in a desert.

The kids and I have yet to establish a routine for these summer days. We sleep in, eat late, and end up getting not much accomplished before Dad comes home. (Can you tell I'm feeling a bit guilty?) That is going to have to change soon!

Even with the guilt, it's been so wonderful to hang out with the kids and just be. Ya know? There were days, weeks, and months a few years back that I wasn't sure I'd be around to see any of this. I am so grateful for the opportunity.

I try and remember this daily. Sometimes it's easier than others. (I now have a 10 year old son who thinks he's an adult. Ugh!) And this shouldn't have had to come from my cancer experience. Every parent should be so thankful for every moment they get with their little ones.

You hear it alot from older people. That your little ones aren't little for very long. When we're young, we often roll our eyes and can't see past the shouting match we just had with our kid over the need to change their underwear on a daily basis. (Yes, sadly, this really did happen fairly recently at my house.)

We need to take a step back, once a day at least, and see our lives for what they really are: a gift. Take a deep, cleansing breath and remember one thing about your life or your child that makes you smile.

Ever since cancer, one of my goals is to get people to realize they can seize the day without the shitty cancer journey. Each and every person can see the good, not the bad. They can smile, not frown. The glass is half-full, and all that. It's all a choice, and as soon as you realize that, your life will be so much richer!

So, from time to time, I will be reminding you all of how great life is, and to seize the day! Sometimes all we need is a little nudge. :-)

Thursday, June 2

It just brings it all back

Anyone else ever have flashbacks?

My daughter recently had pneumonia. We visited her doc, got her on antibiotics, and she got well.

Then End.

Except, not so much.

She was better, but after a few days of "being well" she started coughing again. And something about that cough just made my worry-center go into overdrive.

I'm not the type of Mommy who runs to the doctor at every little thing. In fact, I'm more like the Mommy who keeps telling her kids "You're fine!" all while wondering how much worse it will get before I break down and bring them in. Yep, report me to CPS.

After about a week of worrying about this child who never complains, I finally took her in to the urgent care. (It was the weekend, and of course I didn't want to wait 3 hours to see her regular doc, who may or may not be on call that weekend, and who most certainly is seeing a bunch of more sick kiddos than mine.) Because she'd already had pneumonia and a round of antibiotics, they wanted a chest x-ray to determine if there was residual infection or just irritation in the lungs. Bronchospasm, for you medical types.

Off we go, my little 7 year old's hand in mine, to the imaging room. Little did she know, I think I was more nervous to go there than her.

The sterility of that room is horrible. Necessary, but so unwelcoming.

The mass of the machines. The very clinical nature of it all.

I was having massive flashbacks to my first days of diagnosis, and all those tests! My heart was beating so hard I could swear my daughter could feel it through my hand. I could even feel a bit of perspiration coming on my brow. What was happening to me?

My poor daughter was hanging on to me for dear life. She was scared, never having experienced an x-ray like this before. The tech was doing her best to explain things in a way a 7 year old could understand, but was not quite hitting the mark.

Deep breaths. In. Out. Repeat. I had to be a calming presence for my little girl.

"Look at this camera! How weird would it be if Mommy had to carry that around to take pictures of you guys? And that lead skirt makes it hard to walk around, huh? This is just like getting your picture taken at home, except with this picture we get to see the inside of your chest. How cool is that?"

It went something like that. I think. I hope.

In any event, she calmed down and did a bang up job getting the x-rays done. And yep, sure enough, it showed residual infection in there. Bring on another round of antibiotics.

I'm nearly 5 years out from diagnosis, and I still find myself having mini-panic attacks whenever I am near a hospital or medical treatment room. The smells just bring it all back. I swear I can smell the chemo room every time I drive past the hospital in town, and my stomach does a flip.

But yeah, I'm nearly 5 years out. And I have gained some perspective on things. Thankfully, I've gained the ability to hide the fear so my little girl doesn't have to worry about me so much anymore. And that is worth more than most people will ever know.

Do you ever have flashbacks? What brings them on? How do you cope with them? Do you try and hide your fears from your kids, or do you talk about them? How do your kids handle your fears? I'd love to hear your thoughts, even if you've never had cancer. Everyone has fear.