Each day that has passed, each and every day since February the 13, a Friday, no less...has been cherished. I don't see this as the start of a new journey yet, nor do I really see it as the continuation of the past. I guess it's a new start, but it's really feeling like 'borrowed time' or 'extra time.'
The last dose of chemotherapy for Luke as a day to celebrate. A day to congratulate him on being so brave, so strong, so tough, so well. It was a day to celebrate that this cancer, this Leukemia, didn't take his life. It was a day to celebrate no more setting timers for nightly chemo, no more IV infusions, no more lumbar punctures, barfing, headaches, leg pains, steroids, tummy meds, overnights, fear, anguish, isolation, disease. It was much to celebrate.
......At the back of the party, there is Fear. Fear has a way of showing up at all events, especially those he's not invited to. He pours poison in the punch bowl, making stomachs turn, and no one know how to feel better. Then arrived Anger, he's wretched. He makes you feel so mad, and that makes you feel guilty, it's like he's poking and poking at you. You tell him to back off, and to leave, you don't need anger, it's not right, you shouldn't have him, but he's relentless. Exhaustion just lingers around. He's not as obvious as the others, but he's equally potent, as he knocks you off your feet, in an endless, sleepless cycle of wakefulness. Exhaustion is the one who makes me embarrassed to be in public, he leaves me with physical marks, puffy eyes and droopy face. I hate him. Just when I feel I've beat him, he creeps into my mind, and doesn't let up in the night, he brings nightmares over and over. Dreams that feel so real. Dreams that I'm getting the spinal taps full of chemo. Dreams that I'm dying. Waking up sweat covered and more exhausted than ever. He's a nemesis to many. Sadness is pathetic. He hangs around with Self Pity. They like to re play over and over the past years. They seem to enjoy watching me squirm, letting the tears fall only in inappropriate times. I kick them hard and fast away, like rats on an open wound. They do me little good. Sadness I'll tolerate, here and there, when he arrives with Hope, but when he arrives with Self Pity, it's forget-it.I almost forgot my other enemy. Anxiety. He's the one my little pills are used to shoo away. He makes my hands shake, and my heart pound. He makes simple situations feel insurmountable. He stops people in their tracks, and freezes them like deer in the headlights. Anxiety is paralyzing, but he's probably not going to win.(He hangs around with Depression, but he is AKA as Sadness, cheeky bugger).
There have been a couple months now, where the treatments are done. I do my stuff. I keep busy. I'm a mother of five, homeschooling, I run daily, I cook, I clean, boy do I CLEAN! The demons they try and push me down, and a lot of days, and weeks, they do. I find myself hurting over the years that Luke was so sick, the years he was still in treatment, the years we 'lost' to cancer, but still had to live to the fullest.
I don't know who I am for certain, or who we are as a family. I know for sure we are not anywhere near who or what we were prior to diagnosis. I think we have become more sensitive, more honest, more cautious, more humbled, more scattered, more thankful, more protective. I think we have let go of a lot of the disappointments, the hurts, but some still sting like fresh wounds ripped open. We are slower to speak, to act, to say...we are watchful. We are watchful for people who may or may not be there if there is a round two. We are watchful for bruising, for spots, for fevers. We are living each day, as if it is a bonus. A bonus few people have a chance to ever know. Every day is a gift. How corny. But, it is. My boy is here, we face challenges of many sorts, but each day I live in the day. I know the past and the terror cancer brought, I don't pretend to predict the future, but I have today. Many don't.
My friends are here, so I have to run.. Here comes Faith. She's who led me through the darkest days, and continues to stand by me. She reminds me daily of my God, my Jesus, and the truth in the Bible. Next comes Love. She's amazing. She loves even when it's almost impossible. Grace is one I truly can not hold a candle to. She's offering up herself to all, and she's so forgiving. I admire Grace, and hope to be like her as time goes on. Lastly, here is HOPE. Hope is my best friend. She never ever gives up. She is there for the religious, and the non religious alike. She is the kind of friend who can always find a silver lining, and the meaning in tough times. She allows us to persevere through loneliness, heartache, failures, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, exhaustion, sadness, self pity. Hope is what we live for.