When I posted on Facebook that we’re taking Cub, my son, to the hospital because he has a fever, I didn’t say that whenever his temperature reaches 100.4, we are supposed to have him to the hospital within 1 hour so broad spectrum antibiotics can begin being administered through his port immediately, or we might not be able to beat whatever is causing the fever.
When I posted that Cub had severe hand and foot pain, I didn’t say that some of his chemo meds cause severe, usually temporary nerve pain (exactly like diabetic neuropathy) in his extremities and sometimes throughout his whole body. Sometimes, it causes excruciating pain just to be touched.
When I posted that Cub was constipated, I didn’t say that some of his meds cause his bowels to fall asleep. It is not a matter of eating more fiber, drinking more water, or getting more activity — a part of his body actually shuts down.
When I posted that he had severe cramps, I didn’t say that he’s receiving maximum doses of Miralax, Lactulose, and Senna to stimulate his bowels because an impaction removal procedure is not possible on a patient with a compromised immune system because it could cause a devastating infection.
When I posted that his counts were a little low, I didn’t say that his ANC had dropped to 200, or 40, or even zero, leaving him with literally no immune system. This is usually caused by the chemo meds.
When I posted that a friend brought me lunch, I didn’t say that out of a 72-hour hospital stay, Cub and I were alone for 69 hours of it.
When I posted that we were tired, I didn’t say that we had already been dealing with nerve pain for a week before being admitted to the hospital, and neither of us had had a full night’s sleep in almost 2 weeks.
When I posted that he was experiencing some relief, I didn’t say that he was still suffering from such severe nerve pain, that he couldn’t hardly roll himself onto his side to get out of bed, and if I touched him to help him walk, it would make him scream.
When I posted that he’d been feeling a little lonely and blue, I didn’t say that because of his immune system, he’s only had 4 playdates in the last year, including a belated 6 1/2 birthday “party” because he was in the hospital on his 6th birthday. And, I didn’t say that he receives a strong dose of steroids 5 days out of every month that causes a range of emotions – from hyperactivity to depression.
When I posted “only 83 weeks to go!,” I didn’t say that my 6-year old son has a total of 2 1/2 to 3 years of treatment, with 1 year almost behind him. I didn’t say that he sometimes thinks he can’t do it, and that it’ll never end, so I made him a chart to mark off every week, with the last week marked in red.
When I posted #lovemyboy #leukemiawontstopus #braveboy, I didn’t say how sometimes I feel so unworthy of this journey, yet my heart swells with pride for my son even on the hard days. Especially on the hard days. I didn’t say that I have a 6-year-old son who has endured more medical procedures and medications than most of us will in our lifetime, yet he can still laugh and play and love and dream, and teach his mommy how beautiful life is, even on the hard days.
Especially on the hard days.