Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Wise One Returns

So, I have this friend whose daughter has beaten the beast twice. She's pretty much the Dumbledore of all things Wilms, and so aptly sums up anything I could try to write, but in a much more articulate way.

Yay for last day of chemo!

Anyway, Yay. Or Yay-ish. Has anyone given you the speech yet? The "be gentle with yourself because you're going to be a little schizo for a while"?

Well, in case they haven't ...

Be gentle with yourself.

You're probably going to feel ... um, a little erratic.

"Yay! Chemo is over!"

"Sniff ... I miss the nurses."

"Yay! We can go out in public!"

"Sniff ... I'm not sure I know how to be in public anymore."

And on and on. Because it's kind of scary, not having that chemo fix anymore. You might feel like Eve isn't "protected." And you probably got real good at "doing" cancer. You knew the routine. Now, you're back to the normal routine, but it doesn't feel like the normal routine. Because everything changed since back before cancer.

And ... just going from my own experience ... you might have a little depression or anxiety now, that you were too busy to have during treatment.

And talk about your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ... she'll be lying in a funny way, like with her arm under her, and it'll look like a big bump. Or you'll be in Target and hear a beeping like from her IV, and you'll be back there again. "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!"

And maybe none of this will happen. You might be so well-adjusted that you are able to just slip back into regular life with nothing but smiles. If so, I salute you. I mean, I want whatever drugs you're on, but I salute you.

Probably the most crucial thing of all:

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, you are done, and everything should instantly revert back to the way it was. I swear to God, someone asked me to bring cupcakes to a church function the week after my daughter finished chemo.

Anyway, people are going to say really stupid things to you, that they won't know are stupid, like, "Aren't you glad that's all over?" ... not knowing that well, it's never going to be all over, and certainly not anytime soon. And they're not going to understand that now it's time for the Mama to heal. And try to remember just how it is that one does "normal."

p.s. If you figure out that last one, please let me know.

I did make cupcakes this week, though.

I would bake cupcakes everyday of the week to see Dan that happy! I mean, until his elastic-waisted shorts couldn't stretch anymore.


  1. Exactly. "Fighting cancer" is so much more defined than "learning to be normal again while hoping and praying daily to remain NED/ recovering/ healing/ searching for new routines/ dealing with limitless side effects/ PTSD/ and remembering how to just bring cupcakes" This is such unchartered and socially ambiguous territory... (says the mom who flips to the ugly cry way too easily and hugs people too tight these days)

    Thanks to the one who put words on it :)

  2. Oh goodness.....I enjoyed talking to you yesterday. I am glad Eve got to come to church to Daniels' birthday celebration.

  3. I was going to ask you what are you going to do with your free time. My kids are older and I had to adjust to the new season of my life. It's a challenge not to be identified as someone's Mom. It probably will be the same as you start taking care of yourself again, loving your children, but not forgetting who you are and what your best qualities are, besides being the best Mom on the planet :)! So happy chemo is over and await the full head of hair photos :)

  4. OHHHHH, I so get it !!! Wait now it does get easier after the 2nd year. I know 2 years is a long time, everyone's different though. Be nice to yourself, give it time. Your also gonna freak when she takes naps longer that usual or doesn't eat right oh my gosh the list goes on. End of treatment is so much harder than being in treatment at times but there is so much good that comes out of it to. Try to focus on the positive, hey you can go to the store now, maybe even get a manicure once in a while. I know these are mudane task but the stupid little things we take for granted are instantly robbed from us the day the C word comes into our lives. God Bless and sending loads of positive energy your way.
    Cheri and Jackson

  5. beautifully written