Today has been a hard day. For Lucy and for me. She is having a hard time adjusting to the new feeds and complains almost constantly of a tummy ache. It's so hard to see her hurting, but I know she has to eat. It's like rehabilitating a broken leg. It hurts but you have to push through to reach the desired end results. She will grow accustomed to eating again. It's just going to take time.
I'm afraid I'm beginning to come across as a little unstable these days. One day I'm up, thinking about how great Lucy is doing. Then the next I am down. Today, and tonight, I'm way down. Like crying so hard my head is going to explode kind of down. I'm really, really pissed off about cancer tonight.
This is a horrible picture of me, but I think it truly captures exactly how we both were feeling today. We were sitting in the big chair in E clinic. Lucy crying because her tummy hurt and me sobbing because for whatever reason the weight of every mother in that hospital seemed to be on my shoulders today. I met two mothers this afternoon who have been locked in their children's battles for a while. One mom who's son has missed his whole high school experience thanks to Medulloblastoma. When she was telling me this, I cried. In front of this total stranger, I cried and fought back the urge to scream. I hurt for her son so badly. Then I cried for the kind lady who was snuggling with her precious bald headed 15 month old who hadn't seen her 3 year old much for the past year and who is about to journey to the other side of the country for more treatments. I don't know what it was about today. I have walked the halls of that hospital for almost a year now. But today was different. I ached and cried for every parent, every child and every sibling there today.
I also cried as I thought about the last time I saw my precious friends Kristie and Justin. They were sitting in the chairs beside me. I don't know it I will ever sit in those same seats again. That is just a sacred memory to me. I literally felt as if someone was wringing my heart with their hands as I prayed for my friends. If I could carry Kristie's burden for even 1 hour I would. I would love to give her the kind of rest I know she so desperately needs. I would love to provide the strength I know she is searching for right now.
After I brought Lucy home from an all day excursion to the hospital she collapsed on the couch. I could tell she didn't feel well and quickly realized that she was running a fever. So, back to Memphis she went. Erik took her so that I could actually be home with my other two for a few minutes before they went to bed. When I got her off the couch, she was crying and pleading "I just want to stay at my house." My almost 6 year old baby is really starting to get tired of it all. She just wants her normal life back. She cried all morning because she can't go back to school right now. She was so mad at me for the longest time today. (a Rocephin shot and fluids was all she needed tonight, but she did have to get "stuck" for the 3rd time today.)
My sweet Ella is starting to ask a lot of questions about Lucy's cancer that I really am not prepared to answer. I just don't know what to say. When she boldly asks "Will Lucy ever have cancer again?" I don't know what to tell her. I don't want to lie to her but I also don't want to add any more worries to her sweet heart than she already has. She's a worrier by nature, but she's also crazy smart. She knows so much more than I realize. After Friday, Erik and I know that we need to sit and talk with her about some things. We've just got to get Friday under our belts first.
I was talking to my friend Leigh tonight about the feelings and emotions I was dealing with today. I told her about meeting the two new ladies and the conversations that we had. Leigh reminded me of a time in my life where I wrote about knowing there were hurting mothers at St. Jude that needed someone to talk to. They just needed someone to connect with. I wasn't ready then. I was selfish and mourning in my own way. I don't feel bad about that either.
But now things are different for me. I don't usually seek people out to talk to, but I sure am willing to be a set of ears. And I have no problem sharing a tear with a total stranger. Because what I've learned is that when you enter the walls of St. Jude, when you walk the halls as a mother, you are a part of a bigger family. A family whose common bond is fighting like hell to see their children survive. The tears, the anger, the fear...those are the common threads that knit us together. At one point in my journey as a cancer mom, I couldn't carry anyone's burdens but my own. Now I realize that I don't have a choice. I might not personally know every family that walks through those hospital doors but I don't have to. I am living their nightmare with them every day.