My Keys to Courage

Yesterday was the hardest chemo day we have had to date.  So much for 2015 being kind to Elena…

My poor little girl was sick the entire second half of the day, eventually just dry heaving because she had nothing else in her stomach to throw up.  Her Zofran wasn’t enough to help her combat the nausea and we had to resort to Adavan to help calm her stomach.  After drenching the bed and sheets (and herself and me) the first time and the floor the second, she finally learned to use the blue plastic bags to puke in.  I hate that in that moment I was proud of her.  As my heart was breaking for what seems to be the millionth time in the last five months, I was viciously proud of her understanding and fight in that moment.  Most mothers are proud of special milestones…but cancer moms have a whole different set of milestones we celebrate.  And puking into a bag at two years old, knowing that your toddler has the understanding, even when she is so sick and uncomfortable, is one of them.

My husband used to do sick visits to the doctor for our girls…not because I was busy or had to work, but because I really couldn’t handle the stress and would become seriously anxious over my kids being sick.  With a cold.  And here I am now; calmly getting puked on, comforting and caressing Elena as she gets her port accessed, spending days and countless hours in a hospital and watching as she periodically goes through sedation and anesthesia for MRI’s and biopsies.  Well played, cancer, well played indeed.  Thank you life for teaching me how to handle my anxiety over sickness but I think I you went overboard this time.

I thought this blog would be a good way to talk about what I’m feeling but it’s not.  Not the way I had imagined it would. Because I can’t describe it.  How do you explain the need to scream and cry in a fit of rage, all the while keeping yourself in a happy and sily mood for your daughter?  How can I describe the pain each tear she sheds causes?  Or put into words the hollowing panic I have as I watch the video monitor while she naps and see she hasn’t stirred in a while…? I can’t.  So instead, I discuss as best as I can the idea of my emotions and Elena’s experiences.

A friend of mine sent me a Giving Key last week. If you have a minute, look up The Giving Keys, as their message is beautiful and inspiring.   Mine says “courage.”  The note she sent me had me in tears, and the message was something I really needed to hear.  I really don’t feel courageous.  I feel weak and helpless.  But yesterday, as Elena napped on me in her hospital bed I asked Mario to take the key out of my purse and give it to me.  Clenching it in my fist as I watched my daughter rest peacefully, I realized I have the tools to BE courageous enough to get Elena, and the rest of us through this ordeal.  I have my family.  My two amazing daughters and a ridiculously supportive husband.  I am a lucky cancer mom in that we get to take Elena home after terrible days like yesterday, instead of staying stuck in hospital for an indefinite amount of time.  I have my friends.  Those who have helped me with Annalise when needed and been a shoulder for me to cry on and vent to.  And I have all of you, whoever you are.  Thank you for being a part of my courage…it is saving my life right now.

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2 thoughts on “My Keys to Courage

  1. Dear Dawn and Mario,

    I know it has been quite a while since I have seen both of you, but I have been following this blog for its duration. I just wanted to leave a note and tell you that I will always remember the countless hours spent in the store with you two, and especially the sunshine that is Annalise. From that time spent, I know that all three of you have incredible courage, determination, and stamina. You, of all people, will make it through this terrible tragedy. Although I have never met Elena, I’m sure she also beholds the same attributes as her parents and older sister.

    I’m so sorry for your pain, and wish you all the best. If there is anything I can do please let me know. I’m sure I will see you around some day.

    With love,
    Elisabeth Giraud

    Like

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