Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"They suck, thanks for asking"

“Well, to be honest, they Suck. But thanks for asking!” That’s the reply I felt like giving to anyone who asked me yesterday how things were going. It was not one of our better days, by any means, mainly because I appear to have the emotional stability of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Once again I jinxed us (will I never learn?) by mentioning Kendrie is not having the steroid-induced mood swings like other kids seem to get. What, was she reading over my shoulder and thought, “Aha! I’ll show her!” ???

Anyway, Monday night she had her first temper tantrum, fit, episode of ‘roid rage, whatever you want to call it. I was so taken aback I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry myself. I have never seen a small child so upset, inconsolable ….. freakin’ angry and out of control! Well, sure, strangers' kids in Wal-mart, maybe, but not MY child! She kept complaining, very VERY loudly, that her stomach and pee-pee (the highly technical term we use at our house) hurt, so Tuesday morning, at her oncologist’s suggestion, we decided to have a urinalysis done to make sure she didn’t have any kind of infection. Well, leave it to my military-insured children to get sick on a federal holiday when the base clinic is closed. We called Tricare for a referral and sat on hold for SIXTY MINUTES before giving up and taking her to the local Med Stop. Luckily everything was fine and we could relax that it was only the temper tantrum from Hell and would hopefully be over soon. It wasn’t.

When we left the clinic I drove to Pizza Hut (imagine that) and then I had the nerve, the audacity, the unmitigated GALL to eat one of Kendrie’s breadsticks in the car. OH. MY. GOSH. She started screaming and thrashing about in her car set. It was truly a sight to see. All afternoon and evening she fussed and whined and cried. I understand that the medications she is on cause aches and pains and swelling and puffiness, and some slight mood swings (ya think??) but it is so difficult to witness. Plus, she will not allow you to console or comfort her in any way. No one can touch her, rock her, rub her back or tummy, talk to her, look at her, breath the same air she is breathing, or communicate with her in any fashion. It’s very frustrating as a parent to see your child suffering and be helpless to do anything. So last night Blaine and I vacillated between just sitting and watching her be upset, or walking off and leaving her alone in her bedroom wailing. Neither option made me feel great about my parenting skills.

On top of that, Kellen’s kindergarten teacher pulled me aside after school yesterday to tell me he appears to be having a lot of “sad” days lately and they even caught him crying in class yesterday. Luckily she was very supportive, but that was another chink in the armor of my parenting ability. And let’s just say Brayden has been getting way fewer happy face stickers on her behavior chart since this whole thing started as well. So, great. I have one kid with cancer and two who obviously need years of therapy or will wind up on bell towers.

Last evening, I realized hiding in the bathroom crying wasn’t helping anyone, so I went online to my support group and begged people to either tell me their children had gone through the same thing, or at least lie and make me feel better. Can I just say how much I adore this new group of online friends??? Thank you SO MUCH to Doug, Carrie, Karin, Jane, Kim, Lola, Tammy, Jan, Karen, Kathi, Regina, Arlene, Sue, Carolyn, Terry, Belinda, and Machelle (and others I probably missed) for reassuring me that this is all normal, and will pass. I hate that their children --any children -- have gone through the same things, but am so appreciative that they are willing to help a "newbie" like myself to understand the long road facing us, and give us a little guidance and perspective along the way. I especially loved the comment one of them made, which pretty much summed up the way I was feeling:

“Having a child with cancer in this day and age is like living a nightmare and a miracle at the same time – it is just surreal sometimes.”

Words cannot express my gratitude at these fellow “cancer parents” who made me feel better, and even made me laugh (one mom compared her daughter to a pregnant chipmunk, ha!) And then I got online this morning and checked Kendrie’s guestbook and felt better all over again, to know we have so many fabulous friends and family members all over the country, and even new friends in Canada, who are keeping us in their thoughts as well. My morale was flagging, and you all gave it a much-needed boost.

So! Now we look forward to our clinic visit on Friday, and the fact that Kendrie will be finished with the first month of chemotherapy treatment. Bye-Bye Induction (and steroids for a while!), Hello Consolidation! (only 25 months to go)

Plus, how can I be depressed in the face of such wonderful news: Our dear friends the Warcholiks gave birth on Monday (well, let’s be honest, Kim did all the work but Kenny made the exciting phone call to let us know!) to a healthy, happy, beautiful set of twin boys: Austin David, 6 lb 3 oz and Dillon Micah, 6 lb 13 oz. Proof positive that even during crappy times, wonderful things are still happening in the world. Our congratulations to the entire Warcholik family: proud parents Kim and Kenny, and big brothers Jacob and Nathan!

WORST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Having a mom who is so greedy she will eat one of my precious golden breadsticks without my permission.

BEST THING ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Having a mom who swears she will never, not on her life, eat one of my breadsticks without asking again.

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