Today is a good day.
I had a lot of mixed feelings when we stopped chemotherapy. It wasn't a light decision at all; Chris and I agonized over it for a while, but finally decided the cons outweighed the pros for me. The main part of that statement? FOR ME. Every cancer case is different; from the prognosis, to the surgery outcome, to the type of tumor, to the side effects of chemo.
I have been very lucky in that I belong to an online support group ( Appendix Cancer Support Group) on facebook that has really helped me in this journey. Its a closed group so people are honest and discuss/ ask things that normally we might shy away from talking about. I have never been someone content to hide my head in the sand and go forward blindly, so the information and support have been invaluable. From the people there I have learned that some of the issues I was dealing with weren't that odd; I got suggestions, recommendations, understanding. Belonging to some sort of support group has been crucial in helping us cope.
This weekend we are taking Aiden with us to a 'Children's Group' at the Cancer Centre. He has a wonderful counselor at his elementary school that he gets to see once a week, but this is sort of a family counseling that takes place every 2-3 months through the center. He is very eager to go and find kids going through a similar experience, and we are also donating some cancer kids books to his school for his birthday.
We have always had great communication with him and he's a wonderful little guy, but lately I've been noticing more and more he's reluctant to discuss his worries and fears - he doesn't want to stress US further!
Chemo was hard on me, physically and emotionally. It was really hard on Aiden and Chris too. Aiden in particular was a lot more nervous - he started sleeping with a nightlight again, and needing a lot more cuddles and reassurances. When there were fire, earthquake and 'burglar' drills at his school he was terrified. My impression was that chemo showed him how weak and vulnerable I can really be, and he wasn't expecting that. People always talk about the toll that cancer takes on the body, but fewer discuss the toll it takes on the spirit, on the heart.
This week Aiden had a cough and a bit of a fever; as I'm being careful not to catch anything bad before we have the chance to get our flu shots next week we kept him home to nip it in the bud. We cuddled ( carefully) cooked, drew, played... it was wonderful. Today when he went off to school he was a much, much happier little boy. I think now he feels that I'm back. We've always been peas in a pod, doing everything together. The last few months I couldn't even really take him to school and pick him up, never mind really do anything fun together. Now that the chemo is finally leaving my body I'm starting to have more energy and we're returning to our routines; he was so happy that I took him to school today. Bit by bit, and day by day we're getting back a little of the peace of mind we'd lost.
Our world, however, has forever changed.
Still, today is a good day! For the first time in several months I feel like -me-; I look at the mess in my house and want to dig into it and clean it. I brought out my fabrics and have been making tiny doll clothes. I have the writing done for a children's book I'm planning to make with Aiden about our on-going journey.
Autumn is here and it feels like I have missed out on just about every season this year; that's okay... I look forward to enjoying them all next year, G-d willing!