Wednesday, September 7, 2011

365 Days

It's been one year since we were told Zoe had leukemia.
Blood Cancer.
A day that will burned into my brain until the end of time.  
I remember the skirt that she was wearing the day we were told.  I'll probably never get rid of it.
I'll never forget that both her father and pediatrician cried in the exam room. 
She just looked around and wondered "why are these grown men crying?"  
I was mad. 
I had mentioned to my cousin earlier in the day that I wondered if she had leukemia.  
A mother's intuition can be spot-on.  
I wish I had been wrong that day.

She had had a good summer...  

Swimming at home and and hanging out in Chicago...

But by the time school was starting she was looking tired.
She was getting headaches and had these horrible bruises that weren't going away.
She wasn't right and we knew it.


She had always been healthy.
She was a perfectly chubby baby. 
A baby who was never, ever sick.

A baby who came into this world feet first because she liked living inside me upside down.
Who knew that one day she would turn us upside down.

A baby who grew into a perfectly healthy chubby toddler.
No ear infections, no fevers.
Wait, I take that back...I think she had pink eye once. 

The toddler who grew into the vivacious and wide-eyed little girl.
We did what we thought was food, no soda EVER, plenty of fresh air and exercise, musical stimulation at Wiggleworms followed by dance class as she got older.  Regular visits to the pediatrician, immunizations, flu shots. 
We did what we were supposed to do... 

But when cancer decides to come over, it doesn't knock.  It busts right on in.  Destroying your hopes and dreams (albeit only for the moment.)  Altering your daughter's once carefree childhood.  Turing your blissful life into one of needles, hospitals and screams.

Zoe used to sob and ask us "Why did I have to get cancer?
Why did this have to happen to me?"
We have never had a good answer because we don't know why.  Is it just a kink in her DNA? 

It will forever be a mystery.

But we forged ahead. 
Doing what the doctors said to save her life. 
Administering medicines at home and getting up before dawn to drive to the hospital for a surgery or so that they could shoot poison into her veins to kill the cancer. 
We watched them use radiation on her still forming brain because the leukemia cells may still be hiding up there. 
Just waiting to reemerge and ruin her again.   

We are in fear of a relapse.
We are in fear of her future...of another type of cancer showing itself.
But we don't let on about that to her.
And we don't verbalize it.
It's something that swirls around in my mind every single day.
But the less energy we give to worrying about cancer, the less it has to feed on.

So we trudge on. 
Doing normal things and hoping to get through the next 365 days with a bit more ease.
To live each day with our hearts on our sleeves.
Because someday, this will hopefully be nothing but a memory. 
A sour distraction from her past.
And our future for her will be nothing but sunshine... 

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