Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Arms To Hold You Up

I try not to read other people's stories of their child's cancer journey.
I certainly don't look on mainstream cancer websites.
At the beginning of Zoe's journey with leukemia I did peruse the Leukemia and Lymphoma "my child has cancer" chat rooms.
It was horrible.
A lot of very angry parents, spilling their guts about the horrible things happening to their children.
Many searching for someone, anyone, to reach out to them.
It was too much to read.
Reading blog posts from other parents is heart wrenching as well.
I try not to do it.
But today, I read one that took me back.
Took me back to a time that I dealt with already with my own child.
A time that I mustered through.
In a fog, really.
We plodded through each day.
Taking it one second at a time.
I can look back at it now and it wasn't a pretty thing to remember.

Zoe must have been just a few months into treatment and she was still trying to go to school.
She was having a hard time walking because of the chemo.
Her feet weren't cooperating at all.
It happens to most kids who get this certain drug.
So, I was waiting out front of her school like I did every day at 2:50.
There was one step she needed to get down.
Only one step.
Only one step separated her from the trials of school and her mother's arms.
But it was a mountainous step for her.
Her teacher had ahold of someone else's hand that afternoon.
Zoe was on her own to get down that one step.
But she couldn't do it.
She fell down that one step.
And just laid there on her stomach, not able to move at all.
I ran full speed to her, probably knocking some other kids out of the way.
To help her recover her dignity.
Because that's what she had really hurt falling down that step.  
It was horrible to see that day and it feels one hundred percent more horrible to my heart to think about it again.
She was so different from the little girl I had dropped off at school only two months before.
She was swollen from steroids, almost bald, unable to bound around like her peers.
I think she stopped going to school shortly after that incident.
She had a home tutor and did great on her own pace at home.
In between blood draws from a home nurse, trips to the hospital, and a feeling of constant nausea, she did excel and enjoyed learning.  

We are getting our girl back.
But not a day goes by that I don't get angry that this whole ordeal had to happen to her.
She had to miss out on so much. 
Her hair is still not cooperating.
Her face still seems like someone else's at times...she's now having skin issues from I don't know what.
She's emerging from her foggy chemo brain.
Interacting better with everyone.
Her energy is up.
But, I won't forget that day she fell at school.
Not for the rest of my life.
We always drive our kids to and from school.
They don't take a bus.
Because sometimes that face that you see at the end of the day, mom's face, is more important than anything else.
That face reminds you that you are more than cancer.
And there are arms to hold you tight... 


  1. I am so glad that you are Zoe's Mom. You are exactly what she needed. Thanks for picking her up from school! This is a beautiful post.