Earlier this year Oliver was diagnosed with cancer. I have kept the whole cancer experience off-line. I thought I was guarding my heart, but really I was scared to write about it because that would make it real. My biggest aim was to push through and get to the “other side”.
The so called “other side” was meant to be on Tuesday after we had our follow up with Oliver’s oncologist. In my mind I had it played out, the oncologist would check Oli and tell me everything is fine. He would tell me Oliver is completely healed. I honestly thought, after the check up I could close this chapter, file it away under horror-stories-never-to-be-relived-again. Sure, I knew I would need to have a check up every 2 to 3 months, but in my head that was simply a formality.
As we made our way to UNITAS hospital on Tuesday morning, all I kept saying over and over was “Jesus, guard my heart against bad news”. “Jesus help me, because I seriously cannot take any more bad news – I am not strong enough”.
It was a stressful morning. As we made our way through the corridors Oliver grabbed me and told me he didn’t want to go down the passage that leads to the paediatric oncology ward. We knew where the ward was, he knew where bloods are done. He was okay with the doctors rooms, but even the bathrooms were off limits. He was one determined little boy.
From our previous visit, I expected a quick check-up, no bloods or tests, that would have us on our way within 45 minutes, max. When the doctor asked for blood, I went cold. As soon as the doctor looked at Oli’s veins he knew what was coming. Even the “magic” cream that would mean the bloods wouldn’t hurt, held no magic.
Naturally I did what every desperate mother with an aching heart does, I bought Oliver a toy. We sat in the little coffee shop, sipping (much needed) juice and coffee and opened the toy ambulance. We examined every little bit while (1) waiting for the magic cream to kick in and (2) pretending we didn’t have to go ahead with the inevitable poking and prodding at the pathologist’s offices.
The day was emotional and stressful, but here is what I learnt:
- It is okay to cry in front of my kids, as long as it isn’t the “ugly” cry. But they really can cope with a couple of tears.
- Regardless of whether the bloods are positive or negative, this isn’t a chapter that can be closed off or filed. Oliver has a condition that may “flair” up at any given time. All I can be is diligent in protecting and watching over him. All I can do is hold on and cherish today for what it is.
- I have so much to be thankful for.
- I have an amazing support system that will move mountains to help and assist me.
- We have had it easy compared to so many other families.
- It is okay to not be okay.
The good news, Oliver is clean. The treatment has worked. My little boy is healthy. We are grateful beyond words! We are blessed! We’ve been praying for healing and healing is what we’ve received. Oli is okay!