How did you know?
It's a question that has been asked a lot. Something that always takes me back to the week leading to her diagnosis. The answer is....I didn't know my child had cancer. It was never a thought in my head until they said it after a week of testing.
I have tried so hard to put the hard stuff way back in the back of my mind and decided I would deal with it later. I just want happy, normalcy. I want to not feel sadness and anxiety on the daily. Worrying about Arlie's health and all the clinic children. Cancer has consumed our lives. I feel like there isn't a moment in the day that I don't think about something that involves cancer....and it's exhausting. What I've learned this week with putting the hard stuff away for later is, it will surface when you least expect it.
Arlie got a stomach bug the beginning of the week. It hit her while I was working on 2 clients hair and boy was it messy and chaotic. That's mamahood, though. VERY messy. Emotional+physical. I called her oncologist as soon as fever hit. We always have to take fever seriously. Thankfully we didn't have to go in because it was very clear that it was normal kid stuff. All was good, just lots of snuggles and cleanup. Fast forward to Friday night. Arlie now has a cold. She was still randomly throwing up due to her choking on lots of mucous. Derek had just left to go hang with a friend. Arlie had just thrown up. At that moment I had a flashback of the night before I took Arlie to the hospital. Derek left to go canoeing with friends. We both knew something wasn't right with Arlie but he was really looking forward to this trip, so he left. Arlie had been dry heaving all week. By know You could imagine that she was exhausted. Pale, thin and literally slept ALL week. I cleaned up the mess and laid down with her. Worry was an understatement. I remember sitting in Arlie's room with my best friend, Steph telling her something wasn't right but i didn't know what. I had taken her into to her pediatrician 2 or 3 times with no answers(Mamas always listen to your gut).
June 4th I woke up to Arlie throwing up blood. I was at home alone and thankfully my mom got there in minutes. I remember driving as fast as I could to Vanderbilt watching the sunrise as I drove down the interstate. I had a moment of piece seeing the sunshine, but little did I know what the next week would look like.
PTSD is a real thing. It hits when you least expect it. I didn't know that Arlie throwing up this week would take me back to the day Arlie was admitted. I realized I can't keep pushing the hard stuff away. Sometimes you need to acknowledge your feelings, feel them, talk to your loved ones about them. It's something a lot of people don't do anymore... talk about it. I realized I've been living this season with half joy and half fear because my thoughts have always been there even when I thought they weren't.
These are some special moments the week leading up to her admission. It's crazy looking at them now knowing leukemia had just started manifesting in her little body.