In case you can’t tell by the looks of things around here, our life looks suspiciously like a “normal” life now. One set of pictures from clinic each month and, otherwise, you are subjected to hundreds of amateur iphone photos of a mother who thinks her toddler’s antics are just the B-E-S-T (in addition to her being an infuriating tiny tyrant).
Despite our having settled into a new “normal,” – a phenomenon that all the doctors, nurses, and social workers insisted actually exists, back when our life was so incredibly NOT normal – so despite having settled, I must say that having a kid on chemotherapy has left me less care-free than I would like. At least once/week, I try to think up excuses to call the Oncology clinic to get Elsa’s counts checked, but I always stop myself, knowing that I’m heading towards a swirling vortex of worry. However, it’s mildly terrifying to be out and about in the world full of coughing and sneezing toddlers and to not know if Elsa’s ANC is 200 or 2000.
I’ve been monitoring and ministering to this small cut on her finger for the past week, trying to gaze into it like it’s the crystal ball to her immune system. It’s been healing incredibly slowly and getting periodically infected-looking, so I’ve deduced that, perhaps, her numbers are low? OR perhaps, if they were low, her finger would have already turned gangrenous and the slowly healing boo-boo is actually a sign that her counts are high? Perhaps too high? And perhaps, if her counts are too high, that is a sign that her chemo is not working? And perhaps, if her chemo is not working . . . I just had to erase the end of that sentence because it’s too hideous to even write. I’ve decreased the amount of time that I spend fretting over Elsa’s cancer by about 90%, but I still get wrapped up in these worry vortexes from time to time, despite my best efforts.
A little boy coughed violently into Elsa’s face today at the library. He coughed in that way that only a small germ-factory toddler can cough: with his mouth open, tongue out, arms down by his side, projectile sputum flying. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze. I’m sure this happens all the time at nursery school, but at least then, I’m not around to watch the infectious spittle traveling in slow-motion towards Elsa’s face.
I’m not religious (or even spiritual, really) but having Elsa out in the world has me struck with this compulsive need to constantly cross myself (something I’ve never done throughout my atheist upbringing and which I had to google in order to figure out if I touched my forehead or shoulders first). In the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, amen. Please just let her be OK.