Thursday, April 4, 2013

Keeping it together

I have to assume that I generally manage things pretty well, by virtue of the fact that we are plugging along as a family. The saying in our house is "If Mama isn't happy, then no one is happy!" This is probably true. But, we Ramers are all pretty happy, generally speaking, so I will consider this to be my personal barometer.

That isn't to say that I never struggle, or that I am never worried, always keeping the family apple cart of emotions upright, only that I usually manage to keep my worries in their place. The future, and all of the goodies or horrors that it may hold, it is for another day... for another version of me to either enjoy or deal with. This is my philosophical position...usually.

Over the holiday weekend, I really struggled, and it took me a while to figure out why. Brent now has two spots on his abdominal incision that have opened, a potentially infected ingrown toenail, and undefined hip pain...whether from PT or an inflamed hip, well, that is anyone's guess. The thought and possibility of doing another 'clean out' surgery in New York is understandably unappealing, but not what had me crawling out of my own skin.

It took me a while, but I figured out that what had me all bejiggedy, is that we are backed up against scans for both kids. These are predominantly brain tumor and osteosarcoma follow up scans, not the big LFS scans, although we have a couple of those thrown in for good measure. So that I am clear, understand that I have nothing concerning in either child, nothing that worries me about a new oncological problem. Absolutely nothing.

But, were Brent in particular, to have an oncological issue, the incision, the hip, and even the toenail could all be a problem, of varying severity and consequences. This had me rather worked up over the weekend. To no good end, I might point out.

God bless my husband, who helps keep me in line. We had planned on me taking the kids out of town for a couple of days over spring break, because he is still trying to build up some time at work. On Tuesday, while I played volleyball with my friends, he booked us lodging outside of DC, picked up some car snacks and library books...and the kids and I left in the morning. He made it easy, even when skipping this trip was tempting, and kind of appealing, actually.

But, when I begin to beat myself up a bit for occasional irrational thoughts and run away emotions, I keep in mind that when we first began these scans, we picked up Lauren's brain tumor, which we never saw coming, and set the stage for my rather emotional reactions to them. The visceral fear that I have, that something will show up, completely out of the blue, it is at least founded in reality.

6 months later, the good vibe from clean scans lasted maybe 6 weeks...and my worry began, lasting 6 weeks until the next set. At Christmas, I was unsettled for about a month before scans (we had a lot going on), but the good glow of their reassurance lasted for nearly 3 months. If I am down to only 10 days of angst in anticipation of these scans, I will call that progress. I am going to cut myself a little slack.

Besides, even if there were some sort of problem to be discovered on Tuesday, there is nothing that I could do about it today. Staying home, we could look at more snow. Spring wasn't coming quickly enough for Olivia in particular. So we met spring half way. The cherry blossoms are slowly beginning here, daffodils and violas blooming...the promise of warmth and renewal, evidenced in green shoots and the absence of mittens.

So, we have enjoyed visiting the Smithsonian museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, and sculpture gardens. Tomorrow we will fill our day with some more that the city has to offer, playing it by ear, enjoying the sights and each other. When we return sometime on Saturday, I will listen to Lauren read to Livvy in the back seat, hear Alex and Brent discuss the merits of dark elixir in Clash of Clans (I have no idea what it all means, this secret language of video games!) and delight in these observations again.

Such moments may be fragile and precious for us, but in reality, they are for us all. We just happen to have more frequent reminders of this fact. I try to keep that in mind as well. As we breathe...and live, finding love and joy in as many moments as we are given.

We welcome your good thoughts and healthy prayers on Tuesday.

Much love,

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