[personal profile] indeliblesasha

A year ago Gus had just finished chemo and we were still reeling from the fast and furious process. It was like waking up from a dream and finding the world had changed around us.

I was the only one there through that process, Roger and mom and Charlie came by to visit but life had to go on and so I was the one who went every day, five hours, eight, endless days of keeping him distracted and entertained.

I was there when they hung the first bag of chemo and I was there when they hung the last. I was there to watch a stranger's blood run into his veins and to catch every fever that put him in the hospital for days. I was there for the blood tests and the urine tests and the cultures and the medications.

I was the one who held him down, screaming, when they put the needles in, and left Roger to be the one who went when they took the needles out.

I got chemo on my hands when tubes burst, blood when a clamp didn't hold. I made the schedules for his meds that the nurses followed and learned how to administer them by IV. I learned to check a central line for good blood flow and pushed saline into his heart.

I learned how to deaccess a port; pulling needles out of my child's chest became a thing I did without flinching.

It's been a year and I am still angry, and afraid, and traumatized from the things I had to do to my child in the name of medicine, in the hopes we've saved his life.

We will never be free of this hell we survived. Every four months for the remainder of his childhood we will go to the hospital. They will sedate him and scan him and test him and draw blood, evaluate his growth and his progress. They will place needles in his spine to check for cancer cells - though thankfully he will always be unconscious for that.

I will hold him as he goes limp, lay him out on a table while doctors and nurses arrange his limbs and I will walk away without shaking. Over and over.

I don't shake anymore.

This is our reality now, we have embraced a new normal. And I am grateful for it, because it means my child is still alive. Little more than half of families who have fought this disease can say that.

I hope someday my twenty-something child will say, "oh that scar? It's old, I had cancer when I was little, but I don't really remember it."

It's okay, it's good. I will remember for all of us.

January 2017


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