When Quinn was born, more than one of the labor and delivery nurses declared that he was an "old soul." You could see it in his eyes, they said. There was wisdom there. Look for yourself:
I have a scan again next week, although I've graduated from a PET scan to a CT scan. (It causes too much radiation exposure to continue doing PETs every 3 months). Still, a scan is a scan when it comes to anxiety about what they could show, how life could screech to a halt again, how I could come fully unzipped.
I try to keep my panic attacks to a minimum during the day, try not to snap too often about things like bath-time delays and mud on the floor. I try to maintain some semblance of normalcy, even in the week before my scan. But it's been difficult this week, and I'm pretty sure I won't be nominated for an Oscar for my abilities (or lack thereof) to mask my angst anytime soon. I wish I could hide all of this from Quinn, spare him this stress. He chewed his fingernails down to the bloody quick over the weekend, so I fear I'm not doing enough.
Another family member was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week. We are still waiting on results of his PET scan, which will determine next steps--most likely intense, high-dose chemo. Maybe surgery. Certainly a horrible next couple of months, especially for those closest to him. Cancer is a fucker.
Last week was also a rough week in the breast cancer community. One woman in my circle died at the age of 30--thirty!--from this godforsaken disease. Another, a friend of mine, died the next day. Her teenage son posted a selfie in which he was wearing a pink shirt and a smile on his face. He said: Got my pink on for you mom. I love you and miss you already. I'm smiling cause no matter what you were going through you always smiled. That's one thing I'll never forget, and that's one hell of an example of strength, what you always had. And shared with many others. You'll always be a fighter! So of course I bawled my eyes out, more than once.
I'm scared about next week. I always am, and I don't know if there's any way around it. No matter that my last two scans have been clean and nothing in my treatment regimen has changed. No matter that my weight is up, that I feel strong, that I believe I'm healthy. Cancer is wily and unpredictable, and I'll never be able to let my guard completely down. I miss that, but that's for another post.
Last night, as I was putting Quinn to bed, lying in the dark with him just after books, he said, "I'm scared, Mom." "Scared of what?" I asked. I was expecting him to say the dark, or the shadows on the walls (which he calls ghosts). He thought a minute, then said, "Um, nevermind. I'm not scared anymore." He paused. "I don't want you to be scared, either, Mom." And then I did my best to muffle my sobs in the pillow, gritting my teeth together because that's what steroids and scans and cancer make you do--lose your shit when you realize your little boy probably knows more than he should.
Then I rubbed Quinn's back--my little angel--until he fell asleep.