The Insanity of Having a Child Fighting Cancer
As Elizabeth finished her home schooling session on Friday, we decided to go and meet her daddy for lunch. As we were quickly climbing into the car, and about to buckle seatbelts, I heard Elizabeth say, “Ummm, Mama, is this supposed to happen?” As I glanced to the back of the car, there she sat holding a chunk of hair in her hand. What the what? STOP EVERYTHING! I think I may have blacked out for a moment, knowing it was hers, but in denial that it was not. I then said, “That’s not your hair, where did you get that? Elizabeth, did you cut your dolls hair again?” “No”, she said, as she ran her fingers through her hair with each time losing a little more. I don’t even remember what I said to her at that point, my head started spinning in disbelief that this was happening again. She has been on the same chemotherapy maintenance treatment since April. I don’t remember being warned by the doctors that this would happen. In fact, I have been telling her for months that this very thing would NOT happen. SOoooo Mama called the doctor and the doctor said…”Yes it’s possible that sweet girl could lose her hair again.” Yo ho ho, into the black hole I go. Hair loss is completely normal and can happen, not always, but can happen again during maintenance chemotherapy. Just another one of those super duper side effects. I called a sweet friend crying and not fully understanding why I was so upset. I kept saying “…It’s so stupid that I’m crying, it’s just hair…” I said over and over. This EBB (Exceptionally Beautiful Bestie) said, “It’s not stupid, it is about so much more than just the hair. This takes you back to a very painful place and that is why you are so upset.” She so nailed it on the head that one! I think everyone can relate to certain smells or songs that trigger certain memories. It’s nice when they are good, but it sucks when they are bad. And the memory of Elizabeth’s first hair loss was the first moment I really knew she was sick and truly understood what was happening to my baby. Her hair falling out took me back to that very painful time. The doctors tell me, it’s not uncommon for kiddos after treatment to actually vomit when they even just drive past the hospital. Just seeing the hospital triggers the horrific memories of what they have dealt with there. My emotions were spinning all day and as I had to give her nightly meds, I counted each pill for her as she swallowed, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11. I remember thinking how her reality is crazier than the thought of HELL itself? Elizabeth is supposed to not have a care in the world, but now she is screaming at me and everyone else she loves because the pills she takes cause total and utter madness, anxiety, heartbreak, vomiting, weakness and tremors. She is totally ticked off that she can’t run as fast as she used to and go to school everyday with the kids she started kindergarten with last year. Because, once, not even twice was enough, I guess. Three times she has to go through the heartbreak of losing her hair. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she has been through. How every time she looks in the mirror at herself she is reminded with the scars, where she was poked with needles over and over and over again. It was like a sucker punch in the gut from cancer on Friday. And for the record, I probably shouldn’t post on FB in the middle of my insane, madness mental breakdowns again, and I am so sorry for any additional worry I caused anyone. Oh, the insanity of having a child fighting cancer. I will always worry, I will always be in fear of this monster. I can’t help but think that every ache and every pain cause me to immediately think, cancer.
We cannot be sure if she will lose all of her hair again or if it will just thin out? Really, as far as looks go it doesn’t matter. She ROCKS the bald look beautifully! And you know what I always say, “Beauty comes from within the heart.” And you all are so incredibly beautiful for being by our side every step of the way. Thank you thank you thank you!
With super duper love,