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The day that changed EVERYTHING

Saturday night I was laying in bed trying to figure out why I couldn’t sleep, what was keeping me awake and it sure wasn’t because I wasn’t tired.  All week it’s been a weird feeling, like I’m waiting on something…a thing I should know but can’t quite put my finger on.  Wrestling with my pillow Sat night, it was a did-i-leave-the-stove-on-is-the-door-locked-what-the-heck-is-wrong! kind of feeling.

Then it hit me.

It’s July 13th.

We mark so many monumental days throughout the year. Our anniversary, birthdays, holidays.  THIS monumental day sucks.  This is the day, two years ago that we found out Peyton had cancer.  It’s Peyton’s port’s second birthday.  Bring on the candles, right?

I went to bed on the 12th the mom of 3 healthy kids, I didn’t go to bed on the 13th because I was sitting next to a hospital bed counting the hours until we’d wheel Peyton down for surgery.

On the 12th we went to the pediatrician, confident in his ability to take care of whatever simple ailment was causing her fever.  On the 13th I had a team of doctors with specialties I could barely pronounce saying words I didn’t understand about something I couldn’t comprehend.

It never even occurred to me that my daughter could get cancer on the 12th.  It was my every thought on the 13th.

The 13th marked a day that transformed our lives.

I was talking to a friend today and explaining that I can’t remember anything about the days leading up to her diagnosis.  It’s as if everything leading up to that moment just fades away unless it is in direct relationship to her cancer.  Did I not recognize a sign, a symptom?  How did I not see that she was really sick?  How could we not KNOW she was in mortal danger, her body already losing a battle against this disease?

Yet every moment of the 13th is crystal clear, each breath and thought etched on my brain.  I remember all the prayers and tears on the drive to the hospital, I kept turning around to look at her, convinced we would get there and it would be a mistake. I remember the feel of Pete’s hand holding mine, clammy, desperate, just like mine.  Trying to reassure each other that it was all wrong, there was no way this could be.  I remember those phone calls, telling people to pray…just pray and pray and pray.

It’s impossible to forget the absolute knowledge in Dr. B’s voice when he told me it WAS Leukemia, there was NO mistake, and they WERE sure.  How I laid over her little body, wanting to protect her from all of this, pretending that if she didn’t hear it that it was a lie, and I cried and sobbed until the nurse told me to stop because I was scaring her.  I also remember how every fiber of my being wanted to sucker punch that nurse. This is my baby, my child, she is part of my body and heart and soul.  I GET to cry! I GET to rage against this disease.  I GET to mourn for the life we had before this day.

That room, that smell, all that noise.  Watching all the needles and tubes, the bags of unknown substances hanging from poles that led into my baby’s body.  That look in her eyes that said she was scared and hurting and knowing she saw the answering fear in mine.  The way she clung to me, her fingers tangled in my hair, the way she fell asleep clutching my fingers.

That night of the 13th was the longest of my life.

We have come so very far since then.  But every day I wake up, I’m still that mom in the hospital, full of uncertainty and fear.  I am constant in prayer.  That is not just a phrase I use, not just a quaint thing to say. I AM CONSTANT in prayer.  For my child, for my children, for my family, for the many families and children we know, for the doctors and nurses that treat them, for each hand that reaches out to support and encourage.  I AM CONSTANT in prayer.

God got me through the 13th.  Through the 14th. Through the 15th and each and every day that followed. I know that He guides the days to come.  That’s why I’m able to get up and get out of bed….notice I didn’t say anything about showered or dressed…and move.

10 Comments on “The day that changed EVERYTHING”

  1. #1 Peter Mayhew
    on Jul 14th, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Funny you should mention that. I’ve been having the same weird time with everything lately too. I couldn’t put my finger on it either, but something was definitely wrong.

    I remember having to take Nathaniel and Rachael home. And trying my best to be strong in front of them, and failing miserably. I told them that they could sleep in our bed…both of them. I laid there wide awake, holding them both until exhaustion kicked in.

    I remember thinking the morphine drip was a bad thing. I remember when you let me be alone with Peyton in the hospital just to give you a bit of a break. I remember Peyton’s words of, “Daddy I scared. Daddy I hurt”. I remember pressing that button every 30 seconds after that, even though the nurse said it would only give her one extra dose in a 10 or 15 minute span.

    I remember hearing the phrase, “You’ve got the cadillac of cancer” and wanting to rip that person’s head off. I think I know why Dr. Barbosa simply told us our daughter has cancer and left the room. I think he does it out of self preservation.

    I remember my ears constantly ringing throughout the first couple of weeks.

    I remember how the only person with any good news was the nurse practitioner, Cindy. I remember how the start to our road of recovery was paved with information. Starting to understand things. Starting to get our minds around what the heck was going on. I remember looking at the highway and thinking that those lucky bastards have no clue. How can my world be destroyed in an instant and those people are driving by without a care in the world.

    To steal a line from a sci-fi movie, “I remember how it felt the day our world stood still.”

    I never would have thought it on that day, but the minister’s sermon today was about how things happen for reasons we simply cannot understand. How we’re all just clay for him to work with and mold into what He needs us to be. Some of us require a bit more water than others.

    We’ll get through this together, as a family.

    Peter Mayhews last blog post..The day that changed EVERYTHING

  2. #2 motherofbun
    on Jul 14th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Oh my gosh. Tears. Lots of tears on this end while reading your post. And goosebumps.

    Will be checking your blog often for updates on you, your little one and the rest of your family.

    motherofbuns last blog post..Why I won’t be at BlogHer this year

  3. #3 Sarah Clapp
    on Jul 14th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Will continue to pray for you and your family! Virtual Hugs to you all!

    Keep the faith!

    Sarah Clapps last blog post..Karaoke!

  4. #4 always home and uncool
    on Jul 15th, 2008 at 3:22 am

    The day Thing 1 was diagnosed alsp happened to be My Love’s birthday. Kinda makes that day a little extra hard to deal with for her.

    always home and uncools last blog post..The Padded Cell of Uncoolness

  5. #5 Amber
    on Jul 15th, 2008 at 5:21 am

    God bless your family- I’ll be praying for you!
    Your daughter is beautiful!

  6. #6 Mrs. Schmitty
    on Jul 15th, 2008 at 6:08 am

    WOW! What a very powerful post.

    Mrs. Schmittys last blog post..My Bionic Nose

  7. #7 Kelsey
    on Jul 15th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Oh my the Lord bless you and your family!

    Kelseys last blog post..::You Dont Die On Sunny Days::

  8. #8 Queen of the Mayhem
    on Jul 15th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I could picture it all so clearly….every detail! I am glad you have come far since then! I pray you are never in that place again!

    Queen of the Mayhems last blog post..Because I Haven’t Been Shamed Enough

  9. #9 Holly
    on Jul 16th, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Praying for Peyton and your family, and wishing happier dates to look forward to.

    Hollys last blog post..Bite this

  10. #10 Marc Beharry
    on Jul 16th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    what a milestone!
    like Peter says, maybe there is a reason behind all of this tribulation, and we all should break out the candles and celebrate the fact that our kids are still here and the fact that we are now cherishing every possible waking moment with them.

    Marc Beharrys last blog post..Robert Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Let’s kill the baby’ – Times Online