Delayed Reactions

Jack’s out of the hospital. Thank goodness. Today he is at his first Cancer Clinic appointment getting an infusion of chemo. I’m looking forward to him coming home, and hope he isn’t too sick afterward.

I keep trying to tell myself the worst has past – that the prognosis is good, that so many cancer cells have already been zapped by the chemo, that the disease won’t progress. I know these things in my head. Still, my heart aches. I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, to eat, to do anything to take care of myself. When Jack isn’t here I don’t know what to do. What was life like before this diagnosis? What did I think about when cancer didn’t fill my every waking moment? What if Jack isn’t one of the 90% of kids cured?

I keep thinking about how all of this almost went undetected. I almost didn’t take Jack to the doctor. We almost didn’t opt for a blood test to “confirm” anemia. It would have been so easy to dismiss all of his symptoms as a combination of fighting off a cold and returning to school after a long break. It serves no purpose to think about these things but they are invading my mind nonetheless.

I am very much shell shocked. I got through the crisis period without completely freaking out, but I didn’t escape the freak-out – it’s just happening after the fact. My brain and body are not cooperating. I can’t think straight and I feel tired and/or sick to my stomach all the time. I started getting angry at the piles of boxes in our house – not that I don’t appreciate everyone’s thoughts and generosity but I just want to go BACK. I want to NOT need any of this stuff. I’d much rather have someone take this nightmare away. So when I look at the boxes and think about what they are for, I have this irrational anger…and then I get angry at myself. 😛

I can keep myself busy some of the time. My friend Kurstan ventured out to Target with me this weekend and I bought storage for medical supplies and cleaning products. I came home and organized a bunch of the house, put away the laundry my friend Katie graciously washed while we were away, and started washing items we brought home from the hospital. I’m back to work this week, as well, but I’m having trouble focusing on the simplest of tasks. Maybe I need more coffee.

All of our friends and family (and even strangers!) are being so awesome and loving and kind to us. I really do appreciate it, despite this cloud over my head. I haven’t once felt alone since this all started – I feel a community of support behind our family. I just wish the occasion hadn’t arrived where we need this support…

6 thoughts on “Delayed Reactions”

  1. Major hugs. I can understand being mad at the boxes… The displaced anger of the reason that they’re there.

    Is there no way for you to take a leave of absence from work? I would think that there is ever a time that a stress leave was needed/required, this would be the time.

    You have shown amazing amounts of strength in your life (from what I’ve read), and this will be no different. Allow yourself the space to have your emotions, and know that you, Jack, and your family are extremely loved.


  2. One other thought…

    We had an unplanned unassisted childbirth at home. For the first 24 hours, I was high five-ing everyone. “dude! I had a baby! On my bed! All by myself!”. But about 48 hours after Birdie was born, I was a mess. Full body tremors, hysterical crying, the whole ZOMG WE COULD HAVE DIED shock thing. I think it’s super normal to have the delayed reaction. It’s probably a survival technique handed down to us from our ancestors, to get us through our insurmountable circumstances, and on to the other side of the situation, alive.

    Again, hugs.

  3. Oh, sweets, you are NEVER alone. I’m glad you know that. I hate this for all of you, because now time WILL be measured in “before” and “after” and that sucks. It really does. Jack’s gonna kick ass and take names. And all of you are, too. Love you.

  4. Crystal, as I mentioned on Facebook, we would love to visit Jack and have a playdate. Lucia is healthy so she wouldn’t bring colds or sniffles to him. Just whenever you need us we can be there. Also, re: your job, I work at the eMPLOYMENT lAW cENTER. wE CAN GIVE YOU ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT pAID fAMILY lEAVE AND/OR fAMILY mEDICAL lEAVE (AAARGH! dumb keyboard!!!) I’ll message you on Facebook with our attorney’s contact number.

    And I think, in the wise words of Woody the cowboy, that “this is the perfect time to freak out!”

    Big hugs.

    1. Thank you Florencia. We will likely take you up on that at some point. Right now Jack is so high risk that I’d rather not have people over. He may be on an upswing next week, though.

      My work is being awesome and I’ve got the PFL taken care of (well, I do have to make a phone call). I think I’m good on that front.

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