Friday, January 13, 2006

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The word 'CANCER' much more than the abnormal growth of irregular cells. It not only flows through the infected's body, it spreads throughout the family as well.

Even though you know the whole family is affected, you see it daily, you find the sitters to watch over the kids when you're away in the hospital, or when you have clinic visits, you watch them rush to the bottle of sanitizer whenever they sneeze. You witness them defend their brother when a friend comments on how spoiled he's getting. Sometimes we get so caught up in everyday life, the ‘new normal’, the whirlwind of our existence, that it takes an observer’s eye before reality stares you straight in the soul.

I heard myself think, “you are the mother of a son with cancer”. And the thoughts didn’t sound like mine. How is it - even while it’s happening - you still resonate, “it can’t happen to me”?

A few weeks back, beginning of December actually, the day Josh was sent home from the hospital on IV antibiotics, several visiting nurses had come to the house trying to get Josh’s port working, because of course, the first time we should ever have to do it ourselves, it failed. The head IV nurse had to be called in, and when she came, it was decided that the line needed changed out all together. So the dreaded tape had to be pulled off so one needle could be pulled out before reinserting the next.

Of course Joshua cried.

Most times taking the tape off is most traumatic. But this time, because he was already accessed, we were unable to use any numbing cream, which does sometimes take some of the sting away before he is jabbed with the needle.

Picture - Joshua on the couch, mom on one side holding him, dad on the other trying to secure his hands, visiting nurse standing in front of the couch trying to get a good shot at sticking the needle in. Josh already in tears from the tape removal, sisters, Halie and Kenni, hovering behind the nurse trying to see what she’s doing to their baby brother. But the more Joshua cries, the more nervous they get. Before we know it, I look up and the girls are now standing on the steps looking down into the room and now they’re crying.

The needle’s in. Josh calms down. The girls come down. Nurse Tara tapes him up again, disposes of the needle, swabs and flushes with one flick of pulling off her gloves. A trick of the trade. And we go on about our night like it was a mere bump in the road, also a trick of the trade.

It’s kind of like when someone says, “I don’t know how you do it.”

Like we have a choice. What else are you supposed to do?

The next day I get a call from my cousin who works on the pharmaceutical side of Great Lakes Home Health, same company but opposite side of where the nurses traverse. Through the grapevine she got word of Josh’s ordeal the night before, and of all that happened, the nurse commented on the sisters standing on the stairs crying.

This weekend, Kaitlynn was in the kitchen making Josh his notorious peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut in half (NOT diagonally) when Josh asks her to hold him. He says his legs hurt. Kaitlynn, immediately springs into mommy-mode, picks him up, hands him his halved sandwich, and launches a game of 20-Questions. Where does it hurt? Can you walk? Does it hurt here? Or here?

I wonder is she relating this pain with his initial refusal to walk which led to diagnosis? Josh really isn’t one to put words to his discomfort. It made me sit back and wonder what thoughts might be running through her head.

This morning, I wake up and find the following note taped to my computer screen. Jon discovered it there. I suppose this is her critique to the Mark Shultz video I uploaded on Josh’s site last night.

This is wut I wrote

I was down on my nees beging god if my brother Joshua cood get beter but it seems my brother still has canser. Can you heer me. he’s not gust anyone he’s my son.
My mother was looking in his room and she rubed his forhead and she tried not to cry her eays just got fool of teers.
Can you heer me. he’s not just anyone he’s my son. Am I getting throgh tonight. I’m dreeming about my brother getting alright. Can you heer me can you see him. He’s not just anyone he’s my son.

It only took me 31 min.

By: Kennidy
To: Family


***I wrote this journal entry the day before Josh was admitted to CHP the second time, only didn’t get a chance to post it then. But still wanted to share it. Besides – I’m all about saving typing time when it comes to updating this thing ;-) Although one might not be able to tell…

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