The phone rang really early (around 8) yesterday morning. Jerry, Calli and I were up to hear the message that came from the kids’ pediatricians office saying the results of Lana’s blood tests were in. Shortly before Christmas Erin had brought her in for some tests to answer some questions about blood sugar.
There was something chilling about the call coming so early, I think. Jerry said that they were just taking care of calls before things got crazy in the office but maybe calls from doctors terrify me these days. At any rate, Erin called them back as soon as she got up and as I sat at the kitchen table unable to hear anything but silence from Erin’s end, I started praying, “Kill me off, if you want to, God, but don’t let anything be wrong with her. Not now, not ever.” And she is fine.
It made me realize all over again how lucky I’ve been, how much easier it is to go through things yourself than to watch someone you love go through them. Many of you who are reading this have been on far darker roads than I have. Maybe the things you think you cannot do…get out of bed after you lose a child, go on living after you lose a spouse, keep on keeping on when a child or grandchild is terribly sick..maybe you find out you can do them. I guess I just don’t want to have to find that out. But when people say I’m brave or inspirational or whatever, I cringe because I know what I am doing is so small compared to what so many of you have already done. Know that you inspire me.
I just finished This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. It was a perfect end of the year book. I simply loved it. It’s a collection of essays and I loved the window into her life, her thoughts, her advice on writing. I loved the essay about her grandmother and especially loved the one about her teacher, a Sister of Mercy who becomes a good friends years later. Actually (to use Declan’s favorite word) I loved them all.
On the other hand, I tried George Saunders’s Tenth of December and decided it’s just not my kind of book. It’s on all the best books of the year lists but not on mine.
We went ice skating yesterday. Or rather, Erin and the kids went ice skating. Erin announced that Jerry and I weren’t allowed to go. Arriving for chemo (as I said on Facebook) with a broken leg would be beyond pathetic and my caregiver/driver needed to stay fit. I didn’t fight her on it. It was COLD at the rink and I kept going to the warmer bleachers to watch them. I don’t think I would have lasted two hours on skates anyway. But next year, I’m going.
The kids were beautiful. Declan (first time on skates) lasted about fifteen minutes and said he was NEVER going to skate again. We took him to the bleachers where after another fifteen minutes he was back on the ice and Erin had the backbreaking job of keeping him up. Calli (second time on skates) worked her way around the rink holding on the the wall for the first hour and getting braver and braver as the time went on. She let go and started to shuffle. She’s on her way. Lana, (second time on skates) shuffled along for about an hour and then started actually gliding and looking like she could skate. The girls both said they just watched everybody else and figured out what they needed to do. I think all three were pretty proud of themselves.
Lana, ever the best big sister, told Declan, “Declan, you are a great skater.”
Declan frowned and said, “Actually I’m not a great skater because I don’t go very fast.” (Actually he can barely stand up without mom holding him)
I got a call yesterday from a doctor in the Proton Therapy Center. They’re doing a clinical trial around the side effects from the chemo/Proton regimen (which they tell me are pretty rough). It’s a blind study so I may be getting the placebo but I’ll have extra meds that may or may not reduce the side effects. My only question was “Does this mean I won’t get the regular stuff you give to reduce side effects?” Not at all…I get the regular stuff and just may or may not get the extra stuff. Sounds good…only inconvenience to me is more pills and questions once a week on my energy level, ease or difficulty eating (I guess even the proton burns the esophagus), nausea etc. No problem…sounds good to me. Anything that will help me feel more human during this next round is fine with me.