We feel it is important to share with our followers that I have had a setback and will be receiving more cancer treatment. The great news is that my doctors do believe that they can get rid of the cancer and I will be back to life as I have known it for the last two years. The bad news is I will need more chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. This has been an incredibly difficult week and I have grieved so hard after hearing this news. I have been shocked again, heartbroken all over, and scared for the physical toll that chemotherapy and surgery takes on me.
Sam is not the newborn he was when I first went through this and is now aware of his surroundings and sensitive to my feelings. As much as I have tried to protect him from this I know that he can tell something is not right. He even asked “what’s wrong mommy?”
At some point each day we turn on the music in the kitchen and dance around the island (I might like this as much or more than he does! haha) Without noticing I had not been doing that, he came into the kitchen and pointed to the speaker and said “Dance Mommy! Dance!” Normally I’m the one making him dance so it was obvious he was worried why I was not behaving normally and wanted me to be the happy person I am with him. He also wanted me to do most of the tasks surrounding him and not my husband. So I thought it was important to talk with him about it.
I have some really great friends, one is a psychiatrist and the others psychologists, who have told me that children will let you know what they can emotionally handle. So when Sam asks why I have to go to the Dr, rather than overwhelm him with adult fears and language, I ask why he thinks I need to go? By turning the question back on him he can let me know what he’s ready to hear and may answer, “mommy feels sick so the Dr is going to make her better.” He is letting me know what he can process and most importantly what he can emotionally handle. Sam’s language is not that developed yet! But I do still give him the opportunity to answer. Over time they suggest I let him know a little bit more as he shows me when he is able to process it safely.
I came home with a chemotherapy pump that I have to wear from Tuesday-Thursday. It looks like a purse/oversized remote control and he became very upset and grabbed it. I realized that I had not truly explained to him what it was. We went into his playroom and I told him that mommy has a “medicine bag” that she will take home a few times in the next couple of months because she doesn’t feel well and it will make her feel better. I let him touch it and we unzipped it so he could have a look inside. I then told him I will only have it for a few months and that everything was going to be fine. It is so hard for me to say “everything is going to be fine.” I’m dealing with the fear that everything might not, even with the positivity of my Drs, but Sam is too little to handle my “what ifs.” What we know now is that everything is going to be fine. At his age everything is black and white. Either it is good or bad. I can not expect him to understand that while the Dr’s think it is good (right now) I’m always afraid of the chance it could not be. It was incredibly important that I tell him everything will be fine so he does not carry anxiety that he can not intellectually process yet. I’ve also spoken with his teacher who is going to use the same words we do such as “medicine bag” and that mommy is not feeling well so the Drs are going to make her better.
Since launching Sally Jane I have heard so many amazing stories and have been inspired by the courage I have learned that many people have had to draw from within themselves through life. This is my time to do that and like I have written about and spoken about so much I know I will find the strength as well. A good friend recently said to me “Sally, we are going to go through a lot of tough S#$% together throughout our long lives and this is just one of those things. It’s your turn to let us help you and one day you will help us.” It meant so much to hear that and unfortunately I know it is so true. Life can be so unforgivably hard but it is also beautiful. The love and friendships you have are the things that carry you through those tough times and make it worth it. As much as my initial instinct is to lock myself away in my house, watch trashy reality TV and be depressed, I know that staying connected to my community is what will help me find the courage I have to persevere.
So sadly I will once again have to draw from the “Just Bee!” phrase we have been sharing with so many since launching but now with the strength in knowing there are so many others out there pushing and persevering through pain as well.
XO Sally Jane
(I will) Bee Courageous, Bee Bold, Bee a Survivor, Just Bee!