He has been showering me with drawing after drawing of us; just the two of us, surrounded by hearts and telling me that if he makes me happy enough with all his sweet drawings, it will make me better. If only it was that easy, sweet boy. I'm sure my insurance company would much rather heal me with Crayola.
Early Wednesday morning, I sat for what seemed like an eternity waiting for my lab results. An eternity in parenthood is defined as having to wait in the same place for longer than 15 minutes while 2 children fight over 1 iPhone. I had assumed it would be a quick trip and there would be time to kill between that appointment and the start of preschool. When it comes to cancer, I should know to never assuming anything. I naively told Merrick I would treat him to Krispie Kreme in between. Krispie Kreme happens to sit perfectly between the oncology building and his school, so it was a geographically desirable stop to pass some time. It is also next to a drive-thru Starbucks, so I potentially had ulterior motives.
A rare trip to Krispie Kreme is what Merrick considers "The best day EVER!" I, on the other hand, just stare longingly at the case and wonder when they might join the gluten-free revolution. I'm not hopeful.
My blood counts came back low; surprisingly low. The morning donut run got pushed to an afternoon donut run and Merrick started to cry from extreme disappointment. Cancer was once again ruining his perfect little life and that sucks. After consoling him and promising to home school him from here on out (don't ask), my doctor made the call and a shot it was.
Neupogen, for you newcomers, is a booster shot that makes your bone marrow produce white blood cells in overdrive. More specifically for me, neutrophils, which are essentially your very first line of defense in the event of foreign invaders. It makes me feel like I have the flu. Everything aches, especially my bones, as that bone marrow gets to work doing what
For me, it's like compounding sickness on top of sickness. And on this morning, when I had barely recovered from the sight of all the hair I combed out in the sink the night before, a shot was not what I needed. I sat there still mildly nauseated with no appetite, knowing that the evening ahead would be spent feeling like crap and probably losing that whole pound I'd managed to gain in the last few days. I felt extremely defeated. And now I had let Merrick down. Doubly defeated.
While the nurse was injecting me, I told him that these shots make me feel sick, and with Daddy out of town, he'd need to be extra easy on me that night.
"That's OK Mom. You don't need Dad. I will take care of you when you're sick."
And there it was, that sweet, compassionate and caring side that I keep seeing. Merrick is so use to his strong-willed mom and her so-often right opinions. Now he is seeing the mom that is often too tired to care about toys being out of their place, socks not finding their way to the laundry basket and the playroom being picked up every night. He's seeing a mom who, dare I say it, is weak. And perhaps seeing me vulnerable is just what Merrick and I need to patch up some of the strains in our bond.
I managed to make it to the car before crying. Crying over the hair I was might be losing. Crying over the battle I was already starting with my white blood cells. Crying over the shot that would take my first day of feeling OK and turn it into another evening laying on the couch and throwing food at my feral children for dinner.
But I survived. And I rebounded. And I was awesome enough to make it to my Friday Spin class and work out that devastation. I reminded myself and my body that despite the weakness, I am still strong.