May 2, 2018
Today was enlightening for me. For most people in the northeast of America, it was the first taste of summer – my favorite season. I don’t know if it is because my birthday is in the summer, or there is no school in the summer, or that incredible feeling of the nighttime air giving you a warm hug. This day last year, however, was cold, raining and gloomy.
This day last year was also the first day of Calum’s most intense cycle that he will have had to endure in his three-year Leukemia treatment. It lasted 56 unrelenting days, and it took every ounce of him, every blood cell in his little body, and every hair on his little head to get through it. I’d been literally sick with worry in the weeks and days approaching the start of that cycle. I’d tried to Google it hoping to find something positive that some other parent might have written about their child’s experience during that cycle of treatment; I was looking for hope or insight as to what we were embarking upon. I found stories of children who ended up in the hospital with life-threatening infections due to lowered immunity caused by treatment, and I’d even found a story of a child who did not survive it, but I didn’t find anything positive.
I was distraught. I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want anyone in my house bringing their germs around, and I didn’t know how I was going to get through it all. It was day by day. I was full-blown terrified this day last year, but I knew we had no choice but to face it, as it was necessary to save his life. Each of the 56 days were as hard as I’d expected, not because Calum didn’t tolerate it well, but because I lived in a state of borderline paralyzation of my deepest and darkest fears coming true.
Today was a gift from God. I realized, just about an hour ago, that it was the anniversary of Calum beginning that horrific cycle called Delayed Intensification. I realized also that, while this day last year was vividly difficult and emotionally challenging beyond belief, today, in total contrast, was amazing. Nothing special or out of the ordinary transpired; it was just full of lots of good little things. Admittedly, some days I am just not feeling being with my kids all the time. Some days it feels like they are extra special annoying or whiny or misbehaved….or maybe it’s not them and it’s me being more intolerant some days than others (this is definitely the culprit because the kids are equally and simultaneously annoying AF and adorable AF every day). Today, though, was gold; we soaked in every single ounce of the beautiful weather, we laughed a lot and played outdoors with other kids, and I only lost my temper seven to ten times. I thought about how wonderful it all was after I kissed Calum goodnight and marveled over what the special recipe was, when it dawned on me what we were doing this day last year.
Despite last year being so much harder and, though some ordinary days are still hard, it’s amazing, truly, the difference a year, or even just one day can make. Life is incredibly cyclical and, although I will never forget the fear I had in me a year ago today and it will always live with me in some ways, it has massively dissipated. Maybe some other mom out there about to go through Delayed Intensification with her child will find my post on Google and know that tomorrow, or 365 tomorrows from now, can bring you something totally awesome – keep your sights up and your head down.