20/20

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Calum 6, Faye 4 and Luke 7 mos

The start of a New Year is an interesting time. We reflect and we project and we set new goals for self-improvement, and then somewhere around mid-February we fall back into our normal pattern of life.

2020, for our family, marks the start of what we hope will be a whole new lease on life; a new pattern all together. Reflecting back, not only over the year, but over the last three years of Calum’s treatment, it is almost impossible to believe we have made it to 2020, when Calum will finish treatment. This has all felt like a bit of a time warp, neither slow nor fast, just very different and surreal.

To be honest, this past month has been incredibly difficult. Calum received his final, major chemotherapy treatment at the hospital on Tuesday, December 17th– I recently learned it’s referred to as “the final spinal”. In most ways the occasion was momentous and, in other ways, very anticlimactic. He still has to take all of his oral medications at home every day through March, but, on a logistical level, my life has already gotten easier. It is wonderful to never have to fend Calum off from eating before anesthesia for a spinal tap again, or to never have to give him steroids again; never to have to go through another week where his body is seemingly invaded by a hungry, angry, sad, manic alien. Those parts are great, and the last thing I want to do is rain on my own parade, but there is something inside that holds me back from finding peace right now.

This time of year is tough because it coincides with Calum’s diagnosis. On top of that haunting memory, Calum has been sick which, coupled with the effects of his last treatment, has really knocked him down. Seeing him look and feel weak has sent my anxiety through the roof. It is so reminiscent of the time of his diagnosis, that I have nearly convinced myself the cancer was back. I don’t even like to say that because it is a negative and backward mindset, but these feelings are real and I’m working to overcome them. Deep down I believe he is going to be cured, but getting so close to the end is a mental obstacle. Is it OK to believe we are almost truly done with this? What if, God forbid, I let myself believe that and it all got taken away from me? Will I really be allowed to live my life without watching my child suffer anymore? Please, please, God, say yes. As I write the words I let my face fall into my hands and I cry. I cry because I am terrified and relieved and happy and sad all at once.

There are no guarantees. We all know this. Life can turn on a dime, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse. We have a unique situation. After more than three years of waiting for a single day to arrive, we are just about there. March 7th, 2020 will come and we abruptly just stop giving Calum his medicine. We will watch him grow and thrive, unhindered by the cumulative effects of more than three years of chemo. We will see him wake up without a nauseous tummy, we will learn whether or not he actually likes chicken or if he just wasn’t able to stomach it for the last couple years. We will be able to openly make fun of him for still not being as good of an athlete as Faye. We will finally get to know his baseline.

20/20, as it refers to eyesight, represents the sharpness and clarity of vision at a distance, yet it is not unique or outstanding, but rather, average. I’d like to think it is symbolic of this year ahead in our lives. I don’t need to make any personal groundbreaking resolutions, but I sure would be happy with average; just to live life within the confines of being your run-of-the-mill healthy and happy family. I can see it.

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