Today is the first day I noticed the treatment room is the color of the center of a Milky Way bar. I was bored out of my mind, so I took time to notice all the little things I had missed out on when I first started there. Outside of the color of the walls, the very next thing I noticed were the patients. All ages, although I do seem to be the youngest I have seen, all colors and both sexes. My eyes went to this particularly frail older lady, her silver hair barely noticeable it was so thin. Her delicate skin seemed to appear see-through yet her eyes showed a determination unlike I had ever seen. It was amazing to watch her the few minutes I did, feeding off of her inspiration. She held herself with grace and dignity, which is difficult to do I have found, when you are going for treatments. It was after her that I noticed the other faces. I didn't pay attention before, but these are people! They are our grandparents, our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They aren't just "cancer" patients, they each have their own story to tell, lives they live and families that love and support them. It was a very enlightening moment.
Now, let me back up a bit earlier today, to what led me down there today when I was not due in....
I awoke at 5am feeling like it was 200 degrees in my room. I felt shaky, queasy, weak and both ends of the spectrum were expelling fluids at a fast pace. I asked my son to get my magnet off of the refrigerator (it's a list of what to watch out for and when you should call the doctor). Crap! I had like 7 symptoms that said I need to call the office immediately. Okay, let me hit that bathroom one more time and I will call my doctor. I did, I woke the poor guy up at 6:30 am to tell him what was going on. He ordered me in at 9am for fluids and anti-nausea meds. Wow, that was a long way off for the way I felt but I trust him to know what he is doing, he's been doing it for over 10 years. I kept sipping on my sports drink, praying it was just dehydration and not infection. Now I am a germaphobe!
Great... just what I needed. Ever since I learned that my white cell count will be low and I have to pay particular attention to the public and germs, I have gone to the extreme. I won't let my daughter drink from my cup, she's 2 she has GERMS! Oh, you kids just got home from school and want a kiss and a hug? GO WASH FIRST! Hey guys, how you doing? STAY 5 FEET AWAY AT ALL TIMES! I even have masks here and am awaiting getting gloves. I have NEVER been the mom that worries about germs. We all get sick, get used to it! I love sticky kisses from toddlers and sweaty hugs from my just home school-age children. Now, I look at them as though they are the enemy. Get back you evil-doers, the power of Christ compels you! It's crazy, but infection is what does a chemo patient the most harm. Knowledge is not only a powerful tool, it can also turn you into a germ-busting kid-o-phobe (yeah, I know that is NOT a word, but it's true!).
Now that everyone understand my worry this morning (it was just dehydration, by the way... my white cell count is great) I can continue with my observations of the day. Here I was watching these older people, worrying about my white cell count when it hit me. CHILDREN! Children have to go through this! Yes, to answer you, I have heard of children having cancer before, duh! They have gone through the pain, the nausea, the vomiting, the fear of infection all before me and they will long after me. That is a fact that I do not find fair! It is the roughest thing I have ever had to deal with and I am an adult. For a child to have to deal with all of this and not enjoy just being a child is sickening and disheartening. I would never want to imagine any of my children feeling what I am feeling, nor would I wish it on ANY child. This is where today's lesson comes in...
Children are resilient. They are happy, free, innocent souls with enough joy to fill mankind. They love unconditionally, something that we lose as we grow, sadly. They are the true fighters, the soft-spoken brave ones, that battle courageously while giggling and laughing. They are MY inspiration. Little voices that go unheard around the world because they are not in our family, therefore, we forget they exist. I ask each and everyone of you to say a prayer for a cancer-stricken child, it doesn't matter if you know of one or not. God knows of every single one and He hears.
To all of you brave and wonderful children out there, I wish I could hug each and every one of you to thank you for showing me that cancer is not for wussies. Cancer is only for the strong in spirit, those that are willing to fight through laughter and tears and rise above. Bless you all~ my thoughts will always be with you.
Adults can learn so much from children, if we would take the time to pay attention. It's time we really start to behave like them, and less like grown-ups!