Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 76

November 1, 2010

This morning was about recovery. I kept Teddy home since Joe and the kids had stayed overnight. We all slept in and then had a huge breakfast before the kids were off playing for a few more moments. All of our kids are learning a very valuable lesson in life: that good times are precious and therefore we should cherish them with all our mite...but that eventually good times do come to an end so instead of tantrumming we should be grateful! This lesson is hard for most adults to grasp and actually live on a daily basis. I am praying that our children and Joe's (and any child touched by Nina) will develop an incredible ability to really live this way. I know I am desperately trying every single day to do this and model this to Teddy especially. As I have learned from my oldest niece, kids watch what we adults do and say, especially when we don't think they are listening or paying attention!

To my delight, Nina had flourished in all of the commotion of the past week! She is simply astounding! I am so thankful for each moment of happiness and grumpiness! Saying goodbye to Joe and the kids was incredibly hard and we reminded all of the kids that we would be together again soon for Thanksgiving! Nina hugged Adelae about 5 times then she went and perched herself in the middle of her nest (the living room mattress) and proclaimed it was Netflix Time. I couldn't have agreed more! And neither could have Teddy! All three of us plopped in front of the tv with a huge bowl of popcorn and watched Suite Life of Zack and Cody for the umpteenth time! At least it wasn't Sponge Bob, although the little yellow freak was growing on me:)

This afternoon was about starting anew. After lunch, I started Nina's Timador (chemotherapy). Teddy was outside riding his bike and had decided he'd been remiss in visiting Ella. Consequently, he had asked if he could ride over to spend some time with her. I happily agreed. I then found myself standing in the kitchen holding a pill packed with poison meant to stunt the growth of the monster in my daughter's brain. I separated the pill apart and poured the white powder into a tiny amount of chocolate pudding. I mixed it in until there was no trace of the white devil left and then scooped it up into a single spoonful.

My friend Mario had called to see if the Queen was interested in Panda Express and to remind me about his letter of recommendation for graduate school :) Of course she was into Panda and of course I had started to draft his letter (at least in my head)! She had gobbled down her plate of orange chicken and rice and was patiently waiting for her fortune cookie in the living room. I found myself staring at the spoonful of pudding. We had decided to do chemotherapy with the understanding that as soon as she started demonstrating any kind of serious side-effect we would stop! Chemo to me was scarier than radiation. The thought of chemo conjours up all sorts of scary images (e.g., hair loss, extreme vomiting, pain, suffering) that I did not want to see my daughter in. It was with intense trepidation that we had proceeded with chemo. Truth be told, it was just the thought of possibly getting the holidays with her that had convinced us. I desperately wanted one more set of holidays with her, for every one's sake but especially the kids. For that, I was willing to take on the risks of chemo.

I must have stood in the kitchen forever (at least according to Nina!) because she started to shout for me to "Bring the fortune cookie mama!" I guess she must have yelled her directive several times without me responding because as I snapped out of my daze and replied, "I'm coming honey" Mario had made his way into the kitchen to get my attention for the Queen. I must have looked pale and tormented because Mario asked me if I was okay. I explained that I felt daunted and overwhelmed by the fact that I was about to give her a spoonful of poison. My brain hurt! Mario didn't say a word, he just gave me a huge hug. This is not right! Parents should not have to go through this. It is unnatural and wrong in every capacity!!!

It is amazing how something as simple as a hug can be nourishing. Mario gave me one more final hug and reminded me that we were doing the right thing, that we had a great plan. Plus he reminded me that if I didn't give her the fortune cookie soon she might develop a permanent stink eye and that she is way too cute for us to let that happen. When all else fails, humor is great medicine! I unwrapped the fortune cookie and took the spoonful of chemo along with a cup of Gatorade to my sweet girl. When she saw the spoon she squawked, "Noo!!! I want my cookie." I showed her the cookie and she sighed her amazing sigh of resignation. In an instant she swallowed and started to chug down her Gatorade, all the while making the most horrific, disgusted face. After a few more swallows, I gave her the fortune cookie and thanked her for being such a good girl. I looked at Mario who smiled at me, trying to reinforce my own efforts. But behind his smile, I saw sadness in his eyes! With each smile I get from friends I see that same look of deep sadness! I assume I will see that in their eyes for the rest of my life!

I walked back into the kitchen feeling numb. I licked the residue off the spoon and cringed at the absolute bitterness and nastiness of the pudding. I had never tasted poison before but I was now sure that I had! It was awful!!! The most vile thing I had ever tasted in my life and I had just given it to my honey-girl!!! The fucking mother of the year award was definitely coming my way!!! And the award goes to Rosy Fredeen for poising her dying daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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