Menopause is gonna be a piece of cake someday. The intensity of my mood swings makes the thrill rides at Cedar Point seem like the slowest elevators ever devised. I go from rock, rock, embarrassingly low-bottom to extremely elated in one day. Just one. Right now: ELATION. It's difficult to breathe not because anchors of sadness are holding me down, but because I feel like cartoon love hearts are going to firework out of me if I breathe too deeply and I'll end up pulling over my car and kissing strangers. I honestly had this impulse today as Gideon and I drove home from the hospital. The sun is out, the sky is my favorite color blue, and the clouds are only there in wisps to remind us of the gorgeous fragility of it all. And the leaves. Stop it. It is the setting for a romantic comedy.
Gideon had his final dosage for this phase today -- his highest one thus far. He will begin Delayed Intensification soon, but let's not think about that horrendous phase just yet. Let's just bask in the gloriousness that is conquering this last phase. Dr. Lobel said it is exceedingly rare that a child is able to go through this entire last phase without having to delay a chemo dosage. Like insanely rare. Gideon? He had each dosage as scheduled. No viruses held him back, no low blood counts, NOTHING. It's prayer. I promise. He is enveloped by so many of you. We can all feel it. On top of that, Nurse Michelle exclaimed, "Look at him! He doesn't look like a chemo kid at ALL!" and he doesn't. Not one bit. Happiness still exudes out of this boy and he is aware that his smile makes everyone else smile. He is on a mission for world peace one smile at a time.
As we were leaving today, Gideon and I were stopped three separate times by strangers. Gideon was wheeling his little chemo-entertainment suitcase down the hall and through the parking lot. He had his little fleece on and jeans, and I just wanted to devour him, my little humming happy gem. But I'm his mom, and a tinge bit biased. Each person who stopped us commented on how happy and joyful Gideon is. How he just made their day. One stranger dubbed him "Sunshine-boy". NO doubt. Body full of chemo and he is singing the "Chemo Tube" song we made up in the hospital. Even during the chemo as we watched the neon fluid drip through the tube, Gideon said to me, "This is like the coolest snake EVER, mom! Hear him hisssssssssss? See his winding body?" I never noticed the sound of the IV before, and he was right. His smile was gigantic once he pointed that out, and his personification (or I guess this would be animalification, in this case) skills make this momma P R O U D.
So, now you know why I'm so ecstatic. And now he is peacefully sleeping in his bed and his big brother is at school. I am on my deck. In the sunshine. Let's keep this real, though. Two nights ago I blogged, and I didn't post it. Here it is, verbatim:
I have been staring at this white screen for awhile. I have no idea what to type, but I'm praying that the staccato of my fingers hitting the keys will somehow make me feel better (or it'll distract the tears). I always seem to feel calmed after blogging, so I will use this as my outlet to try and formulate how to respond, to react, how to just...be. I am completely lost right now and heartbroken and every kind of broken I think I can be. Praying alone has not helped. Talking? I don't think I can. Sweet, precious, artistic, introverted Brody needs prayers. We all do, but the issues in this little boy's heart are enough to completely obliterate mine.
I got a call from Brody's school today. He had a form of a nervous breakdown. He got pale, clammy, his eyes were dilated, and he couldn't get a deep breath. He told his teacher (who, I am convinced is an absolute SAINT and an answer to prayers) that he was just "tired." Right. He did forget his library book in his bag, but that was not enough for this hysteria of sorts. The boy will not talk to me. He will not tell me what is on his heart. He won't open up about the bus and why he now despises it and I must use a sticker chart to get him aboard each day. I'm at a loss. And his tiny, little body finally responded to this pent-up horror he has inside. I want it OUT. I want the sadness I see in his eyes GONE. Give it to me. Green Mile the bad stuff into my mouth, Brody. PLEASE. He seems the most at peace when he's at his desk drawing or painting. He can spend hours doing that if I let him. Isn't that abnormal for a five-year-old? Then again, I am feeding this obsession with more art supplies because it is so calming to him. And, he actually is very talented (already). But all the art supplies in the world is not going to solve the enigma that is my Brody's worried soul. I WILL get him someone to talk to... In the meantime, please pray for him. I am broken over this. This is only second to the day Gideon's heart seemed to start to fail at the hospital, and that's a fact.
Shortly after I typed this, I couldn't stop crying. Tom was not home and the kids were in bed. Two friends talked to me and listened with their hearts. People who listen with their hearts don't interject and don't try to talk you OUT of it, they talk you THROUGH it. Thank you, talker-throughers. You are, I'm convinced, God-sends. And, my friend Kelly Morgan also referenced a song that completely encapsulates you talker-throughers, you helpers sent from God (directly) and into my life. You soothe my soul. The song below is the one. I think you'll get it when you listen.
I used my Psychology MINOR to get through to Brody, while we were color-pencilling a picture for his teacher. I started with the bus. I asked questions like, "Who do you sit by? What do you talk about? How does it make you feel when...." and so on. He kept saying, "I'm just not a bus fan, mom." I asked how the bus made his insides feel. He said he gets a tummy ache. At first I assumed, AHA! MOTION SICKNESS. Then I asked, "What is it that makes your tummy feel sick?" He answered exactly like this, "Someone always coughs, and we're not allowed to open the windows. I just KNOW I'm going to bring that cough home to Gideon and he is going to have to go back to living in the hospital." Oh. Gorgeous soul. He is internalizing everything. Every single tiny aspect of this cancer. He no longer has to ride the bus. His school is around the corner, and I feel comfortable dropping him off at the door. He knows right where to go. Why start the day with a belly full of scary worries? No need.
As far as the panic attack goes, I think things layered until he cracked. He did whisper in my ear, "Everyone with cancer dies. Someone told me that." I have no idea if it was a student or he overheard a commercial, I don't know. This fact processed in his head the moment before the panic strike, though. He finally told me that is what he was thinking about: Gideon dying. We will get him counseling. We will work through this. Just please, pray for him. He is living life carrying the heavy, heavy burden of believing he truly IS his brother's keeper. I'm thankful he finally opened up to me. Art supplies will ALWAYS be on hand in this house.
Wow. I told you I'm a mood-swinging fool. Even this entry goes from BLUE SKIES! to sad, sad hearts for my first baby boy, Brody. Thank you for coming along on this journey with us. Thank you for praying. Each prayer is WORKING. I dedicate this song (courtesy of Kelly Morgan) to you, my true friends (Kelly being one of them, of course).