Today is MRI day. MRI day always reminds me how amazing Eli is. It is common to think of any kid with cancer as a fighter and to be in awe at what s/he has to go through so early in life.
These kids are still kids. They each have an individual personality and react and act in their individual way to what they are forced to experience. They have good days and bad days and okay days, just like we all do. I think some are better equipped than others, whether because of age, personality, or maturity.
Eli truly is amazing, most of the time. MRI day seems to get progressively more difficult for him, today especially. He really didn’t want to do this. He complained. He complained some more. He wanted to break the appointment into two separate appointments so he didn’t have to do this for four hours (yes 4). Adding another area to the scans means adding an hour to his already long MRI. It was truly a miracle that the person who schedules Eli’s scans was able to find a four hour block of time at any of the three facilities within reasonable driving distance from our home with such short notice. I am grateful not to have to endure two separate appointments to get it all done.
So, Eli was unhappy about being here when we got here three and a half hours ago. I just saw him a little while ago, and he seems in a much better mood than when I left him to the imaging staff.
Being able to change his attitude is one of the amazing things about my son. He has also spent the week trying to be sensitive to my stress levels. Even though I don’t spend a lot of conscious time dwelling on the big question, “Is the cancer back?”, I still feel the stress combined with the “normal” parenting stress of parenting all of my children. Eli, who gets to deal with life and death situations at barely 12 years of age, spent the week worrying about his mom.
So, I sit here.
I sit in this little room, adjacent to the imaging room where Eli has to hold still, and I marvel at my son’s awesomeness and ability to do things he doesn’t really want to do, because he might die if he doesn’t.
And here I am, wallowing in a bit of pain because I have a blister from my walk around the exterior of the hospital, trying to kill time. And wallowing in annoyance over having to go through Covid screening every time I come back inside the hospital. And wallowing in frustration that, because of a stupid virus, I couldn’t eat in the cafeteria since they closed the seating area, nor could I get a cup of ice water, and I had to find somewhere in the hall to eat and hope they didn’t kick me out. And wallowing in fear that my son’s cancer may be back, as if it weren’t bad enough that Covid-19 ruined my plans for the summer to help Eli achieve as many goals and wishes as I could squeeze in.
Yes, I am wallowing, because here, in the hospital, I can’t pretend that our normal is normal, because it’s anything but.
But, I can compartmentalize. When we go home, I can put cancer away in it’s little, twisted box and pretend for awhile that it doesn’t exist and that maybe, just maybe, it never existed and life just is.
Then, after a break from that little box, next time I have to pull it out again, maybe I’ll have even a fraction of the strength, resilience, and superhuman amazingness of my son.
I will so eat those M&Ms if they ever bother us again.
The radiologist reports were ready to download when we got home. While, the MRI isn’t definitive, by itself, it indicates possible recurrent disease in Eli’s left foot and thigh and right upper arm. The PET/CT will help confirm the recurrence and then discuss with the doctors what the next step will be.
Okay, time to put away the box.