Today marks the 2 year anniversary of Callum's diagnosis. Can you believe it's been 2 years? Can you believe we're almost done with his chemotherapy program?
It has felt like the longest 2 years of my life. And it has also felt like the 2 years passed in a blink.
As I was preparing this post, I read back to what my thoughts were a year ago. My feelings were still quite raw. At some level, I think I was still recovering from, and digesting, the news that our son had cancer.
But now, 2 years after that dreadful day, you'll find there are times where we are complacent and halfway forget we have a fighter on our hands. I'm not nearly as diligent as I used to be (or should be) about following people around with hand sanitizer every second of every day. I'll sometimes forget to ask after the health of other kids before a play date or a party. I think because he's doing so amazingly well, we (everyone, really) forget where we've been and what we've been fighting these last two years.
It's as if we've put those ugly two years behind us, and are racing to the end, with the finish line in sight. Where we can return to being a "normal" family once more.
But - will we ever be normal again?
My Dad and I were having this conversation a few weeks ago, actually. This experience has changed us all. There are aspects of this experience which have robbed my youngest of his most innocent and precious childhood years. There are aspects of this which have robbed my oldest of *his* most innocent and precious childhood years as well.
Every pain of Callum's. Every stumble. Every whimper. Every time something happens, my first fear is that the cancer has come back. It's a constant haunting.
I think it haunts the kids too. They just don't realize it exactly.
Logan recently had a little bump on his shoulder that he got really concerned about one day. He approached me with a very serious - and sorrowful - look in his eyes.
Mom, look at this spot. Do you think it's cancer?
Oh gosh, no sweetie. It's nothing like that at all. You'll be ok.
But if it *is* cancer, will we need to cut off my arm?
The three of us were driving to dinner one afternoon, after a great golfing lesson, so we were all in a good mood. We were listening to some fun music and enjoying ourselves.
Then, out of nowhere, Callum started to cry. He just burst into tears and couldn't stop sobbing. I knew something was wrong and it broke my heart. Both Logan and I immediately asked what happened - was he hurt? What was wrong?
I slowed the car down to pull over and asked Callum again if he was hurt.
No (still through tears).
Whatever is wrong then?
I don't want to die Mommy!!
And yet, even amidst each of our own personal hauntings, I am excited about our future ahead.
The boys are both doing tremendous in school. They have more friends than I can keep up with (or schedule play dates with, which they are constantly demanding me to do). Having completed our major house remodel, we are now tackling "Phase 2", by remodeling the pool and backyard. The boys anxiously await the finished product, which should be done in time for the summer. Jon continues to do well at work, taking on more challenges, and more responsibility, every day. I'm volunteering as much as I can in both boys' classrooms, running them to and from endless after school activities, and befriending a whole new community of families here within our neighborhood.
I'm also looking forward to the next chapter I'm about to begin. I've been asked to join the LPCH Bass Center (Oncology and Hematology) Family Advisory Board and have recently been speaking with several members at the hospital, to make sure I'm the right fit for them, and they're the right fit for me. The timing is perfect - since I've been stewing for awhile now, on how exactly we can give back to the hospital that has done so very much for our family.
Without realizing it at the time, of course, Callum's diagnosis two years ago was the birth of a new family, a new community, a new direction and a new path in our lives.
I'm realizing this is our new normal. And we're settling into it quite nicely.