My butt hurts from sitting in classes and lectures all day.
My brain hurts from the knowledge that has been bestowed upon me.
My back hurts from lugging a 25+ backpack around the city; books, food, clothes and all.
My eyes hurt from looking at a computer screen and trying to absorb all of the information given to us in the last few weeks.
And my heart hurts from not being with my girls and my husband.
…But my life is full. And for that, I am so grateful.
I’ve made a promise to myself long ago that I was not only going to let people into our journey, but that I would continue to share the experiences that we have and will face throughout the years. Childhood cancer is not as simple as a viral cold. It’s not something that you get, fight, become immune to, and fades away. No. It is a lifelong experience. It’s one that does not simply go away when the active disease process ends. It is a constant worry, “is it back, have we relapsed, what is that bump, that bruise, are we doing enough to fight it?”…and for some, the constant reminder that this insidious disease took their child from them.
I’m not sure how many moms have been lucky enough to have been in my shoes…to have had a nursing background and to have experienced emergency/trauma situations, and the pediatric acute care setting prior to my daughter being diagnosed. Then to have a survivor emerge out of all of the chaos and to be able to continue my education so I can assist others through their journey. I feel incredibly lucky….and incredibly blessed.
These past couple of days and the last few weeks have been a daunting task. Starting graduate studies….organizing, processing, scheduling, more organizing….trying to fit back into the world of school and the world of parenting and all the other worlds we have to juggle. It is safe to say that my worlds have collided…and I’m trying my best to keep them all situated, organized and in their little boxes. As my husband Adam would say, “In a bag, in a box…in a box, in a bag”. I like things organized. But as I know, it is NOTHING like facing a new childhood cancer diagnosis and it is NOTHING like being told that there are no more options. This is voluntary and I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion.
I bury my face into my hands as if to stop my world from spinning…and take a moment to make sure I am doing the right thing. Then I realize, there’s nothing more I want to do (…besides the obvious).
There was a point today when I was in between classes thinking., “oh my god…this is going to be a lot of work. Can I really do this? Can I really go back to school, balance my family life, work, friendships, and all of the rest? Wait, of course I can. I WILL NOT give up”. The thought of not doing it quickly subsided when I took myself back to the early days of Gabriella’s diagnosis and realized, I absolutely can. My mind won’t let me linger for more than a few seconds on those early days. Just remembering bits and pieces is plenty to keep me motivated.
I received this gift from my girlfriends on my birthday last year Today I look at it and realize how spot on my friends were when they created this for me. My loves, Adam, Gabriella, Bridget…and Team G. My life. All of them. I gleam when I wear this necklace. I wear it with pride. I want everyone in the world to know where we’ve been and where we are now.
And Team G….oh Team G. I have so much thanks to give (that is for another blog post). As I’ve said from the beginning; Team G is all of you. It’s not me. It’s not my girl. It’s the basis that we all came together…to fight one cause. I love where we’ve come from…and I love where we’re going.
There will be tears along the way. And pride. And gratitude. And I am So. Very. Thankful.