May 9, 2010

Mother's Love

About a year ago, I wrote this post. The irony, I know. So today, Mother's Day, I find myself thinking about Stacey waking up without a mother and Amy waking up without a daughter, and my heart is heavy for them.

When Peach was diagnosed, I was encouraged to reach out to these people, and I didn't (still haven't) because I knew, even in the first confused moments of this nightmare, that Peach's journey would have a different outcome. And I felt incredibly guilty about that. I thought it was too soon for these people to be supporting anyone but their own families and how selfish it would be to drag them back into this world when they've barely begun to crawl out of it themselves.

From Day One, we were given a plan, a proven, successful plan, and all we've had to do is follow it. We haven't had to experiment or "best guess" anything, and the clinical trial Peach is enrolled in just tests the administration options for a certain medicine, not its success or effectiveness. There are no Hail Marys here. Not medical ones anyway. Truly, the only surprise we've had is that Peach was ever diagnosed in the first place. How lucky we are.

I am in NO WAY diminishing what Peach is going through, but every time we visit the clinic or the hospital, we see families with much harder rows to hoe. Some have little hope for recovery or they have life-long, life-altering effects and disabilities to manage. Many have few resources and no support outside of their treatment team, and just to get their child to appointments is a monumental feat. These families are fighting just as hard as we are, even with the deck stacked against them in one way or another, because what else can they do? No one will ever care for their child as much and as well as they do, and somewhere inside, they know that, and so they press on. And on and on. It's inspiring and gut-wrenching at the same time.

Of course, nobody wants to do any of this. You do it because you have to. You watch as your child gets pumped with medicines with "toxin" in the name because what choice do you have? You consent to procedures with page after page of risks and potential side effects (some that won't surface for YEARS) because how can you not? You focus on the here-and-now or you will come undone. And still, I am thankful. I know Peach will get better and this is what we do to make that happen.

Today, we spent a few hours at the hospital, where Peach was getting the last two of 12 shots she's had over the last 12 days (two, every other day). The shots take only a few minutes, but we have to stay for observation for two hours in case she has an allergic reaction. While we waited, we snuggled up in the hospital bed together, watching the rain outside. I held her close and kissed her fuzzy head, and we decided that this was the best Mother's Day gift ever. And it was.