My Pity Party

Started by anonymous, January 16, 2015
32 replies for this topic
anonymous

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Posted on
January 16, 2015
Like most parents, I often think about how Henry will reflect back on his childhood. I want him to remember growing up in a happy home full of love and laughter, with parents that would look for monsters under the bed and sing the dinosaur song.

I don’t want him to feel as if he grew up in the shadow of his mom’s cancer. I know children are resilient, but weeks like this make me especially paranoid. I’m in a clinical trial where I travel to Houston for infusion once every three weeks, and while I’m grateful the chemotherapy is working (Hallelujah!), one of the biggest side effects is the toll the drug takes on the immune system.

On Monday, a spiking fever and dangerously low white blood cell counts landed me a three-night’s stay in the hospital. When anyone goes to the ER and gets admitted to the hospital, he or she will likely stress about the job or responsibilities that will be missed, but when a parent of a toddler gets the "WE’RE ADMITTING YOU" verdict at 9 p.m. on a Monday, it starts a babysitting panic!

This week I relied on all my resources, stringing together three days of grandparents, school, friends, cousins and “faux grandmas” to take care of Henry during the day while Chris was at work. Henry asked each person, “Where’d Mommy go? I want to go see Mommy.”

Talk about heartbreaking.

He’s turning three years old in a few days, so even though he’s not old enough to know exactly what’s happening, he knows that something out of the ordinary is going on. We tried to use honest, plain language that he can understand, explaining that Mommy is staying with the doctors, and they are giving her medicine.

When Chris and Henry came down to the hospital Tuesday night to have dinner with me, I was fully expecting a meltdown of nuclear proportions when it was time for them to go home. The last thing I want is for visiting Mommy in the hospital to be a defining moment of his childhood, so I tried to look as normal as possible: I changed into plain clothes, ran my I.V. line down the back of my shirt and rolled my I.V. pole over to one side. I even bought a package of gummy bears in case we needed heavy artillery to calm him down. (Hey, don’t judge. Desperate times call for desperate measures!)

Henry was so happy to see me when they got here, it made me feel better than any medicine possibly could have. He showered me with hugs and kisses, and with Henry being Henry – he also climbed on the furniture, pressed the call nurse button, and flushed the loud toilet about 15 times.

And when the nurse came to change my bag of antibiotics, Henry sat very still watching her, then said very matter-of-factly, “That’s Mommy’s medicine.” The nurse agreed with him, and he went back to watching a YouTube video about dinosaurs.

After a few hours, it was time for Chris and Henry to leave. They walked out of the room, with Chris telling Henry they were going back to look at the fish aquarium in the lobby. No meltdown, no bribe, no traumatization to discuss in therapy 20 years from now. Just a little distraction and a simple explanation seemed to do the trick.

As for me, well ... when they left and my fever spiked again, buying me at least another night’s stay, the loneliness of my quiet hospital room consumed me, and I couldn’t smile and fake it any longer. As I sat in the dark with tears streaming down my face, I realized I had been trying so hard to take care of Henry’s emotions, I hadn’t given any thought to my own.

In the end, I was the one having the meltdown and finding comfort in the bag of gummy bears. My secret to sanity despite living with metastatic cancer is putting one foot in front of the other and trying my best to stay optimistic. But some days are harder than others, and it’s taken me a while to accept that sometimes it’s OK to not be OK. Because sometimes the only way to keep moving forward is to let yourself stop and have a pity party first.

Of course, I don’t have time to pity party very long – I’ve got Henry’s third birthday to celebrate this weekend. After all, one foot in front of the other, right?
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 16, 2015
Like most parents, I often think about how Henry will reflect back on his childhood. I want him to remember growing up in a happy home full of love and laughter, with parents that would look for monsters under the bed and sing the dinosaur song.

I don’t want him to feel as if he grew up in the shadow of his mom’s cancer. I know children are resilient, but weeks like this make me especially paranoid. I’m in a clinical trial where I travel to Houston for infusion once every three weeks, and while I’m grateful the chemotherapy is working (Hallelujah!), one of the biggest side effects is the toll the drug takes on the immune system.

On Monday, a spiking fever and dangerously low white blood cell counts landed me a three-night’s stay in the hospital. When anyone goes to the ER and gets admitted to the hospital, he or she will likely stress about the job or responsibilities that will be missed, but when a parent of a toddler gets the "WE’RE ADMITTING YOU" verdict at 9 p.m. on a Monday, it starts a babysitting panic!

This week I relied on all my resources, stringing together three days of grandparents, school, friends, cousins and “faux grandmas” to take care of Henry during the day while Chris was at work. Henry asked each person, “Where’d Mommy go? I want to go see Mommy.”

Talk about heartbreaking.

He’s turning three years old in a few days, so even though he’s not old enough to know exactly what’s happening, he knows that something out of the ordinary is going on. We tried to use honest, plain language that he can understand, explaining that Mommy is staying with the doctors, and they are giving her medicine.

When Chris and Henry came down to the hospital Tuesday night to have dinner with me, I was fully expecting a meltdown of nuclear proportions when it was time for them to go home. The last thing I want is for visiting Mommy in the hospital to be a defining moment of his childhood, so I tried to look as normal as possible: I changed into plain clothes, ran my I.V. line down the back of my shirt and rolled my I.V. pole over to one side. I even bought a package of gummy bears in case we needed heavy artillery to calm him down. (Hey, don’t judge. Desperate times call for desperate measures!)

Henry was so happy to see me when they got here, it made me feel better than any medicine possibly could have. He showered me with hugs and kisses, and with Henry being Henry – he also climbed on the furniture, pressed the call nurse button, and flushed the loud toilet about 15 times.

And when the nurse came to change my bag of antibiotics, Henry sat very still watching her, then said very matter-of-factly, “That’s Mommy’s medicine.” The nurse agreed with him, and he went back to watching a YouTube video about dinosaurs.

After a few hours, it was time for Chris and Henry to leave. They walked out of the room, with Chris telling Henry they were going back to look at the fish aquarium in the lobby. No meltdown, no bribe, no traumatization to discuss in therapy 20 years from now. Just a little distraction and a simple explanation seemed to do the trick.

As for me, well ... when they left and my fever spiked again, buying me at least another night’s stay, the loneliness of my quiet hospital room consumed me, and I couldn’t smile and fake it any longer. As I sat in the dark with tears streaming down my face, I realized I had been trying so hard to take care of Henry’s emotions, I hadn’t given any thought to my own.

In the end, I was the one having the meltdown and finding comfort in the bag of gummy bears. My secret to sanity despite living with metastatic cancer is putting one foot in front of the other and trying my best to stay optimistic. But some days are harder than others, and it’s taken me a while to accept that sometimes it’s OK to not be OK. Because sometimes the only way to keep moving forward is to let yourself stop and have a pity party first.

Of course, I don’t have time to pity party very long – I’ve got Henry’s third birthday to celebrate this weekend. After all, one foot in front of the other, right?
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 17, 2015
Your Mom's and Dad's life time friend here. I have known Lana for longer than David but love them both. Your are so brave and do not always have to be. It is good to have a melt down and let our heavenly Father hold you and dry your tears. He does have a plan.
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 17, 2015
In a word.......WOW. Your poise, absolute understanding and consideration of everything and everyone involved is humbling. Your strength is inspiring. Good luck.
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 17, 2015
I have known Chris and his family for many years. I coached Chris on a couple of baseball teams and enjoyed my association with this fine family. You, Chris and Henry will be in my prayers as I ask for God's healing.
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 17, 2015
Carrie, I went to school with Lana and have been following your blogs. I want you to know that I admire you so much being able to go through all you do and still take care of your family. Your writing is beautiful, I feel like I am right with you. Praying for you and your family. All My Love
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 17, 2015
I love you girl!! You are my hero!
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 18, 2015
You are a gal of many talents and writing is definitely one of them. As for the title, "pity party"... I think I pity people who don't have the love and consciousness that you do. Fuck cancer. Sending love. (I want to see the Corey family real soon...)
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 18, 2015
I am sorry about all you are going through. Pity parties are much needed in healing. Thank you for putting this out there. As long as we do not pack our bags and move to Pity-ville we are good. I'm happy your little one didn't have a meltdown. Good luck.....
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 18, 2015
Your writings touch my heart Carrie. I can feel them coming from your heart. You are a beautiful soul!
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Anonymous

Member
0 Replies
Posted on
January 18, 2015
We love you Carrie very much. We constantly pray for your health, your sanity & happiness. God knew to give you that angel Henry & not your nephew Aiden because that would not work.. It broke my heart for you to be lonely one moment BUT we admire your courage & strength more than we can express. Love you Erica's MOM
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