Monday, November 12, 2007

Life Unfolding

If you don't know what's around the corner, does that mean its not there? Before Henry was diagnosed, I never fully considered the weight of that question.

Today brought more tough challenges. Tara returned to work. Henry had his first day back at the hospital since our first chemotherapy and we faced up to a bit of the reality of having a chronically ill child. Partly because of her background and partly her nature, Tara has consistently been thinking several moves ahead of this thing. For me, I just don't digest it until it happens. I don't know if one or the other is better, perhaps they're complimentary in our situation.

Tara has talked to me about the long days of tests, I've imagined scenes of road-side stops holding the head of a vomiting child, sick from chemo and even considered how I'd handle a roomful of children with no-hair, realizing the circles of lives that had been up-ended with their diagnoses. My imagination, it seems, just isn't up to the task. I feel like I barely made it - and that was with the help of my very capable mother at my side.

Henry has a rash around his midsection that I can only guess must feel like fire sometimes as gauged by his reaction. Guessing among that, nausea, constipation and general aches and pains - and what to do for these - parental anxiety is constantly piqued. All these things seem intensified by the hospital.

I'm not really sure how our 1pm appointment kept us there until just after 5pm, but those were long hours. His blood count resulted in having to schedule Henry's first blood transfusion (for Thursday) as his red blood cell counts are low. His white blood count is so low, its below the testing threshold. This means - and its nothing they didn't warn us of - that he is at high risk for infection. If we measure a temperature over 100 degrees, then we're off to the emergency room at Washington County to be later admitted to Hopkins.

So as Henry drifted in and out of sleep and fits of unease, I wondered what was next. Will we be back in Baltimore yet tonite? Tomorrow? Wednesday?

This didn't heighten my anxiety as I thought it might. In some respects I feel like we're watching a piece of paper unfold. Some we can see, some we cannot, but either way, its all been written. I look at pre-diagnosis pictures of Henry and realize the cancer was there. We just didn't know about it yet. For some reason thinking of things this way releases me from feeling like I have to control everything and just helps me to accept it.

So what will tomorrow bring? Just because we don't know doesn't mean its not there - we just can't quite see around the corner.


Anonymous said...

It has been one month today and about this time that got the phone call from Bryan with the tragic news that Herny was on his way to Hopkins. It still is so vivid in my mind. All the love, hope and fears that I felt for your family that day are still very strong. It is scary sometimes not knowing what is aroung the corner or what tomorrow holds for us. We just have to somehow move forward and take each day as it comes. It makes me think of the old song by The Byrds called Turn!Turn!Turn!.
Give Henry my love!


Anonymous said...

Wow Shanda I couln't have said it any better. I was just thinking of Henry and the rest of your family (whom I think about often)and just feel compelled to write and offer support anywhere it can be found. My heart goes out to Henry. I know he is a trooper, though I can't help but to worry about mom and dad some too.Well, please call me if you need anything I am off all next week.
Take care and I am sending a care package.
Love you guys

Anonymous said...

Bryan and Tara,
I read your blog daily. I appreciate your ability to so clearly express your thoughts and feelings....and your willingness to allow us to peek through the window and share briefly your world as it unfolds. We love you and are all praying for each of you. Love, Debbie