It was -3 yesterday when we left the house headed for Ana’s first radiation treatment (notice that’s a MINUS). I took her to get labs drawn locally at 7:45 a.m., so it was a very early morning and another long day.
In February, the world feels completely frozen – particularly THIS February, as we drove past monolithic piles of snow in subzero temperatures headed to the city for something even bleaker than the gargantuan icicle hanging from our house. The scene in my head played out something like this.
But, as it turned out, it wasn’t that bad. Ana got a pulmonary function test at 11:30 (they needed a baseline before radiating her lung), and we managed to have lunch at the hospital’s sad little cafeteria. Then we went down to radiation oncology in pretty good spirits. Ana wasn’t nervous at all. When I asked her why, she said because they told her it wouldn’t hurt. They took her in about an hour after her scheduled appointment at 1:30, and she was done in a half hour. She said she didn’t feel anything and nearly fell asleep on the table. Then we headed out around 3:45 (a time when, apparently, there’s very little traffic leaving the city on a Tuesday).
We took Ana to Cheesecake Factory in the Palisades Mall on the way home, and I bought her some makeup at Sephora. I’m pretty sure these mall trips are spoiling her rotten, but she endures so much. She even gave me a hug when I agreed to buy her the eyeliner she wanted. So it was worth it, you see?
I had a weird, emotional moment in Cheesecake Factory when a toddler in the booth next to ours began choking on his food. There were a few seconds of panic when at least three parents in surrounding booths were suddenly on high alert, ready to help, but his mother got him to a safe place quickly. He was fine, chatty, happy – it was like nothing had happened at all. But (much to Ana’s mortification), I started to cry. I’m even getting teary as I type this. I know it wasn’t about the little boy – not really. It came from that place inside my heart – that place of perpetual fear and dread that I’m trying to control
Worrying about that little boy left me completely defenseless for a few seconds, and I couldn’t hold the tears back.
So, Ana needs to get four more treatments. Dr. Connolly originally said she was only getting three total, but because of the way the tumor moves when she breathes, she extended it to five. It comes close to some critical structures when she breathes, so they want to make sure they keep the radiation beams far away from them. Ana will go again Thursday, then Monday and Wednesday next week, then the following Tuesday. She’ll get another CT scan the first week in April and hopefully the tumor will be gone (or significantly smaller). Remember, there’s still the question of whether or not radiation will even work with Ana’s type of tumor.
I’ve made the difficult decision not to go with Jim and Ana for all of her treatments. I haven’t been able to work as much as I need to in order to sustain my business. I need to find some new clients and try to get us back on firmer ground. This is a big worry in my mind right now, but I am also very grateful that I’ve had so much flexibility thus far – and have been able to go with Ana to every single appointment up to this point. I plan on going to Monday’s treatment, and possibly the final treatment the following Tuesday, but will miss this Thursday and next Wednesday. Yes, I’m fretting, obsessing and feeling tremendous mom-guilt. But keeping this family in a safe place (financially) is part of what I need to do to help Ana heal, not worry and get through this. It will also be nice to be here for Emily.
So, one down, four to go. Then (fingers and toes crossed), we’re off to LA to finally meet the cast of New Girl.
Also – a reminder – you can vote daily through 3/6/15 for Maddie’s Mark in Ulster Savings Banks’ Mid Hudson Heroes contest. They’re trailing behind in fourth or fifth place- but if we can get them up to third then that’s $500 prize which goes to an amazing charity that is personally helping my family. Please vote and spread the word.