It’s been nearly four weeks now since my husband and I sat speechless in the ICU waiting for our son’s bone marrow biopsy results. During the week prior we had watched S’s health deteriorate quickly and knew something was very wrong. His normally high energy level had disappeared and he had very swollen lymph nodes, an altered voice, fever and lethargy. Many tests were performed and none of the standard illnesses were identified, however, some unusual results and new findings suddenly caused great concern for one other possibility. My husband and I shared the dark suspicion that bad news was about to arrive. We tried to comprehend why this horrible disease would invade our baby. We were convinced our healthy, strong, happy, funny little boy was about to face an uncertain future and he had just celebrated his fifth birthday.
In the time before the procedure I immersed myself in countless Internet searches (not recommended), studied the statistics, traditional and alternative treatments, remission rates and any other information I could find. So many questions to answer. How would we explain this to S and get him through this? How would we put on a happy face for him each day and try to keep life “normal” for his little brother? How would we save him?
After we had held our screaming, thrashing little boy down while the nurses inserted the IV and took yet another blood draw I also tried to imagine what possible explanation we could offer as to why we would help people hurt him over and over again?
We waited and waited for the leukemia diagnosis. Finally, the pediatrician stepped in the room and smiled. Negative.
Mononucleosis was the culprit, though it’s presence had evaded numerous prior tests. S’s health has improved dramatically and most of his symptoms have since disappeared. His energy level will be low for a few weeks yet but he will soon start kindergarten. We are thrilled that we can share in the beautiful joy and simplicity of discussions surrounding his new school, swimming lessons and play dates with friends.
I look at our children, and all children, a bit differently now. At odd moments, like while watching a group of kids happily running around at a birthday party recently, I get a rush of anxiety and fear that I have to wish away. There are so many things people told me about how parenthood would change me but no one could have prepared me for the realization that, in a moment, our family could have entered such an alternate reality. Now the experience is with me, my baggage of appreciation for one simple thing-health.
We are getting back into our normal daily groove. I’m about to take the boys to the library and, merely because it’s a gorgeous summer day, we might stop for an ice cream cone afterwards.
To the friends that stepped in to help at a moment’s notice, and to all the others we knew would, Thank You. We are so grateful to have you all in our lives.