Recovery is slower this time. I feel like I was much more active by this point last time. We did manage a short walk today, which is great because the weather is gorgeous and it’s good for the baby to be outside. It’s really been very considerate of the weather to be so nice while I’m home and save the dreary, cold, snowy days for when I’m in the hospital. The sunshine and warmer weather does a lot to lift spirits and reinforce positivity, and for that I am thankful. Basically I’m just very tired and insanely itchy with my skin peeling off of my face, neck, chest, and back. Otherwise all is well and I’m glad to have this time at home. Waiting for a month to find out if the IL-2 is working is going to be difficult. I’d much rather know right now. I’m trying to cherish this time of healing and not wish it away to be closer to finding out the results. As I have said, I am not a patient person. But as they say: good things come to those who wait. So wait I will, and I will be confident in the good news we are about to receive. I am still convinced that the scan is going to show that the tumors have completely disappeared. I know statistics scream otherwise, but I’m not a statistic, I am a person, I am a warrior, I am a determined mother. Cancer, you may prove a worthy opponent, but you are no match for me.
I have put away all of my parenting books (and if you know me, you can guess there is a substantial amount). If I am a unique person who isn’t going to go by the books, then so is baby Kai. Goodbye scheduling feeding times, goodbye stringent rules about naptime, goodbye always putting the baby down before he’s asleep, goodbye not rocking the baby to bed, goodbye everything except enormous Kai smiles and the overall happiness of my little person. I don’t care if you need to be rocked to sleep every night for the next few months. I don’t care if you use a pacifier until you’re 2 years old. I don’t care if you nap in your swing or your crib. I care that you turn into a happy, content, confident, secure individual and I will use your smiles, not the clock, as my gauge of success. If I put as much weight on melanoma statistics as I was putting on child development statistics (by month 1 80 percent of babies will be… by month 2 80 percent of babies will be…), then I would have a much more difficult time getting out of bed each morning. I wouldn’t be able to greet each day with the confidence that my body is unique and as such is waging a war that you will not find in any medical journal, personal story, or research statistic. So as I attend to my own unique needs, I promise to do the same for baby Kai. I will listen to your unique wants and desires. I will respond to you as a little person, not as a developmental stage, and I will remember that your life cannot be defined by a book or a statistic. And I will stockpile each huge, toothless, ear-to-ear smile to be used in my assault against melanoma. Your love is my greatest weapon of all.
I am learning how to breathe on this journey. I am learning to stop, take a deep breath, and relook at the situation. I am learning to relax, let things go, and be more flexible. I am allowing for setbacks, for last-minute schedule changes, for improvisation. I look forward to the uniqueness of each day, the joy of impromptu occurrences, and the promise of tomorrow. I am learning to see life as a marvelous roller coaster that I cannot always control, or plan for, or contain. I am learning to be swept up and carried along, sometimes with a paddle and sometimes without, and either way with a great big smile on my face for the awesomeness of the ride. I am learning to sit still until everything falls away and only love remains. I am thankful for this breathing lesson, because I have a tendency to suffocate myself.
Today I am thankful for the gorgeous weather; the continued, humbling support of our wonderful neighbors; upcoming visits from friends; my time at home with baby Kai; my mom for taking care of all of us; my loving MMG family; the doctors who continue to grow my cells while I rest; my amazing family and friends; and, as always, my fabulous husband Jeff, who is stuck with all of the night feedings this week, and my precious baby Kai. The debt I owe you can only be repaid with my life, and I promise you now that I will always be in yours.