He crawled onto his Dad's side of the bed the day after Thanksgiving.
What's up, Colton? I ask, my voice thick with drowsiness.
He yawns, stretches and pulls the edge of my blanket over the top of him too.
"I'm booorrreeeed." He murmurs in a long sigh.
"What would you like to do?" I ask.
I know he'll have hockey out of town the next 2 days, and I'm grateful he'll be busy. But what is it he is searching for right now?
So I simply begin telling him about all the stuff we used to do when he was younger.
"We used to bowl together, do you want to go bowling?" I ask...
"nah." He replies.
Is there a movie you'd like to see?
"Hmmm," I say, "what else? "We could all put on our skates and go find open ice somewhere?" He gives me a confused look.
"We used to go all the time."
"Even you, mom?" he asks, incredulously.
"Yes," I laugh. "Even me. It wasn't pretty. But those ten dollar thrift store figure skates managed to get me around the rink a time or two. Thank goodness for toe picks!"
Suddenly, I'm flooded with memories of all we used to do. He was only in 2nd grade when I was diagnosed. As an 8th grader, I realize having a sick mom, is all he has really known. And sadness encroaches as I fully know, there is so little left that I can actively do these years later.
"I'm sorry buddy. It stinks when your mom is so sick, more and more often."
But as I utter my regret, my brokenness, my inability to reassure him jams my throat.
It's then that he sits up, leaning towards me, and begins saying, "Mom, Mom, MOMMMMM." "It's okay. All that really matters? Is that I'm here. With you." That's all I really need, okay?
He comes over to the side of the bed, and folds himself over to hug me. He has grown 2 inches since July, the last time we measured him. But it's his growth in wisdom beyond his years, that surpasses his size. I love him so...
I met with Dr. Panwalkar last Tuesday. He had sent me a link to the PET scan report, but I couldn't get it to load. So I shook my head "no" when he asked if I already knew my status.
"I assume its grown in my lungs, and somewhere in my abdominal region?" I tell him.
"Well, kind of he says, hesitatingly."
We're off script a bit, and I've jumped the gun by asking.
So he loads the old and new scans side by side and we begin zooming through the images. It looks kind of like a 3d movie with my body playing the lead role. But as we reach my lungs, the glowing yellow "cancer activity" rears it's head. So my lower left lobe is showing more uptake, meaning more cancer activity. I don't even bother asking how much growth, or increase in activity. I simply don't feel the need to know any great detail.
So we continue on through the scan, finding a spot on my esophagus which likely could acid reflux or heartburn. My bladder is also glowing, but its normal to look like that. PET scans are not easy to read.
So when we get the to the next large glowing spot, I'm perplexed.
Reading me, as he does so well, Dr. P explains its my uterus. And its IN my uterus, not just on top of my uterus. The words he carefully uses, are "large mass."
But as I think about it, I have to wonder, "How do we know what it is?"
He nods in agreement, stating, "We don't." Its highly unlikely for breast cancer to spread to your uterus. What we really need to do is biopsy it.
"So it could be another kind of cancer? Like uterine cancer? Or something else?"
He quietly nods his head. And we sit in silence a moment or two, letting it sink in.
Then he shifts our focus, and says "I think we need to start new treatment again. How do you feel about Taxotere- weekly.
This is what I've expected him to say. So I counter offer, "How about Halaven? Could we start with that? It helped my lungs last time and we stopped it early."
He smiles, and says enthusiastically, "OK." It's good, too. Lets start with Halaven and restart Herceptin again. We'll do two weeks on, and 1 week off of treatment. Its that one week off, that gives me a bit of relief.
"Fatigue may be more of an issue, and your counts may go low, he says. Most of your hair will fall out. And sores are likely to form in your mouth. But it worked well for you last time!"
He always diverts my attention back to the positive I can hang onto. He walks me out to the waiting room and then leans in to hug me around my shoulder before he briskly walks away.
I finished my second dose of Halaven on Tuesday. I'm bumping up against nausea and inability to eat at times. I'm worn out, despite how little I seem to accomplish most days.
But two things keep me going. Well, 3 actually. And they are called Nolan, and Colton, and Superman. I just keep striving to find new ways to be in their world, no matter what it takes. Sheer will some days, and God given grace on others.
Rest in peace my sweet friend, Colleen. Your sharp wit, brilliant intelligence and huge compassion for all, will be so dearly missed. In true Colleen fashion I heard you made one more trip to Target, insisting on pushing the cart and walking, despite how tiny you had become. Tiny in size maybe, but you were mighty in all other ways, and will be forever missed.
If you're so inclined, prayers please, for Colleen's husband Marlon, and their two precious daughters, just 5 and 7 years old- Lizzie and Abbie. They'll be so honored.
~peace and love to you all~