I’m writing today because I’m in a really bad mood. I am legit going crazy being stuck in this hospital, and my husband (God love him) is also going crazy. We are bickering, and basically the walls are just closing in. We miss Cole more than words can say, and getting to see him for a few minutes today was amazing but heartbreaking at the same time. How can all of these emotions exist in one person? Good grief.
Reese is doing extremely well. Per usual (not taking any of this for granted, I promise). He somehow managed to avoid the major side effects (other than a day or two of minor mucositis/vomiting/diarrhea and a couple days of low-grade neutropenic fevers) that were supposedly inevitabilities after this combo of chemo and stem cell transplant. Basically, Reese is Super Man. I know 99% of it is the fact that he’s just plain awesome, but I’m going to go ahead and take credit for the other 1%.
Since his diagnosis, I have made it a priority to continue living life as close to normally as possible. That means that whenever we are out of the hospital, we are probably at Chick-fil-A. Or the zoo. Or the museum. Or a playground. Or at the river. Heck, maybe we’re at Target or Starbucks because that’s where all the basic mommas hang out. We do things. We do not live in a bubble. And I probably don’t feed my kids the most nutritious things all the time. But I do feed them, and they are happy. They are active. They are intelligent. And other than the neuroblastoma, they are extremely healthy.
I truly believe that this has made all the difference.
Letting Reese play with his brother and friends as soon as he feels up to it just seems like the right thing to do. For one, we understand that life is not guaranteed. As much as I believe Reese is going to beat this and go on to live a long, happy, healthy life (and I do believe that), I understand that neuroblastoma is a life-threatening illness.
And for all of the people that are cringing out there thinking that the Chick-fil-A playground is full of germs (which I’m sure it is), so why in the heck would I let my child play there while his immune system is compromised– well, I am pleased to report that Reese has not been hospitalized for a cold or infection (other than the one time where everyone in our house was sick, so he was going to get that cold anyway) in the entire duration of his treatment thus far. In fact, I think I’m going to be as bold to say that the exposure to some of these germs is beneficial to him and building his immune system back up. And if it’s not, then all of the fun he has just might do the trick. P.S. in case you’re wondering, your skin is covered in germs right now. Unless you routinely bathe in hand sanitizer (which I do not recommend). All that does is make the bacteria more resistant to treatment anyway, sooooo yeah. Awkward.
Just a thought to ponder– whether you have sick or healthy children. Maybe letting them get all dirty and eat the chips off the floor isn’t the worst thing in the world? Maybe moms should chill the F out. Yeah, I think it’s totally gross when Reese picks up a cracker off the floor (who knows where it came from, but it wasn’t ours) and eats it, but I don’t freak out about it. Because you can’t control kids. I mean you can, but do you really want to? Let them learn things the hard way. You don’t have to be a perfect parent. As long as they’re alive and fed and loved at the end of the day, then you’re doing just fine. But seriously. Chill out.
Neutropenic or not, I’m letting this kid live. I’m letting him be a little boy. And if his sustenance consists of Chick-fil-A nuggets, french fries, and sweet tea four days a week, then so be it. He’s healthy, he’s kicking cancer’s ass, and the doctors are all okay with it. So get off my jock. Plus, no matter how hard you try to get your toddlers to eat healthy, sometimes when you’ve got strong-willed children, they just won’t do it. If your kid survives on chicken nuggets and yogurt, I promise you, it’s going to be okay. Take a deep breath. Some three-year-olds just don’t like broccoli. That doesn’t mean the kid is going to grow up to be deficient in any way. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother. Case and point– my husband was a tremendously picky eater until college. Then he grew out of it and decided to try new things. He’s a doctor now. It’s all good, y’all.