Monday, February 06, 2012

In really fun news...

I kind of hinted last week that I had another issue to talk about, and I just needed a few days to deal with it before I wrote about it. And I am not entirely sure that I will get through this post without having to leave my desk to go walk around for a while...fortunately I am not wearing eye makeup today.

Munchkin's best friend has leukemia. She found out Thursday, and told Munchkin right away. As you would expect, Munchkin went over to see her immediately, doing her best not to get too upset or emotional...and then left to come home and immediately became a complete blubbering mess. Which paled in comparison to the blubbering mess of her older sister...

And really, I shouldn't be as affected as I am. Cancer sucks. And I know way too many people who have been impacted on way too many levels. I have met a whole bunch of girls that are the same age as Munchkin's friend, and have shared in at least some of the heartbreak that every one of their families feels. In this case, the girl is strong and otherwise healthy and has been diagnosed at a time and with a disease that gives her a very high chance of a complete recovery.

She has two great parents, two wonderful siblings and at least one remarkable best friend, and she will be treated at one of the world's very best hospitals without ever having to leave home. In the universe of people with cancer, she is unquestionably one of the lucky ones. She is also a wonderfully sweet, adorably upbeat girl, and she has taken the news without a drop of anger or fear...she knows she is going to get better, and she is ready for the battle.

I know all of that. I know she is going to be fine. I know that she is going to be sick for a while, but that she will look radiant and stunning when I send her and Munchkin to their senior prom. And she will have a full head of long hair when she and Munchkin hug each other and promise to call every day when they leave for college. This has a happy ending.

So why am I so completely devastated by this? For four days now, I find myself periodically bursting into tears...and have sobbed uncontrollably at least twice. Obviously, it hit Munchkin pretty hard, but she did all of her crying in one day, and now is just concerned with figuring out when and how she will be able to visit, and what the treatment schedule looks like. She has begun helping her friend pick out wigs.

Really, I should be helping her deal with her own emotions while she helps her friend. I should be helping her to not panic, to understand the reality and to be prepared to offer emotional support. I should be encouraging her and her friends to help her friend's sister (two years younger, and therefore friendly with all of them) deal with her own issues. I certainly shouldn't be trying to avoid the subject for fear of bursting into tears on a moment's notice (which I may have done on Friday).

I have to get over myself...I am not sick, nor is Munchkin. I just have to keep reminding myself of that one key point: this has a happy ending.


Mrs. Adventure said...

Happy ending or not is FUCKING CANCER of course your sad. Its awful, I promise to keep her in my prayers.

Now I'm crying - lets blame it on the pregnacy hormones :o)

XO, Rach

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

The closer you are to devastating news, the harder it is to digest. Maybe somewhere deep down, you realize it could happen to any of us. And now you're a parent to two beautiful little girls and a pseudo parent to your sister. And, that's a lot of responsibility to carry - let alone should something life-changing happen to their health. So, yeah, it's heavy. Real heavy. Don't be hard on yourself for crying. I'm pretty sure I would be a complete mess, too. But, don't let that preclude you from helping Munchkin deal with the reality she's facing.

Lori S-C said...

I read this last night and decided to ponder it for a little while before I posted a response. Having read your blog for quite a while, I thought about this situation in light of my perspective of your life and that of Munchkin.
First of all, both you and Munchkin have dealt with a whole lot of stuff in the past head on, with courage and grace and no avoidance of doing what you believe the right thing is. That experience has prepared her for the health challenge that her friend is facing. Both you and she have handled grief and loss of parents, moving, changing relationships and finding a family among your friends. This has created a beyond your years maturity for both of you....
For you, you have a different perspective than before, after parenting Munchkin and being mom to two beautiful babies. With that experience, there are even more levels to relate to this situation...from the parent perspective, from that of a caretaker and as a kind and caring being. Add in hormones and sleep deprivation and it is no surprise that you would burst into tears...
For Munchkin, she has had the experience of having you as a role model. From the loss of her parents, leaving the family she knew in the Midwest, to moving across the country to a whole new type of life, you have been there to support her. She knows that you are there no matter what. You'll be there for her on the days that she needs to vent, and on the days that she bursts into tears.
She is an amazing girl, with so much to share. Her friend is as lucky to have her as she is to have you.
Don't be surprised if she needs a few extra nights of chicken fingers along the way. It'll be good for both of you.
BTW, I have worked a lot with kids with cancer... Let me know if there is something I can do that would help you.... Just being yourselves will be the best thing of all.