Well, port removal day is nearly upon us. I was gung-ho about making the appointment, and scheduling her surgery with the encouragement of Brinley's oncologist and nurses...and now I'm panicking. The surgery itself only counts for a small portion of the anxiety. There is always a risk when a person goes under anesthetic, and as I have mentioned before, it's always a painful relief to watch her wake up. The pain has to do with the fact that they bring her out strapped to machines and oxygen, eyes rolls into her head, coughing, gagging raggedly breathing. I'd like to say I've grown accustom to it...but who am I kidding, you never get use to it, no matter how many times you've been witness. The relief part comes after she open her eyes, mumble a few incoherent words, that are usually focused around food, or shopping, sometimes both. It's a comfort being there with her, holding her hand and coaxing her out of a groggy drug induced sleep. That counts for maybe 30% of the sleepless nights.
The rest of my anxiety relys heavy on the fact that we are one step closer to the end. One step that should feel like a celebration, but instead feels like an inevitable force that is pushing me towards a cliff. I have no idea what is at the bottom, but I have to take a leap of faith, and free fall into what I can only hope is a cancer free life for my child. This little nagging feeling keeps me awake at night, it steals my thoughts and sends me reeling into that familiar world of "what-if". Tuesday morning, we will assemble as a family, and make the hour long drive into Phoenix. Brinley will be put under anesthetic, where they will make a small incision on her chest and pop her implanted vascular access device (IVAD, port) out. They will also administer her second to last dose of intrathecal chemo into her spine.
Lately I've come to face with these little reminders, of what is almost 2 years ago. Sometimes it's her little slippers, the colorful little knitted ones that I ripped the house apart to find. She was stuck in the hospital, she hadn't been diagnosed yet, I had gone home to pack some more clothes and a few toys for her, and for the life of me I couldn't find the damn slippers (my mom found them after DX, mom saves the day again). These slippers have seen it all, every hospital stay, every lumbar puncture, clinic visit, they have been there. And now they are too small, and I can't bring myself to do anything with them, other than hide them in the top of my closet.
Then there is the small Tupperware container that still holds the 2 children's Advil I had taken with me to the Christmas tree lighting in Edmonton (in November). I couldn't get her fever to go away, and she was so determined to see the tree, that I gave her a dose before we ran out the door, and brought an extra, stashed in my coat just in case she needed it. I found the tiny purple container the other day, purple little chewables still inside, and again I haven't brought myself to use them. Instead I when I've run out, and Carter isn't well...I buy another bottle.
There is the journal I wrote in, to have documented notes for the doctor when I brought her into the ER for the 2nd time, I didn't want to forget anything. Flipping through the pages and I realize how frantic my writing got at the end, it ends with, "fever persist, still won't eat".
I've never been one to hang on to things, I never had a favorite teddy bear, or blanket. I didn't have attachment issues growing up...and now I'm an adult of 30, and I can't bring myself to rid myself of these little reminders.