Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Fighting for a Family

 Indy got incredibly sick—and to see her like that…was devastating. She’s 11 years old and one of the happiest people on earth. Someone could be mean and she’d hope for the best: “They’d never mean it THAT way,” or “We should give them another chance.”

But on Sunday, I knew something was wrong when Trey teased her, and she mumbled, “What a jerk!”

Two hours later, Indy had a full-blown fever, a sore throat, and even hallucinations! The doctor dubbed it strep and gave us antibiotics, but the next night Indy still struggled. I slept by her on the couch, so worried. 

After a few hours my hips hurt and my back ached—I honestly woke up feeling so ill from the cancer that I had to take more medicine than usual. It’s weird with the medicine because for about an hour after taking it, I remember what it felt like not having cancer. And then the flulike symptoms set in again: body aches, chills, nausea, sometimes vomiting, and extreme bone pain. I told the doc about this last week, and she prescribed something that is slow-release. It blankets the pain so it’s background music instead of the full symphony (if you know what I mean), but then the pain never totally goes away. It just lurks there, making me feel “gross” but never momentarily well.

Anyway, when I went back to sleep I had the most wonderful dream about a beautiful valley. I felt so different there, lying in the grass—and I realized…it was simply the absence of pain.

Then Indy woke me up, “Mama, I’m cold.” She shivered, and I covered her with an extra blanket and patted her back.

“Okay! I’ve got you. You’re okay.”

“Mama,” she quaked moments later.

“What, sweetheart? I’m here.” I held her close. “I’m here.”

“It’s just that you’re so sick and now…you’re staying up—not getting rest—because of me.”

“I’m okay,” I said, amazed by that kind of altruism at such a young age. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” I said—not even in my dream of the beautiful valley. After all, it really does seem like Mike and the kids are MY Heaven. “You’re my baby. I want to be with my kids, always. Especially when you need me.”

She rolled over and stared at me, her eyes so big—filled with concern even though SHE still fought a fever. “You know how you said you feel like you have the flu all the time?”

I nodded.

“I just realized how terrible that must be. It must be…so…so bad.” Then these huge tears rolled down her cheeks. And she hugged me like she might never let go. “Mama, I’m so sorry you’re sick.”

I hugged her. “It’s okay. It’s really okay. It’s not as bad…as it sounds. Indy, I’m just so sorry that YOU are sick!” And as I thought about how terrible cancer can be—and I felt those darling arms around my neck—I couldn’t help thinking how grateful I am to have a family to fight for.

Indy finally started feeling better late last night. I’m so glad she’s on the mend, painting her nails crazy colors, and harassing her cat (her world!).

Anyway, when I woke up from my nap today the kids had already been home from school for an hour, and I kept wishing I could give the kids and Mike more...but I can’t. 

Hopefully they know I’m doing the best I can. I’m enjoying each moment and simply fighting for more time.

A picture of me and Indy right before and after I got cancer.

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