Sunday, 12 March 2017

Waiting with Wolves

She puts her arms round me and I collapse in to them.  I'm at my sisters to pick up my son and this day goes right up there with being one of the longest of my life.  I am drained right through.  We left for Manchester early with Jasmine all broken up on the inside.  Fear can do that to a girl.  She doesn't want to go, and neither do I.  We are heading for her MRI.  She is trying without sedation for the first time; it's a new hospital, new staff, new experience all round.  The thing she holds on to is that there is a needle involved and it darkens her world.  She's had broken sleep for 4 nights and hasn't eaten much for 2 days.  Anxiety building and it makes me feel all wrong inside.

We stop at motorway services and buy a Disney CD and try and lighten the mood singing Hakuna Matata but our hearts aren't really in it.  We're both faking it.  We get to the hospital and the first thing we're told is that we've been sent her letter in error - there isn't actually a slot for her to have an MRI that day.  They're already late.  We don't even know who her new oncologist is and who to send the images to when they're done.  It doesn't fill with me confidence and I feel sick, hoping and praying they won't ask us to come back a different day so she goes through this anxious build up again.  I feel it too.

Then they say they'll try and squeeze her in.  And we wait some more and Jas colours, we play cards, have a few rounds of hangman and her voice comes small when she asks when will it be.  An hour or two later,  I still can't answer then someone comes to tell us that Jas will be next.

She has created a picture on the way here for her new team.  It says "you're as brave as a wolf pack" and I draw strength from her positivity as we prepare.   She picks her music, gets comfortable and climbs on the stretcher that will roll her in to the MRI.  I'm holding my breath then when they put her head in the brace and we make it try to sound fun and cool and call her a storm trooper, I am slammed back to Boston and treatment days of her lying on a stretcher, still with her face in a cage ready for radiation to be pushed in to her to young body.  I want to throw up, but I smile and squeeze her hand and tell her she's awesome and brave and can totally do this.  She whispers she feels closed in and I say "I know babe," and try and reassure her thinking all the time, I don't know if I could do this.   It's loud and she jumps when it starts and I watch her chest rise and fall rapidly and just hold on and pray that she can somehow feel OK and get through it.  A few minutes in and I see her lip quivering and she's trying to hold it together and I'm right there with her, but right there in that room, with her hand white knuckling mine my heart is broken right open and I'm just plain devastated that my girl has to keep on walking this cancer journey.

She knows the worst is yet to come.  The second part of the scan they do with IV contrast.  She climbs off the table and wants a break and then sobs in my arms and I just hold her and she keeps asking, "when will it be?"  Another 20 minutes of waiting and build-up and then they're here to access her.  It isn't pretty and I hold her in a vice grip and as her tears and screams flow out of her, the life flows out of me and I just don't want her to go through this anymore.  I don't want her to have to have blood tests, IV's, checks, scans, consults, evaluations.  I don't want her to have had cancer.

Coming home we pass a coach tour bus.  It's the firm my mum used to go on tours with and suddenly my soul seems to vaporize and I'm hit afresh with grief and loss and I miss my mum.  When I tell Sarah she says it's just mum letting you know she was with you and I like that, but at the same time there's an ache, because she's not with me, is she? Sarah holds me and I say,  I just wish Beanie didn't have to go through it and I cry my heart out for her childhood filled with this ick that is cancer.  I cry for Finn with his endless days of being delivered to someone else for the day when I can't look after him. For all she's endured and it keeps right on coming.  How does she do all that and keep right on feeding the right wolf?  How does she just keep going?  I hold her that evening and when she's all snuggled in with bunny and her blanket I wonder at the miracle that she is, that the person that she is becoming.  I'll wait now.  Wait for the scan results, for the appointment for the consult with her new oncologist and I'll breathe and believe the scan is going to be clear and keep on being clear and keep on believing. And while I'm waiting, I'll thank God for this girl who inspires me every day.

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