Today was a bad day for me. A really, really bad day. But it was entirely my own fault. (No, really, it was. Trust me.) I woke up angry and defeated and frustrated and without hope. Instead of trying to change my perspective, I allowed myself to wallow in that anger; I let it consume me. And now I know, without doubt, that anger is a frighteningly powerful emotion; I know that once you let it take a foothold in your heart, it'll eat you alive. So I'm going to try my best to avoid letting it happen again. Logan needs me too much for me to let myself be taken out of commission. I have to say to my friend Lara who PM'd me this morning with words of wisdom that although I bitterly dismissed your words at first glance, I now realize you were right, with a small caveat: I can't be as strong as I need to be on my own power. Handling this as a mere mortal would be devastating in ways I can't imagine. My mistake this morning was deliberately trying to take it all on without God.
None of this is to say that God and I had a pow wow and I'm no longer upset with Him over Logan's cancer and the frustrations and the setbacks and the painful uncertainty. I'm definitely still mad. Furious, really. But instead of turning around and refusing His help, the door to my heart is propped open - just a crack, mind you - for infusions of love and hope.
The turning point came this afternoon in the car as Adam and I drove back to Pleasanton to pick up a few things we'd forgotten at home. Logan had just gone into surgery and we had about 3 hours before he was scheduled to be in recovery. I'd been boiling mad all day long. Everything made me angry: The truck going 65 in the fast lane on 580, the hour-long plus wait in the neurology clinic after the doctor had shared that a shunt would be necessary, the painful slowness of hospital adminstrivia, even the existence of my own husband. I felt abrasive and closed off and truly hopeless. As we left the hospital parking lot and headed toward a McDonalds to get a late lunch, I ranted and raved and screamed at God. My words were unflattering and furious and filled with spite. After a few moments of silence, Adam quietly asked if it made me feel better to yell. I thought it over, and oddly enough, I realized it did. I felt a sense of calm begin to envelope me. I released the anger, I owned it, and then it faded to a degree that was decidedly... manageable.
That doesn't mean that nothing else bothered me through the rest of the day, because I'm only human and I'm susceptible to minor irritations like anyone. The difference was that the anger no longer owned me and I was free to feel other emotions, like relief, tiredness, and even amusement. The woman in Walmart who approached Adam to ask if he knew where some dinosaur toys were stocked will never know how her mistake caused me to roar with laughter 10 minutes later as we got back onto 580 bound once again for Children's. (We'd stopped there to get some post-surgery Cars for Logan. He certainly doesn't need them, but we figured it would be fair given the number of times he's been poked and prodded and knocked out over the past two weeks.) It was just a little thing, but it was good to laugh.
So that's me.
Logan did fine today, I think. He was up overnight in pain more than once, and threw up several times yesterday, so I knew something was amiss. I was disappointed to see him fall behind with his chemo schedule before it even began, but if it means that he'll be more comfortable and happy, then it's worth the wait. When I nervously asked Dr. Sun (the neurosurgeon) how the tumor looked in the MRI this morning, I was extremely relieved when he said 'no change' (although part of me was bummed that he didn't wave his hands in the air, shake his head in disbelief and say 'I don't know how it happened, but it's gone!').
It took a loooong time to finally get a room, so we spent a loooong time at the neuro clinic waiting. (This is when Logan likened Carrie Underwood to Barbie and then Lady Gaga. He and Abby have no idea who Lady Gaga is, but they love saying her name and snicker like little trolls whenever they do.) He was finally admitted to the PICU again for 15 minutes, and was taken to surgery lickety split. Then there was the usual blur of paperwork and consent forms, and he was off for three more procedures: Shunt placement, chemo line placement, and lumbar puncture. I've never had a spinal tap but I always hear that it's a horribly painful experience, so I'm thankful that they were able to do Logan's while he was under anesthesia. It seems as if the shunt and line placements went just fine, but I admit that I'm scared of the spinal tap results. It'll tell us if there are tumor cells in his spinal column. I pray not, but I know there's nothing else I can do, and that the chemo will need to do its job regardless of wherever the cells are located.
He was still asleep when Adam drove me to my hotel room for the night. We'd both planned to stay at the hospital, but circumstances made it a challenging proposition for me. We'd expected to be in the Pediatrics ward rather than the PICU, which is notably quieter and more peaceful than the beep-beep-beeping of the PICU. I was going to stay in-room with Logan while Adam got a parent pass and stayed elsewhere on the floor, but that clearly didn't work out and there was no way I was going to stay in the PICU while Adam slept in the van. So he got me a room at the Marriott, and that's where I am now. I ordered in some pizza and breadsticks, watched Rookie Blue, and just sat like a big lump on my king sized bed.
Adam emailed to let me know that Logan was awake when he got back to the hospital, but he wasn't mad or upset about neither of us being there. He'd informed his nurse, Katrina (who was his nurse for several days previously and has his full approval), that he didn't want to eat the dinner we'd ordered for him earlier because he wanted the Froot Loops and string cheese we'd packed in his Cars backpack this morning instead. So clearly, he little mind is still intact. He apparently ate the cereal with great gusto, had a juice box, and went back to sleep, never once complaining that his head hurt.
At this point, we don't know what will happen tomorrow. We don't know how long it'll take to recover from the shunt insertion, and we don't know when chemo will begin. Our guess is that things will be pushed back a day or two, but Adam and I still know little about how hospitals work (and less about the oncology wing) so we'll have to wait and see. Until then, please keep praying for Logan and for us. I think I learned a valuable lesson today and hope it will stick with me. I'm going to continue to try to be hopeful, to look for the silver linings in less-than-stellar news, and to pray for miracles because Logan deserves at least one.