Day 21: The Comfort of Deniability
I realized today that, somehow, I have been in a slight state of denial for the past three weeks. I have accepted that my daughter has cancer. I have accepted that our lives have changed. And I (think) I have accepted that I will never go another day without asking “is her cancer back?” But today this all became real.
I haven’t really cried since August 7 at 6:30. I got off the phone with the pediatrician and immediately freaked out and cried. A friend drove me home and I cried a little more. But by the time I got home I was done. I cried a couple more times over the past 3 weeks but just for a minute here and there. I’ve always had other things to do.
There was something different today. Scarlett’s personality changed quite a while ago. Actually about two months ago. She had been in pain so long that she has been very crabby. But she still looked the same. She was still my same baby. Today, she all of a sudden wasn’t. She isn’t my petite little baby with the serious face and sweet cheeks. Her cheeks are so full now that she can’t open her eyes all the way. She looks angry all the time. She has two chins. And she just feels bigger. I’m not being superficial and saying that she is not beautiful because she is. She just doesn’t look like my Scarlett. I know that she will go back to her normal self as soon as the prednisone is done but it’s just a visual confirmation that my baby is sick – really sick. I can’t live in my comfortable state of denial.
Her appointment went well today. We talked about her appointment next week which is a really big one. She is going to have her PICC line replaced with a port. This is a much more permanent device. This was another reality for me today. This is permanent. I can’t deny this anymore. I just don’t want to see my beautiful baby in pain any more.
The final straw today was making an appointment for tomorrow to have Scarlett’s head shaved. I’ve been dreading this day. Right now, nobody looks at her like she is sick. She’s no different to anybody else. Strangers don’t look at her and think “oh that poor sick girl”. Tomorrow, she will be that “little girl with cancer”. I know that she will be as beautiful as ever. For heaven’s sake, she just got hair! She went almost two years with no hair! It’s just that this will make it so real.
So I had a tough day. And a good cry. I can’t be in denial any more.