Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the fight ahead of you, that you just sat and mentally ran down the scenario of fleeing? Sometimes I get so buried, that all I can do is play out in my head the scenario of me running away to some fabulous location. Fiji perhaps. My problem is that sometimes I get so frustrated that I give voice to my plan and make the mistake of telling my family that I’m planning my escape. I don’t want them to be surprised by my disappearance. This is where things get dicey…my husband, and my kids always want to join my escape. So fine, they can come too…and for sure I’m taking the dogs (all 3 Great Danes)…and we’ll need some of our favorite things, clothes, I need books, and snacks. By the time I finish mentally gathering all of my necessary running away items, I decide it is probably easier if I just stay put. This puts me back at square one…facing my life.
If I am going to face this, I’m going to need a good weapon. It feels like the world is coming at me with swords, and I’m trying to fend them off with the tube left over from my Christmas wrap. Reminds me of playing light saber wars with my brother when we were little.
For the most part, we deal with our daughter’s chronic illness quite well as a family. Take for instance yesterday…I received a call from her school a few hours after the day had started, that they had flu cases in her class. In an attempt to protect her from catching yet another bug, I went and picked her up for the day. Sounds fun, right?! Well, upon calling her doctor office, they inform me that now that she is on the mend from her last series of infections, she really needs to get her flu shot…pronto. So, we head to the pharmacy since they have the vaccine in stock. As we walk in, she announces to me that it’s a 4 needle day since she has her infusion later that night. UGH! We crack jokes, and I tease her about possible ways that I might embarrass her during her shot. I tell her that I might scream when I get mine, or that I’ll tell the pharmacist that I just need a second to tie her up before she’ll sit still for her shot. All of this to lighten the mood…she thought she was getting a nice day off with mom…no such luck! The pharmacist finally comes over to give her the shot. So I’m standing outside the partition when I notice the lady in a complete and utter panic. I look over the wall, and blood is squirting down my daughter’s arm. The pharmacist is doing everything in her power to stop the leak, but it is coming too fast, and too much. She’s soaking cotton balls by the second. My sweet girl is just sitting there trying to console the employee, even as her arm is swelling up, getting hot and red. She downs a Benadryl and announces that it is now my turn. My turn goes without a hitch. Unfortunately all of the bad mojo was her luck today. By the time we return home, all she can talk about is a nap. She feels awful, but won’t say so. She naps and then gets up to work on her Science project during her infusion. Our fun bonus day off is a bust.
This morning she was back to school, ready to move on. This is what she does, she fights even when it doesn’t seem like she’s fighting. We crack jokes, and make up silly stories to give a gentle voice to some of the pain and fear.
These are her physical battles. What about all of the birthday parties that she can’t attend for her friends because they are going bowling, or to a trampoline park, or to the movie theater? Germs and infections lurking in every dark crevice. Too risky. What about all of the parties and events that she just doesn’t get invited to anymore? How do I help her fight those battles? The emotional attacks that she really can’t help. What about the school that she has attended since Pre-K, that now isn’t sure they are the right place for her next year? How do I explain that rejection to her? She has a disease that is completely beyond her control. Hiding behind faceless committees, they might decide that the place she has enjoyed learning for 7 years, might be better off without her there. She tries so hard to make up for it in other ways. How could anyone, in good conscience, turn their back on her? Does anyone ever consider her spirit in this battle? How much can one little girl face before it is just too much?
If you don’t know her, you are really missing out on something special. Even with the possibility of not being invited back to her school next year, she searches for a silver lining. She refuses to be beaten by this battle. I, on the other hand am completely heartbroken by the betrayal. She has determined that other kids have been home schooled in middle school and then come back to even more friends in later years. This girl leaves a wake of smiles everywhere she goes. Her sweet heart, and spirit for others, is contagious. She will make the most of whatever life throws at her. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Kind of like her needles…she tells her siblings that just because she is used to the pain, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t feel it, and that it doesn’t still hurt. She feels pain, she just doesn’t give it power.
I have no idea what path her life will take, but I don’t really have to know…I just have to remember that God loves her even more than I do, if one can imagine that vast amount. He has a plan for her story, despite some of the unspeakable trials along the way. I might only have a cardboard tube in my hands, but I have a mighty warrior on my side. She can rest in knowing that her battles will never be fought alone.
We all have our own struggles. Take a lesson from a child, stand tall and face them bravely with a smile and a joke. Laughter is great medicine…never lose your sense of humor. Take some swings with your wrapping paper tube, but remember that is not your only weapon.