There was no time to think. The air was sucked out of the room. She had a brain tumor. My brain was in complete shock. My heart, well, my heart knew the diagnosis long before the CT scan. I just knew. I just knew it was bad. I just knew she was sick. And now, it was not just my reality, it was everyone's. The world knew. I couldn't hide it. I couldn't protect everyone from the horror. I couldn't pretend.
Friday, is Lily's 10th MRI. I was always been a test worrier and avoider. Send me a pop quiz, I'll ace it. Schedule an exam--I consume myself with unnecessary (and sometimes, unhealthy) preparations. My test preparations this time have included: avoiding scheduling the MRI, writing long emails about Lily's greatness to her oncologist with the irrational hope Dr. Minturn will just cancel the MRI based upon my ramblings, planning which toys to bring for Lily, planning post MRI festivities, praying nonstop, asking others to pray nonstop and in general, hiding.
None of these preparations will change the outcome of the scan. It is completely out of my hands. However, I continue on.
Today I'll waste at least an hour deciding which book and which knitting project to bring. This afternoon, I'll spend an hour staring at Lily, searching for the sign of illness. Tomorrow, I'll scour my closet for the most comfortable, yet cute outfit to wear. Thursday, I'll take Lily to Target to pick out one special distraction toy for the MRI. That night, I'll stay up late watching the Golden Girls or something nonsensical until I am too tired to fight sleep anymore. Friday, I'll wake up early and plan breakfast, fighting off my anxiety-driven nausea. And then once I get to the hospital I'll busy myself with paperwork.
I wish this MRI were a Pop Quiz. I wish I just woke up one morning and Dr. Minturn rang, saying, "Hey, pop quiz time! Bring Lily to CHOP for a quick MRI." I'd be scared that morning; but the days leading up to the MRI would be filled with productivity. I would not waste precious time preparing for a test for which there is really no sufficient or necessary preparation.
My wise cousin, also the mother of a childhood cancer survivor, gave me some advice: "Just remember you're the mom & you would know if anything was different."
There is a lot that is different this time around. Lily is 3 1/2. She can walk. She can talk and argue like a 3rd year law student. She draws beautiful pictures of our family everyday. She is the most popular girl at preschool. She is Chloe's first best friend. She is my best friend. She is healthy. She is healed.