Friday, September 05, 2008

September 4...a meaningful day

Yesterday was September 4th. It has a lot of meaning for me. It has always been the birthday of my only aunt. (I had many great aunts but only one actual sibling to a parent.) She had always been important in my life. She is actually about the same age difference to my mother as me. My mother was an only child for many years. Growing up we lived in my grandmother's house for many years while my Dad was in the Navy and I always thought of my aunt as an older sister. She was very cool and still is a lot of fun.

September 4th is also the day my son was diagnosed with leukemia at age 16. It has been over a decade since the diagnosis but I still feel a bit shakey on that day. I remember so many details.

It was the day after Labor Day and I remember looking out the window of the hospital room seeing the children going to school for the first day. My son never got to attend one day of his junior year. His days that year consisted of heavy rounds of chemo. He had chemo for the next three and a half years after diagnosis. To this day when I see the school buses coming that first day my eyes well with tears. My son seems to be the picture of health, at least physically. I do feel he has some emotional problems and I think he has come to understand that as well. He is doing much better than he was.

Yesterday was also the anniversary of meeting my friend, Paula. Her son Danny was only 14 in the next hospital room and he had the worse type of leukemia. He fought so valiantly but even after surviving his bone marrow transplant at CHOP he lost the battle. We still think of him and ocassionally I visit his grave. Gone but never forgotten. I will never forget him having someone come to the hospital chapel to confirm him as a Catholic. We had a cake in the children's ward and it was very moving. I will never forget Paula telling me that it was so awkward when new people she met asked how many children she had. If she said four boys then she felt she had to explain that one was no longer living. How would they take their traditional Christmas morning photo with the four boys on four steps? Danny was next to the youngest and his illness had a heavy impact on his younger brother. Paula practically lived at the hospital (as did I) for those first few months. You were just too afraid that your child (adolescent) might need you and you wouldn't be there. All the while we were trying to support other parents whose children like ours going in and out of remission. (My son went into remission but went in very late. His prognosis was double high risk and his expected survival rate for 5 years was 30%.) He made it and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for getting us all through that difficult time.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment to have some skin tags removed. While there the doctor confirmed that I had a skin cancer on my back. He removed it for a biopsy and when he gets the results I will need the area excised. I do not look forward to that as I have had this done on my chest. I am hoping this is the same type I had earlier which caught early is no problem at all.

Well, time to go find an outfit and head off to work. Hope you have a great weekend!


IndigoSunMoon said...

I'm glad your son seems to be doing better Nelle. I can't imagine what you went through during those days when he was battling cancer.
Love you sugar,

Ronni Gordon said...

Saw you on Susan's blog and came to check out your site. It's really beautiful. Sorry about that tough anniversary. I've been dealing with leukemia on and off since 2003, as I explain in my blog, but the thought of watching a child go through it sounds even harder than doing it yourself.