Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Bridge

When Vampboy was first diagnosed with Cancer, the oncologist who broke the news mentioned at one point that, for many, the end of treatment is actually harder than the beginning.

I now absolutely believe him.

Don't get me wrong -- the return of things like "free time" and "Vampboy's eyelashes" are celebrated milestones that are so indescribably good I don't think I can put it into words. However, the adjustment back into a normal existence is a shock to the system after so much time in Cancer World/Chez Healing. Then there is the added complexity that comes with the knowledge that what we had is forever lost to us -- and that even this "new normal" can be taken away from us at a moment's notice.

So we are left feeling like we are standing on a bridge between two worlds: Cancer World and "No Cancer World". Here's the view from either side:

No Cancer World

My son as a duck!
There are two great things about this photo: first, that VB had his first Halloween in over two years that did not take place in a hospital. And second, that this photo was taken at the Halloween party AT SCHOOL! That's right, VB will return to the land of toddler-studenthood this week, with last week's visits serving as a warm-up.

In the meantime, we navigate explaining to people where the end of treatment leaves us. One person actually asked if it was time to remove VB from their prayer list. They were not happy when I said "uh, no". Since VB will be 3 soon, we have to move him from his current "early support services" therapy folks to the special education program in our town. So soon we'll be negotiating our first Individualized Education Plan. What fun.

Cancer World

Our partners in treatment continue to battle on, with mixed results. Othergirl's prognosis is still in darkness as back-up plans leave little to celebrate. Princess is in the ICU this week for reason's we're unsure of, and the littlest fighter (there is a 4th -- have I mentioned that?) continues to battle on. Yet, we're not there for the day-to-day updates and support. Our new experience is the one they continue to dream of, and there reality is one we don't wish to revisit on ourselves. Sure, there's email and blog updates -- but its not the same when you're not in it.

Of course, the worst part about being on the bridge is that we can never truly leave Cancer World totally -- and No Cancer World isn't a secure home. From whichever side you view it, Cancer still sucks.


Lainey-Paney said...

Remove him from the prayer list??? That's...weird & wrong that someone should say that.
Did you follow up with, "go ahead, & don't worry---I'll add you to mine. 'praying for you to get that foot out of your mouth, check'".

I imagine that "the bridge" is a very weird place to be. What would be the "norm" of school & play, and toddler days have not been your "norm"....so, I can imagine that it is an adjustment.

...and that fear of it coming back at anytime....

...and your new journey of educational "catch up"...

But...the "cancer free" part must be wonderful.

Papa Bradstein said...

What an adorable little duck! I'm sure that this new balancing act feels odd after so long on the other end of the bridge, but I'm sure that you'll eventually get your land legs and be off an running when you're used to this new normal.

Did I mention how cute VB is as a duck?

Anonymous said...

OMG, he is so insanely adorable!! And i LOVE the look on his face! haha. :) What a cutie. :)
Guess i'll re-add you to the prayer list. :P (OMG what's up with THAT??)
heather a~*

Francesca Giessmann said...

The cutest Duck around!
THE bridge, hard to define , i still struggle to find out ( and eventually experience) what the norm is... maybe one day, the docs will invent some drug that will be given at the last chemo session that will make us forget what we have been through and not worry that it will come back!
Well.. I guess they can find a cure for cancer first! :)
LONG LIVE REMISSION! For the duck, for me, for Little Girl, Princess and all of us!
Keep writing.. and don't worry.. he is STAYING in MY prayers list!
take care

Anonymous said...

Love that Ducky, and stil on my prayer list!!

Love, Aunt Pauline & Uncle Ray

justme519 said...

The cutest duck with eyelashes I've ever seen! Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

Anonymous said...

I know that bridge... I hate that bridge... it sucks... maybe, that’s why I want to close my eyes every time I drive over a bridge… or is that my fear of heights? I digress, but none the less, the bridge can be a challenging place... you're torn between keeping your guard up and relief that it's all behind you...

My wish for the VampFamily is that you never have to look back and you live in a place where your biggest worries are the weather and making sure you have enough clean laundry for the week.

Anonymous said...

That picture is soooo cute! I will continue always with positive thinking... Until Vampboy is an old man!!All three of you will always be a huge part of my prayers and well wishes! I miss you all so much! Aunt Anna

Anonymous said...

That is the most adorable duck I have ever seen. The fact that vampbaby has came through these treatments and you are entering this new experience gives hope to other parents dealing with this cancer. Vampbaby and his parents will continue to be on my prayer list along with Othergirl, Princess and the Littlest fighter.

Missouri cousin rosemary

Jenster said...

Lainey-paney sent me over here because I've been dealing with something similar as a cancer survivor. I'm so glad she did. You wrote so many thing I'm feeling and a few things I'm not. Because while I may be on the bridge, my perspective is as an adult who battled cancer, not as a parent who watched their child battle cancer.

VB is an awesome duck! I'm a teacher's assistant for a 2-year-old preschool class and I can tell you he'd fit in quite well. :o)