Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cancer Is...

It's another one of those bad luck, good luck posts...

Charlotte was in for an MRI last Friday, in which she had to be put completely under.

I asked about sedating her instead, but it sounded like even under sedation babies can move or snore and screw up the picture. Snoring screwing up an MRI- can you believe it??

So they put her under, and Kevin and I wandered aimlessly around the hospital for two hour while we waited for her to go to recovery. They had to put a breathing tube in, so we had a hoarse baby for a few days as well. Every time she coughed it sounded like she had croup.

And then Kevin and I waited anxiously the rest of the day for the results.

Here is the thing about cancer- tumors, more specifically:

You try REALLY hard not to get your hopes up. You tell yourself over and over again that yes, she is moving her legs now, but maybe that was just the steroids, and really, she has only had two rounds of chemo so far, so how much could the tumor REALLY have shrunk?

But even though you are trying desperately to convince yourself otherwise, there is this itty bitty voice in the back of your mind spouting off otherwise.

It says, "You dummy, you KNOW chemo is working, this is what it's designed for, this is what the oncologists told you would happen, this is the type of cancer she has, it literally melts away, you KNOW you are going to see results..." and so forth and so on.

We got home and I rushed to work, being already an hour late because apparently when you sedate an infant for an MRI, a two hour process turns into a SIX hour process.

I had literally just got done telling Alex that I was expected an important phone call with the MRI results when my phone rang.

It was doctor Catrine.

"Hello! How are you? I have Charlotte's results!"

"Wow, you sound cheery!"

"I do? It must be because I actually got some sleep last night."

"Ha, that would do it..."

She went on to explain that her and the radiologist compared Charlie's scans, and that the tumor had shrunk- get this- over thirty percent!

I could have cried in relief, except for what she said after that.

"She IS going to have to have eight cycles of the chemo instead of four, and unfortunately, her blood levels aren't high enough for her next round that we had scheduled this Monday."

Eight cycles of chemo- that takes us straight to the holidays and snow plowing season.

Eight cycles of chemo- that means Happy First CANCER Christmas, babe.

Eight cycles of chemo- no day care, no playing with other kids, no cute little fuzzy hair to put bows in for a year...

And don't get me wrong- I was ECSTATIC to hear about the results of her MRI... But WHY oh why does good news ALWAYS have to be clouded over with bad news?

Couldn't we just get a "Yes, the chemo is doing it's job," and just leave it at that?

Cancer is bipolar. Cancer is a psycho PMSing woman with a loaded hand gun and box of chocolates.

Cancer is waiting in line at the midnight showing of a movie you have been waiting a year to see, only to get to the ticket counter and have it be sold out.

Cancer is our life now.

Because I am not superwoman- I am only the girl in line in front of you at the grocery store that you get frustrated with because I am taking too much time trying to decide if cereal is more important, or bread is more important because I can't afford both.

Because even though we have a fantastic support system, we are still just trying to hold it together sometimes.

Because maybe you CAN go home and hug your wife or husband, and just be content, instead of being overshadowed with fear and desperation.

Because it happened to me- it happened to US- and all I can do is "keep on keeping on".

So, chemo NEXT Monday (the seventeenth), at AFCH with all of our favorite nurses.

We will talk about GKS shots (oh God, my skin is crawling just thinking about injecting my own baby every day), we will talk about the Birth to Three program and if Charlie qualifies, and we will talk about what life is going to mean to us for the next five cycles of chemo.

And then we will go home. And I will lay down with my husband at night, and we will know that despite everything else going on around us, we are still doing the right thing.

Cancer is forgetting your brand new Nike's, but still running the marathon.

Cancer is.

God bless!

Kristi Rufener


  1. I am so glad to hear that the tumor has shrunk and that she is doing so well. Just remember, she picked YOU to be her mommy because even if you feel like you can't handle it, you can - you have to. It's for her. She is so precious...and I will keep thinking about and praying for you, your family and most importantly Charlotte.

  2. Cancer is a BITCH!

    I hate that the great news of the big shrink had to come with a "but." I am keeping your family in my prayers.


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