I have been having the most vivid dreams lately. Usually, I do not remember them when I wake up, but I have been remembering every detail. Last night, the entire family was in Dr. Tauer’s office and Collin was on a hospital bed. He was sleeping very comfortably. Dr. Tauer said, “It’s a glioma.” I knew immediately it was a brain tumor. He told me he needed surgery immediately and began to go down a list of surgeons. Funny thing – they were mostly from my OB-GYN group! Finally, he talked with a surgeon on the phone that was on call with West Clinic and Collin went into surgery. I woke up.
Trust me, I’m not one to read ANYTHING into dreams. If I did, I would have been dead a long time ago from all my recurring tornado dreams. But it’s odd I would have such a dream when Collin is scheduled for his check up at St. Jude on Monday. He will have his routine blood work and an MRI, then see Dr. Federico for the results of the MRI. St. Jude parents know this is an all-day event. You may wonder why he doesn’t have more testing. Any kind of testing with radiation (x-rays) CAN aggravate the mutant cancer cells.
Collin does not talk about going to St. Jude and we do not talk about it with him. It’s just something we do. He knows he has the P-16 gene and this is a part of life. But for me, this visit will be a little different. Collin is 15. Yes, 15. It seems like yesterday he was 12, short, and a little pudgy. Now, things are changing! One thing that has changed the most is he looks like Trey. It might be something only a mother can see. He does not accept or appreciate the comparison. He is not Trey.
But, there is one thing they have in common – being 15 years old at St. Jude. As I type, my hands go numb, my throat sinks to the pit of my stomach. Not that I’m worried. It’s just, what if? What if the gene decides to present itself? I’m scared to say I don’t think I could bare it. God might see if I could. Here I am, one of those mothers that wait for months, weeks, and days for tests that can determine the outcome of my child’s life for at least another six months to a year.
I have many friends on Facebook that are St. Jude mothers. I watch their posts as they go through trying times of chemo, surgery, radiation, sickness, another diagnosis, and my heart breaks. I usually do not say anything. I only “like” their posts as to say “I know what you are feeling and I am praying for you”.
If you think the pain, hurt, aching, and longing for your child gets better in this short of time, you are wrong. You are just a little more numb and you don’t talk about him as much to others because they’ve heard so much about him before. So you keep the pain to yourself; snap at your husband, argue with your child, and see little happiness in what is left of the day. And people ask, “How ARE you?” with emphasis on the “ARE”. And you smile and say, “Just fine, how are YOU?” Be careful when you ask. You might get the truth.
I see little happy families and I think – I wonder if you have ever considered losing your child? I hope it makes them appreciate them more as they have written in crayon on the walls. And you think panicking when you lose him in a retail store is scary. Those are just the simple things in life.
I’ll take it one extra step. Do I look like everything is fine because we aren’t falling apart or wearing black 24/7. I don’t cry during every song. Does the congregation as a whole think we’ve moved on? Heavens, I hope not. Trey’s medication hasn’t even been touched. Collin won’t wear his clothes that are still in his closet. Collin won’t even call THAT ROOM Trey’s room. I go upstairs only when it is absolutely necessary. That’s Jay’s job.
I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, maybe just mourning. I’m just honestly scared for Collin. What mother would not be? I am so thankful for what I do have. I know things will be better after Monday and I hear, “Everything is clear!” Ann Voskamp said, “We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is.” That’s how I can still walk into church and praise God, because of who He is – because I am still hurting. I can struggle with getting out of bed because God knows I love Him no matter what the day brings – even if it brings news I don’t think I am strong enough to hear. I know He’s strong enough to carry me. He’s been carrying me all along.
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord; I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7
I treasure the devotion book A Shelter From the Storm which was Trey’s. June 27 seemed to be particularly encouraging to him from his highlighting. Today, son, you have encouraged me by your faithfulness.
By the way, have you thought about Christmas? I bet you have. There is no greater gift than a donation to St. Jude to help in the research for children like Collin. They now have someone on staff researching the P16 gene (a mutant melanoma gene) and its genetic mystery! I’m so thankful! Help THEM help children! Or you can still purchase A Mighty Dragon on Amazon as a great way to spread the gospel during this season.