Tuesday, June 28, 2011
No one prepared me for how steroids change a little girl's personality. I knew she was angry at me. She didn't understand why I'd been gone while all these strange things were happening to her and it broke my heart. It still does, typing it, I have to really hang onto my composure. I had a cesarean, and crying really hurts. She kicked at me, bit me, pinched me, screamed with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Thursday was one of the best days of my life, Friday the absolute worst, and Sunday the second-to-worst. But Monday brought me new strength. She finally got around to sometimes accepting me again. Her personality is still so different because of the steroids. She is unable to make decisions. Everything is always "no". She has massive fits when she wakes up, or when a stranger comes into the room. My sweet, precious, outgoing little spitfire is hidden somewhere beneath this new little girl. I know she can't help it. I know she's scared and confused and doesn't understand. And it kills me.
But God is leading me. I know we can get through this together, as a family, because God only gives us what he knows we can handle. With this knowledge, I've somehow found a mother's strength I didn't know I possessed. I took Monday with some acceptance that life would never be the same again. I numbed--distanced myself--from the constant pain and dark thoughts and pulled through the day, helping Alaina learn to control her fits a little, and learning how to manage her new personality. I know she'll come back to me, when the drugs have worn off and she's in a more familiar place. I spent the night Sunday with her, and came home with my husband and eldest daughter close to midnight tonight (Monday). I was eager to be home, to sleep in my bed, to see what was once my normal life. But everywhere I turn, everything I look at, reminds me of our old life not less than a week ago. Of a strong, bright-eyed little girl who could talk to me sooo well, who was potty trained, who had this endless amount of boisterous energy and lit up anyone's day who came across her. Pictures are everywhere in our house. Her toys, her room....our old life already seems so long ago. So far away. Untouchable. It will never be the same. I know this. It won't always be this hard. I know this as well. But it hurts. It hurts so bad that the only way I feel I can manage staying as strong as I was with her today is if I share my story, our struggles, our good days, our bad days, our acceptance of this new life.
I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I had this written down. Just as I know that my husband, children and I, could not get through this time in our lives as easily without the help of such amazing friends, family, and people we hardly know. It has overwhelmed both Chad and I at how much GOOD there still is in this world. At how much people truly have a need to help other people. God knew we could handle this, else it wouldn't have happened. Everything happens for a reason. We may not know what it is yet, we may never know. But the key is to stay positive.
We're blessed this happened when it did. During the summer, when our eldest daughter doesn't have to attend school and my mother-in-law is off work to help us. During a time my husband had already asked off for work to spend time with the new baby. As well, giving us such a little miracle that sleeps quietly through the night, fusses just enough when he's hungry, and let's me stay over night at the hospital with my sweet Alaina and not disturbing her sleep. He's such a good, good baby. Were he any different, I might not be able to stay with her over night. He might wake her, or upset her. Just another blessing from God.
And the friends and people coming together to aid Alaina in her fight against leukemia. It fills my heart up so much. It swells with amazement and hope at all the people reaching out to us. From donating blood for Alaina through Carter Blood Care, to preparing us meals, to offering to go grocery shopping, do yard work....surprise us with a filled up gas tank. We're floored by this generosity. Another lesson from God. We're humbled and are inadequate in receiving all of this love and support.
I feel better now. Writing this down has helped me to at least attempt sleeping again. It's hard not to think of her, though. To think of what she was like, of what life was like just a week ago. So many changes are around the corner, if not already on top of us, smothering us senseless. But we'll get through this. Together, we'll help our baby girl get rid of this ugly disease. 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy is ahead of us, and all the trials that go with it, but together, with God and our sturdy network of friends and family, we will conquer this battle.