You know that saying…Life never gives you more than you can handle? I call total Bull Shit. I know life gives you more than you can handle you just have no choice but to “handle it”. However you can.
My daughter, Maddie is 14 years old. Several months ago she was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism with an underlying autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Disease. Big fancy words for fat swollen thyroid and exhausted ALLLLL the time. The doctor is great…I like her. She’s young and cute and funny and does NOT wear a white coat. These qualities are a must in a doctor. Even my husband’s new neurologist was picked based on these exact qualities. * An aside note- I have fired several of his neurologist based on lack of humor and insistence on wearing that stupid lab coat. HIs new one kicks ass. She even said “shit” in our initial meeting. I hired her THAT SECOND!
So back to Maddie- the medication her doctor put her on several month’s ago was not working. Her thyroid was growing even bigger and her blood work showed it to actually be getting worse. She was more tired than ever and things were not good. So I scheduled an appointment. For Yesterday. And I took her by myself (which I rarely do) but my husband had to tend to our son’s four thousand activities. You people with more than two kids amaze me!
Me, a hospital, and running tests on my kid = a level of anxiety that my Xanax could not touch. But oddly enough I remained semi-normally calm. At least my face did. I might have had a mini heart attack in the ultrasound room as they were scanning her neck for cancer. Yep- cancer. Fuck. After the doctor examined her she felt the need to send us immediately to radiology for an ultrasound of her neck. To look for cancer. Or some other shit-tastic thing that could be causing this. But all I heard was “cancer”.
My entire family has thyroid problems except me. Mine is totally normal. TOTALLY NORMAL. I know this because I just got it checked. My aunt even had thyroid cancer as a teenager. And as my kid laid there on the exam table with someone running an X-ray ball all over her I sat frozen. Three thoughts went through my head. I remembered 15 years ago lying on a table and having a sonogram with Maddie in my tummy. I remember crying because finally I was having a healthy baby after several miscarriages. I remember finding out she was a girl. I remember all the wonderfully fabulous things I wanted for her future and her life. Not once when you’re pregnant do you envision broken arms, braces, boyfriends, hormones, dirty rooms, algebra homework or your kid laying on an exam table at 14 finding out if she has cancer. Thought two was of that scene in Steel Magnolia’s where Sally Field screams “I can run to Alaska and back but my daughter can’t”. The complete gut wrenching inner plea you have with the universe to please allow you to switch places with your kid. I would in a heartbeat. All parents would.
The third thought was of Sydney. Maddie’s friend that died over a year ago from brain cancer. My gut churned and my heart flipped and I came close to vomiting because I could not begin to fathom how her Mom feels. Cancer fucking sucks.
And I will admit that several times today I have wondered what I did to have all of this crap land on us. MY HUSBAND HAS BRAIN ROT. Is that not enough? Really? REALLY?
I often say Im a tough girl. I am. But my definition of tough is putting one foot in front of the other while crying and barely breathing and wanting to lay in a ball and stab someone. Im THAT kind of tough girl. But I am tough. And my amazing kid is tough too. She is SOOOO tough. On the way to the ultrasound room she said “Im not scared of thyroid cancer…I googled it…high survival rate….it won’t kill me for sure”…and then she added “Mom my only real concern is if I have to have chemo & my hair falls out how will I wear a cheer bow at competition?”
Thats MY girl. TOUGH.
And not 3 hours later we get a call from our cool doctor saying “ALL CLEAR”. No cancer. No fucking cancer. Halle-fucking-luyah.
And my heart goes back to all of those people in Children’s Hospital today that I saw who will not get good news. Sometimes life DOES give you more than you can handle. You just have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other. And if it takes pills or drinking or going crazy or counseling or taking up taxidermy or smoking pot or cleansing your aura or acupuncture or speaking in tongues or running away then SO WHAT. Deal with that shit anyway you can. Survive ANYWAY you can. No one in the world has the right to judge you or how you handle things…. NO ONE! And if you do have an opinion of how someone might handle something like this…if you think YOUR way is the ONLY way.…well…Im waiving a very well manicured middle finger at you right now…BLESS YOUR HEART.
Here’s to all those Moms and Dads who will not get a “good news” phone call. My heart is with you. Go punch a wall…sometimes it helps.