“Mom, will you be hospitalized again?” my son asked as he wrapped his arms around me, tight, and warm.
“I don’t know hon, but I will try my best not to go back.”
The last time he hugged me was last Christmas when I got out of the hospital after my mastectomy. I had to warn him not to hug me too tight as I still hurt from surgery. My thirteen-year old , the one who usually keeps his distance when we go out, probably afraid his friends would see him with mommy, suddenly becomes cuddly again as he was four years ago.
I have just left the hospital yesterday for chemotherapy side-effect neutropenia. Then last night we went out to hunt for knitting yarns and looms. My son walked by me aisle by aisle at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s craft store. He sat and leaned against me as we ate dinner at Soupers Salad and engaged in meaningful conversation with me the whole time. He mentioned how scared he was the first time I got out of the hospital last December seeing how vulnerable I looked. He saw how I hurt, how I walked so slowly, hunch-backed, with pained look on my face. My daughter, a year younger, just listened from across the table, wide-eyed, and seemed deeply absorbed by his brother’s words.
It is this scene that makes me want to be a better fighter. Lately, I have been so negative. I need to work towards positivity for the sake of my kids. They need me. I am all they have. I have to continue fighting.
Yesterday, after a llooonnnggg two-day stay in the hospital for Neutropenic fever, after multiple needle sticks, X-ray, lab work to check for infection, electrolyte replacement, and IV hydration and antibiotics, the oncology team sent me home with Levaquin for possible pneumonia. Yup, even if my chest X-ray was clear. The plan now is, each and every time I go for chemo, I will also take oral antibiotic for prophylaxis, to prevent another infection. My worry now is, I will be susceptible to superinfection, for taking antibiotics. Have you heard of C-diff? Yuck. *sigh* But I will take it. If I get C-diff down the road, I will have to deal with it. Later.
My other plans? I will quit going to fitness and meditation classes for now. I will probably skip the support group too and the Sunday mass in church. I will just visit on weekdays. I will stay away from crowded stores on busy hours, and if I go, the mask goes on my face, no matter how paranoid freak I look the first two weeks of chemo. Hey, it’s me who has to suffer being confined in reverse isolation in the hospital otherwise. I have to take care of me.
Maybe I should explain myself to strangers by wearing a pink shirt that screams, “Mind your own business!” or “I am not a freak!”
Or maybe I should not bother explaining. Who am I trying to impress? The strangers who don’t even care about me? If I want to impress people, it would be those who love me, especially my kids. I want them to look up to me and see me as strong woman winning this battle.