Things have been really good lately. Madeleine is happy, our days are busy, and we are leading a normal life with very few doctor and clinic visits. Mad's physical therapy went so well that she completed her final session this week. Her therapist is positive that now that she is bending her knee, the only thing left is to continue to build strength in her leg. And we can do that at home. She is continuing to love her gymnastics class (especially since her buddy Cade goes now too!), and we have started swim lessons again as well.
Her latest VMA/HVA markers are pretty stable, not going up, but not going down either. The tumor is stable, not growing. She won't be deemed "cancer free" until her markers are back in the normal range for her age. We know that this is just a matter of time until this happens. We are continuing with monthly clinic appointments to test the markers, and MRIs to check the tumor every three months.
So, things are going well, things are moving in a positive direction. After the horribleness and uncertainty of last year, this year has been positively wonderful.
Then why do I feel so bitter sometimes? I can't really explain it. September - which is Childhood Cancer awareness month, made me angry. This happened to me last year too. The only company (that I know of) that does anything in support of Childhood Cancer awareness and funding is Chili's. Meanwhile, there are pink ribbons on my grocery store yogurt lids and mushrooms halfway through September. Mushrooms. I'm not trying to take anything away from breast cancer awareness, I think it's fabulous that so many companies and organizations are supporting and donating to such a worthy cause, but I'm a little jealous. Where is the support for childhood cancer? These are our children, and two classrooms-full of children are diagnosed every school day.
On a more personal level I've noticed that I feel anxious every time a friend's baby is at or near the four-month mark (when Madeleine was diagnosed). I can't figure it out. I'm not worried about their children, I just feel anxious. It makes me want to tell them all about Madeleine being diagnosed and what that time was like. We were at a wedding recently and a college friend was talking about how his four-month old doesn't sleep. I sympathized with him because we had the same problem for many, many months, but in my head I really wanted to say, "...and four months is when Mad was diagnosed, so...[shrug]" I even thought of the gesture that I would use to convey this message. Am I just being selfish because I want everyone to keep remembering? Am I looking for sympathy? I don't know. I don't have a better way of describing this. Also, we would like to have another child eventually, and the other night thinking about that hypothetical child as an infant brought me to tears. Not because having a newborn would be difficult (it would be), but because that baby would eventually be four months old and I would have to deal with that. Is this post traumatic stress disorder?
All of that said, I'm pretty happy. The moments mentioned above are just moments. And they aren't consuming my life, or making me crazy. I debated about posting this because I don't like to share too much about how I feel, and because I don't want you all to think that I'm crazy... maybe just a little damaged :)
I'll leave you with recent pictures to lighten the mood in here: