Ronan. It’s bad here when I’m quiet. I know you know that. You know about the CT scan that I’ve had scheduled for Quinn now, for a couple of weeks but haven’t really said anything about it. He’s been having headaches. And in my mind now, headaches mean one thing. Why cancer, of course. Obviously. Because that is logical to the mom whose son who has just died of cancer. Logical, rational, and a given. So I have been sitting with that, for a couple of weeks now. That Quinn has cancer too.
Today was the day. I woke up, as it were just another normal day without you. Quinn knew we had an appointment and I worked really hard as to downplay it so he wouldn’t worry. We were on our way to PCH and the questions started. Questions once again, that an 8-year-old should not be worrying about but he does because this is his life. You. His best friend, got sick and died. He knows he could very well be next. Any of us could be and he knows nobody is immune to cancer. Such a big reality for a little boy to comprehend. But he does, so much more than I often realize. He is so smart and wise to the cruel ways of the world. I know his mind works a lot like mine in that he quietly sits back and absorbs in everything that is said and done around him. He absorbs it all, like a sponge and picks up on way too many adult like things. He’s has always been this way. I remember when he was about 3, I had to stop watching the news in front of him because he would ask so many questions about the stories that were being told, and he would worry so much about the bad things that were going on in the world. My very intuitive child. A blessing and a curse all at once.
As we were half way to PCH the questions started. “Well what if they do find something? Then what? Am I going to die?” I did my best to reassure him that he was going to be perfectly fine, but that we were just being extra careful because we all now know how precious life is. I spent the entire ride there explaining as much to him as I could without it being too much. He is so smart I know he read right though my B.S. I know he didn’t believe a word of what I was saying. I remembered how at when you first to sick, one of the first things Quinn asked me was if you were going to die. Of course I told him, No. I think back to this often and it destroys me. Not only did I fail you, but I failed your brothers because I made a promise to all 3 of you, that we would get you better. This is where so much of my pain and guilt comes from. It overwhelms me most of the time. I let all 3 of you down. That is a heavy weight to carry around with me every second of the day. But it is mine to carry and as a mom to you 3 beautiful boys, I don’t have a choice now. It’s the frame of mind that I am in and maybe someday, I will be able to let go of some of that weight. But not today. Not today as I walked through the doors of PCH with my hand intertwined with your brothers. Putting on my bravest face as I checked him into admitting while he watched my every move as I filled out his paper work.
“Where is Dr. Maze, Mom?” Quinn asked as he looked up at me with his big, curious eyes.
“He’ll be here in a bit. Just sit still while I fill the rest of this paperwork out.”
“Well what is a CT scan mom? Exactly? And how long does it take?”
“It’s where they take a picture of the inside of your head. It takes about 30 seconds. Then we will be done and can leave. It’s easy, fast and it does not hurt at all. You just have to hold still.” I said matter of factly as I am all too familiar with a fucking CT scan.
I finished my paperwork and a few minutes later we were taken back to the imaging center. The CT scan was done within minutes. We were sent down to the waiting area, to have a seat. We put our things down and I left them there so I could run Quinn to the bathroom. As soon as we came back a lady came rushing by. “Aubrey is looking for you,” she said. I told her thank you and I sat down with Quinn. Dr. Maze found us and did what he does best which is cater to the little ones. Quinn was putty in his hands. I sat back and tried my best to let everything slip away as I knew at any moment, the CT scan was going to be read and I was going to be teased about being the extra paranoid mother and sent home. Except for 2 minutes later, the complete opposite happened. I think Aubrey slipped around the corner for a second but not before the doctor could get to me to deliver the wonderful news. “Well, we found a small lesion. Which will require an MRI, but you can come back in about a month for that, because I am sure it is nothing.” Aubrey reappeared just in time to watch the color drain from my face and the tears well up in my eyes. “What?” I said. “You found something? There’s something there?”……. mama. breathe. do not get hysterical. hold it together. please. my brother is right beside you. he is so aware. he is scared you cannot panic in front of him. please. i will take care of him. I listened to your words as I gave Dr. Maze the look which was pretty much, what the fuck is going on and you have GOT to be fucking kidding me. This cannot be happening. Dr. Maze pulled Dr. icannotrememberhisname aside, around the corner so we could not hear what was being said. I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “This mother, just lost her son to cancer. He was a patient here. She is not going to be o.k. with waiting a month for an MRI. It needs to be done, today. As in now, so please make it happen.” Dr. nofuckingcluewhathisnamewas, reappeared again. “Dr. Maze told me your situation. We will do the MRI today, but I don’t want you to be upset, because I am sure it is nothing.” The tears were pouring and Quinn was pretending that he wasn’t watching, but I know that he was. I put the waterworks on hold as I had to step it up and put myself aside. It took everything I had, not to throw up all over that floor today, in front of everyone.
I wish I would have walked into PCH today wearing a sign around my neck that said, “My son just died of cancer. Please be extra gentle with me.” I wish I could wear that sign around my neck, always so people would know, you just cannot say to a mother who has just lost her son to cancer, “Oh. We found a spot. See you in a month for an MRI.” I’m sure it happens all the time. And not everyone has a Dr. Maze to swoop in and save the day. I am sure I would have found a way to tell this doctor today, about our “situation.” But I am so very thankful I did not have to. I don’t know how I would have said this, in front of Quinn, without scaring him to death. I don’t know how I would have said this today, without completely losing it.
Dr. Maze went back around the corner and I sat and looked your brother in the eyes, as it was his turn to let the tears pour down his cheeks. I grabbed his hand.
“Buddy. It’s going to be fine. I promise. We are just being extra safe, because it is smart to be extra safe. And we are a really smart family. You heard that Doctor. He wanted us to come back in a month, because that is how sure he is that is it nothing. And you know what? Normally, I would listen to that. But who wants to wait around to come back in a month when we can just get it done, today. O.K.? I know you are scared, but I promise you are going to be fine.” I have no idea, where I found the strength for these words today because the evil little voices in my head were saying over and over and over again…. “Your son has cancer. Your son is next. Everyone you love, is leaving you….. everyone you love is dying….. so just stop trying to fight it. He has cancer now, too. So sorry, but this is life and you cannot control a thing.”
I was able to calm Quinn down. Dr. Maze put an IV in his arm and we were sent off for our MRI. He said to me, “Do you want me to phone Woody?” I told him no, I would handle it. The thought of having to call your dad at this point was too much. I know how much he worries. How in the world was I possibly going to tell him, “Hey by the way, the CT scan came back and Quinn has a lesion, can you do your best not to panic and just come down here?” I was thankful when your Daddy did not pick up and it went straight to voicemail. There is no fucking way, I was going to put your Dad though that today, if this perhaps did turn out to be nothing.
“You’ve got this, Maya. You are strong. You do not need to worry anyone else, if it is not necessary. Just wait it out. Just get though this, alone. Woody. Poor Woody. Do not put this on him yet. You are here. You will deal with this.” A picture of your Daddy flashed through my head of him having a heart attack on the spot after my phone call. To me, I was saving his life, by just toughing it out, until I knew for sure what was going on.
We walked through halls of the new building, only to be taken right back to where it all began with you. It was an out of body experience as held on to Quinn’s hand and we passed by the Koi pond, by the PICU, when you first had your surgery. Where we sat and watched the electronic train and your little head, was wrapped up, like a mummy and your eyes were so swollen shut, that you could hardly see. The lady who walked us down the hall did her best to make small talk about the hospital. “Here is our wall of therapy dogs. They help the sick kids.” I just replied to her, that we unfortunately, were all too familiar with the pet therapy dogs. We got to the MRI area and sat and waited. I did what any totally awesome and rad mother of the year would do and put on South Park for Quinn to watch on my iPad. He was giggling within seconds and seemed to forget about the IV in his arm and the reality that hung over his head like a black, scary cloud. Our sweet Angela came out to give me a hug. Remember her? I know you do. She always took such good care of us. She was great today and helped to keep me calm with her beautiful smile and kind eyes. Plus it was comforting to me that she knew you, so she understood the best way to keep me calm which was just simply by being her sweet natured self.
Dr. Maze came busting through the doors, ready to get the show on the road. We put Quinn on the table so he could go into the machine. We put earplugs in his ears, I kissed him and told him how brave he was and how this was going to be a piece of cake. He asked if I would stay in the room with him. I told him, of course. I stepped out for a second to set my things down. Dr. Maze was still inside and I just looked up at him. I had no idea how I was going to get my feet back inside of that MRI room as they felt like they were stuck in quicksand. He said, “Aren’t you coming in?” I hesitated. I almost told him I needed to go and throw up first. I took a deep breath and said, “Yes. I’m coming in.” Once again, I didn’t have a choice. Quinn wanted me. Quinn needed me. So for me to have been anywhere else, would have been wrong of me to do. It did not matter how horrific it was for me to sit and watch him in that MRI today. All of the loud noises, flashbacks of you… I was so cold…. then so hot, light-headed, nauseous…. The MRI lasted 30 minutes. As soon as it was over, Aubrey in his ever so present voice came through the doors…”It’s normal. It’s normal. It’s normal. There is nothing there. He is fine.” The words, “It better have been fucking normal because I cannot talk anything else,” just flew out of my mouth. I hugged him. Told him thank you for the millionth time. He told Quinn to have me take up smoking to calm me down. I told him to shut up and that was an awful thing to say. I left there today with my arm wrapped around my little boy, my legs felt like jelly, and my head was about to explode. I managed to get us to the car. I called your Daddy to tell him everything. I was glad I did not give him the news before we knew what was going on. I was so happy to call him today and to be able to say, “Hey they found a little spot, but it is nothing. They did an MRI and it came back as normal.” Your Daddy just about passed out hearing those words. I calmed him down and he came to meet us as he knew I was very badly shaken up. Quinn’s lesion is just a normal development of the brain. His headaches are more than likely, caused from stress. We will of course continue to watch him and do whatever it takes, to try to help him not to worry so much. Poor little guy .
We got though today, Ronan, with a lot of love from you. You kept me calm when nobody else could have. You gave me strength, when I didn’t have any left. And you made it so that Quinny is fine and is not dying of cancer. Well, at least not today. I hate to sound like such pessimist, but it is a part of my personality trait now. I’m learning to embrace it and just roll with it. I don’t think I have much choice as I’m not getting rid of her anytime soon.
So much more to tell you. I took Quinn to Miss Katie’s later tonight. We played and worked. We hashed out the Fashion Show things which are coming along really well. I miss you every time I’m in her shop. You would have gone crazy over it. I had a Kathy stop by from MISS today. She works for Dr. J. She wanted to ask me if I would be an Ambassador for the MISS Foundation. We went over what all that meant and I told her I would be honored. I would do anything for Dr. J. I will touch on my next blog what I am going to be doing as I am much too tired to continue the writing tonight. You know I still went out for the nighttime slayer run though, right? Of course. It was awesome. Not another person in sight. Just how I like it. Dark, alone, and scary. After that awful day, a late night run was a MUST. I’m home. I’m safe. I wish you were home. I hope you are safe. You are changing things so much Ronan. It’s amazing to see and to feel. I’m sorry it had to be you. I’m for sorry, that I couldn’t save you, Ronan. I love you, Baby Doll. Sweet Dreams. Thanks for taking care of us today.