A stomach ache will never just be a stomach ache again

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Ronan. I know I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ll bet every parent who has lost a child has some form of it. It’s one of those things that we all have, yet nobody talks about it. You hear about people who have come back from war having it all the time as I’m sure they do. But what about the parent’s who have been in a war too? It just comes in a different form, such as fighting non-stop, the hardest you’ve ever fought for the life of your child, and then your child dies. Why are we all forgotten? We are thrown back into this world, expected to come out alive and stronger than ever because what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right? I don’t know about that saying. I was a strong person before all of this. I think that’s another one of those sayings that makes it seem like we’ve survived this, so we must be stronger because of it. I don’t really think that’s the case. I’m surviving this because I really don’t feel like I have a choice. I am surviving this because if I don’t, everybody loses. I am not about to be a loser and let you down, along with countless of other people.

Here is just one example of my post traumatic stress disorder. Quinn started complaining of a stomach ache a couple of days ago. He’s been home with a sinus infection all week and has been on antibiotics. Last night, he couldn’t sleep because of his stomach hurting. He then point out a couple of small bumps around his lymph nodes. I kept him home from school this morning due to him saying his stomach was still hurting. I dropped Liam off, and the build up to my panic attack/meltdown was starting to brew. I came home with Quinn and asked him to show me where it hurt. He let me press down on his stomach and gave me a little wince when I hit the spot where it was hurting. I stayed calm. I fed him some breakfast and turned on a T.V. show for him. I left the room and went and sat at our kitchen table. I sat there for a good 10 minutes and quietly sobbed. I not only had myself convinced that Quinn had cancer (again, because he often does in my head every time he gets a headache) but I had a flashback to you and that one time you told me your stomach hurt. “My tummy hurts, mama.” I didn’t take you to the doctor. I didn’t know your stomach hurt because you had cancer. Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe you just had a normal stomach ache like kids get all the time. I won’t ever know. I will forever think that you complained of that stomach ache because of the mass you had growing in your tummy. I won’t ever forgive myself for not rushing you to the doctor and demanding a CT scan. I don’t care how naïve I was. Shouldn’t I have known that a stomach ache meant cancer? I know the answer to this is no. But it is still a hard pill for me to swallow.

I knew I couldn’t freak out with Quinn nearby. I sent your Mr. Sparkly Eyes a text through my tears. He called back instantly and I went out into the garage to talk to him because I didn’t want to let Quinn know how upset I was.

As soon as I picked up I said, “I know I’m not being rational. I know I’m being paranoid. But to me, a stomach ache will never just be a stomach ache anymore.”

He does what he always does best which is calmed me down. “Darling. You are not being paranoid or irrational. You have every right to feel this way. But just listen to me. It’s not cancer. I promise you that. His lymph nodes are swollen because of his sinus infection. That is what you are feeling. His stomach is upset because there is a ton of stuff going around. It is nothing more than that and you have to trust me. ”

“O.k. but I’m still taking him to see the doctor.”

“You do that. Please call me after, but I promise it’s nothing.”

I called and made an appointment with our doctors office. Dr. Campbell wasn’t in so I made an appointment with someone else. This caused me to lose it. I did not want to see anyone else, a totally different person who doesn’t know our story and all we have been through. I don’t want to have to explain why it is that I am at the doctor’s office for something as minor as a stomach ache. I pictured myself having to say, “His little brother died of cancer… so that is why I look like a crazed lunatic.” I couldn’t do that today. I am so sensitive to this now. I am lucky enough that your Dr. Campbell is so compassionate and has become close enough that I was able to send her a text message, telling her what was going on. She offered to come in on her day off, to check Quinn out. How unbelievably nice is that, Ronan? She acted like it was not a big deal, but to me, it meant everything.

We got to her office and she was there to meet us. She did the whole feeling his glands, asked him some questions and then had him lay down on the table so she could feel his stomach. After a very thorough examine, she came to the conclusion that it is the antibiotic that he is on, that is causing his stomach to hurt. She wrote us out a new prescription. I thanked her for coming in on her day off. I will never forget that. Ever. It goes down in my books as one of the nicest things ever. I felt better after leaving there. Your daddy did, as well. He was panicking, too. Life for us, will never be the same. We will never be naïve parent’s who dismiss something like a stomach ache. I hate this world so very much. I wish I lived in the world where a stomach ache was only just a stomach ache. I miss that world, so very much. Of course you know I came home and threw up everywhere. It’s my signature style, yo!

Dr. Sholler is here. I picked her up for the airport tonight. She is so very excited to be running for you this Sunday. It makes me smile that she is doing this for you. I can’t wait to spend some time with her this weekend.

I love you, Ronan. I am beyond beat tonight. I miss you, I love you, I hope you are safe.

xoxo

P.S. A little side note. I have so many people that do so many amazing things for us. (i wish i could hug all of you) I was at Becca’s tonight and she had a few things for me that some people have sent. There is the sweetest girl, who is making the cutest necklaces. She will make whatever you want on them, but she has been making a TON of Ronan things. If you want something, please check out her stuff here. I am rocking the most adorable necklace. The part you can read says, “Have a nice day.” The part you can’t read, and only I know about says, “you fuckwad.” I have seriously been laughing about this necklace all night. Clever little thing, you. I adore clever. She made a ton of stuff for the marathon. Thanks. You are darling and made my night. xoxo

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Truest intentions, purest of hearts

I need to get my shit together today. My house looks like a bomb went off in it, I can’t stop crying, and I think I just picked my nightgown up off the floor and beat the crap out of my bedroom wall with it. Don’t worry. Ronan didn’t see this… he was playing in the other room. He did hold me though, while I cried in his lap. He patted my head and held me. I needed to let some things go today, and I did. Everyday is so different from the next. I never know waking up what the day will consist of, how I will feel, or how Ronan is going to act. The inconsistency in my life makes me nervous and anxious. Today, I have had a pit in my stomach the entire day and I can’t seem to get rid of it. The reality that surrounds us is overwhelming at times. Thank god for good friends who I can call on. My friend, Gay, called me right when I needed her most. My friend, Pamela White (who has been a GODSEND) let me vent and gave me advice…. Little Jack’s mom, Laurie, always puts me at ease. Just hearing her voice and the updates on Jackers helps me get though the days. To people who are walking to the end of the earth and back for us, to the people who refuse to let go of my hand, to the people bringing dinners and helping with Liam and Quinn, to the people who know just how to make me smile…. Please know how thankful I am for you. The fact that you are walking though this with us and supporting us so much, means the world to our family. We are so lucky and thankful for all of you. It speaks volumes about the kind of people you are in the way you choose to live your life and I will FOREVER be thankful, humbled, and amazed<3 You all have changed my life and the way I view the beauty of family, friends, and strangers. You have taught me to question everything and accept nothing but the best for me and my family.

Last night I went out for dinner with 3 of my dearest friends. I was able to let go a little bit and live in the moment surrounded by strength and love. I went to the best restaurant in town, Tarbell’s, with my friends, Niki, Jen, and Lindsey. The place was packed, food was amazing as always, and the service was above and beyond. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I was with the bosses wife;) I sat with my 3 darlings, for 3 hours. We shut the place down and I left there feeling extremely blessed to have spent the evening surrounded by those 3 incredible women. They are more than friends to me; they are my sisters. I would trust them with my life and the life of my children. They are the type of friends who would never let me down or let me fall without picking me back up. I need them more than ever at this time in my life. I get that I am asking a lot from my friends right now…. but my true friends, are the one’s I have to ask nothing of; they just give and do because  they have the inner strength to see me through this. Their intentions are true and pure… there is no bullshit or superficialness. I worship them and if the tables were turned, I would be there for them in a heartbeat. They know this of me… they get the bigger picture of all of this.

Once Liam and Quinn got home I put everything that has been going on inside my head, on hold. I made them a snack, took them for shaved ice, and we went outside and played in the backyard for 2 hours. We took every ball in our house and put it in our big, grassy yard and played soccer and dodgeball. Ronan had a BLAST. He ran, kicked and threw his balls for an hour straight. The strength and power that boy has when it comes to anything physical is insane. He is so coordinated and fast. We took a bunch of glow sticks when it got dark and shaped them into frisbees and threw them up in the air and at each other. It was an evening full of laughing and playing. Woody came home, scarfed down some dinner (thanks Jules) and took Liam and Quinn over to The Village for basketball practice. My poor, tired, husband. He worked so hard today.. and I can tell he is exhausted. But he will never let us down or complain about anything. He came home with a smile on his face and a big kiss for me and off to practice they went. Love that man.

I feel like a kept woman with Ronan. Seriously. The little man decides my every move. I’ve got to get some control back with him. My sweet Sarah, whom Ronan LOVES… came over to peel me off my floor today. Ronan threw a fit about having her here. I can’t win. I need help, want help, ask for help…. but Ronan is so territorial of “his house.” He wants nothing to do with visitors and ends up slamming doors and screaming in his room the entire time someone is here. And Sarah is like family to us. He let her stay for a little bit after I bribed him with a toy and we played Star Wars with him. Sarah took over with the playing and I was able to get a few things done around here. Then we “locked” Sarah in the laundry room (that was the only way he would let her stay) so she could fold my laundry. Sarah the Saint. She has been so helpful to me and I know she would do whatever I needed her to, if Ronan would just relax a little. I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done before we check into the hospital for Round 4 of chemo on Monday. Tomorrow, we go to the clinic and I am hoping to help in Liam and Quinn’s classroom for their Halloween party. That leaves me Friday to get everything done. The weekends are usually pretty busy around here and I don’t want to spend my time getting caught up when I could be spending it with my boys.

So tired tonight… but one last thought….All of his kisses mean that much more. Every smile, laugh, hug, I love you, that come from Ronan, wash away all of the sadness and anger that I feel… for a few moments. It doesn’t last long, but it is oh so sweet.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Dr Seuss (Thanks Dana)