Yesterday I took my youngest to the pediatrician for some, shall we say, dietary issues. Basically the boy burps and toots from sun up to sundown. And while I could regale you with snippets from the conversation he had with his pediatrician, that’s not the reason for my post. Okay, just one. Dr. Debbie: “Braeden, where does your tummy hurt?” Braeden: “Right here.” (pointing just below his stomach). Dr. Debbie: “Does it hurt when you burp?” Braeden: “Nope! It feels good.” (note the emphasis here). Dr. Debbie: “And you have to pass gas too?” (so politically correct). Braeden: “Yes, I fart.” Dr. Debbie: “Do they smell?” Braeden: “Yep, they’re stinky.” Now, if you know my son, you should be rolling in the aisles because you can visualize his facial expressions. For those of you who’ve never had the privilege of meeting Braeden, just use your imagination.
But I digress. When Dr. Debbie (our pediatrician) walked in, she said “Wow, you’re hair’s getting really long.” Now, I actually stopped to think why she would even comment on my hair. It took a couple of minutes for it to actually dawn on me that the last time she’d seen me, I had just passed the stubble stage. I’d actually managed to forget I had cancer.
So, for the first time in almost 14 months, I had freedom from cancer. Well, not actual freedom, but close enough! It was a bittersweet kind of thing. It was good to be free from the obsession of cancer. On the other hand, it scared me to think I wasn’t being diligent. So, of course, I obsessed about it for the rest of the day. Okay, I obsessed until the Opening Ceremony started at the Olympics. Then I got to listen to my son obsess about his birth country.
At that point, I traded one obsession for another. I used to obsess about being an adoptive mom. When my oldest came home, it was all about all things Russian. I had Russian toys, Russian CDs, Russian meds, Russian food. My son, being the good little Russian boy he is, brought home Russian bacteria that was unfamiliar to American screenings and had a raging bladder infection. Ten years later, we are still battling Russian bugs. This time they are H.pylori bacteria that are causing an antibiotic resistant ulcer. Nice to know he brought a bit of the old country with him.
I spent so much time worrying about being the mom of a child who was both adopted and from a foreign country. I read books, joined support groups and pretty much obsessed about my ability to parent. When my youngest joined the mix from Guatemala, I now had double the reason to obsess. Of course, my youngest is the opposite of his brother, so that just added to my drama. As you can see from the introductory paragraph, my youngest is quite a character. His older brother is much more controlled (this is an understatement) and has a dry sense of humor.
Then there was the whole multi-racial thing. Don’t even get me started. Race is an issue, yes. My son knows that some people treat him different just because of his skin color. Fortunately, he lets it roll – most of the time. Once I heard him say, “Don’t people realize I think they look strange?” That’s my boy. And that’s when I quit obsessing.
I have actually managed to move through the last few years “forgetting” they are adopted and not from the USA. I guess I’ve moved beyond the labels. People sometimes ask if I see my son’s skin color. Of course I see it! But I also see his infectious smile, massive cowlick and stubborn attitude toward school. It’s just part of his package.
Once I passed over the adoption obsession, I moved onto the homeschool obsession. Homeschoolers are, by nature, an unconventional bunch. I obsessed about choosing the right curriculum, co-op, teaching style and extra-curricular activities. We entered our 6th year of homeschooling this year. I will say it took me almost 5 years to quit obsessing. Now my biggest complaint is “Where did all the buses come from?” on Monday mornings as we try to get to co-op. I “forget” that most people don’t homeschool, which seems REALLY odd to me. Now, I just roll with the punches, just like I do with being a parent.
So I guess it really shouldn’t surprise me that I forgot about my cancer. I have a pattern of obsessing and forgetting. I know that I never really forget. I am cognizant of how my family was formed, that we don’t school the way most people do and that I am very fortunate to be here to blog about this. I know all these things, I just don’t keep them in the forefront. Of course, chemo fog helps with this on bad days.
I’m about a month away from my quarterly check-up so I know obsession is right around the corner. I’ll be thinking about tumor markers and wonder if I will be able to keep the barium down until after the CT scan. I will be in a major obsessive state until the doctor gives me the thumbs up or down. His answer will help me decide which can of worms to open.
Oh, and lest I forget, thank you, dear reader, for your comments. I AM putting my blog into book form. This is not an easy process especially with chemo fog, homeschooling, freelance writing and my current obsession with “Candy Crush Saga.” But I am working on it. Rest assured, I won’t forget.