We’re okay. We’re having good days. I’m feeling better: eating, sleeping. The kids are okay: I’ve really scaled down my internet/phone use and they are basking/being wonderful in the glow of all the new-found mama-attention. We’re living with a big shadow of uncertainty, though. Tony has had some odd little health complaints over the course of the last few weeks: a sore throat that won’t go away, a weird, all-over, painful itchiness that can only be stopped with medicine that puts him to sleep, a swollen spot under his chin. Last week our doctor ordered blood tests and an ultrasound for his thyroid. The blood tests came back completely clean. We giggled about the ultrasound. ‘It’s a boy!’ he’d texted me when he was done at the doctor’s office. We haven’t been giving it much thought. Until yesterday, when the tests came back. Nodules or cysts or growths or whatever. A biopsy has been ordered. We don’t know when (this is the most awful part, I think), THEY are supposed to call US at some point.
I did the thing you should never do. I googled it. And while I read that this is a common thing, I also read words like “lymphoma” and “malignant” and “chemotherapy,” which are impossibly terrifying words. I haven’t said any of these words to Tony, because his official stance on this new development is, “Let’s Change The Subject.”
Last night, I went on my usual bike ride. 8 miles through the woods, two miles on pavement to cool down. The paved trail is really hilly; it winds back through the park around this pretty little duck pond. As I started pumping myself up the very last and biggest hill, halfway up I noticed a woman walking her dog. About 10 feet behind was a little boy in a wheelchair. He was about Ruby’s age. It was a manual chair, and he was trying really hard to wheel himself up the hill. He was making it, but slowly—every so often sliding back a few inches or going sideways. I caught his eye as I rode past and smiled at him. Over the crest of the hill, speeding away, I thought, “why wasn’t his mom helping him?” I had wanted to ask him if he needed help, but had felt weird doing it with his mom right there. And then, “what if that wasn’t his mom?” I should have asked him if he needed help, I realized, even if his mom was there. About half a mile away, my tears started and wouldn’t stop. I made it to my car, sat down in the driver’s seat, put my head on the steering wheel and sobbed. I sobbed until I was sick. I couldn’t stop. I came home to find Tony sitting on the couch watching something on tv. The second he saw my face, he jumped up and asked what happened. I just crumbled—I let him support all of my weight while I cried and tried to choke out the story about the boy in the wheelchair. He hugged me and rocked me and played with my hair. When I was done, he kissed my head and…giggled a little bit. “Bless your heart,” he said. “That little boy is okay.”
We’re okay. I mean, we’re not okay. But. We are going to pretend that we are until it’s proven otherwise.