Thursday, March 9, 2017

7:14 PM

I'm taking my youngest daughter in for an MRI tomorrow.

She's had pain in her ankle and two X-rays have proven inconclusive. There wasn't an incident that started the whole thing. She's been in pain for almost two months now - even though she's wearing the dreaded boot.

So tomorrow is the big day. And I've been okay with that. Until 7:14 this evening.

I was driving to pick her up from piano when I started thinking about what it could be. The doctor is fairly sure of what it is and that it can be resolved by wearing the boot or a cast, but she's not 100%. I could tell at the appointment that she waited until the last moment before she mentioned the word "tumor" and then quickly dismissed it as unlikely.

And that's what I thought, too. Until 7:14 tonight.

I had a flashback to about 12 years ago. My oldest daughter, then almost 4-years-old, had been complaining of back pain. When I mentioned it to her pediatrician during a routine check up, she immediately sat straight in her chair and said, "We don't often hear that from kids this age."

We did a urine test to make sure that it wasn't a kidney infection and then, on my 29th birthday, I landed with a thud on my living room chair - pregnant with my third and another toddler in a crib upstairs  - and listened to the doctor tell me that it wasn't a kidney infection.

"At this point, we will want to do a bone scan," she said.

"What are you looking for?" I asked. I hate asking questions I don't want to know the answer to.

"Arthritis or anything out of the ordinary," she replied. "And cancer."

I spent the next week - that's how long it took to get in for the scan - crippled with fear. I tried to imagine how this was going to work. How I would get a toddler to treatments with two babies. I envisioned our lives changing and couldn't even picture the outcome. I went to church and for the first time filled out a prayer card.

While my husband stayed irritatingly calm.

"They're not looking for something," he said. "They're just ruling everything out."

This is such a perfect example of us. How I saw things one way and he saw them another. He thought this was a good thing while all I could picture were heartbreaking scenes.

Until the scan happened, I made a huge effort to think the same way he did. But on the day of the test, I watched as they put my 4-year-old under and then cried in the bathroom for 15 minutes until I could make it into the waiting area.

That child is now 15-years-old and in perfect health. But I feel like I'm back in that situation...without my husband's balance to get me through.