Marjorie fell over backwards multiple times yesterday, just out of no where. Of course, my back was to her and it could have been because our bulldog knocked her down or because she simply lost her balance trying to reach a toy. But here is where my new Cancer Mom Brain kicks in:
“Marjorie has a brain tumor.”
Fear. Panic. A knot in my stomach. I’m going to throw up.
Pre-preemie and pre-cancer, I was a laid back mom. Manning could take a fall and keep going. Nothing frightened or alarmed me. Then again, I had nothing to be frightened or alarmed about.
With her next set of scans coming up next Tuesday/Wednesday, I find myself a bit more on edge. The scanxiety has kicked in and so has my Cancer Mom Brain.
I do my very best to stay mindful and aware of my runaway
fear hypocondria imagination. But it gets the best of me. Especially after my nanny told me Marjorie’s hand shook yesterday when reaching for a toy. I came up to my office today with a work to do list a mile long, but the tears in my eyes were too thick to read it.
Here is where I know I did the right thing: I did NOT Google. Never, ever Google. When we take to Google to diagnose ourselves or our children, a simple cough turns into 3-months to live. Never, never Google. Jordan Googles, which is why he is not in charge of medical decisions.
I also don’t hold my Mom Fear inside. That does not serve me well either. Mom Fear is equivalent to shame – the more you hold it in, the more it builds and takes over your brain and your day. We have enough on our plates as moms, we don’t have time to ruminate on Mom Fear.
So I picked up my phone to share my fear. I text our Oncology nurse, angel and friend, Two Knock Mack.
Okay – my cancer mom brain is freaking out a bit. Marjorie fell over backwards five times yesterday. My back was to her each time so it could have been just an accident and off balance. But this morning the nanny told me her right hand was shaking when reaching for something. I haven’t noticed that. Now I’m concerned about something neuro going on. Am I crazy? Tell me I’m crazy.
She confirmed I was most likely crazy (we all know that). But then gave me a few simple tests to do: check her eyes, tickle her palms. I ran downstairs and did just that. Marjorie’s eyes seemed fine and when I tickled her palms she didn’t squeeze back, instead she laughed, high fived and pointed. She’s gifted, I know.
After Two-Knock’s test calmed my nerves, I returned to my office. I texted her the results and she confirmed once again that I was crazy and to settle down. Of course, she sees Mom Cancer Brains every day so she has more empathy and patience than anyone I know in this situation.
So this is where I find myself: speaking the fear and writing the fear. Letting it out so the light can shine on my Cancer Mom Brain and put it at ease. Yes, my daughter has cancer. And yes, we have a scan next week. And even though her cancer is a great prognosis, it does not immune me from scan anxiety, mom brain (especially Cancer Mom Brain) and just fear of the unknown. I do my best to live by my best friend (even though she doesn’t know me), Brene Brown’s words: You can dress rehearse tragedy.
But in this moment, it is easier to type Brene’s words than actually follow through with them. I’m sure I’ll be back to quoting and living in the moment after next week’s scans. But until then, I will keep speaking, writing and most of all relying on my pal Arnold Schwarzenegger’s words: It’s NOT a TUMAH.
And then I also watched this and EVERYTHING was suddenly better:
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