Welcome to Connor's Web Page. It has been provided to keep people updated about him and his progress through his cancer treatment.
Friday, June 5, 2015 11:28 AM CDT
Tears are just a part of the landscape when you have a child with cancer. You have diagnosis tears. The visceral tears that seem to be never ending on the day you hear the words, "your child has cancer". The flood of tears always come with a flood of emotion. It was the the first time in my life I ever felt completely out of control. A tough thing to deal with for a "Type A" personality like myself.
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You also have the unknown tears. These are tears that can't be explained. The emotion comes from out of no where and before you know it, you find yourself sobbing. If you are lucky, these tears show up when you are alone and your vulnerability isn't exposed to those around you. The armor may be damaged, but God knows you can't let anyone see it. It would ruin the facade that you put up to prove you are strong enough to handle anything that comes your way.
There are also shared tears. These are the tears when a loved one is crying and you try to be the emotional support for them and you find yourself sharing in whatever pain is causing them to cry. These are especially hard because you can never really feel someone else's pain. While you can feel empathy, you can't experience the same pain they are going through since each of us handles our individual pain differently.
And finally, there are tears of joy. These tears are typically looked at as the best tears of all. The birth of a baby, a wedding day, a graduation. These tears allow even the toughest man to appear human, albeit briefly, and allow others to view him as "normal".
As the past 10 years have gone by, I have shared all of these moments. I have cried for each of these reasons. As a retired Marine, I am not a very emotional guy. At least not on the surface. The facade I put in place years ago remains firmly intact. At least to those on the outside looking in. The people closest to me know me as a loving and caring person who is incredibly protective of those that I love. Fiercely loyal to those that mean the most to me. And a staunch advocate for the success of those closest to me. Willing to do anything to assist them in their success, but always remembering, it's better to teach a man to fish then give him a fish.
Today is the last chemotherapy sedation appointment for Connor. He will get his last chemo next month in the beginning of July and then take his last chemo pills on July 19th. The rest of his pills, if there are any left, will be disposed of and the cabinet where they are stored will become the newest place to put clutter. We can put this behind us. Sounds great right? Sounds like the happy tears should begin flowing at any second. Then why am I scared to death?
Each night before chemo, I can't sleep. I am always worried that the next day could be the day that they tell us that the cancer has returned. There are no signs and symptoms that would make me believe it has come back. But I guess I am a little gun shy since we were told, with plenty of certainty, that his cancer would not return. That was in 2008, and to our shock, it did return in 2012. So my faith in percentages is not really what it used to be.
Connor weighed 134 lbs and stands 5'5" tall. He is officially taller than his mother, and yet I don't think he will be happy until he surpasses me at 6'4". And while I love to watch him grow, it saddens me to see my son growing up. The passage of time means that he will not come to this hospital and get his monthly checks. So I have to ask myself, "Does this mean I won't have my monthly security blanket that comforts and reassures me that his cancer is still at bay?" "Will I be sleepless every night?" "Will the day ever come back where I let my guard down enough to believe the cancer will never return?" All very good questions that only time has the answer to. And she is not giving up those answers without a fight.
As all of us prepared this morning, Michelle came into the room and told me that while she was at the gym this morning, she just started to cry. (Unknown tears) I have been there. Never at the gym, but the unknown tears have appeared in some very interesting places over the years. Not knowing if they are sad tears, or happy tears or why there are tears at all can be so frustrating. Having been on that side of those tears before, I know that there is no comforting them. No hugs, no consoling and no amount of understanding is really good enough. Because as the tears and emotions come, you don't even know why they are there to begin with. It's frustrating beyond belief.
So as this appointment finishes, and everything is great I might add, I just hope that next months appointment is truly his last. I hope that the sleepless nights begin to diminish as time goes on. But I also know that I will take my last breath with a quiet fear in the back of my mind that my children are safe and healthy. And I think the only tears I ever want to shed again are the tears of life beyond cancer.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite
1001 Johnson Ferry Road
(770)962-4756 (not after 8pm)
http://www.gofundme.com/2qrlag Donation page to help offset medical expences
http://www.cure.org Answers Cancer Questions
http://www.lighthousefamilyretreat.org Beach Retreat for cancer families