Well, not really. But here in Southern California, school is starting, so it feels like our summer season is coming to a close. Unfortunately, the triple digit temperatures will most likely continue for another two months, but for all intents and purposes, summer is over! We’re marking time, ending one thing, beginning another. And true to form, I’m feeling challenged by these transitions.
I guess some changes aren’t so bad. When I reflect on the summer of 2018, thoughts of chemo will likely be prominent. The bad, bad chemo. Hopefully, like the pain of childbirth, the bad memories will fade with time.
My vacation was receiving two weeks off of chemo, a gift given to allow my body some recovery time before starting the second regiment. No trips to Italy, Hawaii, Yosemite, Disney World; well, truthfully, we don’t take those kind of vacations even when I don’t have chemo, but a girl can dream.
We did manage a weekend to San Diego for a wonderful family reunion, but otherwise our summer was filled with musical theatre rehearsals, gymnastics training, lots of writing for Mike and chemo for me. A very pedestrian summer.
But my chemo vacation was very, very nice. My appetite finally returned right at the end of two weeks, so I enjoyed eating meals without feeling sick. I was also able to accomplish some of my Mom duties. It’s those simple things, you know? My energy returned and If you saw me during these two weeks, you’d almost think everything was fine. I bought into that too. I mean, minus the bald head, I look pretty normal, and for the most part, I’m positive and upbeat. But the energy surge was very deceptive. My mind kept telling me I could do lots of things, but my body just wasn’t having it. So what you didn’t see was the recovery day I needed after I ran all those errands or socialized too much. My body, always reminding me.
Then before I knew it, I had to take steroids to prepare my body for the next day’s chemo. I still have to deal with this disease. It hasn’t left. I’d fooled myself into believing things were normal. Facing twelve more treatments, once a week, is just so daunting. Not to mention, I have no idea how my body will respond to these new medications. That hit me hard and I just wept. Vacation’s over.
But the transition that I’m finding just as challenging is witnessing my older son enter High School. My baby, who just yesterday was so small I was able to hold him in the crook of my arm (at least that’s the way it feels) is growing up.
I get sentimental about the school year starting every year, but this time is especially hard. He’s not just going from middle school to high school. He’s going from a very small, non-traditional learning middle school with very little structure and no homework to the top public Performing Arts High School in the country, complete with structure, long hours, and lots of homework. Oh, and did I mention it’s on a college campus? Yeh, he’s growing up.
The school is about 25 miles from our house, which in LA translates to about an hour commute, each way. He will leave the house around 6am and return around 6pm. And I’m going to miss him. A lot.
But when I begin to dwell in the sadness, I find comfort in an even bigger change.
For the first time EVER, my son is excited to go to school! Since being accepted into the school, he has been counting down the days to this new beginning. And his joy is overwhelming and contagious. He has a slew of friends attending the same school and he’ll get to study what he loves. And I can’t wait to see how he grows.
So as I say goodbye to the summer, I’ll also be saying goodbye to my little boy. And instead of focusing on what’s ending, do my best to focus on his beaming face and the incredible anticipation and delight he is experiencing.
I’ll also allow that energy to carry me through my own fears around this next chemo treatment. I’ll try to keep my eye on that prize, three months from now, when chemo will finally be complete. And we’ll be entering yet another new season, one filled with all sorts of possibilities.