When the nurse came in at 6pm last night and asked "How'd you like to go home?", Brandon's face broke into that boyish grin of his that I haven't seen in a week. But me, my heartbeat picked up, and the first thought that entered my mind was "I'm not ready". In this fragile emotional state I'm living in, any and all transitions feel overwhelming. As long and stressful as the hospital days were, my son had full and immediate access to a medical team. He had an IV and a pulse ox pumping him with fluids and monitoring his basic functioning. As annoying as those dang machines were, beeping through the night, they were assurance that my son was alive. He underwent three surgeries yesterday and he was achy and fussy. They trusted me to take him home?! I've never had this feeling of doubt in my ability to care for my son. I was ready to bring him home when he was born. Even then I felt this intensely strong connection with him and I knew I could provide him with what he needed. Now he has cancer and I don't trust my basic instincts.
Did I sleep last night? Not really. It took until midnight for my mind to settle enough for sleep to finally creep in. But I woke up countless times to study the video monitor for signs of life. The tiny chest movements eased my worry, but it takes a few moments of intense study to make them out. I had a dream last night that sums things up rather succinctly. I dreamt that my sweet angel spoke his first word. It was "cancer".
Enough of the depressing. It is GREAT to be home. I didn't realize how freeing it would feel to be out of the hospital world. It is truly another dimension in there. I am home with my baby, my husband, my dogs. My mom is here and my godfather Uncle Terry. We had pizza for dinner. And beer. We laughed and talked about topics other than cancer. This morning we walked on the greenways for an hour. It felt so good to get some exercise. It's been a nice reprieve before the beginning of the next chapter, which begins with John Ryan's first chemo treatment on Tuesday. For now I am trying my hardest to just enjoy the unknown.
I know life will be dramatically different and challenging for the next year, but boy do we feel supported! Again we thank you for the total outpouring of love and support we are receiving. We are awed at how much you care about our son and our family. It has been so helpful to read your messages during those long hours of waiting during surgeries. Many of you want to know how you can help us. Thank you. We will let you know when we figure that out. Right now we want to enjoy being home and being with our family. My mom will be leaving on Thursday. At that time I imagine we will know a whole lot more about what to expect this year, and ways we might need help in both the short and long term. Thank you for continuing to support us through emails, texts and FaceBook. We want the word spread! We want as many prayers and positive energies devoted to John Ryan as possible. We want to raise awareness for childhood cancer and are actually excited to make an impact. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.