So, this morning, I decided to drive my big girl to school. Daddy was going to do it so I had more time to pack, except she really wanted me to take her, and how could I resist.
Naturally, the one day of all days I wanted it to be a smooth straight forward drive (clear across town!!) I end up having to contend with a car accident (not mine!), a train crawling through the crossing and a convoy of trucks that blocked two sets of traffic lights... but, eventually we got to school and found a park in the crush of crazed parents trying to escape after first bell had gone.
That was when things started to go bad...
Jessica crawled into the front seat, wrapped her tiny arms around me and started sobbing. Not just crying, but deep, hysterical, body wracking sobbing. When I finally managed to get her to calm down enough to talk to me, she pulled away and looked into my eyes, her own little blue eyes full of tears and cried "Mummy, don't go to Brisbane!"
I tried to explain as best I could that I had to go, but the more I talked the more she seemed to cry. Finally, after about 10 minutes of her crying, she started to calm down and she told me that she was scared of what would happen if I went away to Brisbane with Nicola.
Aunty Kathy went to hospital with Baby Bubble and he died... Now Mummy is going to Brisbane with Bubby Nikka and she's very sick...
And it was in that part of the story that she became hysterical again and told me she would be very very sad if Nicola died.
Now, through this whole process we have been very very careful to not mention "The 'D' word" in front of the children, not even in passing or in veiled reference. Any discussions we, as adults, have regarding 'negative resolutions to our existing situation' are done late at night, usually in our ensuite bathroom, while children are in bed, or during the day while they are at school.
We thought we had nipped this kind of thought in the bud way back last year when we first got her diagnosis, but apparently I was wrong.
When Jessica had her break down this morning, I couldn't do anything else but cry with her, hold her tight, and then I did the unthinkable... I promised her that Nicola was not going to die.
I honestly don't know what else I could have done, nothing else seemed right.
This is going to be the longest stint I have ever been apart from them, and to be honest, I am utterly terrified of how they are going to handle it. Physically they are fine, and they would be well looked after by their Daddy, even if he can't cook very well at all... but mentally, emotionally, I don't know how they are going to handle things.
They are strong girls, they have had to be with everything they have endured since Nicola's birth, but sometimes it feels like this is going to be too much for them.
Hell, most of the time it feels like it's too much for me and I'm a grown adult who understands relatively complex emotions!
I didn't want to face this trip, but the trip went on and here we are. She is asleep in her makeshift bed and I am sitting in a dark room contemplating over what is going to be coming.
Tomorrow morning she gets admitted at 7am to Day Procedure and then taken over to the Adults hospital, anesthetized and given her first dose of radiation, then we go back to Day Procedure for her to finish waking up then we move over to Banksia for her to restart her chemo. Tomorrow night we will stay on the ward because of the side effects of the chemo, and then, well, I guess we just see how she goes.
"Just wait and see"
Seems to be something of an ongoing mantra for us of late... Just wait and see how the chemo goes... just wait and see how the breathing goes... just wait and see how the nausea goes... just wait and see how the radiation goes... just wait and see how her pain levels go... Just wait and see...
Now we wait and see if this is going to give us hope.
It's going to be a torturously long, emotionally painful and physically wearing wait... for both of us.