Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

X's First "Date"

It's 4:40 in the morning.
I woke up at 3:15 am.
This is one of the downsides of prednisone.
I wake up and I eat. Then sometimes I can go back to bed satisfied. Other times I am just too anxious to relax.
Prednisone stimulates the adrenal glands giving the taker a never ending adrenal rush. Think about how you feel when you encounter roller coasters, spiders creeping up on you, bungy jumping, your crush or love, and nightmares.
Then take that feeling and multiply it by a minimum of three and keep it for the duration of your pill popping.
That is the equation to how I feel.
Well, to an extent.
Taking this medication reminds me of who and how I was before my illness.
I was so energetic, go, go, go.
Well, I guess if that version of myself woke up at four in the morning to write a book and a blog, paint, manipulate photographs, cook muffins, and make smoothies then I would be back to my old self.
Okay, so I am really a manic, hyped up version of the former me.
I have stopped, for the most part, trying to get back to the young, fresh, twenty-one year old version of myself.
I think we'd all like to get back to that point in our lives sometime no matter what our situation is.
Taking cancer out of the equation, I have aged four years since my diagnosis. I have settled down with my family in the country. I have a loving husband, rambunctious son, dog, and cat to care for.
My lifestyle has changed.
Determining which changes have been made due to normal, happy life changing decisions and the insidiousness of cancer is impossible.
I like to tell myself they are all for the better.
Speaking of happy life changing decisions, I bet you loyal readers (I've heard some of you like to check me every night. I love that. I think it's a huge compliment. I'm sorry for my abscence and hope you'll return to normal reading dedication) would like to know how X's "date" went.
He certainly has grown up over the postings on this blog.
I can't believe I've been chronicling our journey since August 2008.
It's so cool to look back and see where we were, what we were doing, and how we were coping as a unit at any point in time.
I hope he finds the same comfort in this in the future that I do.
I didn't think I'd be as nervous and jittery as I was in preparation. The prednisone didn't help.
I wasn't exactly "dreading" the experience, but I wasn't jumping for joy either.
I did use his excitement and anticipation to get as many chores out of him as I possibly could.
He vacummed. He put away the clothes. He organized and picked up the entire house. He brushed the dogs.
In the morning, he scrapped the snow and ice off my car like his life depended on it.
At 2:40, I found myself hesitantly dragging myself the half mile to X's school to pick him and his friend up.
Before X ever dared label KA his "girlfriend" he did stop and ask my permission.
We had a discussion about what exactly a "girlfriend" was, what they did, and how they behaved.
I told him my concerns that he would be distracted from school and this relationship would take away from other friendships he could be developing.
I do believe six is a little early to have this distraction, and under other circumstances, I may have not allowed it.
But then I saw that special glow, and I said okay, as long as she was just a "special friend" and there would be no touching going on.
That's when they started talking on the phone.
A few months later, here we are, having a playdate.
Now I have a little bit of an idea how it feels to be a parent policing a boy. I wouldn't/couldn't let the two out of my sight. I didn't want them hugging, touching, or snuggling.
I wanted them to act like normal friends.
It was working well. We were taking a walk. X was giving her the tour of our trails. She was meeting the dogs, Nika and Lily. She also met Nana (my mother) as she drove to go to her house.
Then KA asks, "Do you know Xander has a girlfriend?"
Aaarrghhhh, aaaghhhhh, yuck, Nooooooooooo.
I didn't want to hear it. I had heard it enough from Xander, but now, it was being confirmed by the sweetest, cutest, little blond haired blue eyed tomboy.
"I thought you were Xander's girlfriend." I stammered out, whincing, that my baby, my child, was crushing on another at just six years old when I was still supposed to be the love of his life.
She giggled and shook her head "Yes," as if she had never meant anything so sincerely and eagerly in her entire life.
This was an opening.
As a parent, I had to take it.
Both of them were getting the same talk I had given Xander. Maybe, I could use this as an opportunity to guide them while they were still interested in my guidance.
"Now, what, exactly, do boyfriend and girlfriends do?" I choked out.
KA stood up straighter. X looked at me, then put his eyes to the ground and started to fidget, first with his feet in the snow and then with his gloves.
"Well," KA lit up, "We get to talk and really get to know each other, EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER, and then let the fun times begin."
Ahh, okay, it sounded like KA's mom may have had a similar talk to the one I had with X.
Speaking of KA's parents, Luckily, when I was setting up the play date I found out that I all ready knew them. Not only are they a part of another big french family that has taken over Charlestown whom I've known forever, but we coached their older son in soccer a couple years ago.
It's a small world and we live in an even smaller town, but there was still the anxiety that he had chosen someone that I somehow could not background check.
There wasn't any background check necessary. Actually, I let out a big sigh of relief when her mom told me who she was. Watching Xander have a first special friend is hard, but watching him choose someone from a family with entirely different moral values would have been terrible.
It's crazy to see that maybe freud had it right, X picked a girl with a family very similar to ours, and he is only six. I guess this goes to show the raw data we use to pick our mates when nothing other than love and attraction enter the question.
In the first grade they certainly aren't thinking about if the other is responsible enough to support the other, if they'll be a capable provider, or if they will be a wonderful parent.
Then something clicked "Wait a second, what fun times?" I asked, even toned despite the frantic freak in my head starting to yell about hormones and what they could possibly try.
"Like playing." KA said, as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Do boyfriends and girlfriends touch?" I asked. I had to go there. This was a boundary I wanted set. There are so many poor role models to be found in the media, and even among other parents, that I wanted it to be clear they were friends with special feelings.
"We can hug and hold hands. I try to cuddle." said the sweet, innocent looking little girl.
Again, the mom voice screaming at me in my head, "They're touching! No, no, no." I may have been okay with hugs. Hand holding was pushing it a little bit, but cuddling!
Xander is a snuggly kid WITH ME AND DAD. It was looking like KA was affection too, hopefully, in an innocent loving way.
It was boundary time.
"Actually, touching like that isn't allowed. It's okay to give hugs when you see each other and when you leave. To make sure of this, I'm going to chaperone you both all the time. I think it's important that you talk to each other and enjoy each other's company like really good friends."
Again, I was trying to control my breathing and show I was in control. This first grade romance could be the template for relationships in the future if I can just make in imprint on the tablet of their lives and their relationships in a positive manner now, maybe later life will be good to them.
But the chaperoning thing definately took energy.
Back at the house X had to show KA every room. They ran back and forth and back and forth before finally settling in the upstairs play/guest room for snacks and a movie.
They picked "Anastasia," which is also a favorite of mine, for background entertainment while they played dress up.
Xander dressed like the black GI joe. KA was a princess with a long pink dress, jewels, leis, and a fedora.
All in all, it went well for everybody.
I think she is adorable. I won't be posting her face out of respect for her family. I didn't ask permission, but I'd love for you all to see her.
She is petite with fair skin, blond long hair and blue eyes, but she's still a tomboy who can hang with her three older brothers. She managed to keep up with x when we were exploring in the woods and stay standing on the snowboard when they were sledding.
I'm actually hoping, just a little, that this will fizzle so they can revisit each other when they get older.
At least he's off to a great start.


linda keenan said...

oh this is so so so sweet.

DebA said...

Very fun...great update thanks