I will never, ever be the same mother I used to be. I am coming to terms with this, because I can't see this ever going away. Every virus, every leg ache, I will be wondering. Is it back? Has it found it's way back into her body? I can't get rid of it. I am hoping it will subside with time, the anxiety, but it will never be gone. Since I last posted, Brinley has had another ear infection. She is waking up with headaches at least 3 times a week. She has complained of ankles and hips. She woke up one night crying in pain because her legs were hurting. And instead of rubbing them and saying to David she must have growing pains like we did when Taylor would wake up with leg pain, I am sleeping with one eye open watching her fall back asleep, as if the cancer cells will glow in the dark and make themselves known to me. Instead of my first thought being "I wonder if she is having sinus issues", my mind immediately shouts "I wonder if she has relapsed in her spinal fluid." Sometimes I want to turn to that side of me and say "would you please shut up and let me handle this logically!"

So as not to lead you in the wrong direction, the logical side of me tells me the cancer is not back. And the logical side is the usual me. Things are great. Brinley is feeling "decent" considering she just had over two years of chemo. She plays all the time, is happy most of the time and enjoying feeling like a normal kid again. All the things she is dealing with are so very explainable. Her body needs some time to recover. Headaches can be from the ear infections. Leg pain from growing. An ankle can hurt if you bump it and bruise it for goodness sakes! I am a very logical girl, and can certainly explain these things away. We had her clinic visit today, and counts looked great. Her oncologist wants us to see if she can kick all this gunk that's hit her before we start looking into anything else, and I agree 100%. I am certainly not in there hysterically demanding her bone marrow be checked, my logical side has control most of the time.

However, I am not talking about the logical side. I'm talking about the side that says "you think this is over? Oh, you have no idea what is in store for you still. So stop all your celebrating and put on your helmets, because you are going to want to be prepared when the boulder hanging over your head is cut loose." And that side of me is afraid. That side of me puts a knot in my stomach for every ache and pain Brinley complains about. Sometimes I look at her and just worry. If her eyes don't look right. If she looks pale. I just keep it inside, because I know it isn't logical. Chances are good for this staying away. And so most of the time I pretend I don't think about it, because the great thing is nobody has to know what my insides look like. But I know I will never be the same. In five years, in ten years, if Brinley breaks a bone like people sometimes do, I will be right back in this place of worry. Is it back? I may not say it 10 times a day like I do now, but this isn't going away. I recently ran into a cancer mom I met 6 months ago whose son is doing well and in remission. We talked about how great it is to be done, how happy life is without chemo. And then she said, "Do you ever wonder, are we really done?" I knew immediately that she got it, something that will only be understood by cancer parents. She understood the fear that no matter how much we want it to be over, it will never really be over. The battle against cancer will continue forever in our minds. I wish it were different, but there it is. Cancer forever changes us.