Sunday, October 09, 2005

Terror strikes closer to home...




Last week was the ten year anniversary of my daughter's near-death drowning experience.

Needless to say, the memory of that event is still terribly vivid and will probably be one of the few almost tangible recollections I'll carry until my last breath. Mostly, I recall literally begging God not to take her away, to let her be okay, and the amazing gratitude when she pulled through the first critical 24 hour period.

The cliche is true: meeting her was the first time I ever really fell in love.

Her older sister has always been different: emotionally stalwart from birth, distant, completely enamored of her father, rather disdainful and suspicious of me. Naturally, we love one another. But our relationship's always been akin to that of warriors or respectful sparring partners - we share entirely too many personality traits to ever fully let down our respective guards. Our fun moments are real highs. Our arguments are basement lows. Very little rests between them.

Not so with the baby of the family. She's ebullient, pliant, unbelievably trusting and open, and kind to a fault. Of all the people I've ever known, she is closest to me and our relationship is virtually tension free. A mama's girl since birth, even at nearly 12 she still sometimes runs to the door with open arms to greet me at the end of a long day. She came into the world with complications and was a Code Pink baby upon arrival, a knot in her umbilical cord and a traumatic delivery.

Between that and her accident, she has fought the odds - and seemingly won, every time.

Needless to say, all the good times in the past ten years have been on my mind during this milestone of a week. How full my life is because she's in it. How awful it would have been had the fates succeeded in taking her away all those years ago. I've been especially thankful, even moreso than I am every year around this time, for her presence and beauty.

The silver lining of a terrible grey cloud - one that came back during Katrina. Holding your own unconscious child in your arms, covered in water, eyes staring off into some unknown distance...these things make you understand other mothers' pain in ways the truly lucky never could.

Yesterday brought all of it sharply back into focus.

While running to grab the phone, she jumped off a step and her ankle twisted. The ER doctor said it wasn't broken. Just sprained it, thankfully.

"But...well, look at this x-ray," he said, gesturing for me to join him.

In my daughter's fibula was a blackened area, an innocuous seeming shadow where bone should be.

"She has a tumor in this bone, right here. A cyst or tumor of some sort. It's amazing the bone didn't fracture today, or sooner. It's filling up the space," he explained.

After getting the crutches, prescription and a promise from me to take her to a bone specialist, the hospital released us and worries about this cyst took a backseat to concerns about her getting around the house on crutches, getting the swelling down, etc.

Until this morning, when I awoke with an epiphany.

Earlier this year, after a few weeks of complaining from being tired and pain in her leg, she was diagnosed with mono. The leg pain eventually receded, but she is still frequently tired. The pain was in the same spot her tumor is in - but her doctor attributed the pain to mono, because it can present with bone ache.

Hopefully in a few days we will learn the tumor is benign, and the "mono" was not really a symptom of something much worse that also causes bone pain and tumors. But that few days will feel like several years, until they're able to aspirate the tumor and check the cells.

In the meantime, I guess I will simply believe that her survival against all odds ten years ago, and all the joy she has brought into the world before and since, are obvious signs that surely everything is going to be fine.

And I'll ask God, yet again, to let her be okay.


Comments:
very cool website.

any thoughts on mine ? Woodland Park
 
Anne--you two are in my thoughts and prayers!!! Sending hugs and poodle kisses from Zanzibar too.
 
Aw, thank you Polisigh1. And for the kisses from Zanzibar (great name). I'm going to a special holistic store around here to find some potential treatments for Marlon, thanks to your email.
 
I believe her survival against all odds ten years ago, and all the joy she has brought into the world before and since, are obvious signs that surely everything is going to be fine.

Praying hard for both of you. Be strong and good luck.
 
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