Monday November 7, 2011

The sun is shining brightly this morning and it was nice to drive the girls to school in the daylight, thanks to setting our clocks back yesterday.  Daylight Savings Time also allowed us to get up and moving early enough on Sunday to make it to 9:30am mass.  Erin grumbled a bit about having to get up and get dressed for church.  That's typical.  But what came next I wasn't prepared for.  Erin asked me with tears in her eyes, "Why do we even go to church?  I pray to God, but he doesn't answer my prayers.  Shannon had a headache this week.  She's still sick.  Why would God do that?"  Dan did his best to reassure Erin that while there is tragedy and sadness in the world, there's a lot of beauty and goodness, too.  The God question is one I struggle with - always.  That hasn't changed.  But right now, I'm less concerned about answering the God question and more concerned about validating Erin's feelings and letting her express them.  Her emotions are very close to the surface.  She saw Shannon struggle with some side effects this week and there were actual, physical signs that Shannon is sick.  We cannot forget that Erin is seeing, feeling, and processing all of this, too.

Shannon was able to play two hockey games this weekend and her squad is looking good.  They put the beat down on an over-matched team from Hastings last night.  A whole group of friends came to watch Shannon play.  She loved it and gave it her all.  And, while the Rebels looked good, Shannon struggled. Rubbery legs caused by fatigue and some returning side effects meant she was fighting to keep up.  Her mind is more than willing, but her body is not quite able.  Not while taking her chemo.  Not while struggling with pressure in her head and some balance issues.  Not with yet another returning symptom as Shannon felt some numbness in her face over the weekend.

We are hopeful that all these side effects are presenting themselves because the Temodar is killing more cells inside that tumor.  As a member of our radiation team reminded us, during the last maintenance dose, the steroids would still have been in her system to help counteract any swelling.  So, this time around, without the aid of the Decadron, its possible the swelling and tumor necrosis caused by the chemo is more noticeable to Shannon.

Possible explanation or not, it's still unsettling to have any changes in the status quo.  Any different feelings in her body trigger some fear and anxiety for Shannon.  And for the rest of us.  Tuesday Shannon will have a thorough neuro exam, and the next MRI is looming in a couple of weeks.  Until then, we will try to stay positive and tamp down the seeds of doubt.

Maybe this week as the drugs leave her system, we will see Shannon's energy return and her coordination skills sharpen again.  Maybe the numbness and the pressure will subside.  Maybe Erin can forget for just a while that her sister has cancer. Maybe, maybe ...