This Thursday is the day . . .
My oldest son goes into surgery, right at noon, to have his thyroid gland removed.
It’s the first step in his treatment against Papillary Thyroid Cancer. After he recovers from the surgery, he will have to go through radiation and then spend the rest of his life on medication to replace the functions of his thyroid.
In some ways, these last couple months have felt like they have passed at a snail’s pace. In other ways, it feels like everything has happened in a blink of an eye. And life has gone on, in between the doctor’s appointments and hours of research and learning about my son’s cancer. On as normal with holidays and family dinners, big brother driving lessons for my little girl and pool games between my boys.
And yet, in the back of my mind, the reality has always existed, the fear and worry lingering. Even knowing his cancer is very treatable, meeting and talking with his doctors, his surgeon, and confident they are some of the best in our state, there is still those moments when I think of all my son will have to face and the tears come and I want nothing more than to find a way to protect him from all of this.
But I know I can’t. I can only be there, support him and take care of him for as long as he needs me . . .
And, of course, because it doesn’t seem like it can ever keep its ugly hand out of things, adoption has to be a part of this too. And I hate that. I hate that all I want is to put every bit of my thoughts and energy into my oldest son and him getting better and yet I find myself battling my anger toward his adoptive mother and struggling with the worry of what might happen when we are all together in the hospital while my son is in surgery.
His adoptive mother and I have not been together in the same room since December 27, 2006 (my oldest son’s 19th birthday.) And before her last phone call, I believed I was prepared to see her again. Believed she had changed and things would be different than they had been in the past.
But, now, I find myself dwelling (and I hate dwelling on anything) on what might set her off. Put at risk her starting a scene there in the hospital while we are supposed to be supporting our son.
Will she get angry that his surgeon, through the appointments we have been to with our son, only knows his dad and I as his parents and has never been told anything different?
Will she throw a fit that he will be checking in to the hospital under his legal name, which includes our last name rather than his adoptive last name? Even though she told him, before we ever adopted him back, that his adoptive family didn’t think he was worthy of carrying on their last name.
Will she be uncomfortable and become upset to be surrounded by so much of his First Family from his parents to grandparents and siblings? All of whom know the abuse he suffered from her.
Or worst of all, when it’s time for him to be released, will she continue to insist as she has been this past week, against the decision he made to stay with us, that he come home with her? Will that be the time, while our son is there and needing us the most, that she goes into one of her rages and starts going after whoever she can?
See, I told you . . . I’m dwelling.
And that is why, after talking with my husband, I’m going to let go and stop worrying about how she might or might not act at the hospital. I will be there for my son, and only my son. I will be respectful to her but will have no problem walking away if she starts anything that might explode into more.
I’ll be far from alone while I’m there and my husband seems to be enough of a barrier towards her that she usually holds her tongue better when she knows he is around to listen. And if she doesn’t, if, for any reason, she picks that time, when it should be only about our son, to fly into one of her rages, it’s been decided my husband or stepfather will be the ones to take care of the situation.
That is the sad reality of this. Another ugly part of adoption that I hate with a passion.
We actually have to make a “just in case” plan before ever going to the hospital because nobody knows how his adoptive mother is going to react. Nobody knows what, if anything, might set her off. Or even if she will choose that time to take her punches all over again to try and put me in my place as the “other – not so important” mother.
I’m going to hope for the best. That it will be just as it should be and we are all there for just one reason . . . to support my oldest son during one of the most difficult and frightening times of his life.
In these days leading up to his surgery, I’m going to stay positive . . . for my oldest son, myself, and the rest of my family. I will not allow my fears or my anger toward his adoptive mother take away any more of my time or energy.
I wish she hadn’t called me. I wish she hadn’t reminded me of what she is capable of.
But I can’t change that. The only thing I can change is to take myself back to being there 100% for my oldest son without letting anyone or anything distract me again.
Because that is what he deserves and I refuse to offer him any less.
And on Thursday, I will hold my oldest son tight and pray, like I never have before.