| Shooting Stars |

Shooting Stars: Chapter 5

I’m dizzy just thinking about what awaits me when I come home

Today is the day. I’ve waited for this for so long! Tryouts! The hallways are a mass of nervous eleventh graders, debating the options. To try out for drama, to skip the drama of being in drama. Song dance over acting choir? Dance, maybe? Sharp, graceful, jolly. Oh, the options are endless. Of course, we don’t get to choose, only state our preference. But there’s always wishful thinking.

And, boy, was I doing a lot of that these days — a whole awful lot. Not only about the possibility of being dance head, but about life in general. If only my life weren’t the way it is, a whirlwind of tasks. It’s a balancing act, juggling so much at once. And if I drop one, Heaven help me! My life is sort of like a horse, and I have to grab on to the horse’s mane and gallop along. If I let go, I’m done.

I’m dizzy just thinking about what awaits me when I come home. Thursday equals chemo day. I might find a mother buried under her covers, eagerly awaiting my arrival. I might find disgruntled children in dire need of someone to oversee homework and dinner. And bath time. And the list goes on and on.

You may not have full understanding of what my life is like, even if you’ve lived with a family member with cancer. You see, every patient is different. Not all patients have to stay in the hospital after treatments. That’s called outpatient. They can leave a mere few minutes after chemotherapy. On the other hand, usually when the case is more severe, there’s inpatient, which means that the patient is confined to a hospital for a certain amount of time. That’s when the chemo is much stronger, and the patient is too weak to venture out.

So, I guess I have it relatively easy. My mom’s outpatient and only has chemo once a week. I’m one of the lucky ones. Only it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes I feel like I wasn’t meant for this. I used to be a regular kid, just like you. And now my life is in upheaval. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I’m much more… different. I’m different from my old self. I’m more contemplative, more understanding. My perspective on the big, vast world is so much broader. And in a way, it helps me. I think about what other people go through, and I work on feeling empathy so I can feel along with them. When there’s a hushed conversation about illness, I just smirk. It’s part of my daily life.

I’m privy to a whole new vocabulary, which is actually kind of fun because I love words! Different types of pain relievers, anti-nausea pills; I know them all. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and most off all perspiration! Hot flashes, cold flashes, tired flashes, they’ve all come for a visit to our humble abode. And we’re truly honored to host them. If only they weren’t such difficult guests!

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 790)

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