Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Mom, I just want to be a normal kid"

We find ourselves yet again on the rollercoaster. Zack's mood swings have been very strong of late. IF there is anything good that comes out of this weekend, it's that he is communicating more than ever. We find ourselves trying to find new ways for him to open up about his feelings. He doesn't make it that easy. Usually we just need to hang out where he is and he will eventually start talking. Late last night after his friends left, he  was sitting at the fire pit. Seeing this, I went out to join him. Frank had already fallen asleep on the couch and I didn't want Zack to feel alone. I went out there and sat with him. As before he talked about a couple of trucks that he had found. He finally opened up more about how he feels, emotionally and physically. He said it didn't have anything to do with being grounded. He felt so good that he had his friends come and hang out with him and yet, when they talk about school or work, he misses that. He said "no one talks about the cancer or the treatment anymore," which he likes, but at the same time, he wonders if they really can understand what he is going through. He all of a sudden decides it's time for bed, he is tired and doesn't want to talk anymore. He isn't in a bad mood about it, he just doesn't think he knows how to express how he feels.

We wake up this morning around 9:30 am. Unfortunately that is the exact time he has to give himself his shot. THAT is how I must wake him today. I walk into his room, Sidi (the dog) follows me and jumps on his bed (well tries to, it is so high he needs a little help). Zack sees me, sees the time and hides under his pillow. I holler "it's party time!!!" "Just what every mother wants to do, wake you up with a smile and a shot!" He is not amused so I leave the shot, cotton swab and alcohol on his bedside table and tell Sidi "make sure brother has his shot!" I then hear Zack talking to the dog, I'm not sure what he was saying and I probably don't want to know anyway. 

Once we are both up and around, he starts to work on his schoolwork while I sort the laundry and straighten up the house a bit. I settle in on the couch and he comes in and sits down. I remind him that we were going to watch Hamlet together (with Patrick Stewart) for his homework. It is a three hour modern version on Great Masterpieces (PBS). He is not thrilled, but I let him know that I too am watching it so he doesn't feel quite so alone. We didn't find out until later from his friend Chris, that his classmates have been reading the book in class and discussing it with the teacher. She simply told him to watch the movie and write annotations. We get settled in and watched (well I slept for thirty minutes towards the end... I did my best!). the movie on my laptop. With just an hour until the movie was finished, we heard a car door close outside. 

It was the two Chris'. Both very dear friends. Chris F. had texted me earlier asking if Zack could go with him to Connestee Falls to pick up some leftover stuff from his fundraiser yesterday. Unfortunately I had to tell him no, as Zack was still grounded, BUT he could come over after he is done if he likes. He said that sounded great, he was going to see if he could help Zack with his schoolwork, as they have two classes "together". The "other" Chris had been working on the ATV  at his house with Zack and decided to finish it up and surprise him, so he brought it down to our house. 

Once Zack and Chris F. came back in Zack showed the school work he was confused about. It seems that some of the work is the same, but because Zack is home, his curriculum has been altered some. Chris looked tired, he had worked so hard on his Senior project and it was completed yesterday. I couldn't believe he wasn't home resting. After his visit, I call Zack in to finish watching the movie. His mood is a little different. He comes back in the house and slams the back door, he then goes in his room and sits abruptly in his computer chair. I ask him what is wrong, he yells NOTHING!! I snap! I am trying to do the best I can, we all are, but the mood swings at times are so frustrating. He is right, there is nothing we can do! I tell him to get his behind on the couch, he comes and sits next to me. He is sweating profusely and I ask him what he did? I'm not used to seeing this. He gets angry and hits his fist on the arm of the couch. 

He tells me that he walks up the hill and this happens. He is tired all the time and is fed up with everything. He wants to go to school, he tells me "Mom, I know you're not going to believe me, but I really miss going to school." I let him know that of course I understand. I "try" and explain how I remember (right or not) when we lived in Spain and I was homeschooled. I was frustrated because I didn't want my Dad to teach me. He didn't realize that I was homeschooled, or at least didn't remember. He shares that he feels like everyone around him is doing what all normal teenagers do, getting jobs, going to school, going to games, participating in sports and he has to go through all this crap! I told him that no one is to be expected to understand, We don't even understand exactly what he is going through. We see him when he has a treatment and yet we don't understand what it feels like.He continues to tell me that with school, he doesn't understand what he is supposed to do, he has to wait to get an email back from a teacher and he has such a hard time sitting and getting motivated.  I explain that it is so hard to see him upset and yet he has every right to be angry. Crying he leans his head on my shoulder and says "I just get this way every now and then, you know I'm going to be okay." I let him know that because he is grounded, that too could have a negative effect on him this weekend. he says that he really doesn't even want to do anything, go anywhere and sometimes doesn't want to see anyone. He is depressed and I can't blame him. Tomorrow is a new routine, at least for the next five weeks. He has his first radiation treatment along with the chemotherapy, it will be full day for he and Frank. We are all nervous as it is yet another "first". I'm sure once he is done with the day his anxiety level will lower, hell all of our anxiety levels will be better. At least that seems to be our new "normal". 

We finish the day with a nice family dinner and he starts to talk about his school work and what he is going to do tomorrow. He also, of course, mentions a few more trucks he has found online. His grounding will end on Wednesday and frankly I can't wait. We have been questioned a couple of times about grounding him during this time, but as previously stated, he is a young healthy man and when all the treatments are done, he will still need to know right from wrong and that part of parenting must always be a constant (not that we haven't bent the rules of grounding, just a little bit).

As I end my day, I'm reminded that not only is it my best friend, Nancy's birthday today, but my brothers, Walter and William (full term, stillborn twins) whom I never had a chance to meet (or them me) were also born on this day 56 years ago. Going through what we are now, I can't even imagine what it must be like to lose a child, let alone three (she lost another just before me). My mother is constantly reminding me of how strong I am and I can't help but know where I get it from. HER!!! I am blessed to have an older sister, Rhonda and a younger brother Bobby and know that things are as the should be, but on this special day I feel blessed to be here and be strong for my son. Thanks Mom for teaching me to be strong, like you!!!

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