My daughter was diagnosed with a giant cell granuloma about 30 days ago. It’s an aggressive, yet benign, tumor that grows in the jaw most often in females ages 14 to 30.
We found out two days before my son left for one of his 21-day US Army trainings. I didn’t tell him. He would have worried. And at that point, we didn’t know if it was benign or malignant. I was beyond worrying at that point. All I could do is pray and get my village to do the same.
My village prays in so many ways. I feel like we had them all covered. Before my daughter’s autopsy, a friend of hers asked her to go to her youth group with her. She went, and the entire group “prayed over her”. That Sunday, my pastor and the entire congregation prayed for her. My Catholic “mama” prayed for her with her entire prayer chain. My devout Mormon family did the same. My father and my brother-in-law came over to anoint and bless her.
I am all for it. Along with all of the love and intentions sent her way, I did have the peace that told me we had done all we could do.
The days flew by. My son came back from his training. We celebrated long-distance with him. He got married the next weekend and we celebrated in person. Every minute was filled with organizing, packing, unpacking, baking, decorating, singing, dancing, and being silly together. There were moments where I think I almost forgot what was going to happen when we got home.
My daughter with the tumor…she is my baby. She is the last of my four children. No, she wasn’t supposed to be here. But, her personality makes our family complete in every way. She has three mothers (myself and her two sisters) and a brother who is more like her dad. We all play our parts. And we all want to protect her from everything we can. But, there is only so much we can do.
I have theories about this tumor. There is no history of anything like this in our family. But, these past three years have been hell for us. And her little body is so much like mine. And if you’ve read anything about my divorce, you know that I’ve been through the shredder over and over again.
I couldn’t protect her from this. I couldn’t protect myself. I fought as hard as I could for a fair judgment in court. But that was not to be.
- She had to watch me fall apart again and again over the past almost year.
- She had to watch me come to terms with the cheating of my boyfriend and subsequent breakup.
- She had to watch me struggle to come to terms with losing my farm, the only home she ever knew.
- She had to watch her sister suffer through the same anger as I felt, but exhibited so differently.
She hurt in silence, for the most part. She is young enough, even with her therapist’s help, that words don’t come easily.
We all did our best. I tried to surround her with people who loved her when I knew I was poorly resourced. I tried to make sure we had friends over and she had time with cousins and grandparents. I tried to make sure we had time being silly, no matter what.
But all of that nonsense takes a toll on a body. I know it well. And I did my best. My most sincere prayer is that whatever caused it, we have changed. Whatever it was that caused it, remains no longer in her life. I pray that the stressful, disordered, dysregulated “norm” has evolved into something else.
She deserves to heal.
We arrived on time, checked in and got her undressed and prepped. The IV was done well. “Ann”, her nurse, was wonderful. She talked to us enough to help our nerves to settle. My daughter even got giggly at one point. Nerves are so weird.
The doctors checked in. First, the anesthesiologist, a man with a thick eastern European accent, entered. After he left, she said she wished she could have asked him where he immigrated from. Less nerves. Yay.
Our surgeon, the beautiful and charismatic man he is, with his giant smile, came in to have me sign papers and answer our questions. My daughter actually looks forward to her million check-ups after this procedure because of his excellent bedside manner. Amazing.
Finally, they are ready for her and we roll her bed to the OR and I go out to wait. It was a long three hours. Her best friend was there with me as well as my mom. She took him to find food at one point. I was just focused on trying not to be sick and get a little work done. Nothing I had to actually think about, but menial stuff.
Her bestie is simply the best. He is great entertainment and makes me laugh a lot. His eating habits are as bad as mine when I am stressed. Chocolate…and more chocolate. He went exploring around the hospital and came back to report several times. I was living vicariously through that kiddo.
Three hours passed and the buzzer went off. Mom and I got the debrief from the surgeon and felt a lot of relief. It went perfectly. He took a lot of pictures that we all want to see at our check up coming up in two weeks. We are sick like that, I guess. The tumor was large, but removed in one single piece. He was proud of the fact that he managed it. I really cannot imagine how that worked, seeing how it was lodged in her jaw.
No matter, we waited some more. Another 1.5 hours passed and we got to see her. She couldn’t talk, but tears came down her cheeks as I walked in. My sweet girl. She had really been in a lot of pain post-op. But they took good care of her. Her bestie played with her cool hospital socks and we chatted with her nurse. We were okay.
Mom came back and my daughter cried some more. I left them alone and when I came back, my mom was crying. That sweet woman, seriously.
Mom headed off with my daughter’s bestie. He had to get to the dance school, where he teaches. And my sweet man arrived just in time to take her place.
As my daughter saw him, she started sobbing. It was something I wasn’t prepped for. I joked, “I guess I’m chopped liver! I got like, two tears!” But I am so grateful for how she loves him. So grateful.
Eventually, we were released and she rode home with him. I got the meds. They listened to Lizzo. I listened to my trauma conference talks. I needed it. The last thing I want to do is NOT understand how her and my body are processing this event and the past few years.
I think this one went well. We were well taken care of. One of my best friends, who happens to be a nurse, brought dinner. The meds are going well enough. We are going to get some sleep soon. So grateful to be here, on this side of it.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
|White Fragility: Talking to White People About Racism||Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box||The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer||What We Talk About When We Talk About Men|
Photo credit: JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash