Now that you know what happened to me during this brain tumor event, I’d like to tell you what my child went through.
I can’t imagine having to pack up all the things I want with me when I am only eight years old. Essentially that’s what we had her do. She had no clue what was really happening to me. I wanted to make sure she had all the things that gave her comfort because then I had some comfort. Books, toys, clothes, pictures a list of phone numbers to call if she wanted. We asked her who she might want to spend nights with. At this point in her life she wasn’t super fond of sleeping elsewhere, and now she had to for seven nights. We tried to give her as much of a say in the planning as we could. I remember grocery shopping with her. I wanted her to have all the foods she liked. Especially the cereal–we are name brand shoppers when it comes to cereal. There was no way I was going to let someone feed her “fake” cereal! On one of my vacations I bought her a purple heart made out of rock. I gave it to her and said “keep this heart and take it wherever you go. Keep it with you and you will always have a piece of me”. Purple is my favorite color. You bet she packed that for her little journey.
Monday evening was the Fourth of July. My friend took her to the fireworks and then for sleepover number one. A few days she spent with my brother and his family. Another day or two a friend from her baseball team. By the time she came to see me I could tell she was beat from all the carting around. My husband was with me 95% of the time. I didn’t want to be alone. All reports about “Kayla” from my friends and family were great. I could tell though, that she was uncomfortable.
I was so excited to finally see her the night she came back with my husband. I was a little nervous because I still had much cranial swelling and a bandaged head. I’m sure it was scary for her to see one of her parents in a hospital, looking very different than usual. It took her quite a few minutes before she would get close to me. I couldn’t get her to sit on my bed with me. Lucky for me I could move around the room and interact with her. She finally became more comfortable and began interacting with me a little. Each time she came to see me after that it was a little easier for her.
I was released on a Sunday and so happy to be going home. I could not drive so anything that had to do with driving I needed a driver. Everyone was so happy to help. This was the summer I enrolled her in camp after camp. Baseball and the YMCA camp were both a hit. This was the summer she began her hockey career as well.
As I began to heal at home I felt that she was still scared of me. I felt some distance that wasn’t there before my surgery.
The summer flew by and I got ready to head back to work. At that time I was a preschool teacher and for “Kayla” it was onto fourth grade. She had a great teacher, one that changed her forever. I noticed that she started school as a kindergartener she did well in an environment that was orderly and quiet. She was a good student and very helpful. She had a love for school and learning. Her first grade teacher and environment didn’t work out so well. Second and third grade were great. But it was her fourth grade teacher that really made a difference. At this point “Kayla” had been sleeping on our bedroom floor every night. Different situations would bring on small panic attacks. This lasted for almost two years. Her fourth grade teacher and I had a talk before school started that year so he knew what she had been through over the summer. He helped her get through her thoughts and gave her self- esteem that just escalated. She overcame sleeping on the floor and soared through the rest of elementary school. This teacher will forever hold a special place in our hearts.