My dearest Freya,
It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. Life has moved along steadily since those dark days of 2015, and there’s not so much time for blogging these days. And in all honesty, the fact that there’s not so much to blog about can only be a good thing. No news is good news, right?
So why am I writing to you today? I’ll tell you. I’m writing today because if I don’t say these things out loud they are going to continue to consume me as they have for the last 2 years. Since the A word was discussed. Angiogram. The word itself has become so huge to me now that I’ve lost all perspective for what is considered a routine procedure. Routine for the cardiologists who perform them day in and day out, month after month, year after year. But not routine for you! This was not part of our plan for you.
But, we’re here. And despite being cancelled twice already, it is looking pretty likely that at 6:30 tomorrow morning we will be waking you to make the drive to the hospital and allow the wheels to roll.
I’m sure many would think me over-dramatic. Many have been through much worse. But this is an invasive procedure, and it involves your precious heart, so I am more than a little terrified. And whilst I promise you that I am doing my very best to be hopeful and think positively, I will never be able to shake the fear I have of this particular procedure. The elephant in the room at every appointment with your consultant for the last 2 years. The one we fought against, advocating for you to grow stronger before they put you through it. See, it’s pretty standard for an angiogram to take place one year post a KD diagnosis, but with you only being 7 weeks old when you were struck by Kawasaki Disease, at a year post diagnosis you were still just so little.
I feel like I need to offload some of my fears here so that I can start to move forward from them. I did wonder if committing them to the page would somehow allow the fears an unnecessary validity, and make things worse. What I’m hoping is that I can share just how I feel about this procedure so that when we come out the other side of this I can truly appreciate how unnecessary my fears were and learn that fear is not truth. Oh I hope I’ve got this one right.
Of course I’m afraid of the procedure itself. It is routine, yet it is still invasive and it is not without its risks. But I’m afraid of so much more than that.
I’m afraid of the hospital. It was there that your disease was finally silenced, but it was there that we were prepared for the very worst we could have ever imagined. “Are you aware of the risks, Mrs McBride?” And I replied that I was and started to reel off those risks – clot, stenosis, heart attack…. “Shall we go and have a chat?” Never good when your child’s Cardiologist invites you to talk away from the ward. A conversation I will never forget, where behind a closed door I would hear the words, ‘rupture’ and ‘nothing we could do’. Where I first heard that their greatest fear for you at that time was one that would see me leave that hospital alone.
I’m afraid of the general anaesthetic. I watched you go to sleep when you had to have a bone marrow aspiration before they reached the diagnosis. I couldn’t help thinking that this was how it would feel to watch you die. I’m sorry, I know it’s morbid, but I’m just trying to be honest with you about my feelings. Honest with myself. I didn’t think it was likely I would ever have to go through that with you again. But here we are, and tomorrow I will be there (if they let me) to watch you go to sleep before I hand you over to the care of the Doctors and wait the agonising wait for the call to bring us back to you. I dread the moment, but I know I have to be the last person you see before you close your eyes and I need you to know that I was there by your side for as long as I was permitted.
I’ll admit I have Googled the procedure many times and that means that I am fully aware of the risks, however small those risks may be. Of course I’m afraid of those. I’m afraid of all of those. Every single one.
But most of all I am afraid of my dreams. Because I have seen this played over like a video in my mind since it became a ‘thing’ for us. I have had many nightmares where the doctors bring me the worst news of the worst possible risk outcome. Irrational, maybe. But those dreams have been the kind that are so real you question whether you were really dreaming for a moment. You see, I’ve felt the grief. I know I haven’t lost you, but I’ve felt many times as though I had. So there it is, I’ve said it. My greatest fear is that my dreams, nightmares, become the reality. And that is why I am so reluctant to accept this procedure as a necessary evil. Because I am absolutely terrified of what those dreams showed me – not as visions of a madwoman, but as nightmares playing on an anxious mind.
I felt strongly this evening, on the eve of the appointment, that I let those fears fall onto this page. Fear, I acknowledge you. It is ok to be afraid. I am afraid because the one thing I fear the most in this life of mine is losing you, little Freya. The fear is what shows me how much you mean to me and how much you are worth fighting for. So let’s kick Kawasaki’s butt tomorrow, sweetheart! Let’s see if that message I wrote to a God I’m not sure I believe in, comes true. Prove them wrong!
Have courage always, Peanut xx