It’s just a cold. It’s just a cold. It’s just a cold.

Peyton’s had the crud. I try not to let that be a big deal. Kids get sick…even kids who had cancer are allowed to get JUST.GET.SICK.


Low-grade fever.

Three words I really hate.

I would guess those words induce some sort of PTSD reaction in me…my palms will get sweaty and my heart races…I flash back to telling our pediatrician that Peyton just couldn’t shaker her fever…then flash forward to that moment less than 24 hours later, holding the phone with him saying the word Leukemia.

I can talk about how our lives are moving on…how our focus has shifted to living a normal life…how we don’t let the cancer rule our lives anymore…I can change blogs as a big grand gesture…I can go days at a time when the word cancer doesn’t even cross my mind.

Then it can be the littlest thing.  A flash of bad lighting that makes her look pale.  A tiny bruise on her leg.  Tired eyes.  A headache.  A virus.

A low-grade fever.

And it all comes back…it floods in at once and I drown in it.

This is how it started.  In a pediatrician’s office.  Thinking she was fine and that it was sort of silly to be there.  A cough here, a fever there.  Normal childhood crap.


How did we get THERE?

How did we get here?

Looking into the eyes of Peyton’s doctor for any sign that she doesn’t believe exactly what she is saying.  A cold, not even the flu…just a common back-to-school-germy-toucher cold.

“But she has a low-grade fever,” I finally say to the doctor. “That makes me nervous, because, well…you know.”

“I know. If it isn’t gone by the fourth day, we’ll check again.”

That’s all she says. She understands why it makes me nervous.

She understands that nervous is a kind way of saying that it makes me want to vomit in fear.

She understands that I’m trusting her as much as I can trust anyone to make a choice to let this go a few more days and believe it will get better.

Sunday comes…the cough is better…the low-grade fever comes and goes.

I check.

I rub her back and casually run my hand across her forehead.

I hug her and give her forehead a soft touch.

I reach out in my sleep and lay my hand on her forehead.

She will probably have a callus on her forehead by the time the fever goes away.

She looks at me and calmly says, “Do I have a fever?”

I think in a small way she knows that I’m scared she’s sick. I wonder if she puts the numbers together and understand that HER being sick is bigger than her brother and sister being ill.

“A little one,” I’ll answer.

And I smile at her.  To convince her that it’s OK…that it’s not a big deal.

Tomorrow I’ll feel her forehead again.

I’ll look for that low-grade fever that doesn’t leave.

I’ll be hoping and praying it’s gone.

Then, Tuesday we’ll be driving up to see her oncologist….and nothing is more real than that phrase, my daughter has an oncologist…and get a blood test that will tell me more than any doctor’s comforting eyes.

Those numbers will soothe me as nothing else will.

Until the next time it decides to flood over me.

I hope I can keep swimming.

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16 Responses to It’s just a cold. It’s just a cold. It’s just a cold.

  1. Amol January 22, 2015 at 2:13 AM #

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  2. Faiqa September 3, 2009 at 10:48 PM #

    I'm praying for you… ::hugs::

  3. pgoodness August 31, 2009 at 10:40 PM #

    Stupid fever. Hoping it's gone by the time you read this and that the visit to her dr. on Tues goes very well. xo

  4. Maura August 31, 2009 at 10:03 PM #

    I can't imagine what that fear feels like and I wish like hell you didn't, either. But you'll keep swimming. I know you will.

  5. natalie willis August 31, 2009 at 7:01 PM #

    Big hugs and big prayers for health and peace and big love…but not in that HBO kind of way. :-) I am always here to listen to the crazy, when it raises it's head. Because nothing understands crazy, like fellow crazy. And I will always be here to rejoice when the crazy is once again proven to just be that special brand of PTSD crazy that all of us oncology moms share. Love you!

  6. Karalyn August 31, 2009 at 6:21 PM #

    Hugs and prayers for Peyton.

  7. papa August 31, 2009 at 6:03 PM #

    Everytime you write about this my stomach tightens. I just feel for you and Peyton. I'm going to wish really good things for you every day. Every day…

  8. Jill August 31, 2009 at 5:00 PM #

    Breathing deeply on your behalf. I can't even imagine. Hoping the fever goes away and all is well. So, so hoping!!

  9. Mama Bub August 31, 2009 at 4:57 PM #

    I'm a worrier. I call the doctor about when it's reasonable for him to be seen and they tell me the same thing. Four days. But. I don't have any reason to worry. I can't imagine if I did. Here's to hoping it's just back to school germs.

  10. AmazingGreis August 31, 2009 at 4:46 PM #

    Keeping you in my thoughts, hoping the fever goes away soon.


  11. Karen Hartzell Graco August 31, 2009 at 4:38 PM #

    I get nervous when my son gets a runny nose due to his young age of 8 months, but it's nothing compared to the worry you must feel on an ongoing basis with P. Thoughts to you and P. :-)

  12. cindy w August 31, 2009 at 4:05 PM #

    Oh man. I freak out when my kid gets a cold because I worry about it triggering her asthma. I cannot begin to imagine what you're going through. I'm so sorry. Praying that it's just a cold, and that it passes VERY quickly so you can relax. *big hugs*

  13. maria August 31, 2009 at 3:15 PM #

    Love you. Nervous. Ugh. *HUG*

  14. Headless Mom August 31, 2009 at 3:12 PM #

    I want to vomit for you. Prayers, friend.

  15. janna August 31, 2009 at 3:10 PM #

    I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! I hate that you have to go through this every time. I hate that my SIL, BIL, and their son are still going through this and will still go through this every time, just like you. I hate cancer.

    Prayers of peace and good health…

  16. Angella August 31, 2009 at 2:18 PM #

    Oh, Anissa. I cannot imagine the fear that you must feel evry time. As a Mom, I have a feeling I get it a little bit, but I haven't experienced what you have.

    Praying for you guys right now. xoxo

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