Wearing a face mask and headphones, I went into the MRI machine Friday morning. I tried to calm the "what if I get stuck in here forever" thoughts and listen to the Billy Joel music streaming faintly through my headphones. Halfway through, the contrast dye was injected into me and I had to reassure the technician that I wasn't nauseous but then worried, "What if I suddenly feel sick in here?" The test was over and now comes the waiting, still waiting, to see if the MRI showed anything that can explain why I've had a few episodes of vertigo over the course of a week. Friends have told me they call you pretty quickly if they see something concerning.
Later the same day, a friend messaged me to tell me to check out a Facebook post from someone we both know and love- from afar. This person was my son's Gymboree teacher when he was a baby. I used to take him to the classes and meet my friend with her baby. The teacher was like sunshine with a beautiful singing voice and a knack for knowing everyone's name the moment she met you. She made us all feel at ease and the experience was always fun. I've followed her on Facebook through the years to see her get married and have two beautiful very young children. Though I haven't seen her in person in probably 9 years, I still feel like I know her well.
The Facebook post revealed her in the hospital, with netting around her head, announcing she has an aggressive cancerous brain tumor. Full stop. What? How? Her children are not yet 4 and 2. She is always doing creative and fun projects with them and cooking special meals for one of her children with food allergies. How can she be facing a cancerous brain tumor? Yesterday she updated her status to say her surgeon pretty much said the tumor will come back and the best she can hope for is 7-10 more years of life. Her surgery to remove the brain tumor is today, so if you are the praying kind, I ask that you keep this very special woman and her family in your heart and prayers.
The news of this young mom's brain tumor on the day I had my own MRI was hard. In the last month, with various health issues at play, I've realized- really realized- how your health is truly everything. And how you just can't take the moments for granted.
Today, my son Alex turns ten. Double digits. A whole decade of being a mom to a boy who has changed my life. The ten years have been made up of huge moments of joy and also some hard times and sad times and scary times- but all the times, I would take. The gift is to be here with him and my family. The privilege of seeing your child grow. And the realization that not everyone is going to get that chance and how horribly sad that is.
Last night, I put the birthday elves out on his chair (I'm sure I've written about our Christmas Elves coming back for birthdays at some point here!) and the Tooth Fairy came for my daughter so there was magic all around last night. As it should be. Grateful for these moments. Praying for many more....for all of us.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski