Travel ban, otherwise known as 8 more months

We’ve been dealt a disappointing blow for the summer. I had thought, since Hazel is in maintenance, that we would be able to travel. I was working on planning a trip to the Disney resort in Hawaii (A’ulani). We were also going to take advantage of our silent auction cabin bid in Montana and go to Yellowstone.

But our oncologist cautioned against it. Her concern with regards to flying was the lack of access to medical care if Hazel has an emergency. She was also worried that Hazel might get sick while away from her “home” medical center here, and we would wind up stuck somewhere while she was in the hospital.

I’d say those were worst-case scenarios. But then, I’ve had a few of those in my life. Enough to know that they happen. She broke her leg, then developed a necrotic wound that could have easily led to sepsis. She spent 10 days in the hospital, suffered an enormous amount of pain, and still walks with a pronounced limp. Before cancer even happened, we had to make the life-altering decision to withdraw life support from our son and to hold him as he died. It’s a decision I never imagined I would have to make and cannot fathom making again.

It would be different if her cancer were terminal. If we knew her time was limited, then heck yes, we’d load up and travel before our time was over. But it’s not. She has 8 months of treatment left, universe willing. And then (again, universe willing), she’s done and our lives can go back to “normal” or whatever passes for normal in these post-COVID times.

I know that it’s best to be safe and stay here. I know it’s not forever. And while we can’t let cancer dictate everything we do, it’s inevitable that we have to make concessions to it. Because Hazel isn’t healthy, and I can’t pretend otherwise, as much as I want to go on trips. And so I must be patient. It’s not my strong suit, not at all. It’s totally antithetical to my nature. And it’s been incredibly hard with COVID—as the isolation imparted by it is already overwhelming.

8. more. months.

In the interim, we will camp locally, use our season passes to Dollywood, and spend a lot of time at the pool. And plan for the day when leukemia no longer defines our days.

Published by Catherine Ashe

I am a mother to four children, one gone before me. I write to release the pain.

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