When Manning was 20-months old, I sent him to school dressed in a smocked turkey longall for what I thought were fall pictures. They were Christmas pictures. I laughed and hash tagged it up to a #MOMFAIL, which every other mom quickly empathized with. We’ve all been there.
I’ve made a million mistakes since my fall picture fail. I forget thank you notes and lunch boxes. I sign up to bring paper plates to the class party and bring them a day after. I run late, I run early and sometimes on time. I often post pictures of my messy, imperfect and beautiful life to remind myself and others that none of us have it all together.
Supermom doesn’t mean perfect. Supermoms have messy houses and kids with stained school uniforms. We wear our cape under our yoga clothes (even though we didn’t do yoga that day). And on those rare days when we put on a real bra, you better not get in our way because we mean business. Supermoms are imperfect. The only prerequisite to being a Supermom is to love your kids so much it hurts.
Most mistakes I can chalk up to a Mom Fail, laugh and move on. I embrace my imperfect supermom mistakes. I remind myself how hard it is to be a mom and quickly forgive mistakes…except today’s mistake.
The dreaded nuclear injection was upon us. The nuclear medicine tech called Marjorie’s name, checked her hospital bracelet and we began to follow her back to the room marked with the big nuclear symbol on the door. Such a comforting sign to welcome you and your child into.
As I diverted my eyes from the symbol, it hit me. Oh. SHIT. Literally, said the four letter word out loud, out of the blue and loud. The nurse spun around, perplexed.
“I forgot her SSKI drops. Oh my God, I forgot the drops. How can I be so dumb? I forgot the drops. Oh my God.”
SSKI drops are (Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide) protect Marjorie’s thyroid from the radioactive portion of the medicine injected for the MIBG scan. The MIBG scan is a method of examining the entire body for the presence of neuroblastoma tumors with an injection of a radioactive material.
When I remember, I give Marjorie the drops three dimes a day for five days prior to the injection. These drops taste terrible and she HATES them. Of course, this time Marjorie didn’t mind because she didn’t have any.
The sweet nurse remained calm, unlike myself, and told me to sit tight in the injection room while she went to talk to the radiologist. She left the room and I collapsed in the chair. My stomach was in knots and I felt sick. I knew we would have to reschedule. The drops are vital to protect her.
The nurse came back in and confirmed my assumption. We then got on the phone and I remained on it for an hour. It takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate Marjorie’s scans. It requires an OR, anesthesiologist, radiologist, techs, etc. I profusely apologized and then apologized some more. I fought back tears and anger.
My family texted me that it was okay, but I angrily responded in my head that it wasn’t. Because of my mistake, we now have to go through all of the scanxiety emotions. And therein lies the culprit: scanxiety, the emotional rollercoaster.
I knew in my wise mom brain that it was a simple mistake. But in my cancer mom brain, I was a wreck and so angry with myself. I know perfection doesn’t exist and I certainly do not hold myself to that standard (note the title of the blog, Loving Imperfection). But this was one mistake that sent me into an emotional tornado.
Marjorie and I loaded in the car and as I drove out of the parking garage, I fought back intense tears. Just get home, I thought to myself. I didn’t make it home.
I got about twenty minutes before I had to pull over at an exit. I drove into a large parking lot, parked the car and let it out. Like let it all out – the tears, snot, sobs. I fought to catch my breath. I couldn’t stop. I needed to let the tears out. Let the emotions out so I could look at the day without eyes of anger and judgement.
I knew that my level of emotional angst did not match my mistake. I knew these were feelings caused by being a cancer mom, having to deal with it all. The feelings, the exhaustion and the stress. I work so hard every day to focus on the present. I honor feelings that arise, but lately I guess I got so good at focusing on the ‘now’ that I completely forgot the cancer protocol.
One of my first therapy assignments back in my beginning days of therapy, was to journal Wise Mind vs. ED Mind. Writing down both voices, side by side. Split journaling would go something like this:
ED: You are fat and should not eat that pizza.
Wise Mind: My body need food to fuel it and tonight I choose pizza.
Today, seemed to be a perfect day to unearth my old journal tool.
Cancer Mom Brain: You are an idiot. How could you forget the one thing you are supposed to do to protect Marjorie? You forgot the drops – the most important part of all of this.
Wise Mom Brain: I am doing the best I can. And I think I am doing a damn good job.
There, problem solved. Brain is now reset. Well, kind of.
My heart still hurts, but the intense feelings of guilt and anger are gone. I’ve processed through them and cried to my own imperfect momma. I also got Chick-fil-a, which seems to cure any problem. My sweet hubby met me at home with a giant hug and flowers. I’ve cuddled on the couch with my peanut and laughed at Manning turning Marjorie into a race car.
I know it was a mistake. I make them a lot. But today’s mistake carried a huge burden and responsibility with it, as well as a reminder. As much as I hate it, we are a part of this awful cancer world. My baby has to endure these injections (and drops) and scans. We, as a family, have to muddle through the anxiety and fear that come with each set of scans. We have to relive those awful days in the hospital, the memories, the pain.
And through it all, there seems to be silver linings and beautiful life lessons. I’m still feeling bruised, but thankful for today’s humbling reminder: I am a mom and I am not perfect. I can’t remember it all. There will be days that I drop a ball out of my hands that juggle hundred of others every day. And it is okay to fall apart.
Today, after posting a picture on social media, I was reminded of the countless people I’ve got in my corner. I certainly do not post pictures to receive a reaction or solicit praise. To be honest, I felt guilty for posting in such a fury of emotions. But I was being honest and it was where my heart was in the moment.
We all make mistakes. Right? WelI just made a ginormous one. I forgot to give Marjorie the drops that protect her thyroid from the nuclear medicine injection. It’s required to give three days prior, three times a day. And I completely forgot. So no injection. No scans. Spent an hour at the hospital rescheduling. Thankfully, they were able to fit her in next week. I’m so upset with myself. I know moms are human too. But in this moment, all of the emotions of scan anxiety and the guilt of forgetting seem overwhelming. Going home to crawl under the covers. I’ll be out soon, but for now thank you for all the love and prayers today.
Within minutes, I had so many responses of empathy and love that made me smile, cry and laugh.
“It’s okay. Shit happens. Especially when you’re juggling everything you juggle. Take Marjorie and yourself for a Mother/Daughter outing and enjoy each other for the time that you would have been sitting in that hospital. And have ice cream. Trust me, ice cream makes EVERYTHING better”
“Grace, Grace, Grace”
“Go to Taverna, and get some truffle fries!!!! That’ll brighten your day”
“I am sure you are not the first parent to forget!! Hugs!”
Forgiveness. It is a tough thing, especially when it comes to yourself and your child. Mistakes are like kryptonite to Supermoms. Thankfully, the more we share and talk about our kryptonite encounters, the less they hurt. So after talking, crying, writing, sharing and crying some more, I am hurting less. It was an honest mistake in the frenzy that is my life.
Tonight, I will cook and eat my world famous Taco Tuesday dinner, along with a big piece of humble pie and forgiveness. I will tuck my babies in bed and watch a movie with Jordan. We will reset back to normal until next week…or until those drops start. You can be sure I won’t forget this time.
Raising my glass to my fellow Supermoms, our imperfections and, of course, saying eff off to cancer and to those damn drops!
And PLEASE don’t forget to vote for Loving Imperfection as the Best Health Blog of 2015. It takes ONE SECOND and does not post to your Facebook, I promise! ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT! First place gets $1,000, which will all go to Southern Smash. Help us raise money and continue our efforts to spread positive body image and eating disorder education! Thank you for your continued love and support – I send it all right back to you <3