Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Girl Stuff

Yesterday morning, we drove Sofie to Camp Kesem, about 1.5 hours from here, for her first ever week of sleep away camp. Camp Kesem is a special camp for kids who have a parent (or in her case, parents) with cancer. It is run by folks from Duke and UNC and is free to families. The purpose is to give families a break and to provide a supportive place for the kids.

We prepped Sofie for this for weeks, discussing it and talking about ways she could cope if she was a little sad or missed us. I think it might have worked. I welled up with tears as we pulled into the parking lot. She was fine, excited. She had an arsenal of supportive objects packed up: Licky, the favored pink snake of the trio, three cats (stuffed) and of course, Yang Yang, her blankie. I talked in advance with the counselors at Camp, they assured me that most kids brought at least one safety object (like the blanket) and that she would not be teased, which was her big fear. It is interesting to watch Sofie become aware of the outside world and the possibility of being teased for sucking her thumb or having her blanket. We assured her she would not be alone!

The ratio at her age group (6-8) was one counselor to three kids, which sounded perfect for a first time camper. We met "Bean" her counselor who looked about twelve to me, but I am sure was a bit older. And then, after her things were taken to her cabin by the staff, she simply kissed us goodbye and left happily with Bean. That was it. So we did good preparation (assisted a lot by her wonderful therapist Jane) or Sofie truly is the independent little soul I think she is. She was able to articulate that AM that sometimes in new situations she feels shy and we talked about that, but essentially, her little social skills are such that she is OK in new situations, after a bit of adjustment time. I raised her that way, I guess. And I am proud of her, I really am. She just turned seven and she really does have a good sense of who she is.

So I now have a week sans child! What to do, what to do. I am so behind on so many things due to exhaustion (I simply poop out by 9 PM and that leaves little or no time to do anything much, not that I had tons of time on my hands prior to having chemo either!). I have to pull things together for taxes, as the extension is "only" until October. Mostly this means going through tons of medical receipts to see how much out of pocket I really did do. I started this process and was quite staggered by it! Prescriptions alone really add up, some have co-pays of $25 or $50 for the really big drugs, like the Lovenox. So in a month, several hundred dollars of co-pays are just out the door.

I want to mention how grateful I am for the Friends of Debra fund. It is (still) hard for me to need or to ask for help, but I am so glad that fund is there. Not just for the medical stuff, but all the times we do take out because Mommy is too tired to think about dinner! Sofie is getting kind of spoiled on the restaurant food thing, and I know in the fall we will go back to more meals at home after school, more normal, but this summer has been a bit out of the usual. Especially now, when I am so tired all the time.

Sofie told me last week that I wasn't much of a fun Mom anymore, "You never do any fun things anymore", to be precise. We talked a bit out how the treatments make me so tired. "I wish you did not have to have those treatments" she said. Me too. I would love to be more peppy and be able to keep up with my seven year old! But I can barely keep up with me.

Jamie has been here a lot, as back up and sometimes I simply have to crash and sleep. Yesterday after dropping Sofie off, I went to the lab for the weekly blood letting and then came home, crawled into bed and crashed for three hours. I woke to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner (something that I just don't do when I am being the parent), and then kind of just hung out for a few more hours before dropping off to sleep again. I awoke this AM, not quite rested, but determined to try to make a "normal" day of it and go to work. So off to the showers with me.

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