Now that we have made it through the first six months, and the most clinically intense part of Mollie's treatment, I find myself reflecting on this whole experience.
I am still mourning the losses. Mollie won't have that normal, carefree childhood that every parent wants for their child. And Matt and I will always be concerned about her health. We will always worry about chemo, follow-up, long-term side effects (like diabetes, learning disabilities, AVN, secondary tumors, etc.), relapse. And that's if things continue to go well!
On the other hand, through this experience we have gained tremendous clarity. It has cemented our marriage and our family. Our priorities are clear. I know I am a better mother and a better person. It is easier to let go of the small stuff. I think I'm less judgmental (or more likely to keep my opinions to myself). I am still working on living in the moment, not what was or what will be.
Lucy has been impacted too... having to sit through all those clinic visits and hospital stays. But she's so young, she will have no memory of what life was like before Mollie was diagnosed. Lucy has been Mollie's constant companion throughout her treatments, and I hope that she and Mollie will have a good relationship as they grow up.
And then there's Mollie, my little hero. She's tough. She's resilient. She knows she's different from most of her friends, but she doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. At 4, I doubt she's feeling the same kind of loss that Matt and I feel, but she has been through a lot. All of the changes in her life and the drugs will continue to have an emotional impact. She will start seeing a clinical psychologist who specializes in medically fragile children- hopefully this will help her work through some of her feelings about this ordeal. Because she's so young, I don't know what the long-term psychological effects will be. In Mollie, I see a greater fear of the unknown than before, but I also see strength, courage, the ability to ask questions, and a tremendous sense of caring/empathy for others.