Monday, August 26, 2013

Back from Vacation

We recently returned from a two week vacation to the United States which was both fun and a bit stressful. Two nights before we were to leave Jemma came down with a fever. Our first concern was her health and our secondary concern was would we even be able to make the trip.

Luckily the doctors gave us the green light and although she had her last dose of fever reduction medication on the airplane we were able to go. Being around such a large number of people in the airport was so different from what I have become accustomed to over the past year of isolation. Jemma is now allowed to do normal activities, but the transition from living in a germ-free bubble to germ filled public spaces is hard for me to mentally deal with. I'm taking it slow.

To cope, my husband and I traveled loaded with sanitary wipes. Each time we sat in a new seat on the plane or in the waiting room it was cleaned, as were the bathroom stalls every time Jemma needed to go.

Once we arrived it was really nice to see friends and family.

In the past I was a much more easy going person. Leukemia has put me more on edge. Looking through old pictures I saw the kids trying on historical clothes at festivals, riding in machines at fun parks, petting strange animals and all I could think was eeeew. There are so many germs...... wash your hands........ put on hand sanitizer..... These normal activities have not yet become normal again for us.

From all outward appearances Jemma looks normal. She has energy. She has hair. Nobody but me sees the pills she continues to take, the thermometer that checks her temperature each night and the doctors each week for blood checks. Twenty or more times per week I'm reminded my daughter is still undergoing treatment for cancer.

As negative reminders continue to torment my thoughts I struggle to tell myself "Today is a good day."

Being around family introduces a whole new dynamic to every event throughout the day. There are so many external influences. Often times during the vacation I felt pushed beyond my comfort zone. I'm certain much of the time I wasn't the most pleasant person in the room. The thinking part of me realizes that that was mostly a personal problem, but my emotional side has difficulty coping.

Although we saw many friends and family members, the need for down time and to retreat back into my bubble kept us from visiting some. Illness of others kept them away. Sad that we didn't get to spend more time together, I'm grateful they kept their distance. When healthy children become sick they are typically ill for three days and have a reduction in activity. When Jemma gets sick, her illnesses last longer, she must visit a hospital, gets put on antibiotics and I have a ton of stress.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad we went and the kids are still talking about it.

This post is linked to:
Mums Make Lists


  1. Glad you went to the states and visited family but I can understand your concerns when it comes to Jemma. It has to be horrible thinking about germs all the time and cleaning. I am sure your family and friends understood your concerns and the next time you visit maybe it will be less hectic and anxious for you

  2. Life is just different. It's ok. It's your new normal. So glad you could go. I'm an extrovert, and even I need to retreat for some personal space when at a busy event. If you ever make it to the Pacific Northwest give me a shout out. I would love to meet you~ =)

    1. Sounds great. Since we moved to Germany one of our best friends have relocated to that area. They love it.

  3. Your situation with Jemma is so different from the norm that I don't think anyone would expect you to do otherwise. It is indeed very stressful to have to be so alert about potential health risks but that's just what's needed in this case. I often find that it's more peaceful and manageable to retreat to my own private space in times of stress.


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