My best friend has a glass patio door off of her bedroom. Earlier this year, while mowing the lawn, a rock flew up and shattered the door into one million tiny shards. The door still stands, seemingly intact, but you can no longer see what is behind it. It cannot be touched. It is literally holding itself upright. Not able to move. Not quite ready to fall apart.
I have made it to the other side of another terrifying day. Poppy, in all her spice, has made it through another surgery.
The time leading up to a surgery/procedure is torture. Every day is a hollowing out. An audible, palpable scraping of the soft triangle where your ribs end, and your sternum points down at a vulnerable core, tucked away. That ball that rises in your throat. The cluster of butterflies that flap, incessantly. Gutted.
On Monday morning, I checked Poppy in for surgery to remove a “lump” from her neck. After previous ultrasound and an MRI it was decided that the mass was a thyroglossal duct cyst. It was not. Her ENT met us in the surgical waiting area and stated, “She is an interesting girl!”
The mass turned out to be an extremely rare Fourth Bronchial Cleft Cyst. Riskier to remove, but actually a bit less invasive than anticipated. The entire surgical procedure took about an hour and a half. The cyst will be sent to pathology to rule out any abnormalities – but these are most often completely benign!
Coming out of the anesthesia was hard on her as she was confused, upset, and in pain. But as soon as she was nestled into my arms and I began humming to her she was calm.
After a few hours in recovery with little incident, we were released. Poppy was still quite nauseous and groggy, but we made it home with Nana only having to pull over once.
She slept well and woke up cheerful.
I, on the other hand, felt like I had been beaten. My arms ached from carrying her heavy body from surgery to recovery. My back throbbed from holding her position in the chair for hours and hours. My legs cramped from keeping us absolutely still. And my heart was so sore, I could feel every beat like an aching tooth.
She does not know what she has overcome. She does not know what lies ahead of her. She has no fear.
The strength that is housed in her tiny body is extraordinary. The need for that strength, the force of that strength – has done irreparable damage to her mama.
There is no question in my mind that I lose a little of my spark every time she hurts. I can feel it burning out. It is a debilitating condition, love.
As I took in the sight of her stitched up skin, I remembered that she is okay because she is not afraid. She is not seeing what I am seeing. She is not feeling what I am feeling. And she can only continue to stay strong if I continue to reflect that strength. I will stay broken, but upright. I will hold the shards neatly tucked in with aching arms- so that when she looks to me – she sees not fractured and fragile, but how strong and beautiful and resilient she is.