When you are holding your baby at the doctor's office, the last thing you want to hear is the word "cancer." I heard this recently and nearly lost my intestines right out from under me.
Baby Mo has been diagnosed with a skin condition called Juvenile xanthogranuloma (JXG). It is fairly common amongst baby boys and manifests in the first year of life. Dermatologists rarely see this but pediatric dermatologists see it often. After our appointment with a pediatric dermatologist today, we learned that Baby Mo's condition is extremely minor and is already clearing itself up on its own. The doctor was confident that it will go away within a matter of months.
In extremely rare cases, JXG can be associated with a type of leukemia. That is why the adult dermatologist mentioned the word "cancer" two weeks ago when referring us to the pediatric dermatologist. When I heard that, I nearly passed out. I don't even know how I got Baby Mo in the car and drove home after that conversation because I was so distraught. My mother and mother-in-law were the unlucky recipients of some pretty hysterical phone calls.
The pediatric dermatologist we saw today was loving and reassuring and instructed me to stop Google'ing this condition.
"Google is not your friend in this case," she said. "But the scary things that can be associated with this are so very rare and this case is so minor and already clearing up."
I can't begin to convey the relief I feel. It was two weeks between appointments with the adult and pediatric dermatologists. That is two weeks of worry - or actively trying NOT to worry. I didn't speak of it to my fellow MommyBetas because I didn't want to give it too much credence but I was petrified! I went to all kinds of crazy places in my mind - places I should know better than to go.
And I thought about the Mommy Blogs that I've read by mothers who were not so lucky - mothers who had terrifying diagnoses about their little babies. Why were they so unlucky? How would I handle this kind of challenge in my life? These are questions I am hardly comfortable typing, much less pondering. I can't really wrap my head around the idea of fairness when it comes to parenting so I won't elaborate. I should stop this thought here.
I am so very grateful that my baby boy is healthy and I can (and should!) stop thinking about the more scary possibilities. This morning I was in the shower, trying not to panic about this impending appointment, and I had a thought that helped me get through this day. It went something like this:
Parenthood is going to continue to be scary, no matter what happens today. The world is scary. And I can either teach Miles that the world is a scary place or I can teach him that there are some things that will be scary but there is more beauty if you look for it. I want to teach him to go through life in search of beauty - not in avoidance of evil. So I have to do that myself. Which means no more dwelling on what is scary. Be in constant pursuit of the beauty that makes it all worth it. This has to be a daily pursuit.
Hug your babies tonight. They are part of what is beautiful about the world.