Fight infection with God’s antibiotic of peace.
My boy has a staph infection. Undetermined source. Scary. Fever-inducing. Icky. Doctor monitored. Antibiotic drowned.
But it’s OK.
Because my boy is 17 and cancer free.
As awful as a staph infection is now, it’s not what it used to be!
When Andrew was four, we drove home from my high school reunion, happy to have been around people for the first time since Andrew’s diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia just a few months prior. Half-way through the trip, Andrew’s temperature went sky high and we immediately called the oncologist who called the nearest hospital.
We raced into the ER and were rushed through triage where a tiny spot was found on Andrew’s side; From there it was only a matter of moments until Andrew was ensconced in an isolation room with an antechamber that required any and all who entered to fully gown and mask up.
The surreal feeling of a relatively new cancer diagnosis was compounded by the head-to-toe garb required just to read Andrew a story from a sanitized book. Visitors were limited to just daddy and mommy, which was tough as we were hours from home and had our girls with us.
Fear invaded worse than the infection.
Where did he get that little dot in his side? We’ll never know for sure, although we like to blame it on the slide. All we know is that it ballooned up and his temperature raged for days and he remembers absolutely nothing about the entire time, because, he says,
“It’s selective memory.”
Now Andrew sits in the living room, his cheek swollen to twice it’s normal size. He has a sore spot from four injection sites and a large bottle of infection killers mocks me from the counter. Andrew shrugs, it’s no big deal. Yeah, it hurts, but he’s been through worse.
For him, it’s no big deal.
But I’m the caregiver from those years when he was four, five, six and seven and a staph infection meant life or death with only moments of antibiotics making that difference. I’m the one that gowned up to enter my boy’s room. I sent the girls home with friends in order to care for my boy. Medication time was routine and countless bottles sat on my counter.
My husband and son texted from Urgent Care on Sunday: “It’s a Staph infection. Good thing we came in. Dr is concerned but will try shots and meds rather than hospital for tonight.”
No big deal.
So why did I sit down and cry?
Apparently words like “staph” infection and “hospitalization” are trigger words for me. Actually, I have many trigger words – cancer, Leukemia, chemotherapy. The list goes on. I kick up my fight-or-flight response with very little provocation, it seems, and it all stems from those years of fighting for my son’s life. Years of trying to be strong. Months of wading through phases of treatment. Weeks of waiting for meds to kick in. Days of waiting for blood results. Hours of hospitals, doctors and nurses. Those memories trigger my fears.
Those trigger words are like a nasty, sick infection. A staph infection that gets inside and eats away anything good and kills anything within it’s reach. They can make my heart race. Trigger words can rob my soul of peace. Fear can invade worse than any infection.
Except, my caregiver friends, we have the antibiotic.
Jesus assures us of the End of the battle with sickness and despair. I can take a rest from my caregiving stress and relax, knowing that God has got me, and even more importantly, to this mom, He’s got my boy.
Even in the midst of caregiving, take a moment and relax in God’s presence and in His peace. Let the infection of fear seep out of your heart and soul. God will never leave you nor forsake you.
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