Doing Hard Jobs

Christa Doran Uncategorized 24 Comments

Yesterday Lea completed week one of radiation, or as Cara, the child life specialist calls it, one of her “hard jobs”. This was the same day she should have been starting first grade.

I didn’t think it would be a big deal for me, I know how to be strong, and Liv needed her parents excited on her first day of third grade.

We filed into school, behind the sea of colorful backpacks and excited smiles and I could feel the tears welling up as we passed Lea’s classroom.  I quickly maneuvered past the parents, avoiding eye contact, and up the stairs we marched, to third grade.

Hold it together Christa, Liv needs you… Be strong for Liv…. You can be strong for Liv… I repeated over and over in my head.

I could see the concerned and sad glances being shot in our direction. A few gave warm hugs, offered their help and words of kindness, and once again I forced the tears back down. Not now Christa, I told myself again.

We colored at a large wooden table with Liv, the brightly colored pencils new and sharp as they had not yet been worn down, a feeling I was unfamiliar with at this point in time.

Then it was time to go. I could feel the tears brimming in my eyes, unable to be held back for much longer. I raced down the stairs and out the front door into the sunshine and let them fall. I was sad Lea is not able to be with her friends and experience all first grade has to offer her. I was angry about our daily visits to Smilow Cancer Hospital, rather than a school, where children belong. Instead of fitness and art, Lea gets daily radiation and weekly blood draws. No part of this is right, or fair, and once again I found myself standing in anger and sadness.

I had my moment. I let it all pour out. And then I pulled myself together and headed to work, where I was provided an excellent distraction for two hours.

Today is a better day. We checked off day 7/30 on Lea’s “Moana” radiation calendar. I have mixed feelings about Moana after watching it four times a day when Lea was in the PICU. I will never look at that movie the same way. It takes me back to a place I never want to revisit, but it is the music Lea has chosen to listen to during her “light medicine.”

Lea amazes me with her strength and bravery. She gives me strength. She has quickly taught me what is important in life.

I sobbed softy as I told her how brave and strong she was after she did her “two hard jobs” of radiation and a blood draw yesterday. I told her how very glad I was that I got to be her momma. Then the elevator doors opened and we left a place we have become all too familiar with.

Today she is here with us, and I will celebrate that. I am doing my best to find joy in the  every day things that now fill our days.

Last night I looked over at her sleeping next to me, and from the side, she looked exactly as she did before this all began. You couldn’t tell that her face and belly were now puffy and round from all the steroids. You couldn’t see that her eyes were crossed. And just like I do every night, in the middle of the night,  I kissed her sweet face. And just like she does every night, her eyes opened a wee bit, a smile crossed her face and she whispers “I love you Mamma.” And for a moment, all is right in our world.





Comments 24

  1. You are an amazing mumma. I’m just a sobbing fellow mumma in complete disbelief of what you have to endure. Wishing I could do more than pray. Wishing I could make miracles happen. You’re in my thoughts often- in my heart every moment- and yet, I don’t even know you at all. Sending love and healing energy in Lea’s direction and yours. -Molly

  2. Sending you so much love, Christa. What you are going through is unimaginable. All the strength, love, and light to Lea and all of you.

  3. Your words are overwhelming!! I ache for your situation and can offer no solice!! I love you and always knew the strong person you were but u r allowed a moment and then out that mask on again!!!!!!!!

  4. Your words are overwhelming!! I ache for your situation and can offer no solice!! I love you and always knew the strong person you were but u r allowed a moment and then put that mask on again!!!!!!!!

  5. Thank you for continuing to share so candidly – it really helps me with knowing how to pray and keeps your previous daughter in my mind.

  6. She truly is so blessed to have you as her mamma Christa. Thinking of you & your family & especially sweet Lea each & everyday. ❤️?

  7. God Bless you both. You have one fearless little girl on your hands. I hope she finds joy and comfortable in every moment she gets to spend at her beloved home.

  8. Oh Sweetheart, I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this. Just remember, God is still doing miracles everyday.

  9. love you so much. every day is a challenge, keep feeling the feels and writing it out and doing things that also make you feel good b/c you need to be strong for Lea, but also to take care of you. Staying strong means not holding it all in and crying, writing, yelling, whatever it takes to get out the emotions you are feeling. Hugs are good. take ’em when you need ’em b/c we all want to give them. xo <3

  10. Christa- As I read this, I am reminded of the words you have said to all of us in the gym time and time again as you kneel in front of us while we are holding a plank, doing burpees, or any other exercise. “You’ve got this, you can do hard things.” There is no doubt that this is the absolute hardest thing that anyone should ever have to endure, and no one should ever have to. For whatever reason, god has put this on your plate, but The Doran’s are the strongest family I know inside and out. In those moments of overwhelmingness remember your own words you remind us of- “You’ve got this. You can do hard things.” And know you have entire tribe to help support you, Mike, and the girls…Praying for you every day.

  11. May God continue to give you strength even when you don’t think you are being strong. Without faith we have nothing. God Bless the beautiful people who have written words from their heart here. Our love to all.

  12. Christa,

    Thank you for sharing. I’m part of this awful club I never wanted to belong to. But I too am grateful for small victories (or not-so-small depending on perspective). Like a day my child feels no pain. Or a day my child smiles more than not. A day he is able to coach. A day he is able to work or be with friends and not go anywhere near Smilow. The love for our children makes us strong. But their endurance makes us brave in the face of all this. I will pray for your family and keep your little girl in my heart. Take the melt down moments as they come. Because you’ll always get back up for her. ❤️❤️❤️

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