I’m in a very bad mood because things didn’t go exactly, EXACTLY, the way I wanted them to go today.
I’m not generally an angry person at all. If you’ve known me for more than a couple of weeks then you’ve likely taken a jab at me or joined me in a laugh at my expense… even my treat. I’m pretty generous with self-inflicted chaos and low hanging fruit. If I’m not being teased, I start to think something is wrong. Sure I have my moments of sulking, but I gravitate more toward silliness: getting overly excited about the goofiest little things, or cooking up bizarre adventures and jumping in with both feet. I’m probably more annoyingly happy than sad… or angry.
I had a hard lesson to learn ten years ago when I lost my father. I learned that I’m an angry griever. And with that came a gradual self-awareness that I’m an angry worrier, and an angry sufferer. Those are the things that tick me off… painful loss, getting sick or hurt, and fearing something I have no control over. Being robbed of my peace and joy makes me grumpy.
I felt it stirring up yesterday and by the time poor Doug got home, I was looking for an outlet and he was a six socket surge protector. He knew before I did that I was helping myself to a big serving of anxiety about what we were facing this week. Can I just say what a SAINT my husband is? He didn’t roll with the punches. He called me on it. He didn’t hit back or turn up the heat. He let me simmer on my own and kept me in check when I started to boil.
In the six months since beginning the clinical trial, we have ZOOMED from three to three hundred milligrams of peanut powder. Three hundred… the magic number… the maintenance dose… one peanut! I finally get to take a deep breath and LET IT OUT, not hold it! Except for this week.
This week is food challenge week. It’s research. It’s not just about Coleman and it certainly isn’t about me. Progress has to be measured and it is measured in three words I’ve come to hate: “double blind placebo”. Two food challenges, one with peanut and one without, and which is which remains a mystery. The only reveal we will have is how much peanut he can tolerate… and I’m grumpy about that???? A year ago I would never have dreamed those words could even be spoken about my son!
I had no control. I didn’t know which one he would get today. The last time we had a food challenge, Coleman went into anaphylaxis after consuming 4mg of peanut powder. Today he would be given up to 2,044. Placebo or peanut. I didn’t like not knowing and I certainly didn’t want to leave the hospital not knowing. I wanted to see a reaction today so it would be over with. I wanted to let the breath out. I wanted to KNOW we had peanut today. I wanted to KNOW that we just have to cruise through the placebo on Friday and be back to our routine that we’ve worked so hard to reach.
Coleman doesn’t plan what to wear. He’s fashion UNconscious. He once lifted a football shirt off the classroom floor and smelled it to see if it was his. (It was.) This year I took my own advice to “choose your battles”. I filled Coleman’s dresser drawers with three colors: black, gray, and orange. He yanks a shirt out of his drawer each morning and I know it’s clean and I call that a win.
He wore a hoodie to the hospital today, so I didn’t know what shirt he had on (I knew it was black, gray, or orange!). I had to leave the room when they drew his blood and when I returned they had already done the skin prick on his back. So when he slipped his shirt back on and turned away from me, I gasped. He just happened to grab one of his Warrior t-shirts and it says, “Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay the price”.
He didn’t have an allergic reaction today. I want so bad to celebrate that it was peanut, and he tolerated all of it, and I don’t have to worry about a reaction on Friday. I wanted today to be peanut, and I wanted to know it was peanut. Things didn’t go exactly the way I want. But victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay the price.
What has this cost us? Time, dedication, consistency, maintaining self-control and giving up control. What has it cost Coleman? God only knows… Coleman is resilient. He’s unshaken. He is strong, SO STRONG! He’s calm when I’m hysterical. He’s funny when I’m annoyed. He has struggled in school but he hasn’t failed. He has struggled in Scouts, but he has pressed on towards the rank of eagle. He has made mistakes in this trial but his confidence in this victory is unmatched. From the moment we asked him about participating in this research, he has not once been unwilling to pay the price for that victory which has been reserved for himself and other peanut allergy sufferers, and all of the families who dare to put their hopes and dreams in this groundbreaking treatment.
So once again I’m licking my grumpy wounds. I’m going to double down for the double blind. I’m going to ring in the New Year with reflection on the miracle we’ve been given. Coleman is going to be able to eat peanut. That is the victory. Our path to that victory may contain some mysteries but it leads to victory all the same. It may not go EXACTLY my way. Maybe THIS victory has been reserved for one amazing warrior who, without questioning, has been willing to pay the price. Maybe this victory goes to him, because it’s his to share.
I am victorious. I share in Coleman’s victory. I share in God’s victory. I’m not grumpy because I’ve been robbed of peace and joy. I’ve been robbed of peace and joy because I’m grumpy. I’m grateful for the price Christ paid for our victory. I know Coleman is too. No matter what happens next, we have victory in Jesus. We have won the battle. We’ve won the war.