Abandoned, because Ben still has a chronic pain condition, and we're on our own now. (We're not, of course. But that's how it feels.)
Relieved, because they obviously think we're on the right track, and we no longer have to do three hour round trips through heavy traffic.
- our family is going out soon to celebrate that he was at school for at least a couple of hours nearly every day last term, headache and all
- we were expecting his energy levels to deteriorate by the end of term, but he was actually getting a little better, which suggests this approach is working
- he recently enjoyed a full day's party with four friends; three months ago he could barely manage two hours with one friend
- he also did an intense bushwalk; three months ago he could only do 30 minute's flat walk.
So it's over to us. Perseverance, daily exercise, perseverance, getting enough sleep, perseverance ... we - or, rather, Ben - have to keep working away at this thing until he is well.
Which he will be. In time. Humanly speaking, and God willing. For most children with this condition, the journey out is as long as the journey in (and that was several years).
If I forget how far we've come, I only have to think back to the bewilderment and desperation of four months ago. These days, I don't burst into tears when I'm in a safe environment and people ask me how I am (though I'm not promising anything). I'm no longer battling high levels of anxiety and panic.
Ben's pain no longer feels like "my issue", something I'm suffering as much as him. This is good for both of us. It means he doesn't bear the burden of my sorrow as well as his own. It means I can see things clearly and support him well. It means he learns, as he must, to manage his health independently.
He's as tall as me now, thirteen years old, and his voice is as deep as his father's. The outer, visible changes mirror the ones within.