My Pandora’s Box of Emotions Isn’t Completely Shut Away

New medical issues cause old emotions to bubble up for this columnist

Cazandra Campos-MacDonald avatar

by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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I have a version of Pandora’s box. Fortunately, the box doesn’t see the light of day. I keep it on the top shelf of my closet, hidden behind extra pillows that are stored away for months on end. The box contains years of pain, grief, sorrow, and buckets of tears. I don’t want to open it for fear of revisiting the depths of despair I lived in for so long.

For years, I’ve written and spoken about the medical events that led to the contents of my Pandora’s box. Through sharing my story as a mom to two sons with hemophilia, I’ve found healing and peace.

My 16-year-old son, Caeleb, struggles with hemophilic arthropathy. Repeated bleeds in his right knee and ankle have damaged the joints, leaving Caeleb with significant pain. While some days he moves around with minimal discomfort, there are also days when he can barely get out of bed.

It has been a bad week.

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Wincing in pain with a distorted face, Caeleb’s heightened pain and anxiety have been apparent on recent mornings. Yet it’s not only Caeleb suffering. My heart shatters as I watch my son struggle to swing his painful leg over the side of the bed. Many would expect tears to stream down my face as I watch him, but surprisingly, I’m without emotion.

Why am I not showing any emotion regarding my son’s pain? Is something wrong with me?

The grief over Caeleb’s limitations, the loss that my son experiences because of his damaged joints, and the depths of my pain as a mother are best left in the box.

Over the years, I’ve been by my son’s side during long nights of crying and screaming in pain. Active bleeds would take weeks to heal, and being hospitalized was often the only option. It was almost impossible to control his pain. Yet somehow, along this journey with Caeleb, I’ve separated myself from my emotions.

Perhaps it’s because I am a laser-focused type of woman. When there’s a crisis, I immediately go into the mode of looking at every possible scenario. What needs to be done? How can I help? What will happen if …? These are good things to consider, but I find that my emotions are often put aside.

Focusing on my son’s condition is good. I can think about his immediate needs, ask the doctors questions, and manage the situation to the best of my ability. However, after years of ignoring the box, new problems are making me realize those feelings haven’t been entirely put away.

I’m sure I’ll begin to feel the depths of grief again as I watch my son struggle. At least now I know more. I’ll continue to ask questions, fight for what he needs, and be his voice when necessary.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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