Too much excitement just might kill me!
Last night while we were eating dinner, they ran a news story about one of the little girls who is being treated in the same ward as Monkey.
A group of strangers had got together to surprise her family by giving their backyard a makeover. They installed a new cubby house and play equipment – it was a very generous donation of time and materials, and the little girl and her siblings were thrilled.
She has an inoperable tumour in her bowel. During the interview, her mother said that they were so pleased with the makeover because they just wanted to make their little girl’s last few months as happy as possible.
Talk about a slap in the face. Of course we’ve known it all along, but for some reason sitting there eating dinner, seeing her on the news, it really hit home. I sat and cried into my parmigiana. But for the grace of chocolate, that could have been my baby.
(I will now provide gratuitous Monkey photos from his time in treatment to break up the gloom. You’re welcome.)
We have been so incredibly lucky with Monkey’s cancer. I’m sure that I’ll say the same thing infinity times on this blog, and you’ll all get sick of hearing it. And it’s not something you ever think you will say, until you realise how much worse it could be.
I’ve seen this little girl and her mum in the hospital many times, and like most of the kids in the ward, she always just seems to be doing her best to get on with being a kid. I never knew exactly what was wrong with her until now – we’ve never shared a room, never swapped stories.
We’ve seen a girl who has had all her limbs amputated because of a rare blood cancer. I talked to the mother of a 3 year old boy with aggressive brain tumours, and she shared with me the conflict she and her husband have about whether or not to try a third round of mega therapy. There is no evidence that it will help, but they know that it makes their little boy very unwell. Her husband doesn’t want to subject him to it again, but she wondered if she would be able to live with herself knowing that they hadn’t tried it.
There are simply no words for how grateful I am that we didn’t have to experience those things, make those choices. I feel a strange sense of guilt that my Monkey is already in remission, while other people’s children are dying. Even other children who are also in remission are less fortunate than ours – did you know that once leukaemia is in remission, they still need chemotherapy for another 2 years to make sure it doesn’t come back?? I learned that one while we were in hospital for tonsillitis last week.
Australia doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I’m certainly feeling the spirit this year.
Next time your baby refuses to go to bed, or smears peanut butter on the walls, just stop for a moment, and give them a hug. Appreciate that they are there to be able to get under your skin. I know it sounds clichéd, but the time you have together is so precious. You really just never know.