A year ago today Gideon had a very high fever with no other symptoms. When I took him in to the doctor, I thought maybe it was strep throat. It went away after four days, and a couple of weeks later, the leg pain began. Soon after, all of this: cancer reality. It is so very vital to know the signs of childhood cancer, and get your little honey in as soon as possible if these signs present themselves! It is better to be seen as paranoid, I promise.
I can't express how much I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment in time when the cancer cells invaded my baby. I wish there was a way to zap them as soon as they entered his system or if by any chance, force-feeding him five stalks of broccoli would somehow stop it all from happening in the first place. Frustrating and infuriating emotions still course through me since it's so unfair. HOW did this happen? WHY does it happen to innocent babies? No, the feeling of complete bafflement doesn't completely go away with time. It sneaks up on anniversaries like this one... the fever anniversary.
In better news: Gideon's curls are coming back. He looks like a little downy chick with tiny little stubs of almost-there spirals behind his ears. I love it when the sun hits his strands and they light up like a fuzzy crown atop his beaming little face. It feels amazing to have our little boy go out with us on a walk or to the hospital, and no one notices anything amiss or different. Now comes the new normal.
I have had people on several occasions come up to us and say, "He looks GREAT! Is he almost done with his treatment?"
And then I smile and say, "No, not until he's six."
Always, ALWAYS the questioner takes a step back, stunned. And then he/she consistently says, "But he looks so GOOD! Does he get chemo once a month now?"
"No. He gets chemo everyday until he's six, with IV and spinal chemo more intermittently."
At the word "everyday," there is then the shocked face of pity and always, always a slow shaking of the head in Gideon's direction. And always, always I feel the need to comfort the questioner with things like, "But he's doing great!" or "The prognosis is good." or "He sure doesn't look it, does he?" And I give the questioner a little hug. It's not his/her fault that the ins and outs of childhood cancer are not common knowledge. It's the weirdest feeling to comfort other people about my own child's cancer. I think that comes with the territory.
Guess what I don't have to say, though? I don't have to say that Gideon is in the hospital right now. I don't have to say that his condition is worsening. I don't have to say that his view of life isn't as crystalline beautiful as it was before this all began... I CAN say that we are beating this cancer. I can say that we have been blessed beyond measure by supportive family and friends.
There are always reasons to praise God for this life Gideon has: cancer or no cancer. Always, always.