Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cancer Kids

There is so much about us that is packed into little compartments and stored on a shelf. We take one unit off the shelf when it is needed, and we use our adult common sense to consciously leave certain parts of ourselves dormant and on the shelf… They'll be let loose out of the box some other time. So we show glimpses of ourselves instead of all of us because that is more polite, that is more controlled, and that is more acceptable.

I think this is why I adore kids so much: they don't filter. They feel and respond to those feelings accordingly. Does it hurt? Cry. Is it funny? Laugh with your entire self (who cares if you snort? It is far more difficult to censor a snort than to just feel the bliss of the moment). Are you mad? Stomp your foot and hurl yourself onto the couch with a cross between a snarl and an UMPH. Are you happy? Smile and say it. Say, "I feel soooo happy." And kids DO. They do-do-do!

Then there are kids with cancer. The longer I am in this childhood cancer world, the more kids with cancer I meet. I thought maybe it was just me who assumed my own sad heart came to this conclusion, but nope. I decided it is fact: Kids with cancer get it. They get it all. They get things we normal adults never will. They understand the spectrum of all emotion, but they still have that kid gloriousness of letting it all mill around them like fireflies of perfection. They still get mad, sad, frustrated and they go about in kid fashion to display these emotions, but they gravitate towards the good. They hover within a smile of certainty that this life right this moment is spectacular. Maybe it's because they know this good feeling might not last very long before a new drug interrupts the freedom that is childhood, I don't know. But I have not met one child with cancer who acts bratty or mean or selfish. I don't think that combination exists.

Gideon had clinic today. He got his vincristine, his check-up, his next round of steroids. He is on track for his treatments and that news is always soul balm. While we were at the hospital, I had the absolute privilege to meet up with Joyanna and her son, James. James was checked into the Children's Hospital to receive a five day rigorous chemo dosage. He was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, deemed in remission, had his port removed, and the cancer came back. This is every mom's compounded nightmare within a nightmare. Anyone who has met James can feel the warmth from his eyes and his absolute easiness around anyone who wants to talk. He's the kind of boy who can take in a person and make him/her feel instantly comfortable. James is the kind of boy I want my boys to know: pure heart, fabulous imagination, and a caring outlook. He's the kind of boy who can and does change the world around him for the better.

(Mommy Joyanna loving on her boy, James)

James touched my heart… He had the hiccups today and I taught him my "magic way" of curing them. It worked, and he looked at me with those animated eyes that seemed impressed by the trick. He seemed so happy that this pest of a problem went away so suddenly. I kept thinking, "I wish there was a magic way to zap every cancer cell instantaneously until you are cured completely." Please pray for him and his amazing family. May his drugs do their work and may James beat this beast a SECOND time!

(…and this is the perfect time for me to introduce to you the song that had me sobbing into my popcorn until it disintegrated while I watched "Happy Feet 2" with my boys…)


  1. Sending Love to all effected by childhood cancer. Keep fighting!

  2. Amanda, How do you know Joyanna? Did you take that picture? I love it. I think it's great that the cancer moms hangout and support one another. Praying for James.

  3. Hi, Laura! I got to know Joyanna because of the cancer, and the two of us "getting" one another. BUT, I absolutely adore her and love hanging out with her. She and James are another blessing brought about by this situation. Keep on lifting James up in prayer! He is one amazing boy.