Here I am again sitting at the CHOA office surrounded by little bald heads. I feel like I've been gone for the last 3 weeks, lost in the numbness of life, trying not to have to feel. But here we sit on the eve of another part of the phase with no guarantees as to how it will pan out; feeling not so ready to plunge head-long into our out-of-our-control life again.
When you walk into the CHOA (Childhood Hematology and Oncology Associates) Clinic you are greeted by the normal doctor waiting room paraphernalia, toy area, Nemo style fish tank, and the like, as well as some very kind office managers. But really, before you can let yourself believe that you are just at your regular doctors for a checkup, the sore-throat or vaccination kind, the reality of where you are hits you. All around the walls are black and white pictures, large portraits actually, of little bald kids, some have wisps of hair or little tuffs; those hairs that just wouldn't let go and are justifiably being left on the heads as a badge of honor. Others are just clean headed, not a hair on the horizon. The other thing that strikes you and brings you back to reality is the cute little hat tree next to the door, filled with hats free for the taking. If you had somehow missed being brought back to reality of visiting a cancer clinic by the end of the appointment the double door closet filled with toys, hand-made quilts and more hats made for cancer kiddos would probably snap you out of it.
Tiffany was reading a little board book last night to Abby called "What is faith" a simplistic book that talks about trust, patience, believing the best about things, all very simple elements of faith. On one page is this picture of a little girl loading up all of her toys in a box to give away to other kids that would need them more, a very kind act indeed. The sentence read, "Sometimes faith is giving all you have to someone else... because you know God will give you everything you need." I've read it many times, as has Tiffany, but this time we also noticed the label on the box... "Toys for Children's Hospital". Tiffany said out loud, "You know, that's us." Just reading our child a book, and bam, oh ya she has cancer.
I've felt pretty good lately, at least I had thought so but the combination of a lot of things in life and especially having to mark down all the medicines on the calendar for the next month has kept me from squelching my feelings any longer. I'm not despairing or anything, I just still catching up with the reality of life and honestly, as crazy as it sounds, the reality of it all still often sneaks up on me.
But all in all, the last 3 weeks have been really, really smooth in comparison to what they could have been like. No rushing down to the hospital, only 1 to 2 trips to Denver for a couple weeks and last week we didn't even have to go to Denver, we only had to make the 5 minute trip to Poudre Valley Hospital here in Fort Collins to get blood drawn. What a great time! I really loved it. No meds, no major concerns, her eye is almost back to normal, everything is going great... And now we start again. Honestly, I just don't really want to start, I want her to be done, I don't want to lose my little girl back to the fantasy feeling world of chemo drug side-effects. The one effect that we are still not looking forward to is the full lose of her hair. She's been pretty unaffected in that realm up until this last round and we think that this one will probably take the rest of it. Tiffany combs out a fair amount each day but Abby has such a thick head of hair that it just isn't that noticeable yet. I guess we'll see. I'll get used to it though, probably like her cute little bald head. Maybe I'll have to get my camera out at the end of this phase and take a nice black and white portrait of my little bald-headed daughter. I'm sure she'll look more beautiful than all the pictures in lobby of CHOA combined!
I'll post a shot of her when it all goes away.