Saturday, March 21, 2015

Perception and Reality

She looks Great!

Who would ever know she had Leukemia.

Boy treatment must have been very successful.

How could you ever guess she has had 349 doses of chemo therapy?

We hear this all the time.  When the kids really look green and have no hair and have a tube sticking out of their noses, people know. 

It is the times when the hair comes back, maintenance begins and the less obvious effects are there but only if you know where and what to look for.  (never end a sentence with a preposition.)  If you are in the know, you can tell.  The small 1/8th scar at the neck, the back of the arm stretch marks only from massive prednison.  Chipmunk cheeks. The constant use of purell

.  The fear of salad bars. The squirming at the sight of the stagnant pool of water holding the ice cream scoops between servings.  

So much is not visible.  They have color in their cheeks, cute curly hair, a smile that does not quit. 
There is a curious inner strength and wise visage.  It masks the loss of brain matter, fertility, thyroid function, heart health, lung capacity,  hip, knee, and shoulder joints.  No one sees the places where future cancer lurks waiting to show itself.   

Everything is not what they seem.

Many friends and acquaintances knew we were spending time at the NCAA tournament.  Gonzaga played North Dakota State.  Gonzaga really struggled.  North Dakota State was tall, and powerful and could shoot like crazy.  Not only did they shoot, they sunk so many balls without touching the rim, I worried.   It was sort of crazy.  They pushed and went ahead on more than one occasion.  Gonzaga did not pull away, ever, for very far.  I was not willing to believe they were going to win until the the last 36 seconds.  

I talked with a friend this morning and I said it was hard game to watch.  "But they won by 10 points."

It made me think.  Many of our Cancer Kids "look great".  Have hair.  Have color in their cheeks. Are smiling.  Are back in school. College.  Playing sports, in the orchestra.   But.... it has come at a cost.  A huge emotion, physical and future cost.  Costs we can't even calculate as we spend time sitting in the waiting room for the next blood draw, the next LP, the next scan.  

It is always a good idea to step back, and maybe ask a follow up question. Take a moment to not assume everything is as it seems.  

Here is hoping to continued good health AND a better game tomorrow night. 

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