“Drop after drop it wanders into his veins. Is it a cure or a poison, will it stop or initiate the pain…”
Szymon was in much better shape, he was walking, running, playing with other kids and what most important – he was eating. Looking at him, you would still see lots of hair on his head, and it would raise a question “Is this really working?”. Is the chemo helping him or just, “making sure he will make the cut”. I still have in mind words spoken by one of the generals, from different center, which I visited few week back to get more perspective on my Son’s uniqueness.
“You see, we don’t really understand this tumor, how he gives those special powers to a child. We try our best to enhance it, to give additional abilities by spreading it in other parts of cadet’s body, but we often fail. We see cases, where it reacts nicely and progresses further, and cases where it is immune to our treatment and starts to shrink. The worse is with newborns, we see sometimes cases, where we do our best, but the tumor suddenly disappears by itself. We have no clue why this is happening, therefore I can honestly say, that this is one of the most unknown and unpredictable tumor we are facing.” As I was leaving his office and saying goodbye, he left me with one more phenomenon. “There is also an ironic side of the whole training. We try to help those children by putting all kinds of drugs into their bodies and some of them have such a strong immune systems, that they are fighting it back, even chemotherapy. Do you understand? Their bodies can kill chemotherapy! Some may say that this is a miracle, but I think it is just lack of gratitude for what we are trying to do for them.” He said goodbye to me by shaking strongly my hand and leaving with one last comment. “Have a nice day Sir, and I hope your Son will be a good sport! He will not fly off before completing his training also in our facility.”
All those words made me sad on one hand, but filled with hope on the other. Something, which can be so unpredictable, gives a better chance for success. I preferred it over the tumor, which gives high certainty, that no matter what you do, he will cause our son to make the flight.
Round three ended and we head back home for few days’ rest. We kept in our minds words of the general and wondered how Szymon will react to the training. There were little or none side effects, and when they appeared it lasted for day or two and he was again back to normal. Those were also the days when our hearts were filled with joy, as we had our little moments of normality. We could go outside, spent time with people, and forget for a short while, how serious his condition was. Times, when we were thankful Szymon has a port, inside instead of Broviak, as we could bath him normally, run around the house and play, and have less worry, that something can happen to his central venous catheter. And again, what was key for us, these were the times when we could, forget about the Center, and pretend Szymek is not their cadet. He is a typical, no ordinary, like many others, kid from the neighborhood. Likes to go to playgrounds, slide down on the slide, and play in the sand, spent time with other kids. Further down the line it was more and more difficult to live like this. We would need to isolate him from his peers to ensure he will not catch some illness, which for other is a three day flu, while for Szymon this would mean, to be or not to be. And this just breaks your heart when you see how much other kids mean to him, when you see that huge smile on his face when he can spend few minutes with his peers. I have never seen a child who would be craving so much for others. When tries to play, poke them with a smile or even cuddle. And it is not, that he is not getting love and warmth from us. He, like all of us, seeks acceptance from others, who are same age, and have a same worldview.
Drop after drop it wanders into his body, will it give or take his life who can tell. There are so many tears, fears, and hopes flowing with it, which no other substance have. And all of them have one thing in common, this little question attached to each drop, “Will you help my child to stay, or just help him to fly away?”