Round one – Fear

 From the day you are born till the day you die, fear is one of your best companions. It befriends you, so when times gets tougher you can count on it. Fear will be first one to come with helping hand. And you can feel how that hand is grasping your heart, and no matter how much you try, it is not willing to let it go. And in those times, you can be sure, that from day one till the last day, it will not leave you even for a moment. It will stand next to you, to assist you from small things, like grimace of pain on your child’s face, to big, like near-death experience. It will stop you from rational thinking, will hold you down, and paralyze you, just to make sure you will not make a wrong move. To make sure you will not move at all.

“Hello, my name is Fear and I will be your captain on this flight”

 We started the first round of chemotherapy. Hearing all those stories about needle popping out from the reservoir and burning body tissue, chemo side effects, and that no one will guarantee anything, we allowed Fear to enter our minds, our hearts.  With each and every drop injected into Szymon’s body, we allowed it to insert images of him coming closer and closer to the flight. Any signs of pain were automatically associated with worse scenarios, those that hunts you throughout the whole training. And each sign of him getting better, was a huge relief to our hearts, silencing the fear for a second. Short second, as in those short moments we could feel that Fear just went outside to grasp some fresh air so it can come back stronger.

 After a while Szymon started to feel bad and vomit, this caused anxiety in us. We started to worry that this will lead to something serious. I had visions how chemo is ruining his body from inside. That he will stop eating soon, stop feeling well, lose weight. Luckily this was just a small episode during the injection and it stopped right after it was over. Nevertheless these are those small things, which are blown out of proportion, as they are new to you, and it is well known that fear goes well in pair with the unknown. There were already many reasons for fear to come and sit next to us, like the fact that he was grabbing his feet saying that it hurts, or the fact that bump on his head was not getting smaller, as you hope to be after few days. Fear just loved those worries as it could feed on them, grow and get stronger. We knew it will not be easy to chase it away. Due to one main worry fear will never be gone-will we manage to sabotage Szymon’s flight to heaven? And this worry is so enormous, it is giving fear enough food, that no matter what happens, it will survive. Will not go away for long, you just put it to sleep for a while. Fear sleeps while you have all those happy moment during the training. Those moment where you have your child back to play with him, spend time like you used to, give him whole you, knowing that life is short. Those quick moments, where you try to forget that your life will never be the same.

 This round of chemo was scheduled for 2 days and once it was over Szymon started to feel better. Our captain was saying that this is due to chemo, while we knew that he is finally going back to normal. Once they finished all the tests, where in most cases he needed to be put to sleep due to his young age, he finally had a bit of rest and we could see so awaited smile coming back on his face. He was loud again, full of energy, he was again the child that we knew so well. This helped us to chase away Fear, giving us small relief from it. It was that moment where we started our battle with fear, where Szymon’s condition was a key in gaining grounds. His good days were our moment of rest and bad days were a struggle not to let fear take full control of us.

 After few days passed we even managed to go outside the facility and spend some time on the playground. Now he was keener to walk and tests those slides, swings, than couple of days back, where he did not have much strength to do so. Now he did not look back at the stroller where previously he preferred it over walking. For a short while we could rest and gather our strength for next round.

“Thank you for choosing our flight, the temperature outside is 100 degrees Celsius and local time is midnight. I hope you will have a pleasant stay in hell”

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