It seemed barbaric to me to have surgery, then immediately be admitted to start another round of chemo, but it had to be done. I asked more than once: is this safe? Isn’t this too much? But we had to keep our momentum.
As he finished this three-week round of chemo and recovery, his hair and eyebrows were a thing of the past. His energy hadn’t fully returned, either. Over the past week we’d been to clinic for two separate blood transfusions and also a platelet transfusion.
Long, long days.
I knew the following week we were going to be admitted again for round 5, Cisplatin (Cispukin’!), and it was weighing heavily on me. I DIDN’T WANT TO PUT HIM THROUGH ANYTHING ELSE. You just want to put your foot down and push all the doctors away and tell them that’s enough. With Neuroblastoma, you just can’t cut any corners.
With Jackson finally “tanked up,” we decided to go have some fun and go strawberry picking with my sister, her new fiance Eric and our little family. It was much needed.
With everyone having a good time, enjoying the beautiful weather and competing to see who could pick the most, I hung back to get some pictures. It was then that Jackson turned to look for me, his constant companion, and his eyes hadn’t found me yet.
Seeing the look on his face, I put the camera down and went to him.
Cancer actually gives you a gift of clarity. What matters (Jackson) becomes your entire world, and what doesn’t (money, jobs, what’s on TV, petty arguments, getting a good shot) might as well never have existed.
In that moment, it wasn’t about pictures or picking big strawberries. It was about making sure that little boy right there in the middle, who had been through so much, knew his daddy was in front and his momma was there behind him. He could always find us.
In his fleeting one-year-old moments of uncertainty, in the dark of the night, in an unfamiliar bed or in the middle of a strawberry field on a gorgeous Spring day, we were there.
We couldn’t do this for him, but we were THERE.