Day 14

Today was…hard.

Benjamin didn’t feel well most of the day. I know this is to be expected, but man, is it difficult to watch. He was tired, achy, and never satisfied in his belly. We didn’t take our dogs for their morning walk. We didn’t even complete our school work today. We just tried to bring comfort to an uncomfortable body, and an uncomfortable situation.

On the issue of hunger, we did strike a bit of a compromise. I told him I’d feed him several nice, filling meals per day, but the in-between snacking needed to be fruit or vegetable based. We worked together in the kitchen for most of the morning. He’d chop a while, then rest a while, then chop some more. We cut fresh fruit and veggies to put in the fridge so he’d have them at the ready. We prepared breakfast burritos for the freezer. He makes a mean hash.

Even still, very little did the trick to appease his steroid induced appetite. I’m reminded of the Indigo Girls’ classic line, “the darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable.” I sent an email to an online group I’ve joined for parents of children diagnosed with this kind of Leukemia. I was reassured by several that this is completely normal for the Induction Phase, and it won’t be like this for long. After reading some of the trials of some other families–like the little girl who would only eat bacon horseradish dip–I felt fortunate, once again.

There are so many sources of wisdom to learn from. Michael stopped by during his busy workday to bring Benji a smoothie, and me a book written by one of his clients. Her husband is living with leukemia and she wrote the book to help caregivers and families cope. I flipped open to a page in the middle and was instantly comforted.

While Benji napped in the early afternoon, I got a phone call that made my heart stop, along with hundreds of other parents in town. There had been a bomb threat at the boys’ elementary school. The message said that the students were safe and police had cleared the area; logically I knew it was most likely a hoax, but that call was just about all I could take. We parked at our friend’s house right across the street from the school, and were separated from the building by about a dozen police cars. When I finally saw Banyan, even though I already knew he was perfectly fine–I couldn’t hold back the tears. This parenting gig is not for the faint of heart. Banyan told us that as he was being evacuated he immediately started looking for Benji, and then remembered he wasn’t at school. Such good kids, these two.

Tomorrow morning will be our first outpatient clinic dose of chemotherapy. Benji knows what to expect, though his chief concern right now is that we find some salt and vinegar chips along the way. They’ll access his port, he’ll get vincristine and a blood draw and hopefully we’ll be home in the afternoon (though platelets are always a possibility). I’m hopeful that the medicine will go easy on him.

One day closer. One day at a time.

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