Published: Wednesday, October 07, 2015 10:54 AM
Written by Katie Tyson
“One day this will all just be a box you check on his past medical history form.”
It was said to be encouraging. It was said to bring solace. It was said to plug the cavernous hole in my heart with hope. And in those first hazy days after Callen’s diagnosis, it did just that: reminded me that there could be a “one day”, that there might be an “after” life that was longer than his brief four and a half year “before cancer” life. Plus, being a habitual list-maker, the mental image of one day checking off the cancer box as DONE held a certain (admittedly naïve and completely ludicrous) appeal.
But with very little time and a whole lot of experience, it changed. With every stick, push, pill, tap and drip he endured, the echo of those words haunted me. As I watched Callen and his friends mortgage everything from their hair to their fertility for a chance to put cancer in the past, those words – initially a source of comfort – began to really piss me off. This wasn’t “just” anything, in any sense of the word: it wasn’t fair and it certainly wasn’t simple. And as we witnessed one precious child after another progress, relapse or succumb to the disease or its after effects, it became clear cancer would never be relegated entirely to his past.
And then came the moment I filled out his first health history form. April 16, 2015: Kindergarten pre-registration.
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