It's hard seeing Ania discouraged. It's hard seeing the rest of our family just exhausted as well. But we mustkeep trekking through these "woods" to the soon approaching clearing......
While we were there Ania asked me a very tough question. Through this entire battle, we've felt blessed that Ania was seemingly unaware about how her life was at risk. She has just excepted and trusted that mommy and daddy have to take her to the doctors to get rid of cancer. She never has had to face the fear of death that a cancer diagnosis brings. She asked me "Why do we have to make the cancer go away?" I thought about the question for a moment. Through all of this, we've been very honest with her- for example when we had to remove her eye, she was totally aware of what was about to happen and she excepted our answer that to get rid of cancer, removing her eye was something that had to be done. She's just never asked WHY cancer had to go away.... Until now. I kept my answer simple and in a way I hope she could understand without the words "die" or "death". I told her that we had to make the cancer go away because if we didn't, cancer could make Ania go away. I continued by assuring her that the cancer is almost gone and that's why we have just one more treatment and after this treatment, it will be gone and Ania will be all better - and that Ania is not going away. Heavy concept for a 4 year old.... Being faced with her own mortality....
She started to sob. I felt horrible that I had upset her but I just held her tightly and assured her everything was going to be ok. I reminded her that soon we will go camping and then she will know the cancer has gone. We held each other for a few minutes and cried together. I feel blessed that this question she had was asked only so close to the finish and that we can soon fulfill the promise of her wish to go on a camping trip as a sign of completion and as a sign of a new beginning for her. This fall she will resume as much of a normal life as most four year olds- despite a few extra doctor exams, routine bloodwork, MRIs, her prosthetic eye, and her eventual port removal surgery.
Despite the fevers, she had a few moments of fun and creativity while in the hospital. She handed out two sets of wings to other children. That is something she loves to do and we will certainly continue to do once she is cancer free. She also finished one painting and started another.
A Grasshopper- always jumping forward and never backwards! Keep leaping forward my girl :)
She is feeling much better that we are home and we've been talking lots about her future with her, including the camping trip, preschool and her very exciting Make-A-Wish in the works (stay tuned!). If we keep talking about life outside these "woods," I think she will remain strong and not be fearful. Life outside of the hospital is fast approaching!
Erica ( and Ania!)