"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day +3: "Chemo is serious stuff!"

Today is day +3.  The effects of the 11 days of high dose intensive chemo are really starting to take it's toll.  Nearly every side effect that we were warned about started hitting at once.  I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it...it's not pretty, but I'm also not going to go into all the unpleasant details (it isn't necessary).  And Rowan, is Rowan anyway.  He is taking it all like a champ.  First of all he said, "I guess I'd rather have it all hit at once, instead of one starting each day."  I told him that was a great way to look at things.

Tonight as I walked him down the hall to the tub room, he told me that the back of his head was hurting.  The nurse looked at his scalp and told me that maybe he was about to start losing his hair.  Rowan didn't seem to pay much attention.  We approached the shower room, saw that it was ready for us, and went in...

Then, while in the tub Rowan kind of spit a few times and said, "Mom, is one of your hairs on my mouth?"  I knew it wasn't mine, but I didn't say anything yet.  Then, when he got out of the tub and I towel dried his hair, he realized himself what was happening.  Little red hairs fell all around his face, came off on the towel, and drifted to the ground.  I wondered if it would make him sad.  I mean, he knew it was coming, he expected it, but would it be different when it actually happened?  He ran his own tiny hand through his hair, and looked at all the hair in his open palm. 

Then he moved closer to the mirror.  He picked the loose hairs off of his face, looked at his hair for a long moment, and eventually...he smiled. 

I asked if he was ok, and he answered, "Yeah, I mean all my friends went through this part, I can too.  And I've been bald before."

However, when we bent over to pick up the wet towels and wash cloths, to throw them in the hamper, he noticed little piles of his red hair on the floor in several different spots. 

It was then that he looked like he was going to cry.  I said, "Rowan, it's ok.  You look great with hair or without it."  He said, "No, it's not that.  I just feel so bad.  They just cleaned this room.  Now my hair is all over it and they'll have to clean it again."

I was stunned.

He was not sad about going bald.  He felt bad for housekeeping, having to clean up after him, as he lost his hair.  Unreal, how compassionate and selfless this kid is.  I reassured him that they had to re-clean the tub room after every patient anyway, so it didn't change the work load for anyone.  That seemed to make him feel better, and we made our way back to his room, after flipping the sign on the door...

Once in bed, we did what we've done every night so far, we each wrote in his "One Day at a Time" journal.  I write a short paragraph, documenting what happened that day, and he typically has just written a single sentence at the bottom of the page, saying how he feels that day.  Here is his entry from tonight, complete with a little picture...of him with his hair falling out. 

So poignant.

I started this journal with him when he first got admitted for transplant.  I wanted him to be able to look back at it post-transplant, for years to come, and remember all the he endured, all that he overcame.  I now realize that I will look back at it too though, and I know my heart will nearly burst with pride as I recall how this young child handled these difficult times, with such grace and maturity.

Yes, Chemo is serious stuff, Rowan.  But you are no-joke yourself either.

I love you son.

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