I just waved goodbye to Henry as his father drove him to the hospital for his last chemo admission. If we are very very lucky, this could be the last one, the last terrible thing we have to do to his little body.
We have been so lucky with his response to chemotherapy so far. But he will not emerge unscathed, even with the best of luck. The doses that he is getting of carboplatin this round will damage his hearing enough that he will require a hearing aid for the rest of his life.
His balance improves all the time, but is far from normal. He can now get up from sitting to standing without holding on to furniture, but I don't think that he could with his eyes closed. I see him use visual cues to keep his body upright. He is running and jumping now, but when standing next to another kid his age he looks frail, uncoordinated, unsteady.
His left eye remains out of alignment from the right. People tell me they don't see it, but I do. I can see that his brain is suppressing it's signal, and he uses only his right eye to see. This may be rectifiable, and we plan on addressing it once chemo is over.
There are so many families who have lost children to this. We may yet join them, and I feel horribly guilty to be anything less than thankful for the success that we have had so far. But some days when I look at him, his body is already so broken that it kills me. Cancer can be a private thing. No one call tell if you are a breast cancer survivor, unless you tell them.
But this damn thing will be written all over him for the rest of his life.
When we are talking, playing, laughing together, it's just Henry I see. But when he's trying to run through the yard, I see the cancer trying to trip him. It laughs in his ear so he can't hear the birds singing. It stands in the way so he can't see the beautiful nuances around him.
My baby is broken.