Yesterday I saw one of my pediatric patients, who was close to Henry's age at diagnosis.
He's had rough month illness-wise, and enough unusual symptoms that my doctor-skin-on-the-back-of-my-neck is prickled. Just enough to start wondering if he has cancer.
I think about cancer all the time in my patients, but it doesn't come up often in my pediatric group. Any good doctor should. Sometimes I mention it, sometimes I don't, depending on how much I'm worried, or how much I perceive my patient to be worried. I remember one older boy, just as Henry finished treatment. He wasn't my patient, I just happened to get involved in his care one day due to his regular physician being out. And I very quickly extracted myself from the situation. I found myself nauseated every time I saw his chart. He turned out to be fine.
This little boy is mine, though, and I know his mom well. I didn't mention the "C" word yesterday; I couldn't tell if it was on her mind, but she is a bright woman so it probably was.
In an eerie coincidence, she had just shaved his head. He so reminded me of all the little children just regrowing their hair. It certainly contributed to my unease.
I had flash memories of Hopkins the rest of the day.