Still Makin’ Cancer Fun…

This was written 4/9/10 – Em is currently home & doing great!

So I’ve had 2 people tell me I make cancer fun. I am not sure if this is more out of shock and disbelief or out of sincere appreciation for my now full time job as childhood cancer fun maker.

Em was admitted to the ER today for puking (every 20 min since 2 am) and because she spiked a fever on the way over (101 admits her ~ she’s 104 right now sleeping as I type this).  She was lying in her little ER bed, miserable, puking, and shivering. I pulled out her stuffed animals. (BTW right now she is passing so much stinky gas I feel like I’m trying to breathe in a frat house ~ she would put most men to shame)

Anyway I start pulling her stuffed animals out of her clinic bag to show her who came with us. (Her clinic bag is this tiger striped backpack a volunteer organization gave her back in Dec when she was first diagnosed. They brought it filled with toys and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the girl who the organization is founded for…asking forgiveness from the generous family who suffered a loss that I now can’t remember….) So the clinic bag helps make coming back to the hospital “fun.” I fill it with toys and try to put in some secret new ones …and she doesn’t know what we’re bringing until she gets here…the idea is to find a way to amuse her in the ER or Clinic before we get checked into her room. Today though she was too sick to care.

Except when I pulled out our friends “the animals.  A My Little Pony had made the “cut” into the bag (thanks Julie S!), a cute giraffe was our new friend (couldn’t remember where he came from) and then there was Wilber! (Thanks Deb S!) I explained to Emily that as I was packing up her clinic bag all her stuffed animals were begging me to come. “Pick me! Pick me! No me!” they screamed from the big bin in the soon- to- be- play- room that is now currently referred to as the front- room which for too long has been the nothing- room.

“And then…” I said…”do you know what happened? Wilber jumped out of the toy bin and jumped into your clinic bag and wouldn’t let anyone else go! He said he was a “master cruiser” and it had been too long since he was at the hospital and he was going…and all the other animals were sooo jealous! THEY wanted to come

Now all this was explained with Wilber jumping and hoping all over her ER bed, frantic and exaggerated gestures on my part, and the ER RN setting up some kind of fluid.  I then assembled all the animals on the side of her bed, hooked over the edge, looking over at her.  Em, even in her pathetic ,sickly, pukey, stinky state found Wilber’s antics very amusing.  “You are one fun mom” the ER RN said to me. “Well,” I replied “what else can you do with cancer?”

This sediment was previously expressed by the Radiation Guy.  Em and I were in there one day last month …getting yet another CAT scan…with our zoo full of animals …and of course our animals are always crazy in the CAT scan room. Moose tries to sneak through the donut while no one is looking (I’m always having to pull him away from the machine), Pup or Wilber are always showing off how many times they’ve each been down for scans, or the rookie animal who is in awe of their “first time” in the radiation room is checking everything out!  I also am always of course, jealous that Emily gets to go in the donut and no matter how many times I ask they just never seem to let me! “No Fair!”I complain. And of course anything that is “No Fair” to Mom is automatically very funny & cool to a 3 year old. 

So upon our last visit to CAT the Radiation Guy…now known as Sean…also know as Sarah’s Husband and my 4th connection to TCH! (frigin’ small world!) says “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone make cancer as much fun as you two.”  Probably the biggest compliment since we’ve been here 🙂

I hope that when Emily looks back on this time in her life, she won’t remember the pokes, the 104 fever she has tonight as they come in every 30 min to monitor her and we’re still in wait mode to see if she’ll get transferred down to the PICU. She won’t remember that damn leg med or the fact that the hospital overlooked giving her a narcotic before replacing her nose tube on Monday and I was livid.  No, I hope she’ll hear the word “cancer” and instead of the feeling of dread most of us associate that word with she’ll think “hey that was fun…I cruised, I had parties, and I grossed my mom out daily. Cancer was cool.” And maybe, just maybe,  it will teach her to embrace all the pitfalls of life with laugher and silliness. And then again, after this, the kid deserves a break…I think she should get a pass on the “pitfalls of life”….hope you’re taking note up there Big Guy.