I hate to be a downer this close to the holidays, but I am having some pretty epic anger at the world right now, so the multiple attempts to write about something more lighthearted have been non-starters. I’m going to make a blanket statement here – it is not fair when little kids get seriously ill.
We found out a few weeks ago that one of my oldest and dearest friend’s 6-year-old daughter had a brain tumor. A nearly lime-sized brain tumor. Benign or malignant, it wouldn’t be known until after the surgery to remove it. Under the care of the foremost child’s neurosurgeon on the West Coast (thank goodness for good health care) at Children’s Hospital Oakland, she underwent a 14 hour surgery to remove the mass. The surgery went as well a brain surgery could possibly go thanks to an amazing medical team.
There were many concerns about the aftermath of the procedure. Would she be able to talk? Move? It was all up in the air. Thankfully, when she woke up, she could talk, and she was PISSED. Mad at whoever she thought could have possibly been responsible for how she was feeling, for the pain she was in. Mad that they couldn’t make it go away, mad that because of the required immobilization after the surgery her parents couldn’t even pick her up and hold her, hug her, offer some comfort in the most confusing and painful time of her life.
But she is a strong girl. She stayed in her hospital bed listening to music, watching videos, and a few days later, drawing a thank you card to everyone for all the things they had sent. She asked her dad to post a picture of her on the website they have to keep people updated with what she calls her “sock head,” the bandaging around the incisions. She asked her dad to take some of the things people brought her home because “she didn’t plan on staying in this place very long.” She kept making all this positive progress, so we all breathed a sigh of relief and foolishly pushed the thoughts of the impending pathology tests results to the back of our minds. She was doing so well, she was still such a positive little love bug in spite of all this shit, she had already been through so much, too fucking much, that it was enough and everything would be fine.
Except it’s not. It’s not fucking fine. The tests came back yesterday and the tumor was malignant. What she has already gone through is nothing compared to what’s coming. They are starting at least a year of aggressive chemo and radiation in January. Of the three types of medulloblastoma she could have, she has the worst. It’s not fucking fine and it’s not fucking fair.
It’s not fair that a little girl is sitting in a hospital bed right now while murderers and rapists and assholes walk the streets. It’s not fair that she is going to have to endure months and months of painful, draining, and life-altering radiation when she should be playing soccer and climbing the jungle gym at recess. It’s not fair for her to have to go through this pain when she isn’t even old enough to understand how or why it needs to be done. It’s not fair that this is happening to a wonderful family that has been handed too many hardships over the past few years, more than their fair share, even before this diagnosis.
So, my Persephone friends, I have a favor to ask. If y’all wouldn’t mind sending some positive vibes their way, I would be super grateful. Thoughts, prayers, hippie pyramid power, lighting a candle to Zeus, anything and everything would be much, much appreciated. I can’t even imagine how my friends are feeling inside right now, and the level of helplessness we are all experiencing is so frustrating I want to scream. But knowing there are people out there who might take a minute to send some positive energy, Stephanie and her family would be freaking awesome.