Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When Ari lost his hair, I envisioned the looks of sadness and pity that strangers would give me.  I thought they'd stare at my little boy and wonder what was wrong.  I even figured a kid or two would ask him why he didn't have hair. 

And I was right.

To be honest, I can't blame people.  It is sad.

But most days, Ari feels good.  He plays and sings and laughs and acts like a healthy normal little boy.  But his hair, or lack thereof, makes it hard for me to pretend he's just like everyone else.  When he's wearing a hat, nobody pays attention to us.  When the hat comes off, it's, well, a pity party.  I try to ignore them, but it seems that time doesn't make it any easier when I see the sad eyes and sorry looks.  I know it's silly and I know I should focus on the fact that he's bravely fighting cancer and that his baldness is a source of pride for us that he's out of the hospital and in remission.  But whatever.  I want his hair to grow back.

The docs said it wouldn't happen for at least 6 more months.  So I don't want to jinx it, but, Ari looks like day 3 of a watered chia pet.  He has sprouted!  All over his smooth round head are tiny little blond hairs.  So light, they are barely visible, but up close or in the sunlight it's clear his hair is growing out of every little follicle on his scalp.  I'm giddy.  (Look closely...)

For all I know, it will fall out again next week.  Or, maybe, it will continue to grow, and one day soon his head will look a little like my legs these days.  But blonder. (Sorry Matt.)

Either way, this new growth, which the oncologists said wasn't yet possible, is exactly what the doctor ordered.  I needed a reminder that things would one day go back to normal. 

And the tiny fuzzy hairs did it for me.  Let's hope this is perm-anent.

We are at the tail end of a steroid course and the last few weeks have been pretty tough.  He's been slow to recover from the chemo which has increased the number of clinic visits and visiting nurse appointments.  Luckily, when he spiked a fever last week and ended up in the ER, his counts were high enough not to be admitted, but it was another reminder of how not-so-easy this process can be.  Ari is about 35% of the way through his two years of treatment.  It's been the longest 8 months of my life.  Yet, I can't believe it's already been 8 months!  We still have another 16 months (with or without hair) and then, fingers crossed, Ari will be chemo-free for the rest of his very long life.

His foods of choice this steroid week?  String cheese and thin white crackers (the expensive kind from the gourmet cheese display.  Saltines wouldn't do.)  He has his final dose of 'roids tonight and he is about to finish pack #4 of Frigo cheese sticks.  (Thank goodness he's not lactose intolerant like some other members of his immediate family.)

I'm going to try to blog more often.  I feel guilty that I don't write about sweet little Alison (the easiest baby in the world!) or about Ari's hilarious antics.  But since both kids are napping, I think I may try to close my eyes for a few minutes.  Ok, you're right.  I'm going to watch Top Chef.  Or Kim and Kourtney...


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