“I made this for you.”
She handed me a piece of gray construction paper cut into the shape of an elephant.
“Are you trying to tell me something?”
She didn’t get the joke. Instead, she smiled and pointed out the lovely purple border she’d hand drawn, and the glittering stars she had affixed to its back.
“I made it for you, my lovely, Daddy … but one of its eyes fell off. I have to glue it back on when I find it.”
I looked down at the one-eyed elephant and felt kind of bubbly inside. Jeanette tells me that Jordan deliberately went back to the play room at Childrens Hospital to fetch this heart-felt piece of craft work. When she found the play room closed, she insisted that an aid open it up so she could get the art she made for her Dad. And people wonder why I am so smitten!
Jordan is about to start a new course of treatment: radiation. For the next five weeks she will report to CHLA five days a week for a two-minute dose of focused radiation. It will be supplemented with an oral chemotherapy regimen–a drug she has had before. We expect minimal side effects, and we hope that the focused stream of particles to be beamed into her spine free her of the latest insurgence by the disease. We did have a bit of good news today. After 16 months, the tumor in her brain appears dormant. It’s only the 1 inch mass in her spine that’s challenging us now–that and the shift in anti-seizure meds.
She’s had some nasty seizures over the last couple of weeks. It is to be expected, but the sudden increase troubles her and it’s certainly hard for us to watch. She had one Sunday. She felt it coming. When she told me, I had to remind her to sit down. When she sat, it was as if a switch in her brain flipped. She let herself go and I watched her slip away from me. Her body twitched but her eyes looked straight ahead. Her pupils widened until it seemed all her eyes were black. When I spoke to her, there was only the faintest bit of acknowledgment that I was there, and honestly, I probably imagined it. I held her hand, stroked her hair and spoke quietly to her as her right side spasmed. As usual, when she finally returned to us, she was exhausted. She napped for a few hours, and when she awoke she had no recollection of the seizure. I hope one day her memory is as absent when she is asked to recall all that she has been through with cancer.