And here we are again, on the threshold of another MRI scan. It's hard to describe the feelings that go with this one. With this last passage of time, we've had some "normality." Jasmine has started school, she's engaged in activities, she's slowly unfurling her wings and taking some tentative steps back towards what a little girl's life should include - play dates at friend's houses, games of tag, tickle fights with her big brother, energy enough for some good arguments. I see her sometimes skipping across the classroom, just a few steps, and a shy, short wave to me at the window before she begins her school day and I breathe again and think, "yes, it will all be alright"
Then there are the other times when she still can't bear to eat, and she feels nauseated beyond belief, when she curls up fetal position on the sofa to watch a favourite show on t.v because she's just too dog tired from just the business of being alive and breathing. Her appetite still eludes her and every day I have to encourage her to eat something - and have to be content for small victories when a few mouthfuls have been eaten. It's hard. I used to firmly believe that children will not starve themselves, but now I'm not so sure. When food tastes so wrong and the desire to eat simply isn't there, sometimes I think she would just waste away without me forcing her to attempt a few bites. And here we are in the abundant western world where food is plentiful, yet a child loses weight so dramatically through lack of nourishment.
All that said, I have to admit a huge improvement in Jasmine. At times she is animated and bright and full of laughter and smiles as she reports something from her day. The difference is as marked as night and day to a few short months ago. A huge psychological leap for us all was the VAD was finally removed a couple of weeks ago. She is proudly sporting the stitches where her port used to sit and can't wait to indulge in rolling down hills, bouncing on trampolines with friends and playing "dead zombie" whatever in the world that is and get back to being a 6 year old girl. Life is good - LIFE is good - all the time. It is just this broken world with all its sickness, disease, pain and sorrow that is not so good - but even amongst all that, this world is beautiful.
So the next MRI is just a few short days away. We have come to not expect anything in this journey. Two or three days of rogue headaches for Jasmine a week or so ago mean we don't enter in to this with any such thing as quiet confidence and I wonder if I will always feel this sick about her MRI scans that follow. I know I am ecstatic to have my daughter with me this day. I know I also worry about whether the cancer will return. I can only add that my experience of my child having cancer is like always being aware of my shadow, and just as your shadow fluctuates in size depending on the time and position of the sun, so does the cancer shadow that is snapping at my heels. Some times it looms so large that it seems there is no light. Sometimes I'm full facing it and can't see the light, other times, it's just there in my peripheral and sometimes I'm just so bathed centrally in that warm and beautiful light that my shadow is full crushed under my feet - I might know it's there but it's in it's place. So I guess, moving forward, I just need to keep my eyes focused on the light and steadfastly move towards cure, praying and believing for a brighter future.