January 19, 2010
“She is functioning completely normally for a six-year-old girl.”
Wow! I had thought Tanner’s physical strength had improved tremendously over the past month, but never dreamed the physical therapist would say she doesn’t need any therapy. She actually said she was looking for ways to challenge Tanner because her coordination, balance and strength were so good.
You really don’t have any idea how relieved I am. Not just because she didn’t need therapy, but because there is a part of me that has wondered in my darkest place, whether Tanner would ever be physically strong, the way she was before, again. There are so many potential long-term side effects to the medications that Tanner is taking. I don’t worry about them in the front of my mind; they are buried somewhere deep in the place I just can’t go. It’s too much to try to worry about what could happen; what does happen is tough enough to stomach. But, I personally know kids who have avascular necrosis (bone death) and mental processing problems due to the chemo, so I’m certainly aware of the potential problems. There’s also long-term metabolism issues, long term nerve damage, etc., etc., etc.
So, to remove one worry from the dark place makes a little more room for light and hope.
Tanner is strong. Her muscle tone is returning to her legs and arms. She no longer looks like she belongs in an ad for a starving child in a faraway country. She can skip and hop on one leg, walk on a balance beam backwards and do a sit up from upside down. Amazing. It’s wonderful not to think of her as being so fragile.
I have a hard time looking at other kids sometimes without feeling somewhat resentful. They are athletic and bouncy. They have a glow about them and color to their skin. It’s been hard to believe that Tanner would ever look like that again. She still has a way to go. She’s still very pale and low on stamina; I suspect she’ll be that way until August 6, 2011, when this journey will come to an end. But, she no longer looks sickly. And, that’s a relief.
Normal for a six-year-old child. Music to my ears.