More puzzling, however, was how she was last night. Awake much of the night, she was good natured, talkative and sometimes even giggly. John and I have talked to the doctors about how much better she seems in the middle of the night and they don’t really have any explanation for it. I did read that a side effect of the steroids is hypersensitivity to light, sound and motion, so perhaps the dark, quiet of the night is soothing. For whatever reason, though, if you want to see the old Tanner, stop by at 3 a.m. We’ll be awake, chatting about any number of things.
Most often, she talks about food at night (another one of the side effects listed for steroids is food obsession). She’ll wake up talking about how John promised her a McGriddle and those “big tater tots” (aka hashbrowns) the next morning. Or asking why, for the 100th time, she is not allowed to eat cheese popcorn (because the kernels can cause scratches in the intestines, which if you have a low platelet count, can cause internal bleeding). She will often ask for food, and after I explain how I’m not cooking in the middle of the night, will settle for cheese nips or pretzel sticks. Tonight, she actually ordered up her nighttime food before she fell asleep (cheetohs) and warned us not to eat them all while she was sleeping. Anyway, these conversations are usually very funny (unless it’s the 6th time she’s woken you out of sleep to talk that night) and remind us our child has a huge, bubbly personality that is contagious.
Other nights, the questions are deeper. This is when you find out what Tanner is really thinking about when she lays awake at night. The other night, she asked me, “Mom, will I have still have cancer when I’m in the first grade?” I try to be honest, but gentle in my responses, not telling her more than she needs to know, but not lying either. Most often, the questions are about losing her hair, which so far is as thick and beautiful as ever. “Mom, do you think there is hair on my pillow right now?” “When will my hair fall out?” “Will my hair grow back in time for school to start?”
She told me today that it is embarrassing to have leukemia because people know your hair will fall out. I almost wish hers would go ahead and come out so we could just get this part over with. How do you explain to a five-year-old that losing her hair will not change who she is, or make people love her any less? I think the anticipation will be so much worse than the event itself. Of course, it’s not me losing my hair, so what do I know?
Anyway, her nighttime antics, although amusing at times, can also be exhausting. After she realized I would not talk with her anymore last night at around 4 am, she actually started talking to the dog. That’s where my patience ended. This morning she told John, “Mom yelled at me last night.” Busted. She prefers it when John sleeps up there because apparently he’s more chatty at 2 am than I am.
I didn’t let her sleep as much during the day today in hopes that she would sleep better tonight. I think I would miss the “night owl” Tanner, though if she disappeared entirely., though. It’s like turning back the clock before all this happened and hanging with my silly, sassy girl.