But, after running away for a walk and trip to the grocery with my friend Kim while John handled dinner and bed for the kids, I returned home to find a picture that Tanner had drawn for Jake to try to explain leukemia to him. John said she told Jake, “Tata has cancer, it’s called Leukemia and it makes me lose my hair. Daddy, get me a piece of paper so I can draw it.” She then wrote the word “loocemea” (I might spell it that way from now on!) and drew two pictures of herself. She said, “This is Tata with no hair and frowning.” Then she pointed to the other picture. “This is Tata with hair. See, I’m smiling.” John said she was animated and happy telling him about it, and that then they talked about how the leukemia would go away and her hair would grow back, and she said, “Oh yeah, Jake, I forgot about that part!”
Of course, I bawled. It would be the second time today. The first time was out of frustration and anger at what these drugs and this evil disease is doing to my kid. The second time was because I realized that she is actually processing what is happening to her and that she understands it and is able to articulate it. That means she could be just steps away from wanting to kick it’s ass.
She and I read this awesome book today called “Chemo to the Rescue” (thanks, Ashley). It was written by a mom and her 8-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5 and wanted kids to know that chemo helps them. It was a great explanation of the disease done in a way kids could understand, without glossing over it with analogies. It actually explained what is happening inside her body. She was fascinated, and it allowed us to talk about some things we haven’t talked about. It was a good moment in an otherwise trying day.
So, look out loocemea… Tanner Page is armed with knowledge and on the loose.