Thursday, October 4, 2007

Autumn Reflection

I was born a Navy Brat. As such I have many memories traveling in a car. In particular, I remember road trips, annual vacations to visit aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. Most of our trips took place at night, they began in autumn-like weather and ended with my brother and I waking up to a blanket of snow as we felt the rhythm of the car shift from the constant hum of the highway, to the stop and go bustle of the city. The inevitable answer to the childhood cliche, 'are we there yet?'.

Every so often, when on a long stretch of road lined by rows of trees, the urge to journey will tickle my impulse. Especially when my father lived in Virginia. I can remember many last minute trips that spawned from that yearning.

Last Thursday, under the cover of darkness, we loaded Josh in the car for the two and a half hour trip to Pittsburgh. As we pulled on the highway and I seen my first green guide sign, reflecting in the headlights of the blazer, I realized my sentiment for travel has been tainted over the past two years.

Now, my thoughts go to the day before Joshua was diagnosed. That first two hour trip full of questions of the unknown. Now, the memories are replaced with spinal taps and IV drips. But despite the miles logged on the odometer, I still harbor a few good memories. Josh memorized many nursery rhyme songs to the same hum of the tires I listened to 30 years earlier.

This month’s visit was most like all others. It was a spinal visit. He had a new LP team, which didn’t phase Josh in the least. He has grown into the most personable little man over the years. Already. Now that he is five, he was impressed that he graduated to the “big boy bed” as they pushed him to the IR in it. I was inspired as the nurses accessed his port this month and nary a sound escaped his lips as the needle broke though his skin. It was a bitter sweet moment. Blessed for the day he no longer agonizes over the anticipation but wrought over the thought of him learning it.

Josh has a simple pimple-like sore on his lip this month. Maybe a very small canker sore. Just when our routine seems so regular that, aside from the nightly meds and familiar doctor’s visits, it is sometimes easy to forget that we are still battling cancer. Something as small as a pin-head-sized mouth sore can yank you back to reality. I never gave it a second thought. But two different doctors had to examine it, a nurse was sent to culture it and he was sent home on an additional antibiotic to add to his medicinal artillery. Not that it phased Josh, he was just eager to be released so that he could finally eat for the day.

On our way home, now in the warmth of the sun magnifying through the windshield, I notice the leaves on the trees once again morphing to their fire-like scape, preparing for their fateful decent to the earth. And I realize…

This is the last year I shall witness this magical mutation while Josh is on treatment. This time next year Josh will experience his own transformation.

Living his life as a normal 6 year old boy.

No comments: