Much to Ellie’s dismay, my hair all fell out. She’s told me so many times that my “pretty auburn hair” brought out the green in my eyes. All I can do is laugh at her.
I came home four days ago and just now I’m starting to get around the house. I lost a lot of weight since I left . . . in July. It seems like such a long time ago. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things.
And when I got home . . . wow. I’m not really sure what I expected, but it was definitely not a party.
That took the energy right out of me. The whole town (or a great majority of it) turned out for it. It seemed like Brad and Eliot had spread the word as quickly as possible.
My church even started a prayer group for me and had a weekly prayer vigil every Saturday.
So much has happened since I left. It’s so different. I have so many new stories to tell. Only one for now, I guess. (Ellie has appointed herself as my personal caretaker. She has given me orders to be in bed at 9 p.m. with lights out at 9:30. Haha, silly girl.)
I met a boy named David. He’s seven-years-old and loves to play with dinosaurs and Spiderman action figures. And he was also diagnosed with AML type M5. He’s had it since he was three.
I only knew him for a few days, though. After I got to the hospital, mom left right after I got settled in my room and Ellie had to go with her. She cried and clung to me like it was the last time she’d see me. I managed to smile for her.
The next day, I woke to find a little boy standing at the foot of my bed, head tilted to one side and a brontosaurus clutched in one fist.
“I am David.”
I sat up and started to get out of bed.
“You don’t have to get up. I needed to say hi.” He paused and held up his dinosaur. “And Bruno wants to know your name.”
“Well, David. You’ll have to tell Bruno that my name is Jove.” I smiled and nodded at Bruno. “You have any other cool dinosaurs?”
A smile tugged at his lips. “Yes. You want to see them?”
So it began. The next few days, I was his buddy. He chattered to me about almost everything. But his favorite thing to talk about was how he loved the Green Goblin. Since I’d never seen the movie or really read any comics about Spiderman, all I could do was nod and act like I knew what he was talking about.
And, always, when he was done talking, he would demand I play Jurassic Park with him and Bruno. What could I do but agree? But it was getting harder to play with him and actually pay attention.
Since the chemo treatments had started the day I’d arrived, the pain and nausea was getting harder to deal with.
So the first day I had to stay in bed, he came in and sat beside my bed in silence, as though he knew what was going on.
“How bad is it,” he finally asked.
“Not very,” I muttered, trying to keep the queasiness in my stomach at bay.
He stuck his tongue out at me. “Bullpoopy.”
I started to laugh, but had to bolt for the bathroom instead. When I got back and fell on top of the covers, he stuck his tongue out again. “See? Bullpoopy.”
All I could do was shake my head in exhaustion. “Hey man . . . I think I just need to sleep.”
The look on his face nearly crushed me.
“Is that okay, David?”
He sighed from the very bottom of his heart. “I guess so.”
The next morning I woke up to find Bruno on my bedside table and thought I’d better return it before a really cranky and tired kid came storming down the hall because he forgot his best friend.
So I went to his room and knocked. There was no answer. I knocked again. Still nothing.
All I could think about was the 31 percent. He’d already lived four years with the same cancer. No way he’d die now!
Just as I was about to fall into an emotional wreck right in the middle of the hall, a nurse came by.
“Jove? What are you doing?”
“Erm. Just trying to give this back to David.” I held up Bruno.
She stared at me for a moment. “He didn’t tell you yesterday?”
“Tell me what . . . ?”
“He was scheduled to go home today. He went into remission a week ago.”
I nearly jumped for joy right in front of her. But I hurried back to my room and threw up before I could do much of anything. Then I opened one of the windows and stuck my head out, yelling,
“Thank you, God!”
Chemo does funny things, I tell ya.
But, really. I was nearly ecstatic when I found out. He was so frail and such a bright little guy. I couldn’t bear to think that a little child had something as horrible as what I have.
That night, I found a large sheet of yellow construction paper with red permanent marker scrawled across the front in the first drawer of the bedside table. In large, carefully printed words was a note.
Thank you, Jove. Bruno said he wanted to stay with you. I hope you love him as much as I love you.
I cried. The nurse told me to sleep.
I couldn’t. So I watched “I Love Lucy” DVDs all night.