The Good: Pace had an awesome visit for his treatment on Monday. Really good numbers, Doctor was very encouraged with how Pace is responding to treatment, and there was a visit from a therapy dog.
The Bad: He also got knocked out cold again, either because he was sassing his mother or because they had to stick a needle in his back to treat his spinal fluid. But he woke up fast! Which, I don’t know, I think I’d prefer to stay out cold awhile, but Wendy was excited he was up so quick. But she’s a morning person.
The Ugly: The sticky stuff. It’s the worst. You could literally bind a wing to a 767 with the sticky stuff. It took 40 minutes to take off this time. It’s pretty much like if you dipped both hands in gorilla glue and then pressed them together really hard for five minutes, and then wrapped them in a roll of duct tape, and then tried to gently separate them. It’s the worst.
The Good News: Pace has one more treatment this phase, and then he gets two weeks off, and then he’s officially halfway done with this weekly visit stuff. Just four more months. Of course, the last four months have been so long it’s like watching Ghandi all day every day, but progress!
School starts August 23. His numbers are great. He gets to go. Word.
There will be times in the next phase, frighteningly called Delayed Intensification, that are gonna totally suck. Just totally. We are expecting this. He won’t go to school those times, and the remarkable people at his school are gonna help teach him at home when needed. However, in those times that only moderately suck and in those times that are actually pretty freaking good, Pace will be in school.
This is fantastic news for lots of reasons, but two seem most important. The first is that Payson is in Chinese immersion in school. Half of every single school day he is taught in Chinese by a teacher from China. Believe it or not, this is slightly difficult to replicate at home, mostly because we don’t speak Chinese, and we are not from China. I have been to China a couple times, but my only takeaway was I’m grateful for Pepto Bismol.
So the only way we know how to immerse Payson in Chinese outside of school is to go to Panda Express, and that’s one of the worst things to which you can expose someone with a compromised immune system, second only to the music of Bette Middler.
Anyway, Payson going back to school will keep him immersed, which is great news because then he can come home and act like he’s better than us when we try to help with homework and also ridicule us incessantly when we try to pronounce the name of his teacher. Blessings!
The second, more important reason we are happy about Payson going back to school is because he needs it. Back several decades ago when he was diagnosed, one of the first things we were told is that they know how to treat Leukemia, his health is gonna be fine, but how’s he going to come out of this as a human being?
We’ve thought so much about that. What’s this experience going to teach him about himself, about life? Will he become selfish and entitled, which is totally natural when everybody you meet cherishes you like they should cherish everybody they love? Will he get lazy, learn ways to shirk responsibility, and use not feeling well as an excuse? Will he be better or worse because of this?
It’s such a tricky thing, one of the reasons we feel like first time parents. Like, sometimes he really doesn’t feel well. Sometimes, getting carried up the stairs is the only way to get him upstairs. Sometimes he watches the siblings do their chores from the couch.
But we think that maybe one of the reasons he’s doing well in his treatments is because his life is pretty normal. He’s had, for a bald kid, a pretty normal summer. He’s just living his life, a normal kid, every day. We know he’s feeling good because this is how he acts doing chores:
He’s the youngest, so he’s always spoiled, but it feels good to tell him no. It feels so good to tell him no, just like normal. Weird.
So anyway, school feels like normal. It will hopefully continue this idea for him that this is life, and there aren’t any special rules. Garbage happens, sticky stuff is sticky, and that doesn’t mean you get to call timeout. Keep on trucking.
Payson isn’t special. I mean, he’s remarkably special, but he isn’t special. This nonsense can happen to anyone. Having a disease like this doesn’t make him special, and we don’t want him to think he’s special because of Leukemia.
Just like the rest of us, his character isnt formed in the ugly freaking sticky stuff moments or even in this broader pig kicking adventure. His character is formed in the choices he makes every single day. So what he learns and becomes through this thing, through normal every day experience and choice, now that can make him special.
In other news, I think the count for acts of kindness and charity we’ve received is somewhere in the zillions. We are surrounded by the best people in the history of humans. True to that, our amazing friend Holly is putting on an online auction for Payson on August 24th and 25th. She also bought Payson an amazing collection of pigs to kick:
All the auction stuff will be listed on Instagram (@letsauctionthispig) and people will bid using their phones. She’s got about 40 items lined up so far, but she’d love to have 100 or infinity or whatever. She’s looking for products and services and gift cards and vestibules and domiciles and accoutrements – really anything at all that people might want to bid on. So, if you’ve got something you want to donate, word up. Or if you’ve know businesses or whatever who might want to donate, word up.
There’s a page about the auction on this very website doohickey here: https://letskickthispig.com/auction/
As always, it’s weird asking for help. Meh. Thank you for the remarkable support and love we continue to receive every day.
And finally, I think Payson is discovering the true joys of baldness – having women attracted to your head, as a canvas, a beacon, a scratchpad, whatever. Attention is attention.
And also, hairpieces.