The sun is only hinting pink when I feel another presence on the edge of the living room. This is what he does, my early-rising boy… He wakes before it’s light, tip-toes out to wherever a parent can be found, and stands quietly, thumb in mouth, waiting for someone to see him and call him into the light.
Still rumpled and rosy from sleep, mismatched in his Lightning McQueen bottoms and a shirt that announces “I fight cancer. What’s your superpower?”, he jumps onto the couch and snuggles close. His talk turns to the subject that has been plaguing him for about a week now: the upcoming MRI.
The questions come as they do every day; several times a day: …When is my MRI? Will there be ‘beeping’? Will I have a needle? Can I eat? Who will go with me? Will you come back to me?… They come with heartbreaking regularity and the answers are always the same. In a life that’s anything but predictable, he can at least rely on the same answers to these small questions that are so very big to him.
In a day, he’ll wait in pre-op for almost two hours after having gone nearly half a day without food or drink. They’ll lull him and then hold a mask over his face while he lays on the threshold of the machine with no parents in sight to say “It’s okay, sweet boy.” And while he sleeps, they’ll put a needle in his arm to keep him hydrated and inject dyes and he’ll be in the machine for nearly two hours – the only blessing: he’ll be mercifully unconscious.
You hear from me on this subject early and often, and in the last part of the last year, it was often-er than not. My words hardly change…we can’t, we must, we wonder, we shouldn’t, God is good. Always.
So today, hear Chase. He’s about 24 hours away from a big MRI and he’s scared. He also wasn’t sold on the idea of a video until I promised him that he could hold his father’s tape measure. This is what the early morning and late nights look like…the twisting mouth, the working to remember words, the thinking about mosquito bite scars on top of his skin rather than the potential of cancer growing under it. He’s part boy, part wise far beyond his years, part broken by his treatment and tumor…and he’s all Chase.
Moment by moment.
*Note: His last words are “I want Mrs. Schneider to pray for me.” That is the name of a dear friend who -because Bob needs to work tomorrow- will be accompanying us to the hospital so that I don’t have to be alone on MRI day. Chase knows that while we can’t be with him, Janet and I will be praying for him in the waiting room while he’s in the MRI.