• Jasmine Mendiola

Unfounded Fears

Writing each entry feels like eternity to write. Gathering my thoughts on a normal basis is close to impossible and my former blogs were all just an outburst of emotions. I can’t begin to explain how and why I’m here in the first place. So forgive me if I don’t sound cohesive in most entries, but I do have a point at the end of a lengthy read!

I am floored by the out pour of support and love from everyone all over, I actually tried writing all the names of people who have expressed their heartfelt prayers for Mio’s recovery as if I were counting my blessings by posts. Thank God for Facebook and Blogger. At the same time, I know that even those I disagree with in rare instances are praying for my son. Just thinking of how this situation eradicates ill feelings for others bring joy to my heart. A tiny bit of it. It is joy nonetheless. Forgiveness. Grace. The things that I know God wa

nts us to live by. Not cancer and all the ugliness and pain it brings. That’s one thing I’d like to share if only to justify this thing Mio is going through.

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It’s five in the morning and I only have the light of the silent TV from over my head to illuminate my writing. My five-year old boy is behind me fast asleep. I am trying very hard not to grab a drink or a snack so I can join Mio in his fasting in preparation for his medication tomorrow. I forgot what it’s called but it’s the second of four medicines needed in the induction stage of his treatment. He can’t have anything through the mouth as the procedure will be done through his spine. He’ll be sedated if I’m not mistaken, that’s why.

I tried to put him to bed at 10pm so he can be up minus the crankiness at 8am the following morning (he’s just human, he gets cranky in the morning. Either that or the chemo is already taking a toll on his personality as I’ve been warned. Kidding). God bless the nurses (especially the cute nurses who I pray are not gay. Just one really. Hhe). He was disappointed realizing he couldn’t have as many visitors as he wanted. Mio, although very smart and easy to talk to is a very headstrong Arian. He easily gets frustrated when he doesn’t accomplish what he’d planned. Imagine the complains I hear at the fact that he cannot control what medicine to take, the manner by which his medicines are given and the debate I have to endure upon explaining to him that he can’t have visitors, he has to be home-schooled from now on and that he can’t watch UP in the movie house.

“Its frustrating for me, too” I had to tell him, “but everything this week is not our choice, didn’t you notice?”

What makes him happy is that he has his Nickelodeon on 24/7 and no one is complaining; he’s happy that he doesn’t have to take a bath and that there’s a makeshift sink so he can brush his teeth and a toilet-in-a-bottle is brought to his bedside; he’s happy he has a stock of MnMs I call his chaser for his yucky medicine, a stash of Moo and Chuckie and cookies overload; he’s glad he has sliced fruits from visitors; and most of all, he’s happy that I haven’t left the room for more than an hour since I got back from Cebu and went straight to watch over him here.

I was on assignment for work and wasn’t supposed to be home for an entire week to which my son imposes that I call him five times a day if we were to survive that distance. Lo and behold, the cancer brings us back together again.

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I’m actually amazed at how keen he is at observing and listening to other people’s conversations such as that when I was told by the doctors to discourage visitors so as to minimize possible infections to the immuno-compromised leukiboy.

Me : Kuya, tinatanong ni Kuya Nico si Ate Pizza bumili ng T-O-Y para dito (Kuya, Kuya Nico is asking Ate Pizza to buy a toy for this boy. What would he like?)

Kuya : Chips nlng para sa DS nya dami na nyang laruan e (maybe chips for his Nintendo DS, he has lots of toys already.)

I had to spell out some things and speak in Filipino so I don’t distract the little man and not give him room to expect. But 6 hours later after I told him he can’t have visitors anymore…

Mio : But you said, someone’s coming to give me more chips for my gameboy.

So much for filtering information and using language barriers huh? I was also talking to the doctor while he was explaining the procedure last night and before going to bed Mio asked me,

“Mom, Dr. Racho said I’ll have bone marrow again. I want him to do that gently.”

I was actually surprised that he understood what the doctor was explaining to me regarding his tests and the repeat bone marrow extraction set a month after he begins his treatment.

I try to be as honest as possible to Mio. Even before. I never spoke to him like a child and whenever I end up having to scold him it feels like arguing with a boyfriend. So this one wasn’t any different. The one thing my best friend told me though upon picking me up from the airport was that the 3 out of 10 kids who do not survive cancer was because the kids simply gave up out of guilt for causing their parents pain. I never blamed Mio for any heartache or for any accident in the house. I wasn’t about to start making him apologetic for something that’s obviously not his fault.

Telling Mio he had Leukemia was like teaching him his Science. Brain bleed. I had to tell him that his owies are coming from the inside because there are enemies in his blood. I had to explain to him why needles are our friends now. They’re owie but its the only way for us to go straight inside his body and stop the enemies from hurting him. If we don’t let the doctors and nurses do their job, the enemy will hurt him more so he doesn’t have a choice but to go through the painful things so he won’t get so hurt from the enemies.

My son obliges after much discussion each time we have to go through this with only one condition: that it be done as gently as possible.

I cannot imagine how gentle should be for Mio. He was always a fragile boy so the slightest bump was already painful for him. I used to shrug it off as him being so wimpy simply because he’s been too exposed to females and the lack of his fascination for sports and rowdy boy things save for cars, racing and techie things. He’d cry so hard at the slightest bump my nieces would accidentally cause him (“Mom! Meg is destroying my body!” he exclaimed once during playtime with his younger female cousins) or the slightest pain when my brothers would throw him around. Little did we know that his joints have been long suffering from the cancer cells and we had no idea–and will never know how painful it is when you’re attacked from within.

I always tell Mio that he has to practice not screaming and crying when the needles come by. He hates me telling this story to other people, as if it was an intrusion to our personal conversation but itst just so amusing how he answered back so wittingly when the doctor tried to distract him by telling him to focus on the TV and not think of the pain. My son actually considered the offer and took a short pause from screaming while the doctor prepared his hip for the first bone marrow extraction until he blurted out,

“I can’t stop thinking because of my brain!” The doctor’s female resident just broke in a tearful smile at my son’s remark.

One practice I’m hoping will get us by is talking to Jesus when something is painful. Its the simplest way I can tell Mio that that’s all he can hold on to when Mommy and no one else can’t help him. Reminding him this during bedtime he says,

“I have plenty of questions for Jesus, so many things to ask. You nlng tell him Mom coz I can’t stop crying or shouting when its owie.” I told him that a lot of people are actually talking to Jesus to make him better but that doesn’t mean he should stop asking Jesus no matter how often or how plenty he has to say.

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Hours before this entry, he asked me to read him a book entitled Uncle Albert’s Seal. It was a gift from Tita LJ along with the Nintendo DS. The book was about an old man dreaming until his adventurous dream took him face to face to his youthful self and told him that no one gets to that place unless he’s dead. I was mortified at how the story was turning out but it took a turn when Uncle Albert walked away in silence and went home.

I asked Mio if he understood the story and he surprisingly nodded while his huge eyes were drooping, about to fall asleep. I told him that he can dream all he wants, he can imagine all the good things he’d like to have and how he can do so many things when he grows up. I told him to think of those things. But he has to be brave, I said. He has to fight hard and pray hard so his dreams will come true. Realizing that the opposite of brave is scared I asked him,

“Anak, what are you scared of?”

He took the bottle off his mouth and opened his fluttering lashes and answered, “I’m scared of the enemy, Mom.”

I said, “I’m not. So just keep dreaming baby, and pray to Jesus when its owie. Just keep coming home to Mommy.”

#Parenting

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Jasmine Mendiola

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