• Jasmine Mendiola

Another Day to be Brave

Its never the same.

waiting for Tito Jon to pick us up after chemo

I woke up today, like any other day, staring at my child’s face. His hands were gently pressed on my face and his leg was on top of mine. His mask fell off while we were asleep from last night. His face is plump and his lips are red. Again, I tell myself, “its not like he’s sick at all.”

one of those days

Its been a week since I’ve officially resigned from work but I haven’t been at home one day. I’m busier than ever and there’s a lot going on. At least I’m spreading myself thinly–evenly might I add between Mio’s treatment which includes attending his chemo sessions with him (we’re down to once a week starting today! Consolidation stage seems to be the best time of our chemo-lives!), scavenging for his medicine, attending to and supporting cancer-related causes and following up his funding. I haven’t even gotten to editting my “thank you” list for those who have helped him but Mommy’s been distributing rosaries with Prayer Book guides to everyone, I hope you come across one; Mio’s home-schooling — Teacher Ginny and Teacher Jovinne are busy on their own but they try to see Mio once a week. For the meantime, I try to review him his lessons from the books, relating his “blend sounds” to his daily activities that include watching cartoons, drawing, occasional painting and playing with his toys. While waiting for the doctor, instead of just playing with his DS, I try to coerce him in reading his endless list of spelling words, its hilarious how Mio insists on his own break time in between two pages. I’m also starting to get in touch with one or two home-based accredited home-school programs. I asked Mio what else he’d like to take up besides the usual curriculum and art (given) and he said he wanted to study playing the guitar and golf (?!); and rebuilding my makeup and styling portfolio-studio-contacts so I can freelance to the max! Its the way-to-go if I intend to keep paying for his chemo, buying his daily sustenance, keeping him smart and buying him his toys to keep him happy.

Mio doing his homework while waiting for his turn at the clinic

On that note, however, I find it difficult lately to balance disciplining him when he starts asking for toys one day after another. Its hard to say no to a sick child but everyone ELSE seems to be more than willing to indulge him with his relentless fascination in collecting those admittedly cool Bakugan toys, and then on other days, his speed-stacking skills… its different everyday.

less enthusiastic Mio waiting for his doctor to prep his medicine

Sometimes he’d pop out of nowhere and keep bugging me to “make food” as if I knew how to cook or bake for the life of me. Poor child. Thankfully mixing pancakes and decorating cookies are equivalent to making food for him.

Mio was ecstatic over the weekend, “yay! No more IT on Monday, Mom! Dr. Racho said IV only, the short one. Which hand Mom?” he said that four times in between various conversations. I said, “Yup up to you, Mio.” “But I won’t get to watch DVD or play my DS in the hospital if fast only Mom.” O wow. I think he’s starting to miss his hospital visits. Either that or he thinks that’s how its supposed to be. “Well, we also have to wait in line for blood test.”

O my Lord, he threw a short fit with the stomp of the foot. “No! I don’t like that that’s owie!” Tears started swelling in his eyes and I was baffled because he doesn’t cry when we get his blood anymore! And I go, “Mio? Its just the one on your finger, the one in the lab where they prick your finger, what are you crying about?”

“But that’s CBC Mom! Not blood test. Next time, just say CBC.” My bad. Who would have thought Mio’s five year old vocabulary would include these. He’s looking forward to an IT-less Christmas and New Year.  I hope so are you.

post-IT. The last of his groggy days for the next three months at least. This is the “embrace me Mom” part of the procedure.

*IT stands for intrathecal which is the kind of chemo where the medicine is injected on his spine. IT may well be insistent torture for all of us if only to relate to my son’s pain.


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