This experience feels so much like having a newborn. So very much like that. When we were first leaving the hospital, I was so glad to be going home but so scared to be leaving the people who actually know how to do all of this. Since then, there's been a constant reporting of All Things Peach: Did she sleep? Did she eat? Did she poop? Is she cold? Is she hot? Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! And now, I can't believe how it feels like we just started everything but also like we've been doing it forever.
Little by little, we're making our way along - always learning. And Peach is just the champion of all champions. This past month or so has been the hardest so far, and she has 10 pounds less of herself to show for it. She had a severe allergic reaction that required a night in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, but other than that pretty big hiccup, she's progressing as expected for this protocol (which I've been told by those in the know is as highly successful as it is highly miserable). She is still engaged and interested, and I know her cooperation makes it so much easier for the treatment team. They often practically fight to get to her first because she's such a joy to work with. Her hair has started to grow back (for now - will likely come in and out several more times), and it has that peach fuzz texture I remember from the first time I watched it come in. I am, again, amazed by and enamored with this beautiful creature.
A lot of people have told me a lot of things about a lot of stuff recently, and just like with a newborn, you have to filter through all the "advice" and find what works for you and yours and just do that. Of course everyone means well, and I know it's hard to find the right thing to say, and I am the MOST guilty of saying things that don't come out right at the worst possible moment. That said, the other day, a friend was tearfully talking about Peach's "character" and how this experience will "really build her character," and the whole conversation just didn't sit right with me. I understand what my friend was trying to say, but I thought, NO. Just NO.
Addressing that fucking monster in her blood, I thought, this child already has more character than any grown person could ever dream of having. Any 100 grown people. She didn't need this experience to build character, she's there. She's been there since the day she was born. Will this nightmare impact her life going forward? Yes, unfortunately forever. But it will not change who she is and what she's made of because that is what's getting her through it right now. It's what's getting us ALL through it.
There will never come a moment where we say, "Remember that time you had leukemia?" But as much as we search for and drain every drop of positivity out of all of this, Peach will not be defined by it, not now, not ever.
From the moment we got the diagnosis, I told the doctor that we have to fix this. That Peach is a special, special girl and anyone that knows her will tell you that. That she has many great things to do and that we just have to fix this. And we are. So as I feed her and bathe her and watch her sleep, I think about how far my baby has come, and I'm confident that this is all leading to the greatness she was already destined for.