August 31, 2011



Papa Turista has leukemia. Stage 0 Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia, so we're in "watch and wait" mode until he needs treatment, if ever. It's about as common in adults as Peach's leukemia is in kids, but being that it's chronic vs. acute, many folks live with it for years and years before needing treatment. He's like the poster boy for CLL: White, Male, 70. Looking at past blood work (thankfully, he's very good about going to the doctor), it's likely it started developing in 2009. Again, like Peach. And of course I asked and the answer is: NO. Just a big fat fucking coincidence.

We found out about a month ago, and other than immediate family and about four friends, he hasn't told anyone. We won't tell Peach and Olive either, unless we have to, so keep it under your hat. I think if I hadn't been working on my De Facto Residency in Hematology Oncology over the last year and a half, I would be much more upset. And afraid. But as it is, I'm just really, really mad.

I tell you all this today because Peach is marking 20 months in treatment tomorrow. With, hopefully, about eight more to go. This kid of mine: Amazing. She just keeps plugging along - stiff joints, steroid weepies, and all - smiling every step of the way. Since we last spoke, she brought the house down at GGMS's graduation ceremony (don't get me started), she raised over $3000 for childhood cancer research, and she designed a freaking Hermione Granger video game. She made it through two weeks at sleep-away camp, and last week, she stared down Middle School - and won. Whatever the challenge, she takes it on and does incredible things. And sweet, sweet Olive is her biggest supporter. Truly, I'm about to burst over the both of them.

Which is why I feel guilty when I complain, like when I unloaded on Karla May the night I found out about Papa Turista. Even though cancer has become part of our daily conversation (and that of this neglected blog - I know! I said I was going to ease up on the cancerspeak!), we are still so very blessed. As difficult as it is, especially for Peach, this trial isn't near what some people have to endure every day, forever. And while I wouldn't ever choose it, wish it on anyone, or want to repeat it, we have learned so much, met some unbelievable people, and watched our baby rise to her fullest, best self. So there are some gifts to be had, and things to be thankful for.

But I'm still mad as hell.