Before I never get around to tell you – last week Woutertjie went for his routine check-up. He is now two and a half years in remission. Thank you, Merciful God.
On Thursday morning (17 November) before school I told Boeta that we were going to go to the hospital after school to have photos taken of his tummy. He only had to get a sonar – nothing major. He is cool with sonars and understands what they do and show. I thought he would say “ok” and that would be it. Instead he asked what details. So it became a long drawn out conversation and explanation and I just couldn’t understand why he was so hesitant.
S: “Liefie, ons gaan net hospitaal toe, dan gaan die tannies ‘n foto neem van jou magie.”
W: “En wat gaan hulle sê van my magie?”
S: “Hulle gaan sê jou magie lyk pragtig. En dan gaan ons môre na tannie Stina toe en dan gaan ons vir haar ook die mooi foto’s wys.”
W: (laaaaaang stilte) “Maar wat gaan hulle sê…?”
S: “Sê van wat?”
W: “As my magie nie mooi is nie? As daar weer ‘n krokkenoster is?”
At that moment I kept my pose and coolly told him that obviously his tummy was going to be the prettiest thing they’ve ever seen in their lives. And that obviously there was nothing in there that shouldn’t be in there. And then he asked what “tannie Stina” (Cristina Stefan, our oncologist) would say if his tummy wasn’t perfect and I had to tell him that it would be no problem and she would simply say “hallo Wouter” in her Romanian accent and give him medicine through a “pypie” and everything would be fine.
I’ve never been scanxious* since Woutertjie went into remission (16 March 2009) but suddenly everything just hit me. Wouter and I looked at each other and didn’t speak. I took the kids to school, drove to my mom’s house and then cried on her shoulder. Because no child of 6 should know of cancer and certainly know child should scare himself out of his early morning appetite because he knows that cancer could come back. I didn’t know he knew.
I preferred not knowing that he knew.
Either way. After school we went to Panorama MediClinic, our usual hospital. We walked into the radiologists’ rooms and were surrounded by staff coming to greet us. It felt good to be that loved and remembered and to have so many people admire how far Woutertjie had come. And he simply loved the attention.
Comparing this sonar to his first (23 December 2008) and second (ECHO 5 January 2009) I can hardly belief it is the same child. He was extremely wary those times. Now he got dressed in the hospital gown (with his candy striped underwear sticking out at the back for the world to see but he didn’t know so it didn’t count), hopped onto the bed and immediately started interrogating the technician. She wasn’t about to use too hot or too cold gel on him. Nuh uh. Not happening! 😀
He obliged every whim of the radiographist, turning this way and that, sticking his tummy out, pulling it in, without any resistance. He has grown up a lot since his last scans and sonars (the last sonar was in Feb 2011?). He is suddenly a boy and not a toddler.
I explained to the radiographist that Boeta understood what was going on and that he needed to know what was going on in his tummy so after finishing and finding everything in tip top condition she told him that he did, indeed, have a beautiful tummy. My poor child visibly deflated as the stress left him. He was so relieved. And again, he is 6 years old. 😦
I could see that he wasn’t “done” though. Something was still up. So I asked if he wanted to pray to thank Jesus that he was healthy. Immediately he clasped his hands together and started praying. But unlike his usual evening prayers he used the biggest words he could think off. He had big things to be grateful for.
“Vader … in die hemel … dankbaar … God.”
After that he had to get a chest X-ray which he also aced. He walked into that room and assumed the position in front of the box before the woman even showed him where to go. She was a bit confused….;-) Maybe someone took pity on her afterwards and told her who Boeta is. A local. A celeb. An old hand.
*Scanxious – The feeling of dread leading up to a scan. Well documented and often discussion phenomenon in the oncology world and also among the pregnant, where you suddenly have scary thoughts about your baby’s health in the days leading up to a sonar.