8 Updates on Vampboy
1. The seizures seem to be under control, as he hasn’t had one in over a week. He’s also sleeping better, so we’re hoping that the increase in his medication dosage has done the trick. There’s lots of wiggle room (he’s not even getting half the allowable dosage), but a little seems to go a long, long way.
2. This past week he had an LP (Lumbar Puncture). The purpose was to “close the book” on the seizure-related drama we had in December when we thought it might be a cancer relapse. The LP came back negative, so we’re still in the cancer-clear. However, his next MRI is February 1st, so we’ll panic again in about two weeks.
3. HE HAS HAIR!
4. Last night he enjoyed a dinner party with some friends from school — followed by a sleep-over! I know I speak for many when I note that VB is a favorite amongst ladies in the 2-3 year range (and beyond). While it was amusing to hear him running about excitedly talking about how he and he friend J were “going to go to bed together”, they did end up sleeping in separate rooms. My script for “the talk” just isn’t ready yet.
5. One of the most profound therapeutic interventions we received towards the end of VB’s treatment wasn’t chemo or an anti-biotic — it was a sticker chart. During our final stay in the hospital one of the “child life specialists” popped by at the opportune moment to see something people outside of my wife and I rarely witness: the Vampboy Meltdown. This is most often caused by the trauma of changing a diaper or getting dressed — a toddler’s version of water boarding, I suppose. The specialist asked if we had tried a sticker chart to reward him for compliance, and quickly whipped up a grid on blue construction paper. I am happy to report that, after a month of use, Vampboy this weekend got to pick out a new train at the local toy store for filling his sticker chart to the brim. Today he excitedly made a new one, and the process begins again. Believe me, spending $20 on a new Thomas train is worth it if it means not getting kicked in the mouth again by a screaming child.
6. We have begun the road towards “independence from foreign diapers”. We figured we’d wait awhile before engaging in any further dramas, but VB has taken the lead of his peers and started to ask to “use the potty” without us mentioning it. It’ll be a long journey filled with reading books on body functions, but I can’t wait for the day we don’t have to spend $30 on a box of nappies.
7. It is remarkable to see photos of the little guy even from a month ago. Not only has his hair returned, but his chubby cheeks and tummy are back with a vengeance, thanks to a solid appetite. In addition, he’s wowed us by trying some things we never thought he’d try — including sweets, which he used to ignore completely.
8. VB will be 3 years old next month — a miracle by any standard that should be celebrated. However, how we recognize the event is up for grabs. He’s at the age now where you can transition from adult-oriented parties, where the child is on display covered in chocolate, to kid-friendly fair, where parents hide in the corner while screaming little ones cover themselves (and your most expensive duvet) in chocolate. Vampboy has made his intentions clear, stating that his birthday will take place at the “Moose Restaurant”, complete with animatronic hunting victims and a puppet moose head that sings “Happy Birthday” to unsuspecting patrons. I don’t know if that can symbolize the momentous event, but it reminds me that VB is not really a cancer survivor, caught in the “miracle of life” glow — he’s just a kid who likes his mac and cheese while some Buffalo head makes a joke about not having a body.