Thursday, 21 August 2014

Joy in 3-F Clinic

Tiny voices, bright faces and joyful laughter filled the playroom by 8 a.m. The teens had their video games, the toddlers had their trains and for a moment all looked right in the world.

Except all of these kids were bald. All of these kids had lines and walked or crawled with IV poles attached. All of these kids have cancer. 

This busy playroom on the third floor at McMaster Children's Hospital is where week after week kids of all ages come to get chemotherapy treatment. 

The children play together - some too young to even understand the bond they share from their experience with this disease. And the parents - they smile, they laugh and support one another. 

Today, I was back in this clinic with Xavier awaiting his lumbar puncture. It has been four years since we have been there. Time has helped me forget. But, as much as I want to forget the devastating diagnosis and everything that followed, I fondly remembered the strength and kindness within those four walls of the 3-F Clinic. 

A woman approached me today, noticing I was a newbie to the clinic. She introduced herself and wanted to know how I was doing. Just three short months ago, her daughter was diagnosed with ALL. But now, she was offering me support as she settled into the "routine" of  having a child undergoing cancer treatment. 

After our conversation (explaining we went through treatment and attend the after care clinic now) I looked around the room and saw so many strangers being there for each other. Through tragedy comes togetherness and through togetherness comes strength. 

Clinic was good for that. Sometimes I miss that weekly support group. Now I live day after day with a child who had cancer, but no required weekly meet-and-greet with others who share the same fears and concerns. 

I would never want to go back to that clinic. But in hindsight, it is comforting to see the good that came out of that experience. I likely didn't see it back then, but my refresher there today now as an outsider, has given me a fresh perspective.

I was reminded again how incredibly grateful I am to be where we are today. Never forget where you have come from.

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