Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sign Here

I sign a lot of things pretty mindlessly. After all there are just so many of them. Credit card receipts probably top the list. I click quickly through the pages of online acceptance forms for new software, hitting 'I Agree' without much concern for what I've consented to. Recently the discharge papers for Henry's clinic visits have become that way too. We've been to so many of them and nothing, thankfully, has changed of late so we get the same instructions each time. Call for a fever, take these medications, here's the oncologist's on-call number (which by the way, I put into my phone the very first time), schedule an appointment out front, sign here.

Today was a bit different. There were general instructions regarding Henry's radiation, but page two ran down the list of side effects.

    Common


  • Hair loss

  • Reduced or absent growth hormone production

  • Reduced or absent pituitary hormones requiring life-long medication

  • Impaired backbone growth

  • Reduced school performance and possible need for special schooling



Usually effects like this were not of the 'common' variety, but fell under the 'rare' list. While chemotherapy was tough, we've managed to avoid many of the more compounding effects. Radiation was threatening to be different, harsher.

So Henry is sitting on my lap, the radiation oncologist has handed me the clipboard with the consent form. This is usually where my eyes automatically scan for the line to sign, but I delayed. While I know that the alternative to doing this is risky too, my signature on this line was the point at which Henry was going to be made different. The therapy couldn't proceed without this signature. I held the pen and pretended to read the paper again. I felt his weight in my lap, his energy. "I can't wait to eat daddy," he said for the twelfth time in 5 minutes.

I signed it of course. But there was an awful lot of careful thought into that signature, even beyond those seconds turned minutes holding the pen, and my son's future, in my hand.

11 comments:

Granya said...

Thank you for sharing that Bryan. How heartbreaking your time is with Henry now, while being so heartwarming too.

I'm so sorry -

Anonymous said...

Bryan,
I can not imagine what you are going thru. May God be with you and give you comfort and peace with your decision. Please keep us updated on Henry's treatments. We love him and hold all of you so tightly thru this next step.

Cousin Susan H.

rlbates said...

It is good that you are mindful of Henry. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that you and Tara had to make such a tough decision.

Nancy in NC

Anonymous said...

We know how hard that was to sign, Sophia's hair has started to fall out from the radiation. Hopefully by doing radiation now, you will destroy the cancer for good. You are doing what you thinkis best for Henry after doing the research and much consideration. Even if those side effects happen, he will still be able to live a very happy life.

Lots of hugs,
The Langfords

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine making a decision like this for my boys or even going thru what you all have been thru, you both are strong people and I know you all will make the right decision for Henry the "Hero"!!! Thinking of you all always.

Love,
Shelly

Anonymous said...

BIG TEARS in my eyes after reading that post, Bryan & Tara... I cannot imagine sitting in that chair, holding Henry, and having to make that same decision myself.

You are amazing parents. Simply AMAZING.

Love you... love Henry.

Gwen & the Hooligans

Anonymous said...

I appeal to all the spirits of the earth to watch over Henry. Keep him safe, cure him and let him live a long and happy life. Please.
Miss Susan

Anonymous said...

We have prayed for Henry as he went thru chemo and we will pray even harder now, for mercy from the side effects and the ultimate effectiveness against the cancer. We pray for peace and strength for you all. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us. We hold you in our hearts.

With love,
Jane's cousin's in CA, The Stevenson Family (Grandparents to Cameron, almost 7 and Malcolm, almost 3.

hillbilly_fairy said...

This can't be an easy decision... can't even imagine.
I wish all the fairies to be fluttering around Henry, bathing him in golden light. And you too.
Love
bibi

Kojak said...

I happened upon your blog through evil lunch lady. I am certainly humbled and I will pray that your little man will be just fine. I know God is still in the business of miracles! God Bless.