Lingering Impact of Radiation

My kid had his radiation finish-up in late June. The purpose of the radiation was to make sure the tumor didn’t return. We were so grateful he didn’t need chemo. According to his Dr’s, of which he had almost a dozen, his tumor doesn’t respond well to chemo, so radiation only.

He lost his hair in spots. He lost his appetite which meant he lost weight. He lost his strength. He had lots of fatigue. He knew all of this was temporary and his life would eventually turn back to normal. There is a term missing in front of the word normal. We should have told ourselves this; his life would eventual find a new normal.

The new normal caught me off guard. Some of it has been really good. He is eating like a healthy growing teenage boy. We’ve always had issues getting him to eat. Some of it was his ADHD medication and some of it was him being a picky-eater. Now he eats like he’s starving. He is noticing girls for the first time. I am not ready for that one. He has grown 5 inches in 5 months. I keep praying for spring because shorts are easier to replace than the jeans he is out growing.

The down side is a weak immune system. We were told no immunization boosters for 6 months. This should have given us a clue. He went from having 1 cold a year to having multiple colds. Each cold taking him out of school for a week. He’s had a fever so high we almost went to the ER and would have if it hadn’t gone down fast enough. His latest cold ended with an ear infection.

Being sick is tough for him, not just because of the physical symptoms, but the emotional ones. He missed six month of school after he was diagnosed with cancer. He missed his friends, he missed his life and he wanted that all back. Now with every cold, he gets that look, like how long is this going to take me away from my life. I keep telling him, it’ll pass, it’s only temporary. I keep praying I am right.

He survived cancer. He made it through brain surgery. We are the lucky ones who’s kid has a great outcome. Nothing can prepare you for all the little things you have to tackle when dealing with the after effects of radiation on your kid. The Dr’s they do their best to prepare you and get you through the toughest part, after which you have learn to keep adapting.

The good news is this cold is almost gone. His pediatrician has been great about helping us adapt to a new normal. His school has been letting him take things one step at a time. My kid is getting a new life one day at a time. We really are blessed.