A Little Girl

As I walked toward the hospital I stepped in behind a mother and a little girl going the same direction as me. They were approaching one of the doctor’s buildings. The little girl had arms that could not have been more than a few inches wider than a few of my fingers put together. She was wearing a baseball hat on her obviously bald head. She had trouble walking, as if her joints were not functioning properly, or it was perhaps too painful to walk without a bit of a limp.

We all three got into the elevator together. The little girl grabbed her mom’s hand and smiled up at her. The mom smiled back, reassuring the little girl that everything was ok. My mind began racing… obviously this girl had cancer. She was clearly sick. And I wondered if she would live. I wondered if she knew how sick she was. I wondered how her mother could look at her daughter and do anything but cry – because MY GOD! How could this have happened?

I stepped off the elevator into the 4th floor, and they followed me. I went up to the reception desk to check in – the sign on the wall read Texas Oncology. I turned to see the little girl and mom walk down the hall toward treatment area where they administer chemotherapy. And I think I almost stopped breathing.

I sat waiting to see my doctor (an oncologist who specializes in hematology), and I was thinking about how the mother and daughter seemed so happy. The little girl seemed so matter-of-fact about everything…because, that…those things that were happening to her… those were her life...they were normal to her. And as I sat there, I tried not to cry for that little girl. And I tried not to cry for myself, thinking that could be MY CHILD. My children are not immune to bad things…there is no guarantee that they will not get deathly ill and I just know I couldn’t handle that. I couldn’t get up and face that every day – that horrible, sad, looming cloud – that terrible disease attacking my baby… how does she do it?