Our last visit to Josh’s pediatric oncologist was profound for me. Here was a man, I have to admit, I didn’t like during Josh’s treatments. A man with no children of his own who seemed so “clinical” without empathy, yet very smart. A man who knew his “stuff”, but didn’t seem to me to have compassion for my emotions and needs. Though I connected well with the female pediatric oncologists during treatment, he and I often had “words”.
A couple weeks ago, we went in for Josh’s three year post treatment scan results. Just hitting the three year mark was a miracle. But what struck me most was this male oncologist. He was so joyful, happy, excited to see Josh. He positively glowed as he joked with my son, looking him over, he almost couldn’t stop laughing. He bounced as he walked down the hall, acting silly with Josh, he was totally thrilled. As I marveled at the seeming change in this “clinical” man, I began to see through his eyes.
Day in and day out he treats sick kids…very sick kids. He knows the stats, the insidious details of these diseases, the odds, so to speak. He orders painful procedures and watches as they loose their hair, growing pale and skinny. He brings them to the brink of death, hoping to save them. Sadly, some of them fade away, which must meant a failure to him. He knows he cannot save them all. He deals with parents stressed to the breaking point and families who fall apart. He’s dedicated his life to his career, spending countless hours on-call, in the clinic and on the children’s floor. How weary he must grow.
So in we walk, four years after having first met him, a success story, a living breathing boy who has gone through hell. Yes, he’s damaged, but he’s alive! He’s breathing! He’s going to school and happy, full of energy. He has friends, bright cheeks with long scraggly hair and a grin that melts the heart. And I think the doctor knows his part in this story. He sees his place in the boy’s life and this family’s life. He realizes despite the losses, the heartache, the pain and tears, it was worth it. He has helped win this battle and he is celebrating.
I am connected with him as I now see through his eyes…