She is an inspiration. I’ve scribbled a note to myself to remind me the next time I’m whining about a client. After a grueling day of chemo, she still manages to laugh out loud and practice her sense of fashion. Knock wood, she hasn’t been sick, though it is still early. When I got home, she cuddled with me and smiled with a grin as wide as the ocean. I cradled her, careful not to seem too concerned, and smiled back, humbled by my little girl. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against.

Her first session went very well. Accessing the IV port was easy, but afterward she complained about the adhesive tape and dangling tubing. It’s a long process. First, they push fluids to hydrate her. Then, the first drug, Carbo Platina, courses through. It is not allowed to circulate her body for long. Once the bag is empty, the next wave of fluids flush her system out. While the fluids are being pushed, she’s allowed to wander the ward and occupy herself. But when it’s time for Vincristine, she has to lie in bed monitored. She hates this. It’s boring. For an hour, the drug drips into her system. When it’s done, fluids are pushed for another two hours. The entire process takes about six hours, but she managed it bravely.

Before she left the hospital, she called me to tell me she missed me. She sounded tired, but not sad. She reminded me to bring home the lollipop I promised her. It was the highlight of my day. I was so proud of her and so grateful to hear her voice coming through with such energy.

She tired early tonight and summoned me to her room before turning in. She radiated in her pink pajamas. We giggled about the cats and gossiped for awhile. She just kept smiling as though it were any other day. After fretting for so long, I felt silly as I looked down upon her. She was teaching me a lesson. Though we still have a very long way to go, and we’re certain to encounter setbacks, I’ve placed my bet on the cute blonde girl resting in the bottom bunk of apartment number 1633.