Jordan, the Worrier

She’s a little nervous. She has a full week ahead. On Monday, she returns for chemotherapy. Then, Tuesday she goes in for a new MRI scan. Wednesday, it’s a full evaluation from her neurooncologist. All in all, she’ll be spending a lot of time at Children’s Hospital.

I have previously written about her growing maturity and sense of wellness. January will mark the sixth year of her journey. In six years, any child will change a lot. Their entire identity emerges–their sense of the world around them and the way that it connects to their lives. Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget, in his landmark studies of children’s cognitive development, found that children Jordan’s age begin mastering “concrete operations”–the ability to apply logic and tie it to personal experience. I think her growing ability to do just this is creating some sobering realities. She worries more than she once did. The uncertainty surrounding every MRI scan casts a shadow on her otherwise gregariously optimistic spirit. Last night, she confided to her mother that she was anxious about Tuesday’s scan.

– What if my cancer is growing again?
– Then Dr. Findlay will have a new plan of attack. He always has 2 or 3 in his back pocket, just in case.

Jeanette’s counsel provided some comfort, but Jordan grew a little quiet thereafter. In these moments she often vacillates between excessive intimacy and extreme isolation. She either wants to sit right next to you and lean all over you, or retreat to a quiet corner and occupy herself alone, quietly.

Despite the heaviness of treatment, diagnosis and endless therapies, she is thriving at nearly everything in her life. Jeanette met with Jordan’s teachers and aids at school. They gave a glowing report. She is working harder at her studies, fitting in just a bit more, and showing real progress in her cognitive development. She is diligent and outgoing about life. While life with cancer troubles her wearied mind more than in the past, it never seems to prevent her from finding something new to enjoy. Whether rising early to drag her mother to the local farmer’s market, or browsing through a growing collection of hats, she never lets the disease tax her with pessimism, regret or remorse.

She is thrilled by the response to our fundraising drive for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. She pranced around the house today quite proud to have raised $1,000 from her friends and family – and in less than a week’s time. Thank you, thank you, to all who contributed. Your generous contributions will benefit smart and dedicated researchers who hope to eradicate brain tumors: the second most common form of pediatric cancer.