Do you remember your first day of Kindergarten? I don’t. I remember things from Kindergarten like sock puppets made from felt and tube socks and the stop light sign on the bathroom door. This was Teagan’s first day of Kindergarten.
I can only imagine that it must have been a little hard to explain looking like a boy with chemo hair still growing in and being a girl who likes to wear purple Hannah Montana shirts. And back then she also had to wear a brace on her left foot. While most of the kids accepted her as is, there were some that didn’t. As a parent that’s hard. Mostly because you want to approach the other parents in line to pick their kids up and ask them what the hell is wrong with them that they can’t explain to their children that not all kids look “normal.”
But she did have some good times. She played soccer – on the “Hot Pink Leopard” team. She had a blast. Since she couldn’t run very fast she usually played goalie. She even stopped several goals. Soccer wore her out though and she usually spent the next day on the couch. I look back now and wonder if I should have let her play or not, but all her friends played so if she didn’t she would have thought something was wrong.
One day at chemo she started acting odd and looking scared while Dr Goodman was looking her over. We asked if she was going to throw up and she said no. But then she started crying. Finally, after Dr Goodman and I asked her everything we could think of, she said she couldn’t breathe. Dr Goodman jumped up and pulled the chemo drugs loose from her IV and started asking the nurses for Benadryl. She developed an allergy to carboplatin. The leading chemo drug for kids with brain tumors. After a lot of Benadryl and her sleeping in the dayroom at oncology for about 3 hours we went home. Dr Goodman gave her a weeks worth of steroids to take and we would try again 1 week later. One week later, while sitting with Ms Molly she started to not breathe again. Ms Molly was really upset because she had never seen anything like that before and she told Dave and I we were so calm during that situation. I guess she was right since I’d seen parents at oncology have all different sorts of reactions including bursting into uncontrollable tears over something small like a medication change to getting all six shades of hateful with nurses or doctors or whoever crossed their path. I’m not judging or blaming — that’s just not me. Plus Dave and I are both trained in emergencies so I guess freaking out just never crossed by mind. Then I wondered if that was a bad thing…. that my daughter was having a severe allergic reaction and I just casually told the nurse we needed to disconnect her IV and get Dr Goodman.
So what do you do now? She had become one of 18% of people who develop an allergy to chemo drugs. Remember it’s Teagan, and she’s perpetually lucky. Just a few months earlier the FDA had approved a new oral chemo regimen for low-grade tumors. So she just shifted gears and we were taking these new oral pills. By the way the new drugs came with the instructions to wear 2 pairs of latex gloves when handling them. So put on 2 pairs of gloves to get a pill out of a bottle and then give it to your child to swallow. Would putting a Mr Yuck sticker on the bottle be counter productive?
She spent the rest of Fall doing kids things (minus one overnight trip to the hospital for a fever), dressing up like Sharpay from High School Musical for Halloween, going to her pal Remington’s birthday party and Lara’s Halloween Party after trick or treating.
What’s the most important thing to learn in Kindergarten?
Hold hands and stick together.