It's been a while since we've posted on our own website. Can you believe it? our domain name expired. Duuuh? Mia Culpa. We've been posting on facebook, as it provides us with the social medium, which a static website does not. But having said this, we are not oblivious to the fact that our website has grown into something of an epic journal, an archetypal journey through cancer and life.
The last treatment that Maya received was in January, 2014, at St. Jude. We are almost 2 years post treatment. So far, Maya is well. And we are well. Slowly, we are returning to our "new" normal as well. In terms of Maya's health, yes, there are the impact of the "chemo fallout". Imagine post world war II, London; There were a lot of damage, of which some will always be there. IE, Maya's lung damage.
Maya started school. She was beeming with joy. And already, Maya has been noticed by both her mates as well as her teachers. What wonderful bunch they are! Of course, everyone at her school knows who Maya is. It didn't take long for the new teachers to already notice her. For example, teachers noticed that Maya is overjoyous to be at school. "What? Trust me. It's great to be able to come to school!" Or she's been heard saying, "My dad says, you can never give up. You have to always try and try and try." Some things are rubbing off. Could not be more proud!
We haven't been to sick kids in over a month. The time we've had away from the hospital has been good for everyone. The luxury of simple worries of day to day events quickly fill the hours of our days. It's a blissful anticlimax.
In the mean time, Maya is enjoying her life. Both Indira and I are ecstatic about that. She's had a very busy summer, with trips to Florida, camp for a couple of weeks and swiming with salmon in Vancouver Island. Although there are much we would rather forget in our past, one thing that we will never forget is the preciousness of life.
So, we do the best we can to appreciate and give thanks. We give thanks by living the best way we know how. And with that, our next trip will be to swim with the whales, somewhere. That's up to me to figure out.
And in the mean time, it's September, pediatric cancer month. Please help if you can. It's really really hard dealing with cancer. However, when it comes in the form of pediatric cancer, it's doubly difficult. So, please donate, run, spread the word or just send a note of encouragement. We can all use a bit of compassion. Children with cancer and their families could use your support, as we found out.
Today, March 26, 2015 marks 5 years since Maya's diagnosis. 5 years ago, everything changed. Everything. We have seen unthinkable things. We've journeyed to hell with our daughter and back. Our hopes were raised and then dashed. We lived on prayers and the goodness of those who were kind enough to extend their hands to us.
There were many times when we thought Maya would not make it. There were many times when we would have gladly have given our lives for hers. There were many times when I would have gladly pulled out my organs for her. I will take these deals even now.
And we saw many children taken by this horrible disease. Why did that happen? What fault could a child have to deserve such a fate? Why are we still here? These are some of the questions that cross our minds regularly, if not daily.
Each time I engage my daughter, there is still a sense of surreality that accompanies the interaction. There are hundreds of millions of potential outcomes in this story. Perhaps they all happened in their respective timelines. Yet... my focus and reality is this timeline where Maya overcomes two very serious cancers. Why is my reality the one that works out?
Each moment is precious to us. A simple jesture of a smile or a belly laugh is a wonder of wonders. It truely is. It could have so easily not happened. It could have so easily have been snubbed out. Yes, we have all heard that each one of us is a miracle and that each moment is a moment unique in both time and space. But I would have never truely known this, had we not gone through such hardship. I would not have known unless this simple existence was so severly challenged.
Yet... we are here, even with some amount of guilt. We are here. And our daughter Maya, although she has battle scars befitting an old soldier, unlike such a warrior is still able to smile with a sense of innocence, awe and wonder for this thing called life.
And in these five years, we were supported and sometimes even propped up by those surrounding us. There were many candles lit at the Vatican, to countless chanting services and prayers by our family, friends and some we don't even know.
Why should this be our lives? I don't know.
We are a pediatric cancer family. We will always be a pediatric cancer family. But, what I can tell you is that we will live each day, each moment the best way we can; with love, compassion and gratitude for this wonderful thing called life. That would be just the begining of how we can repay back for the support and love we have received.