Eighth grade (Fall 2015) for Harrison was rather uneventful. Each month he made a trip to the pediatric oncology clinic at the hospital to give a sample off blood. It was a drag, to be sure, but compared to monthly chemo infusions, daily chemo pills, and every-third month spinal taps for chemo, this was nothing. He did miss school every month (which he didn’t mind), but was able to work hard and keep up. The costs of treatment were much lower, but a monthly hospital visit along with $6500 per month Gleevec still posed a challenge. Thankfully, insurance covered most of the drug costs and some of the hospital visits. Without chemo, costs were much lower, thankfully. I could not imagine trying to endure childhood cancer without good insurance.
Harrison only cared about one thing: becoming a normal teenager. He had turned ten years old five days before his initial diagnosis. He was thirteen when treatment ended. He finished seventh grade feeling great. During the summer he began recovery. In the fall, he started eighth grade as a former cancer patient. Although he still made trips to the hospital, he was not “on treatment.” He felt great.
In the spring, baseball went exceptionally well. Harrison had regained a lot of his strength. His legs has recovered so he could run as well as before treatment. He gained considerable weight that year. Chemotherapy had halted his growth during middle school, but he grew several inches just during that one year. He was growing hair, he was playing baseball, he was going to school.
For the first time in a long time, he just felt normal.