Alex has his yearly appointment with Dr. Sacco, his neurooncologist at Children's Medical Center, this morning. I had managed to put it completely out of my mind with everything else going on in the world right now, so it hit me like a gut-snap during the day yesterday. There are just so many factors that make it unnerving, probably the largest of course is the potential to find out his tumor has returned. I have not been in a hospital for a while now, so going to Children's Medical Center, experiencing the smells and the things I see there also puts me off balance. It makes me miss Joseph, triggers feelings that I ought to be able to find him somewhere. All of those familiar things are still there - the lights, the antiseptic scents, the kids in various stages of wellness, the exhausted looking parents, the struggling kid-oriented decor meant to mask the hospital reality, the doctors, nurses, therapists, cleaning people, all with their own color of scrubs - it confuses my mind for a few moments. All of it is still there. How can Joseph not be? And that particular reality combined with why we are there - to see if Alexander's tumor is back - can bring a small part of me to my knees somewhere inside. A hand wrapped tightly, holding my still beating heart.
But Alex is six years out from his surgery now and it is unlikely we will find a thing. I hold onto that like a security blanket and ignore the internal whispers that remind me we have seen the face of Unlikely so many times that I can pick it out in a crowd. At least we have graduated from having to have these visits four times a year to having them once a year. And at least now I can approach them with the memory of how relieved I feel when it is all over and we have gotten the "all clear".