We are at some place magical this week. My doctor said I could go, provided I keep the days short and take a nap. I, for once, am following directions.
That’s what I was doing Monday when Don and Theo met her.
Don and Theo were splashing in the pool. She was wading. She wanted to get her body wet, all the way to her neck. But not her hair. Not her bright pink hair.
Theo, who has not a shy bone in his body, struck up a conversation.
“I’m five and a half years old and I’m from Michigan,” he told her. “And we’re here all week and guess what else? I’m skipping school.” He whispered that last part.
There was a pause, then he prattled on.
“My Mommy just got me new Iron Man pajamas and I’m the smartest kid in the world.”
“Oh, you are, are you?” she said.
They splashed a bit and played, then Theo asked The Question.
“Why is your hair pink?”
She touched her short, kinky curly hair, which was hot pink and covered with glitter that sparkled in the sun.
“Well,” she said. “I’m celebrating.”
“What are you celebrating?” he asked, tilting his head, a quizzical expression on his face.
She leaned in.
“Do you know what breast cancer is?” she asked, quietly, tentatively.
“Yup. My Mom has some of that.”
Before she could reply, he dove under the water and swam away, leaving The Pink Lady with her mouth agape.
She turned to Don. “Is that true?” she asked.
Don told her the whole story of Me.
“Wow,” she said. “He really is one smart kid.”
Turns out that the Lady with the Pink hair also had Stage 4 breast cancer — four years ago. Not only that, she had the same rare tumor type — triple negative — that I do.
She comes to the most magical place on earth every May, as that is the month when the doctors gave her the All Clear: Remission.
“She will live to see him graduate from high school and get married,” she told Don. “No big deal. She’s going to be just fine.”
Funny how these gifts come in the most unexpected packages at the most unlikely of times. Because even though we are here, in the land of all things magical, I’d been having some major anxiety. Last week’s extra X-ray and CT Scan had me quite worried, and even when the results were A-OK, I couldn’t lose that feeling of fear, of terror, of being out of control over this THING in my body.
Then, Don came back to the room and told me the story of The Pink Lady. Relief swept over me. I couldn’t help but believe that this was yet another sign God had put in my path, to let me know that yes, it is going to be OK. After this hurricane, there will indeed be a rainbow. And it will light up the sky in shades of pink.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson