Friday, October 24, 2008
Definition of a hero
I made it to Lehi safe and sound this evening at about 7:30. When I got here, I called to see if it would be a good time to come and visit Juan. I talked with him for a minute over the phone to let him know that we were coming. They are staying in Ronald McDonald housing and it was a neat set up. They have a small apartment for long term use. It was so great. He was so excited to see me and he looked great. His papa had shaved his head for his radiation treatments. He has lost a bit of weight and I could really tell it in his face which used to be really round, but he still looked good. He looked strong and not tired. He took the cards that I brought and devoured each one. He read them carefully and it was so cute. He had a pile and after reading each one, he would meticulously place it at the bottom of the pile and then pick up the pile and straighten it up, then he would read the next one. We read some of them together. I helped him with some of his homework that he was a little confused on. Mom, Kelly, and I talked with his mom and him and it was so nice. His mom said that the type of cancer is called medulloblastoma. She said that the MRI's he has had look good and the dr. said there is no evidence of any remaining cancer cells. He will be finished with his radiation treatments next week and they will be coming home. They hope to be able to do the rest of his chemo treatments in town, but return to Salt Lake off and on.
What a brave soldier! I know that he has faced some great fears. His mom shared some times when his fear was evident. I told him that I thought he was so brave and asked him if he was going to get better. He said he was and I told him that was the most important thing- for him to believe it. What a hero! He is fighting hard.
His mom is amazing. She shared with us that she had a hard time having children and had two other failed pregnancies. She said "God gave him to me and I feel like He is giving him back to me now."
She also talked about how he doesn't want to eat and has had a hard time holding down food. She said, "I make him tortillas and he won't eat them because he said they taste different. He can't taste them." I guess the radiation has affected his sense of taste. I kind of laughed inside and we talked about it afterward in the car . . . little Mexican boy who won't eat the tortillas. Kidding aside, I felt really bad for him. I really could tell that he had lost a lot of weight for a boy his age.
I noticed a guitar in a box under the coffee table and I said, "Juanito, did you get a guitar?" He kind of got red and said, "yeah." I said, "Can you play us a song?" And he said, "No, I don't play very good yet." I told him that I really wanted to learn to play the guitar.
As we were leaving I asked if I could get a picture with him and he said sure. Kelly took a picture and said, "Say queso!" We laughed and then I wanted a second one (I always need 2 "just in case"). So I said, "Okay, Juanito, let's say "Sponge Bob!" He thought that was pretty funny and I think I got a better smile that time.
As I left, I told him that I was up for a karate tournament and that I was scared. He laughed and I told him I would send him some pictures and let him know if I win any medals... He thought that was great.
What an awesome kid! My mom and sister loved him and his mamacita.
Keep up that fighting spirit Juan!