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9:30 PM Well, I suppose it would be an indication of how much our lives have returned to "normal" to say that we took Elisabeth to dance class for a special rehearsal (Elisabeth and a couple of other girls will be doing a special dance at the beginning of the recital--she is so excited), went out to dinner, and all went to a movie afterwards (Ice Age 2). Sophie will begin her final antibiotic treatment in about 30 minutes, and she is excited about that, or at least excited that it is her last. The treatments, all in all, have not been that bad and have become sort of routine. It would also seem that her food obsession (particularly for potato chips) has subsided. Of course, we just bought two pillow-sized bags of Lay's classic potato chips that she hasn't even broken into yet. Maybe that's what did it.

For all of us, it would seem that it has taken the better part of this week to recover from our adventure last week. All things told, we made it through the week just fine, although it certainly was an enormous challenge for us and a bit of a setback emotionally for me. Being back in the hospital in many ways was a bit of a relief, because the fact of the matter is that we are dealing with a serious medical issue and no matter how much we attempt to normalize it, childhood cancer is just not "normal," although it is all too common. For me, it was assuring to be in the hospital, as if to give me permission to admit to myself that Sophie is facing a potential health crisis on a daily basis. You just can't normalize that, but you sure as you-know-what can deny it. I'm thankful that Sophie has responded well to treatment, and I'm thankful that she is doing as well as she is, and, frankly, I'm thankful that it took going to the hospital to snap me out of "Oh, we're doing great, everything's great, it's not that big of a deal anymore." Maybe if I can be honest with myself and honest with others--feeling like we're being haunted by death, especially now that we are hearing of other children who have relapsed and/or died from cancer.

I don't want this post to be gloom-and-doom or dark in any way, but do want to acknowledge how un-normal our lives are and how we cannot shake the underlying uncertainty of living with cancer. I have heard from others who went through treatment for cancer that this is not that unusual. So many things can go wrong, and even on the best of days (like today), there is the shadow of doubt that can creep in. Now that I think about it, that is probably the honest truth for everyone, even under so-called "normal" circumstances. We all walk through that dark valley at some point or other. What makes a difference, even in the face of the uncertainty and the fear and the dread, is whether or not we walk it alone. And we don't.