Monday, June 27, 2005

Childhood leukaemia

A child we have known since she was born has leukaemia. This is pretty awful. In terms of prognosis, it's probably as good as its possible to get, if one has to have it. But there's all sorts of things that it implies - like the medium- and long-term effects of both disease and treatment, the shock and strain on the family, the missing out of education, the fact that she will feel a lot worse before she gets better.

If you want to have a weep about such things, I'm sure there are no shortage of accounts of the impact of cancer that you could read. I'd recommend "C: Because Cowards get cancer too" by John Diamond. More obliquely, I'd recommend "Through a glass darkly" by Jostein Gaarder - who I really need to do a full post on alone, to talk about the fantastic books he has written.

For now, one further comment. Chemotherapy is fairly horrifying - the drugs that the parents are giving the girl are so toxic, they are only allowed to handle them with gloves - and yet the girl has to swallow them. Imagine what impact this has on a parent.

But on the other hand, how amazing it is that something that is so poisonous could save somebody's life. And how amazing it is that somebody once had the monstrous, glorious idea that this treatment might work ....