What does HOPE look like?
It looks like a young husband and wife walking on either side of their seven-year-old son down a long hallway of the Mayo clinic.
Hope looks like my daughter, seven months pregnant, straightening up in her chair and looking expectantly at the door of the doctor’s office when it opens after nearly an hour of waiting. It looks like my daughter, who answers a litany of questions that demonstrates she has lived with the reality of a child’s serious illness for more than two years.
Hope arrives in the form of a young female doctor who explains the clinical trial that has yet to be proven to be effective on Wilms tumor, and when asked the difference between this chemotherapy drug and the one recommended at the University of Iowa, says “That one would have been given simply for palliative care, this one we hope will do more. Hope.
Hope is a seven-year-old boy who climbs up on the table when the doctor asks, curling up with a giggle when her cold hands touch his thin abdomen, a boy who looks sadly down at the floor when he is informed his cancer has returned, and then simply asks if it means he has to go to the hospital. He smiles when his mother tells him most of the treatment will be at home.
Hope is a thin doctor in a long skirt, whose face radiates kindness even while her soft voice informs us that they aren’t looking at a cure right now, but she has seen miracles.
If the results of his blood tests are favorable tomorrow, Jacob will begin a Phase II clinical trial study on Friday, taking a twice-daily chemotherapy drug and heading to Mayo with his mother once a week for tests. As we enter this phase we hold onto these two words; Hope and Miracles.