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Petechiae Panics

My kid threw the tantrum to end all tantrums yesterday. He wanted to watch another octopus video after we told him, that, no this would be the last video and that it was dinner time. We held firm, as we try to do when setting limits for our three-year-old.

And he freaked.

Rolling on the floor. Screaming, "NO, SIR! Nope!" While we watched, he turned red and splotchy. After a few minutes Kiddo calmed down, and we ate dinner.

Shortly thereafter, he got another response he didn't like, and hit mommy. So we sent him to time-out, which prompted TANTRUM II: The Revenge. It wasn't as bad as the first tantrum, but when he came for his post-time-out hug and talk, I saw the petechiae on his face and neck.

Petechiae on a child's face.

For those who don't know, petechiae are small red or purple dots that appear on the skin cause by minor bleeding from broken capillaries. Facial petechiae is most often caused by coughing, vomiting, holding your breath, or crying. But it is also a symptom of Leukemia or low platelets.

I know what caused our kids petechiae, but it doesn't keep the dread away. Kiddo had a tumor, but the chemo he had to treat the tumor can cause what is called a "secondary cancer," like Leukemia. My stomach is churning and I am in a spiral of self doubt and anxiety right now.

If we were back in Hawaii, I would take my son to pediatrician to calm my fears. We knew all the doctors in the practice and they were there with us through all of Kiddo's treatment and first year of survivorship. They would have calmly looked him over and most likely told us it was nothing to worry about and to come back if it doesn't fade in a few days. our pediatrician was really receptive to our psychological needs for reassurance as onco-parents, and we still think of her as family.

In Toronto, it is harder to get an appointment and they don't know what we've been through, and in general are less sympathetic to our needs as onco-parents. This can make days like today hard. The do I call/ don't I call dance going on in my head will probably last until the red dots are gone. And if anything happens I will hate myself for not demanding the doctor see him immediately and blame myself. And it's all irrational, because I know it was the tantrum--I really do.

This is what cancer does to you as a parent. It makes you doubt yourself and your judgement. It creates anxiety around small everyday occurrences. It isolates you.

Fuck you cancer.

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