The signs are everywhere, or are they?

I was walking through the mall with my children, just laughing at their crazy antics and enjoying the window-shopping.

I stopped at one particular window, admiring a pair of shoes that I would never purchase and my eyes dropped to something that took my breath away.

A little boy lay completely relaxed, blissfully asleep in his stroller.

His stout and chubby legs were covered in bruises. Scattered up and down his calves were vivid splotches of color that evidenced an active boy with a complete disregard for his own safety, probably an avid climber, a child that gave his mother heart attacks on a regular basis.

But those were not the first thoughts in my head.

My urge was to run in and ask that mother if he always seemed to bruise that way. If the bruises seemed to take longer to heal than they should. Did he seem lethargic, was he taking more naps than normal? Were there bruises in other places on his body? Did he have red spots? Was he complaining of any strange pains?

I had to restrain myself from scaring the mother out of her wits with my completely inappropriate interest in a few bruises.

Because my eyes see “a few bruises”.

My mind and heart see “symptoms”.

I am so much more aware of the possibility of disease in other children, a fear manifesting itself on every innocent child that crosses my path.

Everywhere I go, I see it.

I see pale skin on a naturally fair child.

I see petechia where there is heat rash.

I see bruises that used to seem perfectly normal.

I see circles under the eyes that whisper of exhaustion.

There’s a part of me that wishes I’d known what to look for in my daughter’s body so that I would have been able to get her diagnosed quicker.

There’s also the part of me that knows that there would have been no way my mind would ever have put Peyton’s name together with cancer…ever…even though symptoms were there.

No one could have warned me. There is no gentle way to say, “Hi, my child had cancer and I see a lot of the signs on your child. Would you care to take them for a bone marrow?” I would have been properly horrified and probably taken a swing at them.

I forced myself to tear my eyes away from those tiny, bruised legs and walk away.

I am just paranoid.

He’s fine and I am worried for no reason.

A day will come when I don’t feel my heart skip a beat when I see “symptoms”.



I’m not sure of that.

But nothing could stop me from saying a prayer for that child.

You can also find me at Hope4Peyton, The Mayhew Review and Twitter, you should come by, it’s nice…we have cookies! Feel free to email me at Anissa.Mayhew (at) gmail (dot )com.

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