Jane Roper

Writer. Blogger. Hater of Olives.

Tag: kids (page 1 of 3)

No Mercy from the Cancer Gods

parthenonI had a feeling this was going to happen. Really, it was only a matter of time:  First Alastair got sick with a bad cold, about a week ago. Then Elsa caught it — with a fever — last Friday. Then it was my turn.

Amazingly, somehow, Clio remained unscathed throughout, and when Monday rolled around and she was still OK, I thought (briefly): Huh. Maybe the Gods discussed it over wine and ambrosia and decided that they’d cut us a break, after all we’ve been through, and Clio’s not going to get this virus we’re all passing around.

But then she got back from her clinic appointment Monday afternoon, and Alastair told me that her ANC was only 100. Which is, like, really low. (ANC = Absolute Neutrophil Count. A measure of your body’s infection-fighting ability. 1500 and up is normal.) It hasn’t been that low since her induction chemo over the summer — but we’d been told that the CNS phase she just had would depress her counts.

And I thought: Wow, those Gods are really being nice to us. Because A.) Clio is super susceptible to a cold right now and B.) If she gets a fever, and her ANC is that low, they will totally hospitalize her. Continue reading


Let Us Now Praise Dana Farber

The Healing Garden at Dana Farber (Back in November, pre-buzz cut.)

The Healing Garden at Dana Farber (Back in November, pre-buzz cut.)

I know that a few weeks ago I gently lamented the excess of toys and other goodies that came our way from the good folks at the Jimmy Fund Clinic in December. But I want to take a few moments now to praise the awesomeness of Dana Farber / the Jimmy Fund Clinic / Children’s Hospital (all sort of interconnected) in general.

I feel so, so lucky to have Clio in treatment there (and to live in a city with a world class cancer center like Dana Farber in the first place). As immensely craptastic as cancer is and as awful as the treatment can be, I really can’t imagine a better cancer experience — I know, that sounds really, really strange — than the one we’re having.

There’s only one thing about the awesomeness that bums me out a little — but I’ll get to that.

First, the awesomeness: Continue reading


In Which I Chop off My Hair

Well, we’re still here at home. Clio’s numbers still weren’t high enough to start her next round of chemo, but we’re going to test again tomorrow and possibly go in on Friday. Or maybe it’ll end up being next week. Who the hell knows! It’s completely beyond our control.

Speaking of things being beyond our control — and attempting to regain some sense of control: Remember back over the summer when I wrote about how I was considering donating my hair for wigs for cancer patients? Partly because it’s a nice thing to do and partly because sometimes big changes in life make you want to change your appearance?

Well, I did it yesterday. Took off just shy of 9 inches to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which was recommended to me by someone (here, maybe?) as one of the best programs. They also don’t require your hair to be as long, so that was a bonus, too. My hair was getting so freakin’ long I was starting to look like Cathy. (From the comic, that is. Ack!)

I’ve had more or less the same hair for the past, oh, fifteen years, albeit with variances in color and presence of bangs. So I was kind of curious what I’d look like with shorter hair. This was a good excuse.

So, here I am at the salon right before the big chop. I just pulled my hair out of a ponytail (its usual state these days, since it was so long and annoying) and it’s sort of messy and wavy. I also look a little apprehensive, don’t you think?

Continue reading


A Wax Before Summer Camp? No Way.

Me at camp, circa 1983 -- when it was totally cool to wear red pants and a yellow t-shirt.

I spent the first fifteen summers of my life at overnight kids’ camps in Maine. My parents had been long-time camp counselors before I was born, continued to be involved with camps during my childhood and eventually owned and ran one of their own.

I’ve been a staff brat, a camper and a camp counselor. I even wrote a whole novel inspired by my childhood camp experiences. So you could say I’m pretty passionate about camp, and the value I think it brings to young people’s lives: the chance to gain independence, try new things, cast off the expectations and assumptions of peers and family, and be a part of a small, close-knit community.

Camp is also a chance — and an opportunity — to get by without some of the comforts of home, including the way you normally dress and look. Camp means flip-flops and t-shirts and beloved sweatshirts and damp bathing suits. It means less-than-perfect hair because you went straight from the lake to dinner and didn’t have time to dry it, or because there are 10 other girls waiting to use the bathroom. Sure, on dance nights you take the time to doll yourself up so you can snag a slow dance or two with that boy you’ve had your eye on. But the rest of the time, it’s about coming as you are. In fact, that’s part of the point.

At least, that’s what I think. And what I was brought up to believe. So I was dismayed (and a little apeshit) to read this recent article in the Times about girls as young as 12 getting their legs waxed, eyebrows plucked and hair straightened before heading off to camp. An excerpt:

Read the rest of this rant post over at Babble



Gut Punch: My Babies are Going to Kindergarten

Photo by Mara Brod

About a month ago, I went — along with the girls — to the kindergarten open house, where we toured the classrooms and said hello to the kindergarten teachers at what will be their school in the Fall. It was a little overwhelming, but not a particularly emotional experience  (even though Clio was clearly a bit spooked by the whole thing.)

Then, two weeks ago, Elsa and Clio had their preschool graduation festivities. Basically the whole school participates in them — there’s a show where each class sings a couple of songs, followed by a little festival — so the girls have been in it twice before. Still, I thought maybe this year I’d get a little weepy or something, it being their final year of preschool.

Last week was their last full week of school. I was on a video shoot all day on their last day, so I didn’t drop them off or pick them up, which I was a little bummed out about; it was strange to think, after the fact, that I’d probably never set foot in the building again. I felt a little wistful, but in an abstract kind of way.

And then, this weekend, it really sank in for the first time.

Read the rest of this post over on Babble.

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