He was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. At that time, he was 10 years old. Hearing such painful news in an enclosed space, Room Number 2, was a difficult experience. I burst out in tears and his father fainted. Toa sat on the medical bed with his earphones on watching this emotional wave crash down in front of him to the beat of some random tune. Our youngest, Vasa, continued his day in Kindergarten as if it were any other school day.
Our family is very pragmatic so we immediately changed our habits and schedules to match whatever it was we needed to do for him. Our new normal is now the norm and we are all still here and that wave that crashed like a tsunami on the first day has since receded into more calming ebbs and flows.
Toa is a 13-year-old boy, and he is beautifully strange. He is awkward in social events and plays VR games like no one is watching him but is shy when you ask him to dance with the same abandonment. He uses large vocabulary words in the wrong context and mixes up pop references constantly.
His animal spirit is a cat because he is drawn to fascinating things and he is compelled to check them out. He is comfortable in his own skin and stretches whenever he feels like it. He enjoys being alone but will not scoff at your company if he looks up and sees you sitting nearby and he purrs.
He thinks he is hilarious (he's not) but that is what makes me laugh out loud. He does not care that no one gets his sense of humor. He knows how to entertain himself. He believes all people are good and is okay with giving them a lifetime of do-overs to prove they have the capacity to show they can change.
We love our son for so many more reasons but the one that is most special to me is that he is still here. My son went into remission on Friday, February 21, 2020.