It’s “National Soft Serve Ice Cream” Day

Soft serve ice cream reminds me of Kirkersville, Ohio, which is my hometown. Kirkersville is a wee-bitty village with a population of about 700 (this number does NOT include cows). Everybody knew everyone AND their business. I was only a mild troublemaker so my name wasn’t in the rumor mill all that often. I did, however, work at the center of town where all the action happened. Kirkersville had but one stop light and it was considered the epicenter of the whole village. On one corner you had the Apostolic Church. The corner directly across the street held the local tavern. Following clockwise, the next corner held the post office as well as the carry-out. This was my favorite corner because you could get all the penny-candy you could carry and it truly was a penny apiece. The last corner held my first true place of employment, The Kirk Kone. Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to work there, it was called “Aunt Mary’s Cafe and Cone”. I could never make the transition of calling it anything other than the Kirk Kone, even though the incorrect spelling of “Cone” annoyed me beyond belief. It was the hub of all the town’s excitement. That’s saying a lot considering there was a tavern caddy corner from the ice cream joint.
We had soft-serve ice cream, every flavor of sundae you could imagine, milkshakes, dip cones, sprinkles, and even a smattering of sandwiches like pulled pork and pizza burgers. It was fine dining by Kirkersville standards.
I understand that Kirkersville no longer has the Kirk Kone. The building now houses a bingo hall or something like that. The other corners still have their staples, but the ice cream place is long gone. It makes me a little sad. But change is inevitable. There’s no changing that.
I bought Ben a $3 soft-serve ice cream cone from the Mister Softee truck in Midtown Manhattan the other day (what is it about soft-serve ice cream that commands people to misspell?). He devoured it before we got to Nintendo World, which was just a block or two away. Usually, he loses interest in all things food about 1/2 way into them – even ice cream. However, this particular cone didn’t even get a chance to melt. Ben has actually been doing well with eating this trip. He’s gained about two pounds and has grown about one centimeter since our visit in June. I know, that’s not a lot by most standards, but in Ben’s world it’s monumental.
So. The scoop on Ben’s treatment. We’ve had some interesting news this week. Ben reached HAMA. I’ll try to explain without getting too technical. HAMA stands for “Human Antibody Mouse Antibody”. The antibodies that Ben has been receiving is derived from a mouse. I know. Crazy. Anyway, the mouse antibodies are supposed to teach Ben’s system how to fight any recurring Neuroblastoma. We want Ben to receive as much of this as he possibly can. The average length of this treatment is approximately two years. Ben has made it about 1/2 way through at this point. We need to make an adjustment in his treatment to bring his HAMA down to a level where his body will accept more of these antibodies. The more he has, the more able he’ll be to fight off any cancer that’s trying to return. So, we either just wait for HAMA to come down on its own or we do more chemo. It’s a low dose of chemo so he shouldn’t lose his hair or get too terribly sick, but it’s still a minor setback. Everything had truly been sailing along at a beautiful pace and now this. It’s not uncommon for this to happen to kids – sometimes it happens more than one time – but it’s still a pain in the butt.
Even though Ben has reached HAMA, he’s still going to finish out the week of therapy. As of today, he has one more session to go. The pain has been minimal this time around (another indicator of HAMA). He’s actually up and playing his Wii right now so I’m hoping we can get out and enjoy this evening.
Maybe we’ll go out and get some ice cream.

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