Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Brody!

Brody's Big Day

Against my will, I was forced to leave to go home and shower and sleep last night... Apparently, I was getting smelly. I didn't notice. All of you visitors who hugged me anyway, you are a bunch of saints. Hopefully my BO came out in the wash...

I am so thankful Brody was with me for this trek. He asked if we could get a new swimsuit for his WATERPARK birthday on Wednesday (even though his bday is today, he has a couple of friends he'll celebrate with tomorrow), so we stopped off at Old Navy to pick one up. It is so strange to be in the land of Non-Hospital. There are people still going to work, still spending money, still getting mad at traffic lights... It was boggling to me. The Old Navy moment was a new one. They have a projected interactive game on the ground in the children's section. The last time we were there, Brody and Gideon were kicking at a computer generated soccer ball and gettin' down and dirty with their virtual grass stains. This was when things seemed so normal. We could just get in the car and go to Old Navy. We could drive a little further down the road to the park and I wasn't nervous about bruises or germs. So, when I saw Brody playing that soccer game alone, a thunder bolt of grief shot down my throat and pinned my lungs down with anchors -- incredibly heavy anchors -- and all I could do was exhale and exhale some more. It felt like I was underwater. This happened about ten more times once we were home. I saw Gideon's blocks we never got around to putting away = anchor. Gideon's sippy cup still on the table = anchor. Brody saved me because I could have easily succumbed to the weight of those anchors and let them pull me down into a dark, dark place of grief. He wanted to make a poster for Gideon, and then came some talks I have been hoping for...

Brody has not handled this well, as you all know. I don't believe there is a "good" way to handle this, but he is taking it so very hard. He won't talk about it and tunes people out when they try. So, we made a humongous "GET BETTER, GIDEON!" sign in bubble letters. It was Brody's job to fill in the bubble letters with his creative designs. I am thankful it was such a huge poster, because our conversation naturally brought up Gideon. Brody said, "Even though it's my birthday, I won't get what I want because Gideon is sick." I asked what he wanted, thinking he would bring up some huge and superficial type thing (I don't know why, I was just assuming he would be like all other 4-5 year olds). He said, "I want to ride the play firetruck in the kid's playroom at the hospital, but Gideon always wants to ride it. I let him. He's sick. I'm not. So, I probably won't ride it, even though it has sirens." So. There it was... an IN.

I told him we would make SURE he got a ride. Then I asked, "Tell me what you think about this whole hospital thing."

He answered, "It drives me crazy how people keep asking me if I know what is going on. I know! Gideon has bad blood. We need to get him good blood. That takes a long time. But, I feel mad when they tell me and I have to remember it all again!" (makes PERFECT sense to me...)

Then came the moment I will treasure. Brody put down his crayon and said, "Mom? Doesn't it freak you out?" (Those were his exact words...)

"About what, Brody?"

"Doesn't it freak you out that Gideon always wants you so much? That you always have to smile and get him to do all that stuff?" (By "stuff" I think he meant the blood draws, the peeing in a cup, etc...) The boy is seeing how this is affecting not only him, but me. I feel like he is an old soul, that one. So introspective and wise... aware of all that is around him. Poor sugar. This is a time I wish he was more oblivious and space-cadet-ish like his mommy was at that age. (No jokes about the fact that I still have space cadet tendencies, okay?)

Brody and I continued our heart-to-heart and I am confident that he is feeling secure in my love. That Gideon's sickness does not trump the fact that I adore him through-and-through. He's my baby, too. Even when he's 80, he's still my baby! I told him that, and he thought I was crazy. There. Precious normalcy. He always thinks I'm crazy :).

So now it's his birthday, and Brody made me dress up in a skirt to take him on a breakfast date. He chose iHop. Even though I went brain-dead at the register and had to ask the receptionist to figure out how to add my tip to the total, the date was BEAUTIFUL! Brody was smiling and making jokes and asking me to draw dogs on his placemat so that he could draw piles of poop underneath each dog. Yup. Normal stuff like that. What wasn't normal was the fact that I walked away from my Calculus-like bill at the counter without worrying that the receptionist thought I was on some heavy drugs. Not worried at all.

Brody is out with daddy now. He is kicking some soccer ball somewhere, I'm sure. I am watching precious Gideon sleeping. Here's where I'll give the Gideon update. All you doctor and nurse friends will think I'm very simplistic in my explanations of what is happening to him right now, but really...the doctor lingo does not impress me. I'm not in this to be all look-at-my-lingo-y'all-see-how-smart-I-am. No. I will be as simple as I can. This process is complicated enough. Basically, Gideon's capability to be immune to infections has been drastically lowered. He has had a fever, so the doctors put him on an antibiotic. He is also in a lot of pain. He is on morphine now. Gideon's energy level is very low, but even though he is in his bed, he is smiling and playing quietly with his trucks, cars, and planes. I am getting flustered with ALL OF THESE BLOOD TESTS. Honestly, he hardly has any blood left and we keep removing more? It seems so counterproductive at times. Next they are going to get out a jug of leeches ala 1654, I bet. Oh. There I go getting all negative. Taking a thankful breath NOW that I see his little chest rise and fall.


We will find out if his Leukemia is ALL or AML this evening! We won't know the subtype and treatment for another couple of days, but we'll know the main gist. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for ALL. The more favorable one to treatment.

I love you all. My next post will be more picture-oriented. I can get wordy on this here blog. Hopefully I am not leaving anyone with a headache the way I left everyone who visited the last couple of days with my smell.


  1. happy birthday, brody! you are the best big brother ever! with the best little brother and the best parents, too! amanda, you amaze me every single day. you are wonder woman! love and prayers, gina

  2. Miss Amanda - thank you for your eloquent updates. I feel the anchors right along with you as I read. Jace and I are praying ceaselessly for all of your precious family. If you get a chance, reread Psalm 23 (go to if you don't have a Bible handy). I know it's one we hear a million times, but it carries new meaning in times like these.
    Happy 5th Birthday Brody!
    Love, hugs, and prayers,

  3. Amanda,

    I have followed two other blogs for children in very serious health. I have been amazed at how you parents have been provided with extra portions of God's grace. You are witnessing to us! Thank you for this blog. Thank you for putting your feelings down just this way and keeping us connected to Gideon and Brody. Grandma Nancy's Euchre group is praying hard for you all. Let us know how we can help you in any way. Love to all. And praying for ALL.

    Shauna Collison

  4. We are praying SO hard for you guys!

  5. You are wonderful, Amanda and I just LOVE your wordy blogs so don't worry about it one single bit...this is therapy for you remember? Many tears and prayers are being lifted for you all. Happy Birthday Brody!
    Michelle Baird

  6. I agree with Michelle. I love reading your blogs and you insights - your eloquence is AMAZING to me! It is also understandable, that you show the human side to your feelings. This is our way of being with you every step of the way helping us to find ways to support you, the boys and Tom.

    Happy 5th Birthday Brody!
    ~Deb Milka xo

  7. Oh, Manda, you are amazing. I've attempted to comment so many times, but words fail me which, of course, makes the eloquence of your blogs seem all the more wondrous.
    I guess I want to say these things:
    I'm praying, earnestly. Many others are, too.
    I love you and am so thankful for you.
    Your blogs are beautiful. What a wonderful testament to God's love and the love of the Schripsema family. My prayers continue for all of you.
    Much love...Christy Devlin