Thursday, July 8, 2010

You won't believe it, but...

We are going to play a game. It's called, "You won't believe it, but..." I will make a list of things that are strengthening my soul right about now. Some of them are huge and others are just sweetly baffling.

"You won't believe it, but..."
1. That cute little virtual fish tank to your right is interactive. Wave your mouse on top of the water and those little GOOD fishies come swarming. Click your mouse to feed them good fishy food so they can overpower sharks. The water even ripples. I think that is the effect that has locked me in. I will admit to overfeeding them.

2. I am easily amused.

3. We went to the Clinic this morning and Gideon ONLY had to get his chemo treatment. It is the FIRST time we have not needed a transfusion!

4. Gideon's ANC level is UP! HOORAY! His immune system is still off kilter due to the chemo and the cancer in general, but it isn't as scary low as before. Now I kind of want to apologize to those coughing girls at the parade who were the recipients of my stink-eye.

5. Mike Oslund checked the Paypal screen from shirts being ordered, and let's just say it was a GOOD first day of the sale. I cried when he emailed me the amount. All you shirt purchasers, bless you (everyone else, there's still time to order, but even if you don't: prayers work and THANK YOU for those)! And, MIKE: WOW! That is a lot to be responsible for and you have volunteered for a full-time job in receiving orders and shipping them out on August 7! I can't tell you how elated I feel in being able to donate that money to cancer research! My heart is on fire. All because of you giving people!

6. Ann Thornton now has a website to donate ONLINE for her Leukemia/Lymphoma Half Marathon. Here is the address: My Fundraising Page Someone anonymously donated 250 dollars today. WOW! It is VERY easy and safe to donate online. And Ann, you are one of my personal heroes to be doing something you hate for a cause that you love. Have I told you how much I adore you? I do.

7. I always judge an album based on the seventh track. If I like it, I will purchase the entire album instead of picking and choosing individual songs. This method has not failed me yet.

8. Gideon was a little comedian at the Clinic today. He had everyone laughing as he took the stage with his UNENDING anecdotes and tall tales. I HAVE to record him when he is on one of his rants. His language development has somehow warp sped forward recently. Steroids? I have no clue, but the boy is more articulate and beautifully detailed in his descriptions than ever before. Then there's that pinchable chubby-cheek factor adding to the quotient of cuteness. So, even if my eyes are glazed over and I am existing within the realm of delirium (due to the twenty five meals requested throughout the's like having an infant again), I love this boy's expression and passion for life!

9. Gideon has gained three more pounds in the last week. That is a lot for a three year old... WOAH.

*** I'm sure I could add on to this list, but we'll stop there for now. I feel like journaling now. So, here it goes...

I have had MANY people ask me if and how I've changed in these last few short weeks and the answer is yes, I have changed but it hasn't been me in control of the changing. I still lip sync and pretend I'm putting on concerts in my kitchen, but other things have most definitely changed. So, since this has been such a common question, I'll just open up and answer it all here.

If there was ever a doubt that God is in control, all anyone has to do is to look at how I'm still standing. I promise, I am not standing on my own. There's something that makes me calmer and more still whenever Gideon's body is shaking. It's after chemo, always. He shudders and his words quiver. He licks his lips constantly, and his legs aren't as sure-footed as they once were. He can't get through a sentence without taking a deep breath, and it is a Marathon to get to the top of the stairs (but... I'm happy to say, he has made it to the third from the top with only the assistance of a handhold!). The more he shakes, the straighter I feel I stand. Seeing him like this, watching him walk on his heals because his toes "Feel like shots!", breaks my heart but makes me steadier at the same time. This juxtaposition of weakness and strength all at once is beyond anything I could ever explain. I am thanking God for that survival instinct he programmed into our mommy brains. I always thought that if my child were ever this sick, ever puked this much, ever experienced as much pain as he has endured these past few weeks, that I would crumble and die. God has had other plans, and in all honesty... I am shocked by them! Breakdowns happen. Pity-parties happen. But it is that elation that gets injected into my soul when I know (I KNOW!) Gideon will not only beat this, but he will be blessed by this experience. It is almost like I have to have a low moment to be jolted back to the highest of highs in knowing that this too shall pass (and, "This Too Shall Pass" by OK Go is playing in my head...good tune, so it is allowed to play all day in my head...if it wants). Gideon will always know the worth of this precious existence on earth, and if not, you better believe this momma will remind him! Someday, when I am super old and Gideon is an adult, we will go swimming with the sharks, and that boy is going to give those guys the death-stare. They will have sense enough to swim away, I promise. This has made the Before-I-Die List. I've been adding to that list a lot, lately... It's good to daydream.

My plans today: LIVE! Live and smile and breathe. Maybe I won't be able to get every little object into my neighbor's garage sale in time (thank you, Michelle Brinker!), but I will have put together puzzles with Brody and danced with Gideon. I will listen when he talks. If I was in a hurry to get to the breakfast dishes I would have missed the moment when Gideon put his chubby little hand on my cheek, love light glowing in his puffy eyes, asking wistfully, "Mommy, will you marry me? You are a Flower Princess." The rest of it really doesn't matter in the scheme of things.

The uncanny calm that can only be God-given is the way I feel I have changed the most. Little things bother me even less than they did before (this can be a good OR a bad thing...depending upon who you are asking), and I realize how lucky I am in comparison to so many others I have met at the Clinic. The rest is definitely unchanged. Who wants to go dancing soon?


  1. I cannot wait to hear about the day you and Gideon go swimming with the sharks! You, my dear, continue to amaze and inspire me! Gideon is so lucky to have you as his mommy (Brody, too, of course)! While so many of us can never truly understand this incredible and difficult journey you are experiencing, it takes my breath away every time you share your feelings, stories and dreams.

  2. Oh, sweetheart, I can't dance worth a hill of beans, but I'd go dancing with you ANY day!! Why? Just to see your beautiful eyes sparkling and that gorgeous smile beaming as I trip over my own feet, that's why!

    You are a natural-born MOM. Capital letters, for sure! I cannot imagine handling such an incredibly difficult, scary journey with as much grace, wit and aplomb as you have shown us thus far. Yes, there have been times when you are on your knees, but the strength of others is always right behind you, ready to help lift you up.

    I'm so very glad to hear the good news you received at the clinic today. What a blessing to take into the weekend!!!

    Beautiful dreamer, I hope you never, ever lose that capacity. And I LOVE that your sweet baby was blessed with it as well. Steven was like that - sharing "stories" with anyone he met (like smoking cigars and playing poker in the small jeep with his dad? He shared that with the carpool volunteers at the school while he was in preschool!).

    Live, love, dream... I hope and pray for all those things for you and your family!!
    ~~Aunt Nancy~~

  3. Amanda,
    I feel like I should introduce myself since I read about your personal life in this blog and the struggles that you and your family have been going through over the last weeks. I'm beginning to feel like some sort of online stalker, so I need to say something. We don't know each other and the only thing we have in common is the fact that we both went to Milford High. My name is Mary Ghosh (maiden name Kohn)and I graduated in '99. I found your blog on Janna Wiegand's FB page and have been glued to it ever since.
    I first of all have to tell you that you are an eloquent writer (I sense an English major???). When this is all over with, and your beautiful courageous son has fought this nasty disease, you should turn this blog into a book...seriously. You have no idea how much your words have moved me and I'm sure many other people as well. People who had no clue what kind of effect this disease can have on not only a child, but also a family.
    I can't tell you how many times I sit here reading your blog and tears come to my eyes. I cry of course because I feel so terrible that bad things have to happen to such good people, but I also sometimes cry because I realize that my bad days are nothing compared to yours. Every time I find myself complaining about how hot it is or how many mosquito bites I have, I read this blog and literally want to smack myself. I am so blessed, as are so many people, and sometimes we all just need a dose of what others are struggling with to truly understand what we have.
    Everyday I look forward to reading about what challenges you have overcome (which are already countless, don't forget) and what your fears are for the days and months ahead. Your candor is priceless, and we all appreciate that.
    Amanda, you are doing an absolutely wonderful job (don't forget that either). Gideon couldn't ask for a more loving, caring mommy as he goes through this journey. As a nurse, I will tell you that you are doing everything right and then some.
    I pray for you, your family, and Gideon everyday and I know that you will all get through this. You have many people on your side and rooting for you.

    Thank you for sharing your stories and please keep 'em coming.

  4. I just wanted to let you know that my family and I are still praying mightily for you and your family. ~Linda Parker~

  5. WOW! You are amazing, Amanda. I wish you were my mommy. The posting from Mary is the never know how or who you are going to cool. I also agree with her: you are an amazing writer and should publish this someday...could be a beautiful encourager to moms of children fighting cancer, a Glory to God, and fundraiser for children's cancer. Still praying for you.....xoxoxo

  6. I just want you to know that I have at LEAST fifty people at my job reading your posts. You are one of our favorite lunchtime discussions. I am the only one subscribed as a "follower," but just know that there are COUNTLESS "followers" who aren't signed up (and don't even know you, but there are several ladies here who want you as a best friend). Please keep us updated and never stop. You're my favorite daily novel, girl.