Thursday, September 9, 2010

Long time...

Could someone please hold the hands on the clock still for a bit? That would be great. Just grab a hold of the world and give it a squeeze so that the rotation just pauses. Not only do I need time to halt its habitual ticking and tocking, but I just need to take a second and reflect on all the things going on in this abnormal life that has been both heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. And because of this duality that I have never experienced, I have felt like my words could never convey what the last two-three weeks have been like. So, I have been BLOG-SILENT. I'm breaking the seal and letting it come out as it will... I may babble. It's way up there on the likelihood factor.

I went back to work last week, as many of you know. It was Professional Development week, and so we teachers were able to get motivated and trained so that our minds and hearts became focused on those students starting the very next week (this week). My first day back I was greeted by many NO SHARK shirts staring at me, and as my principal walked into the district-wide meeting, Gideon's face on his back caught my immediate attention. I know we often feel so small and alone in this world, like the insignificant ripples we create are too tiny and unimportant to create any stir, but this ripple that is my life is surrounded by an ocean of support, love, and friends. Many ripples create waves. You have taught me that.

After much prayer, research, and soul-searching, we decided that the best scenario for the time being would be for me to take a leave from my job that is not a job, it IS a complete passion. To my fellow peeps molding lives out there, I will be joining you again soon. For now, though, I am using my sick days up and praying. I can't express how much it means to me that I am able to rock Gideon when his belly hurts, distract him from pain with crazy dances or messy paints, and to be the one holding the puke bucket. Oh. I went from sweet and soft to kind of disgusting, but it's TRUE! I know others could care for him. I realize there are nursing students out there willing to take a nanny job, but it's not me. There is no control in cancer. I can't pick and choose how Gideon's body will respond to treatment, but I can be more vigilant when it comes to germs and what I'm bringing home. This offers even more comfort. And, as I just got home from another day at the Clinic today for a higher dosage of Vincristine and Methotrexate, I'm realizing I would have had to have taken a day off on the SECOND full day of school. That doesn't bode well with little first graders. The next few days promise to be more difficult for Gideon, as well. This is the highest dosage yet, and last week's chemo made him belly-sick for three days. There are so many things that are making me realize that we made the right decision. After my sick-days are up, I'm not positive what will happen. The situation I am in at this moment is comfort enough, and I'm handing the worry over. Those unsure next steps sometimes make the best dance moves if there is surrender instead of fretfulness making them awkward. I'm getting used to this play-by-play life.

I had the chance to "talk" (more like sobbed) to my staff about this decision, and as arrangements were made to get a Guest Teacher in my room, more love and understanding cascaded upon me. More ripples, ripples, ripples making up those waves of relief. I adore you, Mattawan. You've got yourself a lifer in that district! Well, until I'm 65. I hope to live beyond retirement.

As if I could feel any more support, the Oslunds sent a check for $2,223.00 in T-shirt sales! This insane amount of money for T-SHIRTS made my heart boomerang out of the window. I'm still awaiting its return. The money will be donated to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Gideon's name, while another part of it will somehow go back to The Children's Hospital at Bronson Hospital (what they did for us while we were there -- wow). I'm not sure what it will look like for the hospital portion, but it will have something to do with adding something that would make the stay in the hospital even less scary and easier for the entire family. Together with Ann's 1/2 marathon fundraising more than four thousand dollars have been donated to aid in finding a cure. No words. Well, two: THANK YOU.

I thought for sure the cards and calls would kind of let up by now. Not because people become uncaring or calloused, just that life gets busy. I was wrong. SO wrong. Homemade cards came from an acting camp care of Mrs. Averill and so many more thoughts of love and prayer still fill our mailbox. Again: Thank you.

Sometimes I just don't know what to do with all of this help and love. Really. Remember that game show that had its contestants stand inside of a glassed-in box with money swirling around? The player had to grab and pocket as much of the flying money as possible within a certain amount of time. I feel like I am in a glass box like that only help is floating around me and I don't have to grab it. It just sneaks its way into my pocket while I stare out of the window. Human spirit -- I'm still feeling you. Let's add another: Thank you.

Then there is KCMS Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Today I had kind of a step back moment. Gideon walks into that place like it's a second home. He greets Von at the front desk and makes sure she says something about how she can see more of his head (from his growing) since last week. He is always given fishy food to feed the aquarium. He giggles and talks to his favorite ones and pleads with them to "SAVE SOME FOR YOUR FRIENDS!" With complete ease, he trots to the back with the clinic's therapy dog "Girly" walking next to him. He tells me Girly is wagging her tail because she is so happy to see him. He's right. Sweet and loving Diane (the music therapist) smiles and says "Hello" as Gideon automatically takes off his shoes, jumps onto the scale, jumps down, stands under the growth chart (he scoots his heels against the wall on his own, too), and finally hops onto the chair and says, "I'm ready for my arm hug!" I just had to watch without prompting. His confidence and smiles are just over and above what I ever anticipated. If anyone can "do" cancer well, it's Gideon.

He kissed his nurse Michelle's hand today and told me he was going to marry her. Then, Gideon's Dr. Lobel (that's what he calls him: "MY Dr. Lobel") came to check him before the chemo. Gideon lights up even more when his doctor is visible.

While they were chatting, Dr. Lobel said, "Gideon, last time you told me you have a favorite car."

"Yup! A corvette!" Gideon chimed.

And out of Dr. Lobel's pocket appeared a red corvette. These instantaneous grateful tears are now permanent fixtures in my eyes. It's all of this love. Dr. Lobel has so many patients, but thinks about my own little man enough to remember a special prize for him.

As if that was not enough, while we were waiting for Gideon's blood counts to come back, Gideon crawled up on Diane (the music therapist)'s lap and asked if they could sing "WHEELS ON THE BUS" while they looked at the book with the words to accompany the music. Again, I stood back while Gideon snuggled in. It's all of these reasons and more that Gideon asks to go to the hospital every morning. The people make it like an adventure. Clinic: Thank you.

Brody started Young Fives and absolutely loves it. His school is making sure that he is sterilized and walked out to my car after school each day. His teacher told me he was "chatty" today, and I realize there may be more of me in him than I originally thought! The help we are getting from Mrs. Scheeler (his teacher) is outstanding. Thank you!

So, cancer is horrific. I hate it. But somehow, we gained more family members because of it. The load has never become too heavy. I thank God for all of you.


  1. Sniff, sniff.....Praying for you, missing you, and loving you.....

  2. No words, just love and prayers!

  3. Still thinking of you and yours....may many more "Corvette" moments and smiles like the ones on Brody's face come to the Schripsema family ♥

  4. so so so sooooo cool to see God working through all these people. How amazing that Gideon has such a love for his doctor, nurse, etc. That must make you feel so comforted, Amanda, knowing that so many people truly love Gideon....even those of us who have never had the honor of actually meeting him. You are such a special mommy, and I love to read your love for your children through these posts. I have enormous respect for you. Just beyond words. I think the choice you made to take leave from your job....was so selfless and the best gift you could ever give to Gideon. What he needs is his mommy, and not some stranger taking care of him. And you know what? God will provide for you. Just keep surrendering to Him....and He will bless you and your family with everything you need. That's awesome all the money people raised for cancer. I'm blown away. Each one of you....Tom, Brody, you, and Gideon....are SO LOVED. I am so honored to have "met" you guys. God bless you. God carry you all high above every single trial. I claim God's healing over Gideon. I claim the victory we WILL see someday. Love you much!!!!

  5. And PS: You are so beautiful, Amanda!!

  6. Oh, he just makes me smile every time he's here! Melted my heart today with that sweet smooch. Hugs to you all,
    Nurse Michelle