Gideon received his Vincristine at the hospital today, and we are starting another round of steroids this week. I'm sure I'll have stories! He is feeling good, and as you can see below, we are prepared for those cravings:
After the hospital, we visited the Portage Free Methodist blood drive in Gideon's honor. It was beautiful! Fish were everywhere, volunteers were everywhere and I was just blown away by how amazing it all turned out. Thank you (especially Joyce and Gail)! I will upload pictures soon.
Gideon and Brody got to have a close-up look at how this donating process works since I gave blood today and the boys watched. They insisted I hold their hand and Gideon told me to "Be still and just breathe." Spoken like a true pro, right? He was so fascinated by the blood bags at the end of the process since this is the familiar side of the blood he's seen hanging from his IV tree while getting transfusions. Whenever he looks around the room at one of these drives, I say, "All of these people will give their good fishies to someone like YOU, Gideon!" And he smiles, nods, and gets it. Once he said, "And it will make so many people better, too!" As sentimental as it is, I cannot walk into a blood drive without instantly tearing up. I'm taken to that place of absolute awe in a hospital room. I recall wondering desperately who the nameless hero in the bag saving my boy was so many times, and I look around at these drives and see the faces. Faces I can name now, but someone else will only see as a plastic bag of blood, but with that same heart of immense gratitude and wonder.
I have received some emails from other families whose child has cancer, must take pills, and the grinding/mixing/preparing every single night and day is becoming tedious and annoying (being very polite to those pills there... I'd like to be harsher). There is also the worry that some needed particles are still stuck in the grinder, and watching even a few sediments of pill dust into the air around me has made me panic and feel like Gideon wasn't getting his full dosages on many an occasion. Don't worry. I asked the doctors about that in one of my obsessive moments and they say they account for some of that dosage not being swallowed (like what if a chunk is still stuck in the applesauce and in the sink? It's okay. They know it happens.)
One of my favorite emails:
"How in the WORLD did you get Gideon to swallow the pills? How? How? How? If I breathe in anymore chemo pill dust, I will grow another arm. Come to think of it, another arm would be useful for this mom."
So, Here it is! I must share with you other families who feel this panic something a veteran momma warrior (Julie Jenkins) shared with me: Practice pill swallowing! Buy those mini-m&ms, and model for your child how you have the m&m on your tongue, drink some water, and WOOSH! Down the throat it goes! No mashing, no chewing, just GULP! I tried this with Gideon awhile back and he spit it out (the minis aren't as much of a choking hazard). Still another failed attempt is when he pretended to swallow, but quickly began to chew (and who can blame him? By swallowing, the chocolate tastebud explosion is nonexistent). I knew he wasn't ready. We continued to practice until the day he did it! Then we made it a HUGE deal (remember the pill maraca and conga line? Yes...We did it, too) when Gideon swallowed his pill for the first time. I am happy to say, Gideon swallowed SEVEN pills in succession tonight. Try it! Julie Jenkins KNOWS her stuff! Pass on the information to other families, too! We love you, Jenkins family!
Tomorrow is the WMU blood drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the WMU Parkview Campus in Room C-126. We hope to see you there!