Sunday, September 4, 2011

Madly in love with Mattawan...

The first time Gideon received his spinal chemo and I saw his eyes rolling and shaking in their sockets, my broken heart still on the hospital linoleum vaporized into even more miniscule parts. It struck me that this last spinal chemo, when I saw his eyes doing their far away sporadic and spastic movements, I just waited it out calmly until they stopped their jumping and he was able to focus on me more clearly. I just watched him and waited while methodically smoothing his hair from his forehead. When there is no other choice, it is crazy what we can accept in this life.

But I haven't really accepted it. It is hellaciously wrong, and it needs to be taken away from my baby and every other little battler out there. It is unacceptable that in the past twenty years only one chemo drug was created solely for children. So, I haven't just accepted this disease for my Gideon or any other child. With every roll of his eyes during his drug-induced stupor, I become that much more fervent and desperate that childhood cancer be obliterated for good. All of it. Maybe I don't sob in a heap as often as I did in the beginning, but this heart of mine screams for a cure. I have not lost hope and I never will. Once Gideon has beaten this, I still will not stray from this one goal in my life: to see childhood cancer be a more advocated cancer in our world, and with that will come more funding, and with that: THE CURE.

I can't begin to express what it is like to be surrounded by colleagues who not only empathize with this vision, not only do they support this effort I believe is my life purpose, but are actively battling with me. There is no talk with Mattawan Consolidated School employees. There is vision and then action with every single staff member. I can't even put into words what this feels like to me. I cannot weave a dream of a more perfect place to send my own babies (my gems, my life, my blessings from the Creator).

Once I was told Gideon's steroids would be increased significantly this round, I braced myself. The same late night behaviors presented themselves as before, but this time I was back at work. I came into the high school on Wednesday morning for an inservice, and the sleep deprivation just hammered down on me with a headache. I knew it would transform into a migraine, and all I did was share with my closest neighbors at the meeting about this pain and fatigue. They had an Amanda-go-home-now intervention. Cindy Harrell, Barbara Cooperider and Kristen Snow followed me into my classroom ORDERING me to get in my car and drive home that instant. I "yeah-yeahed" them, but then I noticed they wouldn't leave. They didn't budge from my room and they wore their "I MEAN IT" teacher looks. I'm here to say, as they escorted me (yes, ESCORTED me) to my car and watched me drive off, that teacher looks are powerful entities of their own. How lucky am I to be so loved and cared for? Who else works with souls such as these? I love them! I LOVE them.

Yes, I have that support and so much more. They look out for my well-being, but they, again, embrace my vision. Mattawan Consolidated Schools is going to host a district-wide kickball tournament called KICK-IT to raise funds for CureSearch, the world's largest children's cancer collaborative. The fundraising will last the entire month of September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and it will end on game day: October 8. For more information and updates, please follow the Mattawan Kick-it Blog here. The staff is going to honor each child battling childhood cancer in our district at the event itself. There are seven kids that we all will honor, and one special little girl who we will honor and remember. Please mark it in your calendar and come and watch and take part in a silent auction, food, cheer, and support for all of our area fighters!

Because of this event, Brody is over the moon with excitement. He's my sport lover and he cannot wait to take part in the battle against his brother's sharks. He will be playing and is already registered to do so. Please click here if you'd like to donate to CureSearch in Brody's honor.

There are some AMAZING times coming... I have to thank MATTAWAN CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS, once again, for being a part of the solution in this world. How I love you all...

(AND...As inspiration for all of you who have to get up-up-up early for school, here's some musical inspiration. I dedicate this one to you, Mattawan staff. Sip that coffee and dance at the same time.)

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