Cancer-FREE

Cancer-FREE

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Floodgates

Wow. I thought I was bombarded with love once Gideon was first diagnosed, but now we are experiencing it with a higher intensity since WWMT did its story on Gideon. THANK YOU, Channel 3, for the love and awareness you brought to the masses. For every monster reported on the news, there are thousands of walking angels! We don't just think that, we KNOW that!
Gideon's Story
To add to the channel 3 love, when I got home from errands this evening, there was a COOKIE BOUQUET on our doorstep from none other than the fabulously gorgeous (inside and out) Judy Markee! Look at these cookies. I have never seen Gideon more happy over a cookie shape in my LIFE!
video

I also have to back up and THANK my mystery-spa-day-giver. I have never had a better spa experience in my life, and I felt the lack of sleep and stress melting away. Ahhhhh... THAT was wonderful. Also, I have to thank Tom for labeling Brody's hockey bag with a pictorial key showing what was supposed to be packed since I did my first solo hockey gig with the little-big man. It was also my first experience with 8 a.m. ice time. Woah. That's early. I am also thankful that the electricity went out for two days. Why? Because my mother-in-law got up with boys and I actually slept IN until 9:30! Elation runs through me! Who needs electricity when one can get caught up on glorious SLEEP?!

Gideon is very sensitive now that he's off of this round of steroids. He cries, but immediately tries to stifle the crying by wiping incessantly at his eyes to stop the tears from spilling. The heartbreaker for me today was the way he silently cried on the couch after his brother left for school. His little shoulders shook, and I promised him some raspberry sherbet to stop the sadness. Little honey. He is my SWEET boy again! Just more sensitive and needing a lot more love and TLC. He was sick today and the day before yesterday quite a bit. Whenever we go somewhere in the car he says, "Remember my puke bucket, mom! My tummy is crazy right now!" I believe it. I am just glad his shaking hands stopped now, too.

I'm also wondering if this is a phase or something more: We walked outside and Gideon started to silently cry (I only noticed since I saw the telltale tear wiping) and I asked him what was wrong. He said, "EVERYONE is looking at me! Don't let them look at me!" When I asked him why he didn't want them to look at him (he usually loves the attention), he said, "I don't want them to know I have Leukemia!" Of course I explained that they didn't know. He had a hat on, afterall. I think in his delicate state, any added attention makes him overly emotional. I'm wondering if this is a three-year-old thing or a kid-with-cancer thing. I don't know, but I'm assuming once his ninja tears stop attacking him he will not be as sensitive to it. He'll be back to his TAAAA-DAAAAA! and pizazz in no time.

Speaking of sensitive, tonight at bedtime Gideon shut his finger in the drawer while grabbing for his toothpaste. I ran downstairs to get an ice pack, and when I got back upstairs, this is what I found (so, of course I tiptoed back down for the camera):




Can you see why I feel like the most blessed mom on the planet? So much empathy and love flows between my boys, and I can't get over it. I won't get over it. I'll just cherish it.

Before I sign-out for the night, I have received some emails asking about Gideon's story. People have been wondering about his "shark" idea. I think now is a good time to post his story again for the newest members of Gideon's PRAYER chain. All are welcomed, appreciated, and loved. Thank you! We treasure you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gideon's Gift

video

At the very beginning of the battle, my friend Matt wrote that "when a tragedy strikes, we have two options: fear or faith." While my emotions have run the entire spectrum, and while fear is a little more potent at times than I would choose, bitterness has never stepped in and held my heart captive. I know the dangers of Gideon's cancer. I am not blind to potential heartache and added difficulties in the future, but there is nothing more comforting than the knowledge that none of us on earth are in charge of that. God has got this one, just like He has it all. And when I get stuck in the dark, He reveals His glory, love and compassion through YOU.

YOU are treasured in our lives. YOU, the reader and prayer and muser, have added more beauty to our Gideon's life and ours than we ever could have on our own. We have been bombarded with the joy in humanity more than we have been plagued by the ugliness of cancer. Cancer in a child will never make sense or be fair. Now that it's here and our reality, it is one of my deepest prayer that something beautiful can come out of this darkness. It already has, as you see in this promo from News Channel 3, as seen above. It already has, as you can see in this video:


If you feel led to donate blood in Gideon's honor, WE would feel privileged to receive a paper fishy from you. I never want there to come a day when a mommy is told, "We don't have a blood/marrow match to save your child at this time." Instead, I forever want that mommy to be able to sit next to her child and stare at that bag of a stranger's blood coursing life to her baby, all while sending out a monsoon of love and well-wishes upon the head of this nameless hero. I have been there many times, the mommy and the recipient of human selflessness. I could try to find the words to better encapsulate my gratitude, but there is not a form of human language or word strong enough to depict it.

If you would like to re-read Gideon's response to the "GOOD FISHIES" from blood donors, find the fish templates you can use to decorate and send to Gideon, and get all other information, please click here. There will be a PUBLIC Blood Drive in Gideon's honor at Hope Reformed Church on March 17. Here is the information:


If you are unable to donate at this drive, but still want to donate, please go to this Michigan Blood site to make an appointment that works for you. If you don't live in Michigan and want to donate, please go to this site to make your appointment. Every pint of blood donated in Gideon's name will be CELEBRATED in this house, I promise. AGAIN: THANK YOU!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Running Away

To all my fellow bedraggled, frazzled, and how-did-this-get-caught-in-my-hair mamas out there: There is hope even when you feel like a certifiable lunatic. This morning, Gideon was sick in his bucket, and he followed up this sickness with perpetual whining and crying. I don't know what it is about whining and crying, but it was as infectious as pink-eye this morning, I think. While Gideon was crying and couldn't whine out a sentence that I could comprehend, Brody ran into the room crying and trying to out-whine his brother so that his concerns were heard first. It was a cacophony of chaos in the kitchen (good title for a poem. I'm on it.). Under normal lucid moments, I would demand a halt in the carrying on and assure them both that I would listen to their problems and we would solve them together. I was not Supermommy this morning, though. Having had three straight hours of sleep last night and 4 the night before, I felt not one shred of Princess Mommy in these achy bones of mine. I saw myself as a separate entity at that moment... and took in the tepid coffee in one hand, hair in a snarled tangle, threadbare jammies and yesterday's mascara rubbed all over my face. I was a comic strip. I was a cliche. I could not handle the whining and the crying and I had no patience in that moment to be a good mommy. So, I ran away. As I ran I screamed, "AHHHHHH!" with my hands waving wildly (don't worry, I put down my coffee) to drive home the point that I meant business: I was insane and DON'T mess with me. I ran upstairs with no plans at all. My only plan was to escape. Then, in true 7-year-old fashion, I climbed underneath Gideon's bed and hid. I hid from my children. All of you people who have been complimenting me on my "great" moments, I just wanted to share a realistic and not-so-proud moment with all of you. In the silence under the bed, not only did I discover my lost earring attached to a pirate doll's ear, but I discovered the healing power of quiet. It felt like an answered prayer. Then, the miracle...

Brody and Gideon ceased their Wah-fest battle and I could hear them strategize in the hallway. Brody said, "Okay, we saw her come up here. I'll check the bathrooms, you check the bedrooms. Okay, Gids?" I heard Gideon say "Okay!" like he was assigned a detrimental task that would alter the galaxy for the rest of time. OH MY GOSH! My running away forced them to love one another and work together towards a COMMON GOAL! Instead of feeling guilty, I tucked this one away in my head for use later.

Once I was found, there were excited giggles and HOORAYS and carrying on. Guess what there wasn't? Sobbing. Whining. Crying. If there isn't a book out there about the magic of mommies running away (in the house, only...I'm not a fan of abandonment), there should be.

HAPPY WEEKEND TO YOU ALL! Gideon is ALMOST done with this stage of steroids. Phew. This one was different than the others when it came to the pain associated with it all. I'd rather him be a demanding bottomless pit than to be in pain. I can't wait for my Gideon to reappear again! I can't wait to SLEEP! I CAN'T WAIT FOR MY SPA DAY, you sweet-sweet perfection of a selfless human being (whoever you are)!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Woah.

I am too tired to be creative. Sorry. But here's the gist: Gideon has become a boy who will break into hysterical crying if there is something sticky on his elbow, if there is a piece of crayon under his nail, or if I say "Goodnight" and drown out any of his lullaby CD. These are all things I've come to expect at this stage in the game. What made me feel like I needed to dissect and unwire my heart so that it cannot feel was during the moment when Gideon started to hold his left leg, burst into tears, and yell, "OWIE!" and then say, "THE SHARKS ARE BACK!" And once I rocked him and his cries calmed, he got up and limped around without putting weight on that leg. I had a flashback of the beginning and I felt that heavy weight of panic and despair start to brew in my chest. Wet wool blankets were flung onto me and I was impaired from doing anything. I tried to trick him into thinking it was the other leg to see if this was one of his dramatics: no. He was hurting. I waited, thinking maybe he sat on his leg and it was asleep. No. A good forty-five minutes later and he was still yelling "OWIE!"

I don't want to replay the fear. I'll just say after my phone call with Dr. Elliot (AGAIN), I was told that this was either the Vincristine or more likely, the muscle pain that comes from the steroids. I was assured that his blood was checked for Leukemia cells on MONDAY and it was CLEAR. A relapse would not be presenting itself that fast. But............gosh. It's too dark of a pit for me to revisit. I will just revisit the fact that I am beyond relieved and I do not feel the least bit guilty for calling this time. Thank you, God.

It amazes me how difficult Gideon can act right now (not at ALL like the "real" Gideon), but he still takes his chemo without a fuss or a fight. Tonight was the night of 7 pills and 3 liquid medications. One after another, he swallowed and moved to the next without a break. I am shaking my head in disbelief and gratitude for one less battle.

I am also BLOWN A W A Y ! ! ! I was called by a downtown (swanky) spa to confirm my "SPA DAY" this weekend. Apparently, someone scheduled me a full three hours of bliss (anonymously). I don't know who you are, but THANK YOU! I am in awe with how people are throwing so much love in my direction. I was told by the spa there is "No way to refund," so I am going! I plan on being a noodle and I have a suspicion that I may even fall asleep.

I really am going to implode by all of this love and gratitude. Truly. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

****Monday, FEBRUARY 21 at 5 p.m. -----

---is the date and time that WWMT channel 3 will be broadcasting their program about Gideon, miracles, angels among us, ways we can all help, etc. I cannot wait to see it! THANK YOU, Channel 3! You people are incredible! ---

I really need to know something... I hear about people out there who can function on little to no sleep at all. Are these people for real? Have they just somehow trained their bodies to think living in a perpetual haze is normal? And how do they end up NEVER putting hair smoothing serum on their toothbrush? (Guilty. Did that this morning.) If it is some sort of mind exercise or some kind of functioning trance they are under, I'd like to know. So, you sleepwalkers who are sleepwalking in a fully functional way, could you please hit me up with your secrets? I live on coffee during these weeks of Gideon steroids. I went to the doctor and actually asked if my coffee consumption was okay. I was told, "Your blood pressure is fine! You're good." Wow. That sounded like a Prince/Sinead O'Connor song, didn't it? Or is that just my sleepy mind talking? "I went to the doctor and guess what he told me? Guess what he told me?" Moving on...

The sleepiness was triggered last night. RIght around seven, the boys were playing in a very physical game of basketball in the basement. Gideon army crawled his way up the stairs and laid next to me on the couch, opting out of the action. He said his tummy hurt. I folded laundry and watched him whimper a little as he stared blankly at the couch cushion. About an hour later he said, "Mommy, I can't breathe right!" I asked him why and he said he couldn't take breaths since it made his tummy hurt. When I asked him to point at his tummy where it hurt, he placed his hands over his lungs. He was breathing in a quick and shallow way, and I have to say I was very concerned and nervous and worried. On his own he told me he needed the hospital air that goes in his nose. When I asked him to take a deep breath, he winced in pain. I asked him what that felt like and he said, "Sharp things." I am so thankful that he is able to communicate with me. I have seen so many babies who come to the clinic for treatment and I wonder how excruciating it must be to never know where your baby is hurting, only that he is hurting by his cries.

I called the on-call oncologist and what I described fits perfectly with a respiratory inflammation. Dr. Elliot said to watch him and if he remains lethargic and in pain the next day (today), to bring him in for chest X-rays. Otherwise, the pain does subside. I had many opportunities to check on how he was doing last night since he was up a lot. A lot, a lot. I was awake during a dream, and that dream-reality mix was one trip I don't want to go on again tonight, please. Thankfully, Gideon seemed fine today. So fine in fact that he had enough air for a lot of crying this evening and into the night. I kept reminding myself that his frustrated steroid fits meant that his lungs were healthy. This is how I forced my frayed edges of sleepless nerves smooth again.

Brody, the trooper of the millennia, helped me so much. Gideon kept asking for food and entree after entree he said, "YUCK! I don't want thaaaaaaat! I want __________!" Brody and his observant eyes kept track of me, and I could feel his concern. When I felt I was at the threshold of having my own version of a steroid rager, Brody pulled out "Enchanted" and said, "How about we watch your favorite movie, mommy? Gideon will sit still and not cry, either." I love him. I sunk into the pillows and even felt happy enough to do my own impromptu impersonations of Princess Mommy. Normalcy is Gorgeousy.

Tonight, as I was tucking Brody in, Gideon started screaming at a full blown volume. I am not proud to say that I wanted to match his screams with my own, and I'm pretty sure my facial expression said just that. Brody looked at me and said, "I want to help him, mommy. Please? I'll put myself back to bed." These do NOT sound like the words of a five year old, but I promise you they were the ones that came out of his mouth. A few minutes later, the crying was over and all I heard were lullabies. I went into Brody's room and he said, "He really wanted a different CD in... So I did that and tucked him in. And...Mommy? During the movie, I made you this." He handed me a card with a princess who had long eyelashes, a crown, and flowing hair. Underneath this princess it said "MOM" and an arrow to show just who mommy was: the princess. The boy sucks me into a Hallmark card constantly. I cannot tell you how much he has helped me through this. Even in his prayers tonight he prayed that Gideon's medicine wouldn't only make him crazy, but would make him better. How am I not supposed to cry at that?

So, God answered our prayers for Gideon's lungs to be okay. I may not have a lot of sleep, but I have a lot of my Brody to help when I'm at my wits' end. We're ending each day thankful. (and prayerful for SLEEP to happen tonight and that all of Gideon's organs stay healthy, please...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steroids May be Back, but I have a HERO on my side!


Yesterday was jam-packed with ups and downs, but mostly UPS! And not UPS as in the delivery service. Ups as in high points. Glad I cleared that up for you. "UP" for you! Ha. Okay. This is going to be a long blog if I keep this up. UP -- AGAIN. Someone, anyone! Please stop me...

Can you tell we started steroids again? The stream of consciousness just can't be edited in this fog of sleeplessness. I am now going to count my blessings in list form so that I don't carry on and on as I have a tendency to do when I'm tired. It's no wonder my Philosophy professor liked my papers I wrote at 3 in the morning better than the ones I labored over for days and days. He was a fan of the tangent. There I go again. List. Here is a LIST of amazing moments from yesterday:

1. Captain Obvious one: Channel 3 News and the love they have poured onto our family.

2. SEVENTEEN good fishies swam out of the mailbox yesterday! Seventeen people donated blood in Gideon's name and we found this out on the day of love. This is no coincidence. There should be blood drives on Valentine's Day every year. It can be a literal GIVING OF THE HEART moment for all! I'm on it for next year, I promise! (I'm not counting that as a tangent. I'm counting that as a good idea.)

3. Mattawan Early Elementary had the students make my boys HUMONGOUS Valentines and they were delivered yesterday! Also, two red Valentine aliens were also dropped off from the students. My boys LOVED them. THANK YOU!

4. Another package came from the READER'S DIGEST GRAND-PRIZE WINNER: Grand Marais, MI! I won't even tell you what was sent. You MUST watch the video. Please. It makes me laugh. It also made me realize that I say, "WHAT IN THE WORLD?!" when I'm shocked, and I say it over and over. We LOVE YOU, Grand MARAIS! The boys are PUMPED to go new-toy shopping! :)



And now I'm breaking away from the list. I sipped some Coca-Cola and I'm feeling a little more focused. I am in love with my children. I know this is not a shocker, but I must say: Brody is my hero of the moment. He saw me mashing up Gideon's steroids and asked me if that was the medicine that "changes" his brother. I answered yes and I thought that was that. When the alien stuffed animals came from Mattawan, Brody asked Gideon which one he wanted more and then gave him his choice first. He whispered to me, "There. We can stay away from his screaming that way." And that was the most loving thing he could have done.

I was wrong. Later that night, Brody and Gideon were putting on their jammies. They always race to see who is ready first. This is usually a friendly contest in which the person who loses happily congratulates the winner. Not last night. I should say everything went well at first, and Gideon was fine with the fact that Brody won, or so it seemed. Once I tucked Brody in one last time, I went to do the same for Gideon. He started screaming. He had a full-on steroid rager and we were only two pills into the cycle! It's like his body said, "Ahhh, yes. I remember you, steroid! C'mon and let's Mr. Hyde this boy within SECONDS!" He couldn't speak since his screams were making him breathless. Finally he belted out, "I DON'T WANT BRODY TO WIN! I WANT TO WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNN!" and with that bed sheets were ripped off of the bed, pillows went flying and stuffed animals were launched into walls. I was trying to hold him down for my magical rub, but the boy was far too ticked to let me touch him. I could feel my patience wilting as this continued for what seemed like hours. Then I heard someone behind me.

Once I saw Brody in Gideon's room, the mama in me wanted to say, "You should NOT be out of bed!" but something stopped me. "Gideon," Brody crooned into his little brother's face, "Look! I didn't win! I forgot to put my other leg in my jammie pants." Gideon and I both looked down, and sure enough! Brody had one leg in and one leg out. Then he continued, "So I just came in here to say 'GOOD JOB for winning, Gids!'" He came in closer to his calmer brother who was now only mildly panting from Ragefest 2011 and said, "Goodnight! Sleep good!"

Gideon, in miraculous fashion, kissed Brody back and said, "Thanks, Brody! Nigh-night!" He then let me reassemble his bed and laid down without another peep. Brody winked at me and walked back to his own room.

...It was the best Valentine moment of my life. I ADORE YOU, Brody Thomas Schripsema! What a hero with a selfless five-year-old heart. I'm so thankful. Again.

Gideon's black eyes are back, and he covets his POTATO CHIPS. Here's a little glimpse into our morphing honey.



And now for the HAPPY pictures...





Monday, February 14, 2011

Love. Love. And more Love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I must say, I have not posted in awhile because I have been sitting on a secret. It is an amazingly gorgeous secret and I know myself: I would have blabbed. Even on a keyboard, I would have let it spill onto the masses and let its immaculate fingers reach in and give your heart a dreamy squeeze. I was the kid who gave obvious hints when it came to surprises wrapped in a bow. Now here I am, able to yell loud and happily to all of you!

WWMT Channel 3 News is doing a Special Report on Gideon and the miraculous situations that have surrounded us since his diagnosis. I didn't know if it would really come to fruition, and I didn't want to announce something that might not have happened. But it has happened and it will be aired! Judy Markee just left my house! I must interject here and say Judy Markee is a phenomenal woman. She is professional, but completely warm and friendly. I think the two of us could have chatted it up for a long time. She is a cancer survivor herself, and so this story is even more potent and real.

There is absolutely nothing that is good about cancer. It is even worse when it attacks such an innocent love-dove like our Gideon, but if something GOOD can come from something AWFUL, please! Let it happen! It is my prayer that this airing will make people more aware of childhood cancer, and will feel moved to do something about it. As you know, our family has rallied around blood donations as a common cause that has helped us get through some of the rougher patches. It has brought us joy and moments of celebration with each fish mailed to Gideon. Hopefully there will be new donors who are lead to give blood after this airing. Hopefully parents will see this and be cognizant of the warning signs of cancer. Hopefully people will see and hear how there are more beautiful people populating this planet than there are monsters. These are all of my prayers for this program. I'm not sure when it will be aired, but I will keep you posted now that the secret is out!

So, I would like all of you blood donators and supporters of ours to know this: I love you. Thank you! Happy Valentine's Day to all of you who have been such a cushion of loving support for us all through it all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Enigmatic Lil Pumpkin

Gideon was up all night vomiting. He had no fever, but a lot of puking. I would hear moaning and sharp cries, and get there right in time with the bucket. Then, he woke up smiling and sunshine-like. He has not thrown up one time today. He doesn't want to eat or drink anything, so there must be something going on in that tummy of his. I wonder sometimes if maybe his pain tolerance has become epic-like. I wonder if it is only while his body is absolutely still that he feels pain (at night). I don't get it and I need to try to stop attempting to get it. When Gideon reacted to his first dosages of chemo with colossal headaches and his heart began to steadily slow its rhythm, no one understood that, either. I have come to one conclusion: There is no normal with cancer. There is no common side effect. Chemotherapy is really poison, so how the body handles that poison is unique, I'm guessing.

(Or...he's fighting a bug.) says the quiet inner voice that just never stops talking...

There I go, guessing. I'm going to drive myself batty. For now he is happily reading a book about Venus on the couch with Brody. I will place the mysteries of last night out of my mind and fall asleep with the bucket next to me again tonight. I'm thankful there is no fever and that he is himself today. He has not beat anyone up, either! YES. We're thankful for every victory.

Speaking of VICTORY... Reader's Digest is not announcing the winner of the "We Hear You America" contest until February 17. They are going through the votes and validating them. I think we can hesitantly celebrate a win, though. THANK YOU to all of those who cheered and spread the word. Grand Marais is the gem of Michigan, of the Nation, of the WORLD. I'm not even exaggerating. President Obama will be up north this week (this is only the third time in the last century that the President has visited the pride of the nation, aka the Upper Peninsula), so I'm pretty sure he'll give this tiny town a shout-out!

In other news: we are proud of our Brody! As you know, he is living and breathing hockey, hockey, HOCKEY! Nonstop obsession is what he has, and I have NO idea what that's like (heeeheehee). Anyway, he played in his first REAL game. He did his best and scored a NATURAL hat-trick (that's hockey lingo for three consecutive goals in a row). Since he prides himself in being a goal defender, we were so happy to see our little man attack the net this time. YAY, BRODY!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Crying Wolf Complex

Ever since we arrived home from Gideon's stint in the Children's Hospital, I have had agonizing moments of should-I-call? The clinic, that is. Does this medical issue warrant a phone call? I don't want to lose my credibility when it comes to calling if this is no big deal. Then there is a voice somewhere deep within that reminds me how I thought Gideon's leg pain was no-big-deal at first, and then I never hesitate in calling. I haven't been a crazy mom stalker of the clinic -- not yet, I don't think. The last few times I have called have been legitimate issues, and that has helped in my calling confidence. Until today...

Here's the back story: The last time Gideon was an ornery sobbing mess (and wasn't on steroids), he needed blood. His body was deprived of some essential juices, so of course he was becoming wounded-animal-like. Dr. Lobel assured me this was normal, and that this behavior was often a sign of needing a transfusion. These past few days, Gideon has been laying on me a lot and he has had bouts of ferocity like I have never seen. He would get frustrated and then start hitting and clawing the nearest live being within reach. My sweet little baby boy! Where was he? There HAD to be something wrong. Then this morning I noticed a couple dots of petechiae on his neck. Petechiae can be a sign of low platelet counts. The picture didn't turn out as clear as it was to the human eye, but you can make out a couple of those dots:

So, with the vicious streak, the sleepiness, and the petechiae, I called in and of course, my marvelous clinic told me to come on in for a blood draw to check it out.

It turns out, Gideon did not need a transfusion. In a weird way, even though I feel guilty about wasting these precious minutes of this lovingly busy staff, I felt so relieved. I don't have to wonder. And now I won't have to wait and worry for an entire week before our next appointment. Every time there is a blood draw, we get a piece of paper reporting Gideon's numbers. Here they are from today:

Hemoglobin: 11.3 (Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Normal levels in children are between 11-13).

White Blood Cells: 1.7 (White blood cells are the infection-fighting cells in the blood. Normal is 4.3-10.8, but for a child with leukemia, white blood cells are expected to be low. Chemotherapy does that.)

ANC: 935 (Absolute Neutrophil Count: Basically shows how capable the body is to fight infection. 1000-1800: risk of infection is low; 500-1000: moderate risk of infection; less than 500: high risk of infection).

Platelets: 256,000 (150,000 to 400,000 is normal. GIDEON has NORMAL platelets!)

So, the great news: Gideon didn't need a transfusion today. The bad news: His terror-streaks were from HIM, not a medicinal problem! Yikes. I'm hoping this is a phase, all. I realize that the boy is going through a whole lot. I have also been told by several people, "Oh! Don't punish him! He has so many hard things he has to deal with!" Here is the reality, though: It'll be harder for him in the long run if he is absolutely, positively spoiled and not held accountable for his actions. I need everyone to realize that I am not looking at this cancer as a death sentence. I believe he will make it out of this, and I will not let brattiness run amuck onto the streets of this world once he is in remission. Not from this house, I promise. So, with every bad choice comes a consequence. He has lost his Lightning McQueen powerwheel for a day, and that was a hard lesson. He knows I will follow through. When it comes to the battle of will power, I will always win. Here is a time in my life that I am happy for my strong stubborn tendencies. Sometimes our quirks can be our assets!

We had our wrestling match of willpower over nap time this afternoon. You would have thought I was forcing my three-year-old to take to the Egyptian streets. As you can see, I won. He's sleeping. I'm hoping the naps will help curb the Crabisaurus Gideon.

I can share some positives, though. He is not a complete monster these past couple of days. He was cheering for Green Bay since they have "G"s on their helmets. He went around saying, "Gooooo, Gideon G's!" every time The Packers did something good in the Superbowl. He also loves WINGS (I discovered during the Superbowl)! Chicken wings, that is. I guess this should not be a shocker since he is such a drumstick boy. We are expanding our love of chicken, though. That's good. Expanding ones horizons is always valued, I think.

I must also share that I adore Gideon's suffix usage. If he is asking, "Who moved my car?" He will actually say, "Who move-ED my car?" Or, when something is plural, instead of saying, "Look at the pretty leaves," he'll say, "Look at the pretty leave-IZ!" I liquefy over this. He has been calling snowflakes "snowflags" since he could talk. It is more poetic, I think... Snow particles waving in the breeze like a flag. Hmmmm... That is a hot chocolate for the soul image, yes? He has not changed this since I have never corrected him. He will be the most grammatically incorrect child (of an English teacher, no less!) to ever have existed. But he will be cute, and you will love to listen to him talk.

All of this Gideon swooning has softened my heart to the willful child he has become of late. Thank you, blog.


P.S. This is the LAST day to CHEER for Grand Marais, MI! Voting ends at 11:59 tonight! Click here one last time, please.

...and my FAVORITE Superbowl commercial:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

HAPPY SNOWDAY!

Gideon is sleeping and Brody is at the neighbor's playing hockey. Sweet Gideon is showing symptoms of a cold this morning, but he is still in good spirits. That means NO fever. I am praying that feverless-ness continues. It is when fever strikes that we have to bring Gideon in to the hospital. I want to stay snowed in, please. An adorable part of this virus is that Gideon starts forcing air out of his mouth while making a "HHAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" sound. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I'm breathing out the fire in my throat." Then he continues to exhale...much like a dragon would sound. Get that fire out, buddy. Don't let it stay in and get your temperature up!

I would also like you to know that I was the meanest mommy on the planet this morning. I made Brody clean up the toys in the basement instead of going directly to his friends to play hockey (ON A SNOW DAY!). Once he was done, he stomped upstairs to his room with his school backpack, mumbling under his breath. I gave him some alone time and then went to check on him. He told me he is moving in with the neighbors since ALL they do is play hockey. Their parents NEVER make them clean up. His backpack was loaded with his running-away-supplies. This included blendy markers (if you haven't used them, DO. So fun), his mini skateboards, a cookie, and a hockey puck. I asked why he didn't pack underwear. He told me he'd wash the ones he has in the snow. Oh. I packed a bag to runaway in my youth... I remember it well. I guess I wasn't as creative since all I packed was toilet paper. I told my mom I could live without anything...except TP. Maybe this running away daydream is all a part of growing up. On this side of the running away threats, it's pretty adorable.

I'm happy to report that Brody and I talked it out. He feels loved again, and apologized for "almost leaving" me; hence, he is playing hockey down the road now. His job was done...no need to sulk anymore.

I am kind of sulking because the second place town in the Reader's Digest contest is steadily gaining on Grand Marais, MI. This contest is only going on for FIVE MORE DAYS, and at this rate of losing votes, we won't be able to pull it off. Please email me if you want me to register you to cheer each day (if you don't know how). Readers Digest does not send mail to you unless you request it. I have gotten nothing from them. It is free. PLEASE register and CHEER ten times a day. If you don't think you'll remember to do it each day, but wouldn't MIND doing it, EMAIL me at aschrips@gmail.com. I'll actually check my email for this. I will log you on each day and vote for you. It takes 20 seconds and I can do it during nap time. In the meantime, please click HERE. The second place town miraculously earned 20,000 votes late, late last night. If that happens again: curtains. Please vote and help Grand Marais save its harbor; thus, saving more lives. I'm a bleeding hearted philanthropist these days. I can't help it. I love this town and I want it preserved for my boys to enjoy with THEIR babies someday. Also, this whole cancer-ride has taught me it's okay to ask for help. Thank you.

And now... A little treat from our weekend:

video