Monday, May 28, 2012

Lots to say...Lots to see...


I know I am driving my Facebook friends crazy with the goings-ons of Hotwheels, Charlie, Sparkles, Eli, Ella, Capricorn and Pegasus (plus Steve, the adopted one who was saved from the birdbath). Thankfully for you, and those aforementioned, our little sweet thangs have taken flight. It has been a journey, as seen here:

Yes, our little pieces of skinny and moving string ate and got fat, hung themselves into an ever-so-still J shape, spun into chrysalides (did you know that was the plural form of "chrysalis"? I didn't...), and emerged gorgeous butterflies. We let them go today, and it was a blast. One in particular, I think it was Capricorn, didn't want to leave Brody.

We are thankful to report that Grandpa Schripsema is on the mend after his bypass surgery! He is recovering in the hospital and is in pain, but everyone is hopeful that he will ease into this healthier heart and be able to live life to its fullest, once again!

On a sad note, over 21,000 acres of gorgeous Upper Peninsula wildlife has been burned. It is within 51% of containment, but we are still praying that is completely extinguished. Family and friends in Grand Marais have told me that the dark clouds are definitely visible. Please keep praying for the crews fighting the fire, and click here to keep on top of the situation.

Speaking of Grand Marais, I need to give a public THANK YOU to the people of Grand Marais who have sent care packages to both of my boys every single month since Gideon was diagnosed. They never let up, never stopped. It just goes to show that the smallest of towns actually DO have the largest hearts. Brody and Gideon have recently been receiving money shaped as different origami-type things. Most recently, they received money chains. Here are pictures of them wearing their money before going into Target to get this month's goody from the sweeties of Grand Marais.

THANK YOU, Grand Marais!

Some more amazing news: we received a letter from the lovely and talented Judy Markee letting us know that the "Gideon's Gift" piece that ran on Channel 3 has been nominated for an Emmy! What makes me ecstatic about that is that more people could potentially hear about, become aware, and become impassioned to do something in order to make childhood cancer a disease that is not one that notoriously gets the least funding/airtime of all cancers.

Speaking of this, I recently had an "aha!" moment about the public's perspective of pediatric cancer... Since Gideon is directly in the trenches of fighting childhood cancer, I am never completely shocked or taken off guard when asked to sign forms basically saying that anything could happen due to the chemo -- including death. Oh, it's not something that is ignored. It is not something I sign lightly and I can't say that my heart isn't gripped in absolute terror every time I sign this form, but I have found the alternative is not a road we can go down without trying, and by trying, we have to sign the form. As chemo/radiation becomes more intense and as many children are forced to try experimental test drugs, those risks become much greater. Recently, when this was reiterated, I was told a few people were "shocked and upset" by this news. Yes. It is shocking and it is upsetting. It should be. What I realized by this particular shock I was told about is that educating the public about pediatric cancer must be a top priority. I remember when HIV and AIDS was completely swept under the rug and people knew of it, but didn't educate. Now people know about it in so much more detail. What happens with pediatric cancer is that as adults, we don't want to think about what it is doing or can do to our babies. We don't want to know. We want to believe that a child's chances of beating it are at least as probable as an adult's, and sometimes it is. But, childhood cancer is an entirely different beast than adult cancer. These children are still growing. Cell division is different. The cancer is different. It is more persistent. Please world, see that this is not just nameless faces and children this cancer is attacking. Be shocked and be upset, and then continue to do something to battle it! Thank you.

Off my soapbox... Gideon receives Vincristine on Thursday and we start steroid week! Yes, there are chicken drumsticks in the fridge.

I think I'll end this blog with adorable anecdotes.

Story #1: Gideon asked if he could bring "SMART WATER" to bed with him instead of normal water. This is that water that comes in that loooooong shape, and, you guessed it (since you are so smart) it says "SMART WATER" on the side. I heard Gideon upstairs bragging about his special H2O. "Ask me anything," Gideon said with absolute confidence, "I am drinking Smart Water, and I will know the answer."

"Okay, what's 9 times 44?" Brody asked.

Then I heard, "Hold on, I need to take another few drinks... I don't think it's working yet."

(Adorable boy)

Story #2: This one Tom told me. He took Brody to the Skate Park downtown. There were a group of boys without skateboards sitting on the side. They began taunting Brody. Brody noticed that they didn't have boards, so he stood his ground. Instead of getting really upset, he invited them over to skateboard with him. Later he told me, "Those boys just were acting mean because they were sad they didn't have a board. I didn't get as many turns as I would if I didn't share, but I made new friends and they weren't mean anymore."

I want to be like Brody. Oh, to be six and to understand the beauty of sharing what he has with those without! He could have said, "NO WAY! I saved up my OWN money for this board and it is ALL mine!" (True story: he did save up every nickel and dime until he could buy it. He worked hard to earn that money, too.) But he didn't, and he knew what he did was the right thing to do. We should ALL be like Brody.

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