Saturday, November 17, 2012


We were feeling peace and positivity walking into the hospital Friday morning. We weren't told either way what these tests on Friday might reveal, just that his numbers were uncommon when it comes to the types of chemo takes (so that was unlikely to be the cause). Everything else was left gaping open, and I tried-tried-tried not to fill in the gaps with the incomplete information I found on my own and through word of mouth.

Instead, the gap of possibilities was completely filled in with prayers and love and positivity from the countless people thinking and praying for Gideon. THANK YOU for those prayers. THANK YOU for showing so much love! Once Gideon's blood was drawn, he remained “accessed” incase further testing or drugs needed to be administered. Gideon's oncologist told us that if his numbers remained where they were on Tuesday, we would be geared up and ready for an ultrasound of the internal organs. We would work from there. I was okay with the step-by-step and systematic process. It all felt as though we were getting somewhere, instead of running full sprint on the exhausting treadmill of what-if.

The results came in... HIS NUMBERS WERE BACK TO NORMAL!!! We were told there was not a sure explanation for any of this, but I know the explanation was prayer. Also, it was a reminder that I so needed: Love the ones you have in your life ACTIVELY. Adore them. Cherish them. Ignore the in-bin more than your children. Unplug every item in the house during dinner (except for the gets dark crazy early these days, and we don't want to chop off a pinky). When it's sunny, forget the dust in your house that is caught shimmering in the sunlight pouring into your room, get out there! Thank you, God, for those reminders.

This Thanksgiving season is brimming over with a cornucopia of blessings. I don't deserve this harvest I've reaped in life, but here it is! In front of me every single day I have two sets of blue eyes who smile at me and call me “Mommy.” This morning, we snuggled in bed and talked about how cozy flannel sheets make us feel. We then tried to make static electricity sparks. It didn't work, but the movements we made were hilarious, so we feasted on a breakfast of giggles. Precious, happy, heart-awakening giggles.

Gideon and I bought a bird feeder from Wedel's as soon as we left the hospital as his “poke prize”. He could pick out ANY bird feeder he wanted, and he chose the sunshine yellow one because he felt the birds could see it the best. Plus, it's for the winter and it will remind the birds of the warm sun. Mmmmm... I love how he thinks.  We filled up his chemo prize with birdy treats and hung it up. 

This morning, after the gigglefest, we hurried downstairs to catch some early birds through the kitchen window. Then: more magic. A spike, fawn and a twelve point buck wondered in front of our house and near our brand new feeder. I stood back in the kitchen, frozen and watching. Gideon was pressed up to the window. I only remember wishing I could move to get my camera, but I didn't want to startle this magnificent creature. I had never seen one so close, a full-racked deer. Just as I was thinking this thought, marveling at the closeness of this wild beauty, the magic sprinkled more magic on top of itself. The twelve-point buck WALKED UP to the window where Gideon was perched, and the two of them stared at one another. Gideon was making a sound that reminded me of a hushed giggle-sigh. The sound he was making coupled by the scene in front of me was too gorgeous, and it felt holy. I felt awash with amazement and thankfulness. Then, he was gone and Gideon turned to me, “I guess he wanted to see the bird feeder, too!” I replied, “No, I think he wanted to see YOU.”

Yellow bird feeder 

Grilled chicken eaten outside!  HOORAY! 

Gideon in the leaf pile!

Precious Big-bro
Meet Rudy Christmas.  He is Gideon's Christmas dog who plays "Rudolph" when his paw is pressed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting and trusting.

The more worry and fear that I allow to invade my heart, the less space there is for the peace I know and remember. I was up late last night. Very, very late. I was contemplating that dinosaur that took turns suffocating and eating my heart yesterday. Here's what I realized: Somehow in the folds of my cranium, there is the idea that I can somehow deflect or ward off hardships simply by worrying about it. I remembered the positive naivety and the there-is-no-way-this-is-cancer attitude I took at the beginning of this journey, and the devastating shock of grief that came when I learned I was wrong. I think I was scared of being too positive yesterday. I think I wanted to tell myself to breathe, to not think the worst, all of that, but I was SCARED to do that because that was too eerily similar to where my mind and heart was before this all began. It was the cancer diagnosis baggage weighing me down. I was letting the cancer define my thoughts, worries, and heartache. But, no matter the outcome, I never want to hand that kind of power over to such a despicable and evil disease. Never.

So, I have had my tears. I let myself get it out. I had a very animated and angry talk with God. Thankfully, God is Love and He is still holding me close. Now, I will look forward and realize that the doctors have no idea what caused these number changes in Gideon's blood. I focused on the one possibility of a relapse, and the dinosaur took over. I could just as easily realize that there are any number of possibilities, and I feel it is more likely to be the chemo than cancer. Then... I kept thinking about all of Gideon's “hot belly” complaints and the way Prevacid does not work to squelch the pain, and I worried all over again. I have not felt right about all of that pain for awhile now. AGAIN...this could be from the drugs. It could be from so many factors. Shame on me for googling and seeing words flash on the screen, and then melt into a foggy blur of tears and sobs, thus inviting the dinosaur a seat on my soul with open arms. No more googling for me from here on out, I promise.

Waiting is not something I am a fan of doing. I want to fix it. I want the new normal of chemo drugs and progression that is steady and textbook towards a complete and total cure.

For now, let's rule out one variable at a time until we pinpoint what is causing the commotion in such a little body. I feel like I can breathe now. It's not that I am waiting to worry. It's that I am waiting on God. No matter what, Gideon is alive and sweet and so himself. I will savor and take it all a test at a time. I am not even going to think of what it could be anymore. This isn't denial. This isn't head in the sand stuff. I realize the severe and the minuscule situations that these results can put us in, but where are we now? Alive. Loving one another. Whatever it is, we will deal with the outcome alongside those who love us while looking up to the One who knows it all.

Lastly, I want to thank fellow cancer momma Rachelle for sending me this: “Praying 2 Timothy 1:7 over you. 'God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.' That sound mind is probably the hardest. You are loved and held in prayer.”

My crazy mind is soothed by all of your prayers. That peace is directly influencing my boys, and I can't thank you enough for all of the positivity and love that you have all been pouring on top of my fog-induced brain. I have been baptized by it all, renewed by it all, and ready to battle for my baby.

Please keep praying.

The Wii timer is about to go off, and we have a clay pot making marathon to commence. Sweet-sweet normalcy. Please stay.

Gideon and "Little Dog"... He was there since the beginning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Please, God.

Two.  That's the number of Gideon's appointments I have missed.  One was today.  I won't focus on the guilt I feel for not being there, or the fact that his port wasn't working and for the first time, drugs needed to be used to make it work.  No.  I need you all to know about the crazy huge dinosaur, most likely a ravenous meat-eater, that is sitting on my chest and refuses to budge.

"Wait to worry.  Don't think of the worst.  Stay positive.  Breathe.  Don't let your thoughts go there."  I used to say those things to people.  How clueless I was before, before cancer.  That was when I KNEW Gideon COULDN'T have leukemia.  When there was NO WAY it could EVER touch my baby.  Now here I am, with this perpetual mist that is thicker than any fog floating around my head right now.  It's a wet fog.  It adds to the dormancy of that dinosaur who is camped out on me and doesn't want to venture into this thicker-than-fog mist.  

Gideon's blood counts were off today.  They were the chemistries within his kidneys, to be more specific.  What does this mean?  Even while Dr. Lobel talked to me this afternoon, I feel like every word thickened the mist, and I became more jumpy with the unknown.  I'll just focus on what I know.

Here it is:
We will halt all chemo (besides his steroids) to make sure this isn't a crazy side effect of the drugs.  Dr. Lobel said he has never seen any side effect from drugs present itself this way, though.  On Friday, at 9:30am, Gideon will undergo lab testing.  If his numbers all-of-a-sudden are normal, we can look into the possibilities of it being an anomaly of a reaction towards the drugs.  If his numbers are still off, we need to search deeper.

This is when I asked, "What else could it be?  Could it be a relapse?  Could it be more Leukemia?"

Doctor Lobel said, "We want to rule that out."

That's when the dinosaur found my soul.  Not sure if he is still sitting or has decided to start feasting on my heart.  I really want him to go back into extinction.  Please.  I really don't know what was said after that.  Something about bone marrow tests down the road for more answers.  I can't be sure, though.  I don't know how much was a nightmare and how much was real.

Dr. Lobel did say this could be a fluke result.  My ears perked up at that, but then he added, "But I don't think so since the test was run multiple times."

Sweet-sweet-sweet boy.  Precious sparkle-eyed honey who doesn't deserve any of this crap.  None of it.  

Gideon and Brody were in my classroom while this conversation happened.  Tom's girlfriend hired a real hockey trainer to work with Brody this afternoon, and the boy was so excited.  It was surreal to have such happiness and pent up excitement skipping around me while this kind of conversation was happening.  Gideon, in the meantime, continued to draw smiley-faces on my entrance line in my classroom, so that "Kids  remember to smile as they come in the music room!" according to Gideon.  He hummed happily while he did it.

Once Brody left on his adventure with daddy and Heather, and after I ran into the staff bathroom to have a mini-breakdown (thank you, amazing Early El colleagues for showering love on me), I looked at Gideon and said, "Let's do something fun.  YOU name it.  Anything."

His answer?  "Let's go to Cracker Barrel.  Pancakes sound amazing..."

So.  I bought more toys in that store than I probably should have.  We ate pancakes and played Cracker Barrel "I SPY" for a couple of hours.  We named his virtual fish friends on my iPhone.  We shopped for plants to plant in my fairy garden...

And now we wait.  I wish I could say that those horrific memories of the beginning of this horrendous journey are not replaying in my mind, but I would be lying.

Truth: I believe in prayer.  I believe in miracles.  I believe that the more human voices joined together with petitions to our God, the better.  I am praying for good fishies.  May they be swimming so strongly inside of my boy.  Please pray with me.  No cancer sharks allowed.  Ever.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


It's when they are forced apart that it all comes together. Brody and Gideon have a connection that truly is titanium and solid. They took turns being sick, and had to be kept apart because of this sickness. While Brody battled a fever, he actually started to cry and said, “Is Gideon okay? He really wanted to be with you tonight, didn't he, mommy?” And then a little sob escaped his lips because he actually felt guilty about that separation. He asked to talk to him on the phone whenever he went to sleep, and Gideon asked for the same.

Of course, there are those inevitable times when they are a pile of swinging fists and kicking legs, but then I get to watch the almost instantaneous forgiveness that comes after the savage attacks. That's the amazing part to me -- to see anger almost immediately dissipate into nothingness.  They then let it all go, all of the resentment, and are back to playing as if it never happened.  No grudges are kept, and peace wins.  Baffling and beautiful is what that is!  

Two distinctly unique boys with personalities that are pretty mismatched, my boys share a kindred spirit of brotherhood that blows me away. I love listening to their mini-people talk. I call it mini-people because, well, besides being miniature humans, they talk with genuine frankness and with a tone that is so grown-up, but the issues at hand have to do with which Beyblade has the best defense or how cucumbers are related to pickles... Miniature importance to the adult world, but not so small to these two.

At dinner last night, Gideon told us he plans to be a chef at a restaurant called “Good Fishies” and that he'd donate the money to childhood cancer research. This did not feel like mini-talk, and it was something he decided with a definitive nod of his head. Brody answered, “Great idea! I'll eat there.” And, by the lack of sarcastic glint and because I know that boy so well, I could tell by the way Brody was looking at his brother that he believed him and would support him through any endeavor little (or grown-up) Gideon chooses.

These two have been through much more than most siblings experience together. I know big and wonderful things will come to be because of the huge sense of togetherness and understanding they share. I thank God every single day that I get to witness their friendship.