Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Out of the Fog

This morning we were propelling through the thickest fog I have ever seen as we drove to school. My heart cemented into the road beneath me when I noticed what caused a traffic jam on Oakland: a deer and a dog were both hit by a car. Worse, the owners of the dog stood on the side of the road bawling and straining to hold their second dog away from the road as it writhed and jumped and pushed to rush to his brother-dog's side. I pointed out the fog against the window that formed little droplets so that Brody and Gideon didn't witness this heartbreaking atrocity. As I sat there wishing there was something I could do and feeling the foggy sadness blanket my heart, little Gideon piped up from the backseat, “Wow! Wow! Wow! Do you feel like an angel, mommy? Because you are driving through clouds! It's soooo beautiful and like magic that heaven came down from the sky!!" And somehow, the fog was lifted since once again, one of my boys said something that jarred my heart out of sadness and into the miracle that is living.

To hear Gideon being so optimistic is a miracle in and of itself. He has been getting so fed up with all of his pain, laying down, crying, all of it. I had to leave school on a few occasions because Gideon was in so much anguish, silent tears streamed continuously from his eyes. He was in so much pain, that while I waited for my substitute to arrive, Gideon slept through 27 students banging on drums. All the while, tears and moans escaped his little mouth. He said in the car, “The only thing that doesn't hurt is my mouth.” I was given permission to increase his dosage to control the pain, and that definitely helped. I wanted to make sure nothing else was at the root of this pain. If it was the chemo, okay. We will ride it out until the end. But what if he had an internal infection (not so rare with kids who have cancer and their immunity is suppressed)? Answers would be on the way via SNOW DAY WEEK.

Yes, last week was a Snow Day festival, I think. I felt beyond blessed and lucky that we had the snow days when we did since they were the days we spent at the Pediatric Gastroenterologist office. Gideon didn't miss school. I didn't miss school. Brody felt like he was a part of the healing by being there (all while not missing a day of learning)! Grateful and relieved, Gideon was slated to go into outpatient surgery as the doctors scoped and biopsied. Their results showed organs that are picture perfect! This means we ride out the pain with pain relievers until the end of chemo this August. You are almost there, sweet buddy! I decided if Gideon is having another rough day at school due to pain, I am pulling Kristen Snow out of her classroom so that we can duet him into smiles. We have one fabulous rendition of Wilson Phillips' “Hold On” song... It's going to happen, and it'll end for all that hear and see our theatrical rendition with laughter. Laughter has proven to be the best pain killer around since this whole cancer thing started.

Gideon with Brody and his nurses. :)

So, now I am feeling that otherworldly peace cushion every curve of my heart. These quiet moments while the boys are sleeping and snow is falling makes me feel like I am inhaling oxygen-love-particles. As soon as I draw in a breath, they ricochet into bursts of warmth. It's all going to be okay.

With that, I want to share a video my principal shared with the staff. It is dedicated to Gabbi, a little girl who is also fighting cancer. It'll make you smile. It'll make you feel those bursts of warmth, and it'll make you want to spread that warmth everywhere. Let's dance.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lots of New...

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! I am relieved and optimistic with the newest addition of Gideon's most recent doctor: Dr. Enow, a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. My hope is that my sweet boy will have relief by the end of the month, or at least be on a path to a more comfortable stomach/intestinal existence. How I love progress!

Our Christmas Break was peaceful and busy at the same time. I adore that dichotomy, since the “busy” is the part when there is a rush to see as many loved ones as possible. And, peace. Well, that part is an absolute blessing. The best part was snuggling under the warmest blanket with my boys in Grand Marais, and watching the snow fall in feathery puffs, like it is in no hurry to join the earth since this will be its lightest and most free moment it'll ever enjoy on earth. It will take its grand entry slowly, and savor the tumble. That is, until Brody forms it into a massive snowball and rips it towards his brother's face. What is it with snow and the need to use it as a combative facial at the ages of 5 and 7? Someone always ends up crying... I made the shoulder-down rule. Sometimes I can be such a drag of a mommy.

It was our time in the snow, that is for sure. While we were snowy cold in the Upper Peninsula, the boys' daddy was in Mexico with his girlfriend, and proposed to her. While I have not met the boys' future step-mommy yet, I know that both Brody and Gideon possess so much love in their hearts and there is always room for more. It is my hope and prayer that future co-parenting with Tom and his new wife will be like that snowfall: calm, peaceful and gentle. I know it is possible and I believe, believe, believe that as long as every situation is viewed through a Godly lens, and one that focuses on the innocence of Brody and Gideon, that calm will prevail. I bought a book tonight on the subject, and plan to read how to maneuver through these newest waters. I know that she treats my boys well, and I know that she will not face any struggles in loving them (but I am partial)! A wise friend told me, “It shouldn't be called a 'step' parent, it should be called a 'bonus' parent.” Bonus love, bonus memories and bonus happiness is what I want for those precious monsters God has given me the gift of mothering. There is a plan for us all!

Tomorrow is spinal chemo for Gideon at 8 am. He will be sedated early-on, and will receive port chemotherapy. Please pray for a working port, a positive attitude for our boy, a smooth injection with minimal side effects. Gideon will be starting his next round of steroids, too. I am hoping they usher in an appetite!

Thank you for the love, prayers and continued open hearts as you think on Gideon. I am wishing all of you a Happy, happy New Year! So are my boys!