Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gideon's 6th birthday

Gideon is now SIX.  Six!  He was diagnosed at the age of three, so now he has been battling cancer for half of his life.  He doesn't remember what life was like without this stuff… Without the nightly pills, the pokes, and the sleepy medicine.  He sees the clinic as a second home, and the staff there his extended family.  He amazes me with the appreciation he has for the goodness around him.  

Today we basked in the sunshine and took a nature walk with his bird book he got for his birthday.  We spotted birds and listened to the music each one made.  Some said, "Drink your tea!  Drink your teeeeeeeea!" And others sang, "Cheer up!  Cheer up!  Cheer up, up, UP!"  Just a week ago this boy was battling a fever that didn't want to subside.  Finally, after IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics, it was kicked.  I wonder all of the time if his immunity will ever go back to normal.  If it does, what will that be like?  All I know is that his thankfulness in what surrounds him (especially nature) makes me notice the colors around me.  Life will never be black and white and ordinary... 

Happy BIRTHDAY, my baby boy!  I love you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How Life Works

This is how life works sometimes,” is what came out of Gideon's mouth as he clutched his puke bucket in his lap today. He didn't say it with remorse or with a whine. It was just matter-of-fact, and it constricted my heart with thankfulness. The days he does not have to leave school clutching a bucket in the car are celebrated. When he is feeling awful, he sees it as a “sometimes” and awaits those precious feel-good moments as though he is peering into the sky on the 4th of July, knowing the fireworks are on the way. I don't deserve to be in the same galaxy as this boy, let alone car. But here I am.

Thanks, God, for bringing this soul into my life who I am supposed to shape and mold, but who shapes and molds me just as much.

That's where we are right now: coming off of chemo surge week, and he is feeling the pain. But, he is now sleeping on the couch while his favorite classical music fills the room. I gave him his new “Cuddle Bug” stuffed animal from Alex, and he is smashing that love bug in his arms, and I am actually typing this entry so that I am not tempted to smash my cuddlebug in my arms. I don't want to wake him.

He has pain, and a few weeks ago he was plagued by nose bleeds, but... The end of treatment is in sight (AUGUST!)! Also, I am overly excited about what is to come with the Cancer Families United (CFU) group. We recently had our first board meeting, and I was voted in as Vice President. I am excited and honored as we look forward to the opportunities of not only the help this organization can provide childhood cancer research, but the support of families in OUR area fighting this beast. Please LIKE our page on Facebook!

We recently had a CFU get-together with families battling cancer, and what this group is doing to heal and help was already apparent. We bowled, played dodge ball, played air hockey, and even climbed a rock wall! Brody made friends with a little boy whose sister is battling cancer. They were bowling on the same team, and this little friend gave up his turn for his sister to try it, since she was not strong enough to play a full game. Brody is familiar with bald children and what it means, and as his new friend sat his turn out, Brody walked over to him, put his arm around him and I heard him say, “I know how it feels...having a sister with cancer. My brother has cancer, too. Sometimes we have to give up our turns for them, but it's going to be okay.”


Make that two souls I was blessed with who, without fail, remove the film from my eyes and the unimportant heaviness from my heart. Thank you, God.

And that is what CFU (now that we are officially a non-profit charity!) is all about: helping families, entire families, inflicted by the horrors this disease brings. Those horrors are monetary, soul-rendering, physically painful for the child, emotionally scarring for all, and life-changing in so many ways. I witnessed two children who get it, felt understood, and felt supported in that instant of empathy (as opposed to the sympathy in which they are accustomed). This was Mary Kay Pederson's brainchild, and I am a lucky girl to have her as both a friend and as a lifetime momma-battler! I am also so blessed to share the table with Jody Crump as the CFU secretary, and the Benneckes as co-founders. It is amazing to be friends with other moms and dads who feel it is our life calling to not only see a cure to childhood cancer, but to surround each family battling with whatever they need to help in every little bit possible.