Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chantal who?

Christian and Chantal

Answers to prayers and lots of blessings. I wrote my last blog under severe duress. I was convinced that we were in a place that we would never get out of. I should have known better!!! I wondered if Christian would ever get well and I didn’t know how or what to pray for.  So I asked for help, from you, from family and friends, from people I have never even met. I wrote the blog on Sunday when I was worried about Christian and whether he would be able to get his weight back. Would he be strong enough to withstand his next mega chemo session? I honestly felt hopeless. The very next day Christian started eating and eating and eating. He even woke us up in the middle of the night to ask for food. And he hasn’t stopped eating since. It is nothing short of a miracle. I was looking at my blog on Monday (there is a section when I can get a basic idea of how many people are looking at it – I know that at least 10% is Christian’s Nanny looking at the pictures over and over again!) and I was astonished to see that the blog was viewed almost 450 times that day. Wow! That means that 450 people said a short or long prayer for Christian and the outcome was truly God listening to our prayers.
Waffles and strawberries - a hospital favorite!
Since then we have had our ups and downs. It is so difficult the first days back in the hospital. Not just with Christian but trying to keep the whole family dynamic in order. Evelyn unfortunately gets missed in the shuffle sometimes. She plays so nicely on her own talking to her animals and babies. This morning she lay in my mom’s bed and read stories to her little lion. So cute! Everybody feels a bit discombobulated for the first few days back in the hospital – I usually have a cry here and there and then we move on. Last night I slept at the hospital and I had so many seeds of doubt planted in my mind. Christian started sweating and having intense screaming leg pain in the middle of the night. I was so frustrated with Cancer, the hospital, NG tubes that get thrown up after only been in for an hour. I was fed up with the whole process and I wanted to quit. Everything that Chris and I have held onto washed out the door. I wondered how I would get through this day. Enter an amazing story overflowing with blessings and love, small and big reminders of God’s love and commitment to our family. 
Nurse Greg who did NG tube insert (before getting barfed out an hour later!)
Christian and I had a good sleep after he got some serious medicine to help with his leg pain. We woke up at 11am….nice! Christian started eating and eating and eating. In fact he cleaned out the unit kitchen of all their peanut butter! Then Chris showed up with the kids and they are always a sight for sore eyes. Followed by uncle Peder, my brother, who comes for a visit with the kids. Such a big help! As I am dropping Evelyn off for her token play at Emily’s Backyard (a very cool ‘daycare’ type place in the hospital –filled with the best toys ever!) I see a notice that Chantal Kreviazuk will be playing a small concert in the atrium of the hospital. Her piano playing and the sound of her voice is so beautiful and an amazing break in a day that seemed so un-amazing. Ryan and Evelyn danced around while she sang Christmas carols – they stole the show as Ryan did his little crab walking all around. The only sad part was that Christian was not allowed to leave his room (as per oncology unit rules) so he didn’t get to hear the amazing music. Well fast forward 15 minutes and who comes to sing for Christian in his room but Chantal Kreviazuk herself! She visited with him and sang for him and left all the kids with cute little Christmas tree ornaments. It was grand!
Christian being a little shy!

Chantal singing for our family
I drove home with the kids and the blessings continued. When I got home their was a lovely parcel from a dear family friend – filled with the complete trimmings for a Christmas tree in Christians hospital rooms. Then another family friend dropped off dinner with fresh bread and salad. And to complete a great evening the doorbell rang and one of Chris’ former students brought us the most beautiful poinsettia. It was such a great reminder for me that there are so many people thinking about Christian and praying for our family. There is hope everywhere.

I am so thankful for a comment left on my last blog. It was a verse I had written about almost seven months ago – and obviously had forgotten! Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand”. Such a simple verse but truly is the foundation for getting Chris and I through this difficult time in our lives. It is so miraculous to be able to find peace amongst chaos. Joy amongst your fears. Thanks for reading and thanks for your prayers.
Evelyn loves the light posts outside the children's hospital
Many people have asked us if then can send Christian a Christmas or get well card. So I am putting our address online (and hoping dearly I don’t regret it!) and look forward to filling his room with well wishes.
772 Coopers Drive, Airdrie, AB, T4B2W3
Ryan and Christian chillin' in his bed - you can see how little Christian has gotten - he only has five lbs on Ryan

Today I am thankful for:
1.Jayden getting a wheelchair he can move himself!
2.Beautiful musicians helping to make a simple day special
Christian and his Star Wars collection!
3.Christmas decorations and lights
Evy loves the animals at the hosptial. she likes to give the cows a kiss everytime she goes!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Stacey and Christian (one of our unit favs!)

Its November 27 and this week coming up was meant to be the week that we would be celebrating the end of Christian’s cancer treatment protocol. This was to be the week to have his final scan, remove his chest tubes, plan a vacation and celebrate our defeat of rhabdomyosarccoma. But Christian’s cancer had a different plan and we are instead getting ready to complete our first five day dose of mega chemo.

We traded the frog for a dog!
It is no understatement that last week was one of the toughest weeks of our treatment thus far. The day that Christian was diagnosed with cancer was by far one of the worst days of my life. Only equaled by hearing a doctor tell me that our first-born child was not going to live to my due date. Equaled by Chris holding our first born, Jackie, while he returned to heaven to rest forever with his Maker.  So we have experienced some pretty heart wrenching times in our marriage. This past week we were pushed to the breaking point as we watch Christian slowly lose weight and strength. Lose his desire to move around and his ability to keep a good quantity of food in his tummy. Yet despite his dire circumstance he will usually bless us with a smile and make every attempt to ensure that his mommy and daddy are ok. I have pictures on my phone of him getting into the bathtub with his mommy and daddy – one of his most relaxing and favorite things to do – and they are so sad. I am not even sure how to describe his current state of health. He is ‘technically’ cancer free, yet his treatment has dropped him into the horrible state of health. His last scan determined that there was nothing dangerous going on in his abdomen but lots of abnormalities. He has swollen bowels, stomach, gallbladder, pancreatic duct and some free floating fluid still hanging around from surgery. So it is no surprise that he is having a hard time eating. He is not eating enough to maintain his body and he is getting extremely skinny; he has no energy and because he has lost all of his fat it has now become to painful for him to walk on his feet. Of all of the treatments that he has done this past year I can’t believe that this is where we are today. I feel like all the fight is gone from his body.
Collection machine

This past week he was able to complete his aphaeresis (process of stem cell collection) and he did amazing. He was able to supply his nurses with more than the required amount in less than five hours…excellent for such a sick little guy. The machine was big and scary and noisy but being our little trooper he just played with his star wars guys, watched TV and entertained his nurses!  Earlier on in the week they attempted to put in an NG tube in order to help him get some nutrition but it failed miserably (as I think most NG insertions do the first time) and Christian was not a happy camper to say the least. We will most likely have one inserted on Tuesday before he begins his chemo. as I know the doctors are counting every ounce he loses and gains. It is essential that he begins to gain some weight in order to stay healthy and have the strength to continue to fight. 
Chris, Evelyn and Pastor Doug passing time during apheresis
So this week will hold a few new ventures for Christian; another attempt at putting the tube down into his tummy through his nose and our first five days of chemotherapy. During the Christmas season the hospital does such a good job of trying to keep the place festive and light for families. Unfortunately oncology patients are not allowed to leave the unit to see the beautiful trees and decorations elsewhere in the hospital. I think I will have to arm myself with some decorations to fill his room with love and festive spirit. I am hoping Santa comes to visit the unit as I think our yearly Santa photo is unlikely to happen. I feel some sadness at trying to keep our family together at this time of the year. I know Evelyn and Ryan miss me dearly when I spend so much time at the hospital and Christian is also desperate to have me by his side, as I seem to have become his solid ground. How do I say “no” to either child? My heart is torn into many different pieces. I yearn for the time when our family will be a solid, healthy and energetic bunch. I pray that we get the chance to be in that place – and that when we get there I won’t forget how badly I wanted to be there.
Ryan rockn' the quad on the unit!
This week I am desperately seeking prayers for health for Christian. I need God to come into this place and pack on the pounds onto our little super hero. I need some strength for Christian to fight this next round of chemo. He needs some energy to play with his toys and play with his cousins. He needs to feel hopeful and to know that this horrible time in his life is just spit in the wind and soon things will be better. So much better. I need to hear God speak to me so I can have faith through this last difficult chapter.  Our family needs to heal and our family needs to continue to hold onto the hope and promise that God has given to us. God only gives good gifts and it is done.
The stem cells that will save his life in a few short weeks time
Please please please extend your prayers these next few weeks for Christian, for weight, for strength, for courage, for healing, for a body free from cancer, for hope. Thanks for reading
Sword fights with the boys!

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Christian telling me that Uncle Peder gives the best foot massages
2.     Monday morning dates with Chris
3.     Ryan walking all over the place – sideways!!!!
View from our unit room on a dark and snowy night

Monday, November 21, 2011


Life is a series of seasons. Some long, some short, some easily managed and some so difficult – you wonder if it is even possible to make it. Do you have the energy, the faith and the courage to transition to the next phase of your life? Do I? Then something little happens – an amazing word of courage from a friend, the gentle hum of a custodian – they remind you that hope is there. It is available in so many different forms we have to just open our hearts to be lead. It has been one of the hardest weeks of my life this past week and I was beginning to faint. I saw a posting from one of Chris’ friends that linked to a song by the Canadian Tenors singing “Halleluiah”. Just a random remake with fairly generic lyrics but with voices that were so angelic I figured they had to be God driven. Just the chorus alone set me to tears. I have listened to the song about 100 times since then.
Moments of levity

We have been battling the flu, which has since turned into something more serious for Christian. Tomorrow morning he will have a CT scan to determine the extent of ‘sickness’ in his gut. The surgeons are considering everything from appendicitis to gastroenteritis to colitis. All I know is that he has been sick for a long time now. And as a parent I have reached my limit to watching my child suffer without explanation. How do you cope when they look into your eyes and plead for relief and none can be given? Mommy my tummy hurts.

Getting blodd and platelets

Appendicitis. Gastroenteritis. Colitis. Mucousitis. Apparently Christian has an “itis” – the question is which one? What we first thought was the common flu bug or “Dif C” as they refer to it here in the hospital, has turned into something a little more uncomfortable for Christian. I am so thankful for our unit pediatrician who took an extra interest in getting Christian sorted out. All of the medications that he has been taking are to help him with nausea and vomiting. Which have obviously worked because he has not been sick since yesterday morning. But he still has tons of tummy pain – constant tummy pain. Until today, nobody took an interest in helping Christian with his actual pain. So they gave him a dose of morphine and TA DA! He turned into a whole different little boy. For the past week he has been just sitting like a bump on a log. He didn’t want to visit with anybody (including his dad!), play with any of his toys or move around. He seemed depressed, sad and resigned. I now realize that he was sick and tired of the pain and was shutting down. As soon as his tummy pain disappeared he sat up and interacted with me. He asked for certain toys and even joked with me about things. He smiled and laughed and I felt such an amazing relief.
Trying to get over the stomach 'bug'
Another hurdle to jump over. Another obstacle to overcome. Cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, chemotherapy, regression, surgery, chemotherapy, GI issues, neutropeonia, fevers, stem cell harvesting, high dose chemo, stem cell transplant. Pray for the future. It seems insurmountable that one little 27 lb boy could even overcome these things. I walked to the little unit kitchen this morning and wondered where the strength would come from today. Chris had come down with the stomach flu, I was tapped out and Christian was feeling horrible. As I stumbled into the kitchen for a cup of coffee I overheard our unit custodian gently singing the song, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it”. Until that point I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the day. Her words reminded me that God had already orchestrated this day for me. And in doing such provided me with the resources I needed to get through the day. All I needed to do was remember. Remember to ask for help. Remember to be faithful. Remember to praise God. Halleluiah

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Amazing, amazing music in my ears
2.     Loralie Phaneuf
3.     ITunes

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kermit the Christian

Swallowed up by Kermit

Once again I am sitting here in our unit room staring at COP (Canada Olympic Park). It looks to be freezing outside as I watch the snow billow up from hill where they are making fresh snow. Cars continue to scurry back and forth in front of the hospital. I trumped over to the mall for an hour to clear my head and I was amazed at the number of people running around shopping. Already rude, in a hurry and frazzled. I don’t want to be a part of this aspect of Christmas. I want to be at home with my family. I want to rejoice in our gifts and our blessings. Of course those who know me know that I never say no to a shopping outing (I can hear Costco calling my name as we speak!) but I am striving to keep my shopping in check and realistic.

A few of our favorite nurses on the unit just returned from working a week at a makeshift hospital in Haiti. They told stories of children dying from a lack of supplies and resources; mothers who had not eaten in days, sleeping under cribs on pieces of cardboard because they didn’t want to leave their children. Yet these people where thankful, grateful and hopeful for the future. If only those of us who live in here in the developed part of the world had even a brief inkling of how these people live and die – life would be different. I will never again complain about the size of our room, the coarseness of the towels and the quality of the food. These are things that don’t even exist in the hospitals there – never mind walking away from a hospital with your child who will die because there were no resources to save them. God forgive me for my callousness and ignorance toward the people who live this way and I have done so little to help them.
We spent the better part of this last week battling the flu. And when I say “we” I, of course, mean Christian. My little trooper, my little frog, my little hero. It seems to be one hurdle after another for him and he continues to amaze us with his resiliency. He managed his first round of regression chemotherapy like a champ. But this darn flu bug has truly gotten the better of him. I find it so frustrating that I can’t do anything to make him feel better. We were finally admitted to the hospital on Friday after it became apparent that we could not control his sickness at home. He was severely dehydrated from throwing up and couldn’t take any medicine by mouth to help with the sickness. He has eaten and drank so little this past week that his weight has plummeted and his energy levels are about the same. He has been constantly throwing up since last Sunday evening and I wonder if there is any respite in his future?
Trying to stay warm and fight the flu
While we were at the clinic on Friday we were handed a sheet with Christian’s ‘counts’ on them (numbers informing us of how his body is responding to his chemotherapy) and it was basically zero’s down the line. Even though we know what the drugs are doing to his immune system, it is always such a shock to see that zero and to know that he has no immune system. We breath a sigh of relief when they decide to keep him knowing full well that being in the unit is the safest place for him when he is neutropeonic. Fluids, pain meds and other drugs to help him feel better are readily available so we take a deep breath and try to relax now that we have some help in getting him better. Next week we will most likely begin the process of aphoresis (harvesting his own stem cells). This involves Christian being hooked up to a very large machine that draws his blood out and removes his ‘baby red blood cells’ and then puts the blood back into his body. They then take these cells and make stem cells for him to have after his final blast of chemo. It is a very precise and complex process that will most likely be done in the ICU as he will most likely be sedated for part of the process which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to compete.
Enjoying a horsey ride at the Millarville Christmas Market

Despite Chris and I feeling the comfort from being at the hospital, Christian is getting pretty tired of all of this – tired of feeling sick, tired of all the antics. Refusing to walk around or even participate in playing with his batman toys. I know he is extremely frustrated and bitter about being so sick. As a family we are tired of running around to and fro the hospital. Evelyn and Ryan are coping as good as little ones do - but Ryan has become very clingy and always rushes for the door when he sees someone put on their shoes – for fear of being left behind. I eagerly anticipate the days ahead when Christian wants to run around and chase his cousins with his swords and we can enjoy some family time together in our home.

Still able to be silly despite all the sickness!!!!!
For now we battle the nausea, vomiting, leg pains, tired bodies and bored brains with the promise and hope of an amazing new year. The beginning of 2012 will be scary as we look to his stem cell transplant in January. But this next year will also bring healing and hope to our family. We dream of warm beaches, white sand, cool pools, green golf courses, lots of sun and many, many more smiles and laughter. I can picture in my head Evelyn and Christian sitting at a waters edge playing with a few buckets and shovels. I can picture Christian excitedly washing his clubs and mimicking his daddy as they ready themselves for a gorgeous round of golf. I can see Ryan screeching with joy as his Nanny throws him around the water.  I can see my family coming together in a place whose beauty and peace will bring stillness to my heart. I am holding onto these thoughts in my heart and know that someday soon things will be a great deal better. Thanks for reading.

Today I am thankful for:
1.Hospitals with all the supplies you need
2. Handy Manny
3. Fuzzy green frog blankets

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Christian's back - November 15, 2011

I am laying beside Christian tonight. Just the two of us in laying in mine and Chris’ bed. It has been an awful 24 hours for Christian and I am just now starting to feel the effects of these last six weeks. There are not many minutes in the day to just sit and contemplate what we have encountered over these past two months. Instantly I realize how exhausted I am. Just now Christian shifts in bed, he has been moaning and groaning as his stomach pains begin to escalate. He will shift and squirm until he finally has to sit up and get sick. For most of the day his little body was only able to wretch, as he wasn’t able to eat or drink anything. Bile from deep down in his internals made its way into the puke pail – I can hear his stomach rolling and watch his little cheeks flush as he struggles to get the yucky’s out. When he is finally done he lays back on the pillow exhausted, cheeks flushed, but I can tell he temporarily feels better.
His surgical scar

As time passes I can slowly see him getting lighter and smaller. It is almost no trouble at all to pick him up and carry him up the stairs. I am almost afraid to hold him to hard that I might break something. He is all angles and hollows. I stared at him in bed tonight and wondered how we got here. Today was one of the first times that I actually thought he looked like a cancer patient. You can see every vertebrae, rib, joint and bone in his body. And because he has been so sick his face is pale and his eyes have dark circles under them. His lips are dry from being dehydrated and I almost don’t even recognize his face. Where has Christian gone? I don’t recognize the little boy in front of me. He has been so resilient; even in the face of chemotherapy treatments, surgery, withdrawal, extended hospital stays and lots of poking and prodding by hospital staff, he always seems to have a smile on his face – his little cheeks had some substance and they swelled up with his little grin. But tonight he has nothing. The smiles are long gone, no giggles and no twinkling eye. It blows my mind that after all that different treatments that he has gone through it is the common flu bug that completely does him in. He has nothing left to fight with, no energy and no drive. Such a different little boy. I know that he will get better. I am hoping that tomorrow morning he looks at me with a smile and I can see the return of the shine in his face. But tonight all I can see is sadness. He is sick and feels horrible and I feel horrible with him. What is a mother to do when you can bring no comfort or relief of pain to your child? I can pray. I can ask God to help Christian and give him strength. I can ask for patience to stay calm and not get frustrated. I can try to list all of the things that I am still thankful for despite this rough patch. Somebody is always worse off. And tonight I would rather have little Christian by my side, all skin and bones, vomit and sores, than to not have him by my side at all.

As I am about to post this blog and a line comes into my mind, “I will not forsake you”. So I look it up on my computer and find Hebrews verse 13 which starts out by saying, “Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have…” AMAZING considering Chris and I just had a conversation this evening about our finances and where we were going to be in a few months. And Chris told me not to think about it and to just pray about Christian, that God would take care of everything else. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Amazing what incite you can gain from that little voice inside your head. Don’t forget to listen to it. After the rain there will be a rainbow. 
Can't wait to see this full smiling face again

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Ryan following Evelyn all around the house – just wanting to be where she is
2.     Warm cars in -21 wind chill
3.     Christian dreaming about Caillou beside me

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Blessings

Welcome back friends. It has been another long, long week. But it is Friday night and I think that means we have officially made it to the weekend – and I am praying that each day is going to get better. Christian and Daddy are nicely snuggled up together in our bed – oblivious to the world outside our doors. Somewhere a crowd is just gearing up for a night out and some crowds are happy to just bunker down with their families. I am so happy to be apart of the second group. Despite our anxiety and trials of this past week, Chris and I looked at each other tonight and spoke about how blessed we felt to be at home with our children – only partially healthy but at least we are together.  Things could always be so much worse and we are truly grateful for the men and women who are in foreign lands – assuring the safety and freedom for so many people.
Hiding in our room while the others are sick - "see my muscles?"
Tuesday ended up being an interesting birthday – one for the books. Christian went into the hospital for his first dose of mega chemo. Only to discover that the day would be filled with waiting, scans, tests and more waiting. I felt so full of anxiety and worry for Christian – how would he react to this toxic toxic round of chemo. Would he get violently ill? Would we ever get to leave the hospital? How much weight will he lose?  I actually had some heart pain and wondered if I was going to have a heart attack on my 36th birthday. I pulled myself together and tried to breath and move while I waited for updates from Chris. After supper Louise and Tracey (God’s little gift to me for my birthday!) showed up on my door step with flowers and chocoloate – HELLO??????!!!!! What else does a stressed out woman need but the sweetness of chocolate and the touch of a friend. It was such a lovely surprise and truly made my night. What was even better was a phone call from Chris saying that they were coming home for the night as they decided to delay his chemo for a day until they could read the results of his baseline CT scans.  So on my birthday I got to hang out with Ryan at the mall, have cupcakes and coffee with good friends and finished off the day cuddling Christian to sleep.
Ryan keeping the barf bins close!

Wednesday Christian and Chris packed up and headed back to the hospital to await the results of his CT scan and start his chemo. It was so sad as Christian truly didn’t want to leave home and cried (I think for the first time ever since starting his treatment last January) as he left. My heart was breaking as Chris carried his skinny little body out the door. The situation was made worse as I realized that I had come down with a cold and would not be able to go to the hospital at all to be with Christian. And then to add a little spice to my day Ryan started throwing up all over the place. I joked that I was going to lay down on the ground and see if anybody else wanted to kick me while I was down. But we made it through the day – and Christian made it through his day (although he also got quite sick). And we live to tell about it! 
Sleeping off the chemotherapy
The results of his baseline CT seem positive. He does still have some swelling in his pancreas (which they are hoping is a result of the surgery and pressure from the tumor) and the doctors feel confident that his body will be able to reabsorb all the extra fluid floating around his abdomen. He also has three tiny spots on his lungs – and were he not a cancer patient the Dr’s would assume that they are from his surgery and trauma associated with being intubated. But because he is a cancer patient they are going to follow them closely to make sure they are not growing masses. Other than that the CT scan looked great and our Oncologist felt good about the chemotherapy treatments.
Visit from Grandpa
Thursday morning Evelyn started to feel ill and Ryan was still blessing me with his barf. Christian had a good night and seemed to be managing the high dose chemo very well. I was still sick and not able to go and visit Christian so I was ecstatic when Chris called and said that they were allowed to come home! No 24 hour post chemo hydration was required. Yahooooooo It was so great to see his tiny little body walk through the door. I scooped him up and kissed his fuzzy little head. Two days felt like two weeks and I was so glad they were home. This brings us to today –Evelyn and Ryan are still both getting sick (thankfully Christian’s anti nausea medicine also works on Evelyn!) but with a little medicinal help, they day went smooth and was actually relaxing! It was so nice to not be rushing around or making any mad dashes anywhere. I am so excited about hanging Christmas decorations and making cookies.

So the real effects of the high dose chemo will begin as the drugs work their way through his system. We pray that he doesn’t develop any mouth sores (which makes it almost impossible for them to eat) and that his nausea is kept in check by his anti nausea medication. We pray that his immune system can tolerate the bashing it will receive and we will NOT have to go the hospital for fevers. He is on constant antibiotics for the next four weeks just in case he picks up a bug that his body can’t fight.
Despite all the goings on of this week there are blessings around every corner. On Wednesday morning when I was sitting on the couch feeling miserable and having a bit of a pity party the doorbell rang and it was a parcel for Christian – from Sweden. A friend of a friend sent some lovely gifts for Christian and chocolate (for me of course!) It was a great reminder to me just when I needed it - that so many people in so many different places are thinking about Christian and praying for our family. And instead of sitting and muling over how much things suck - I should raise my heart in prayer that these blessing would be made known to me and  I can be thankfull for the smallest of things. Focus on that which is good and forget that which I have no contorl over. 
Swedish Goodies

So excited to unwrap a gift!
There are people we don’t even know praying for healing for Christian and praying the he doesn’t get too sick during his treatments. So thank you to everybody for your well wishes and prayers over this past week while we waited to start this next round of treatments. Keeping the faith that God is continuing to hold us high – even when we don’t have the strength to hold ourselves. Literally. Praise God for the hope and optimism that I have in my heart. Thanks for reading

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Swedish Chocolate
2.     Christian’s new fuzz
3.     Good friends showing up just when I need them

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here we go again.........

Then end of a day out 'toy hunting'

It is the dawn of my birthday. I am not afraid of aging and I wish that more women would embrace the wisdom and maturity that comes with years instead of trying to hide their true age. So in about two hours my true age will be 36. Wow a lot seems to have happened since I turned 35. Chris and I have moved into a different home, celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, had three beautiful birthdays (a one, a two and a four!) and of course spent the better part of this last year helping our son battle cancer. I am so excited to celebrate birthdays as it always a great time to get together with friends and family, eat good food, have good conversation and enjoy each others company. I think it is so important that we relish and embrace all that we accomplish in our days – that we accept all that we have learned from the ridiculous mistakes we have made (yes mother I have been wrong MANY times!) – that we truly acknowledge our gifts. The gift of a stay at home mother, the gift of a father who leaves his children every morning to earn money for his family, the gift of a warm home and food on our tables.  
Sophie and Evelyn's impromptu play date
I had the best birthday gift ever when Christian presented me with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Yum. I always thought that flowers were such a waste of money but have lately come to realize how a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or even a single flower for that matter, can lift a whole room and buoy your spirit. Whenever I look at those beautiful gerberas I think of Christian.
I love his HUGE spirit in his little body
Tomorrow Christian will have his first treatment in his new cycle of regression therapy. AKA “high dose chemo as often as possible in an attempt to try and destroy any micro cancer cells that are left in his body”. Not such a great birthday present. It’s not a day at the spa or a dinner out, its no Paul Brant concert tickets or a Keyboard but I do get to spend the day with my family. I do get to play games with my son and cuddle him to sleep while he gets his chemo. I will get some, “mommy and me” time with Ryan while we run some errands and at some point I hope to get a chance to sit down with Chris and have a cup of Good Earth birthday coffee – thanks Kim! These are the small gifts given each day that I am learning to cherish as I get older and as my kids get older. What did I do on my 36th birthday? I was loved and needed by my family. What a gift.
I pray we get to see this face tomorow after his big dose of chemo
Today Christian had an Echocardiogram to ensure that his heart is functioning properly. The new chemo drug he will be getting can have some adverse affects on the heart so they wanted to check that his ticker is in tip top shape. We will spend the next few days at the hospital and he will get two doses of chemo (one Tuesday and one Wednesday) and one day to hydrate and recover. It is all new ground for Chris and I as we wait to see how his second day of chemo goes. He will be getting his second dose just as he normally is starting to feel a little ill from his first dose. I am praying that the drugs he will be given will curb his nausea and that he can rest. I pray that he has strength to enjoy his toys and watch movies from the DVD cabinet. I pray we get to leave the hospital on Thursday as planned.

Today is November 7th and according to our old plan we would be 8 short days from completing his treatment. So starting over is a tough pill to swallow. I will continue to look for the silver lining. I aim to be the best mom and wife to my family as I am able. I pray that spending the Christmas season in the hospital and within the confines of our home will help to bring us some peace and true understanding of what is important during the Christmas season. I look forward to cold snowy days when we can spend the morning in our PJ’s making cookies, drinking coffee, listening to Christmas music and watching our favorite holiday flicks. I am so thankful we have been granted this time of the year with Chris by our side for the whole day.  So please lift Christian up in your prayers tomorrow as he receives his first high dose of chemotherapy. I will keep you all in the loop as soon as I can. Thank you in advance for the prayers that I know will be extended for Christian tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
Soon - we will get to watch a sunset like this one again....

only under much better circumstances...with our WHOLE family

Today I am thankful for
1.     Spending Christians last day of freedom out and about, looking at every toy in every store
2.     Christian falling asleep on my lap as I type this blog
3.     Chris 
4.     Friends who randomly show up at our door on Saturday morning for a visit – thanks Matt, Lindsay and Sophie