Well, I’m a thirty-something mommy and wife and have been blessed to have an absolutely amazing family! We’ve been through so much, as a family, over the years, but I can honestly say that these trials and tribulations, difficult as they were to work through and overcome, have brought all of us even closer as a family and have taught my kiddos some very valuable lessons about lhow unfair life can sometimes be and how to be strong trough adversity without ever losing faith in our knowledge that there is a plan and a purpose, whether we understand what that is or not. I will not disclose some of the difficulties we have faced out of respect for my children and their right to privacy with regards to events they might find humiliating to have disclosed on a public blog. But I want to share just one part of outlet lives which changed each and every one of us in such a dramatic and overwhelming way, such that it deserves to be mentioned.
In 2008, my youngest son, Isaac, was only two years old when we were devastated by the unexpected diagnosis of leukemia. Immediately life flighted to the closest Children’s Hospital, we settled in to Denver’s Children Hospital for the five straight months of horrible and life threatening chemotherapy treatments Isaac had to undergo in hopes of being able to beat his leukemia diagnosis.
Six months later, Issa was finally in clinical remission, and we hoped for the best as we finally returned home for the first time in months. We enjoyed a wonderful Chrismas season and felt out hopes and dreams for Isaac fill our hearts more and more with each passing day. But in February 2009, I received the phone call dreaded by every childhood cancer parent: Isaac’s leukemia has relapsed and was back. We immediately packed up and returned to Denver Children’s Hospital. We reviewed there new game plan which included intense chemo treatments to put the leukemia back into remission which would allow us to destroy his entire immune system and enable him to undergo a bone marrow transplant- the only hope we had to save his life. We did everything required, spent another four months in a hospital room, and Isaac’s leukemia seemed to be responding. But upon arriving for a standard test in preparation for the transplant, we were informed there would be no test, because there would be no transplant. Despite the devastatingly intense treatments, Isaac’s leukemia had managed to fight back and the required remission had disappeared and left his body with leukemia cells increasing at an alarming rate. We tried every possible treatment protocol over the next month, all to no avail. On June 3, 2009, we were sent home on Hospice care and with a terminal diagnosis and told to make the best of the estimated 6 to 8 weeks of life Isaac had left.
Well, Isaac beat the odds (to some degree), he lived for an additional six months. But he found his cure in heaven on November 3, 2009. My heart was shattered in a way that I didn’t believe I would be able to survive. But I had three other children who had just lost their beloved baby brother (and he was LOVED!! No sibling rivalry or squabbles to reduce the affection everyone felt for this child. We often referred to him as an “old soul” and there was never a single person who’s path he crossed which wasn’t touched by his special heart and fighting spirit.) this child was adored by everyone. We had complete strangers who only knew him through my daily blog updates and photos who drove across the nation to be able to meet this special child, even if only for one moment. He was special. And no one could deny that. So anyways, I had to pull myself together an put aside my grief to be a support for my heartbroken children. We all pulled through and though we all still shed tears on occassion because of our loss, we have found an inner strength which we never knew was there. This has allowed us to continue loving our baby while accepting the challenge of living the best possible life- because that’s what he would have wanted. Isaac loved to laugh and smile, and seeing our constant tears would have upset him very much. So we smile more and laugh often, and have learned to be sensitive and aware of each others feelings and moods and have no qualms about surrounding sad family and encouraging them with love and words or encouragement– or just being a quiet presence to help wipe each others tears as they cry on our shoulders.
This experience changed my family in so many profound and unexpected ways. And despite our grief, there is no denying that our family is stronger, closer, and more appreciative of each day we are blessed to spend with our loved ones. We’re still a normal family with normal squabbles and disagreements, but we have been profoundly changed by our loss and have learned the unique an unusual ability to appreciate everything we have and have been blessed with. Now, we can truly understand and believe the common saying: “It could be worse”, because we’ve had to live that “worse” and would never wish it on our worst enemy.
So a big part of our family activities is our common goal to increase Childhood Cancer Awareness for the public domain. We never ever believed our baby would be diagnosed with cancer. And we truly thought that childhood cancer, awful as it was, had become an easily treated childhood disease and death was no longer a fear. We learned the untruth of our beliefs first hand, but even more, my extensive research throughout Isaac’s treatments has opened our eyes to the devastating reality of what a cancer diagnosis REALLY means for a child. And it isn’t good. It isn’t “curable” for most cases, and I believe that if this knowledge was made easily available to the general public, there would be no way that the general population would be ok with just sitting back and allowing children to die everyday from this devastating and brutal disease. So I’ve taken it upon myself to find some way to get this horrible knowledge out to the public. It’s hard to accept, even more difficult to think about, impossible to consider your own child having cancer, but the truth is that it could actually be anyone’s child. An all the money in the world, the best doctors and healthcare out there can’t save many of these children. And that’s unacceptable and things must change.
Ok, enough about this rant, I’m sure I will hit on this topic more than once as I write in this blog, but this atleast allows you to have the background for my rants!