Hometown Heart

We grew up in the small town of Kelso in the Pacific Northwest. Like with any small town, you can’t wait to “escape” it when you grow up and explore other places. What I don’t think any of us ever realized was how growing up in that small town…our hometown, planted a seed of love and loyalty that none of us knew existed until this moment…a moment when one of our own is in need.

 What are the chances that the three of us would end up in the same city?  What are the chances we would reconnect on Facebook of all places and pick up where we left off 15 years ago, like barely any time had passed?  We’re pretty sure the Big Man had this in his plan all along, and we’re thankful that we could be here supporting The Thompson Family, and representing Hilanders far and wide (sorry…the Blue & Gold of Kelso runs deep!)

 Last night was special for us.  Ronan was showing off his battle scar on his head, munching on snacks, laughing, smiling, and loving on his parents.  We saw Maya with renewed inspiration and a strengthened soul.  We saw Woody with so much confidence and love as he snuggled with Ronan in his bed.  We also saw humor, and we laughed a lot, and it felt really good.  We know this is a tough situation, but to get Maya to laugh and laugh hard was our best work yet!

 After we left, we spent a lot of time talking on the roof of the hospital parking garage in the balmy summer air.  We were kinda hesitant to leave.  We knew with Ronan’s upcoming treatments that visits will dwindle so he can heal, and we weren’t ready to leave our friend quite yet…so we stood out there, looking towards the hospital and sending our good thoughts, love, and prayers their way.

We love you, Thompson Family, and you have all of Kelso & Longview fighting for you!

xo – Olivia & Jennifer

 “To be with us, you have to be good.  To stay with us, you have to be strong.  To beat us, you have to be kidding.  We Are Kelso.”


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I will never get used to that word. It will never just roll off my tongue. Today is Ronan’s first treatment and he needs it. He now cries that his legs are hurting and I know the cancer is spreading there. We are up early today because they needed him to pee for me. He is mad and already fighting with me about everything. It took me 15 minutes to talk him into peeing in his little bucket so they can measure it. He has told me he hates me and kicked me out of his bed. I just don’t understand anything anymore. How did this happen? Isn’t this the same child I just spent the entire summer with playing, laughing, and loving? And now we are in a hospital where his entire body is becoming infected with this awful disease. He has to have anesthesia today around noon which also means no eating or drinking. These days are the worst too because he doesn’t understand why he can’t eat or drink when he is hungry. He thinks I am just being mean. I will pray that we get through today quickly and painlessly. I will pray that he will cooperate and not  unhook one of his lines that go to his broviac like he did last night. He is so fast and tricky. It has always been Ronan’s way, or the highway. I really hope today he will give in just a little bit and listen to me. It will make things so much easier.

Laughter really is the best medicine

Today I hung out with Ronan most of the day. We played in bed, walked the halls and then around noon, Mimi, Papa, and Wood came to visit. I was trying to sneak out of the hospital to go home and shower and change clothes, but Ronan was not having any of it. He was really upset to see that I was going to leave him. I finally snuck out around 2 and met up with Woody at home where we had lunch and tried to have a conversation about something other than the fact that our son has cancer. How do you even have a normal conversation anymore? Everything seems so pointless and stupid. While we were home, sitting on the couch I had the T.V. on in the background to try to keep my mind on something else. I’ve never been huge into T.V. but one of my guilty pleasures has been “The Real Housewives of New York City.” That show just happened to be on and I sat and watched it for about 10 minutes. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I was listening to a bunch of ungrateful, stupid ladies, who don’t have a care in the world; complain and bitch about everything and anything they could possibly think of. How in the world did I possibly sit and watch this show before all of this? I guess it was because I lived in my little bubble where my life was perfect and I didn’t have a care in the world. I didn’t know any better. And maybe that’s how life should be because it was a very nice life. But it is not my life anymore; and it never will be again.

Woody picked the twins up from school for me and I stayed at home and passed out. Hard. I shut all of our shutters, closed the drapes and slept for a solid 2 hours. I woke up and immediately felt guilty for not spending that time with Liam and Quinn. I spent a little time doing normal things with them like talking about school, going over homework, and unpacking their lunches. I had them shower and change clothes and then took them to the hospital to see Ronan. They stayed and played for a good hour which is always good for everybody. I had a lovely visit with a lady named Joanie who I’ve spoken on the phone to several times after finding out Ronan had neuroblastoma. Her son was diagnosed with the same thing when he was Ronan’s age and is now off at the University of Arizona living a happy and healthy life. She was like a breath of fresh air for me. I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. The first time I talked to her was after Ronan’s surgery when we were in the PICU. That was not even a week ago but I swear it feels like a year. I remember our first conversation and I was so scared and I was still trying to grasp what was happening to our family. Tonight after meeting her I instantly felt safe and secure. I know that she is another one of Ronan’s angels and he is going to make it through this.

My two other girlfriends stopped by as well. Jen and Olivia whom I have known since the 8th grade. We were always friends growing but nothing like the friendship I have developed with them in the last year. I know no matter what, those two will always have my back. They will fight for me and my family until the day they die. And I would do the exact same thing for them. They are both such strong, smart, women. I am so lucky to have them in my life. They say laughter is the best medicine and I know whenever those two are around, there is never a shortage of that. I needed to laugh tonight because tomorrow my 3 year old starts chemo. And that is not going to be fun.

Another huge thing that makes me so mad about this is the fact that I do not get to be a mom to my twins for a while. That is so unfair. I was born to be a mom, I take such pride in my kids. My 7 year olds are great examples of how wonderful kids can turn out with the right parenting. And now that is just taken away from me and I have no say at all. That is just cruel and breaks my heart. I find comfort in the fact that I don’t have to worry about them as much because the groundwork has been done. They are very respectful, good, boys. And I know they are in the BEST care in the world with my in-laws and husband around to take care of them. But it still makes me sad because that is MY job. I am now learning the hard way that when it comes down to it, you really have no control over your life. So you’d better be making the BEST of it while you can. You never know if or when you will be hit with something awful like this.