Fight Like a Rockstar

Ronan. Hi baby. I’m missing you so much tonight. But what’s new. The missing part of you is constant and is something that never goes away. The weekend is almost over. Thankfully. It was fine. O.k. Alright. I did my best. I had a lot of busy work to tend to. Busy work that I keep telling myself is going to get us somewhere. Busy work that I keep telling myself, is going to make a difference. Busy work that I know you would be proud of. If I didn’t have this busy work, I would be sitting around, pulling my hair out. I would be in the corner, curled up in a ball, in my bedroom not wanting to come out. Not just some days, but every single day.

Sunday Funday. Right? No. Sundays that I hate. Sundays that are filled with an eerie stillness that I detest. I stayed in bed until 1 p.m. Yup. You heard me. I could not fall asleep last night. I tried. I wrestled with my sadness/anger/tears, until 4 a.m. I almost punched your Daddy just because I was so annoyed that he was sleeping so peacefully next to me. I don’t know how I pass the never-ending time that exists during the night. If I am going to be a Vampire/Zombie, I am going to have to start coming up with some productive things to do, besides listening to the screaming inside of my head. I need a crazy, productive hobby. I think I need to make a “Go To,” list for the nights that I am so restless of things that I can do. You know how I LOVE a list.

I made myself get up out of bed today. I took Quinn and we ran some errands. We went to Target. Your favorite place. As soon as we were walking in, there was a lady who was in front of us who was getting her cart. She was bald. I took off my “F U Cancer,” bracelet and simply said, “I have something for you.” I gave your bracelet to her. I don’t think she even read what it said as she quickly just gave me a thank you. I needed nothing more. I hope your bracelet makes her even more mad at cancer and it makes her work harder, to fight harder, like a Rockstar. Like you always did. Like I will continue to do, for you.

Strolling through the aisles of Target today…..ugh. I cannot concentrate enough to navigate my way through that store anymore. Everything in it reminds me of you. Happy, lovely Target. Full of your Paul Frank Monkey friend, Julius. Full of your Star Wars guys. Full of your Burt’s Bee’s Coconut Soap that I used to wash you with. Full of the Slurpies that I would always have to buy you, just to get you to sit in the cart. But you never did. You would have hung on the side of the cart instead. You would have tried to ride one of the display bicycles. You would have hidden from me in the racks of clothes. Your giggles would have filled the entire store and made my heart skip a beat. They always did. Today, I took Quinn there instead. Quinn my little helper who takes on the responsibility of pushing the cart, trying to pick up the case of water for me, and who helps me remember the list of things I needed, because I left my physical list, at home. If it would not have been for Quinn today, I would come home without the little list of things we needed. I would have abandoned our cart to cry in the car instead. Thank you, for him.

After we left Target, I told Quinn we needed to go to Smart and Final. He was annoyed and wanted to know why we had to go there and why we couldn’t get all of our drinks, at Target. I told him that Smart and Final is the best place to buy Liam’s Gatorade and that they are the only place I can find my Mango/Peach Coconut Water. He tried to talk me out of going, but I didn’t listen. Oh, how very happy I am that I insisted on going to Smart and Final today. It made my miserable Sunday, absolutely amazing. We got into the store and of course we got the cart that just didn’t work right. Quinn was laughing at me because I insisted that we would just make the best of it and use the cart that only wanted to turn right. I came up with some amazing there is a lesson in everything, kind of metaphor for him. Something along the lines of working through a tough situation and making the best of it. I made him laugh when I crashed into the Gatorade aisle. I told him I was not giving up on our crazy cart, to trade it in for a new one. I don’t know what I was trying to accomplish with this at the time as it would have been so easy to just go and get a new cart. There is a lesson in everything, right? At least that is what I was trying to explain to your already too worldly/knowledgable about life, 8-year-old little brother today.

As we were checking out, I noticed the side of the counter was lined with little flyers that read, “Kids 4 Hope.” Hmmmm….. I thought as I went to read the fine print. I thought to myself, I’m sure it has something to do with anything but Pediatric Cancer. I almost passed out when I saw that each dollar donated, was in fact donated to funds for Pediatric Cancer. I asked the girl who was scanning my items, what exactly this was for. She told me you could purchase a flyer in someone’s name, for a dollar, for Childhood Cancer. I had to take a minute to absorb the amazingness of this. After a few seconds, I said, “Can I buy 50?” She looked stunned. She replied back, “50? Really? You want to buy 50 of these?” “Absolutely,” I told her. Quinn sat back, quietly observing. The girl counted out 50 little flyers and I than told her that you, my son, had passed away from Childhood Cancer. She got quiet, handed me the 50 flyers, a pink Sharpie, and some tape. She asked how old you were. I told her 3. She told me she has a 3-year-old, and could not imagine.

After I paid for our items, I moved over to the other counter where Quinn and I stood and wrote your name on all the donation flyers. I looked over and the girl who had helped me, and she was ringing up her other customers as the store was super busy. She was bawling. That in turn, made me start to cry, and your poor brother Quinn….. he did not know what to do. I did not know what to do, so I just continued to cry and fill out your name. I tried not to get angry at all the customers who said they would NOT like to donate a dollar to Childhood Cancer. It took everything I had not to pull up your picture, shove it in their faces, and ask what was wrong with them! It was only a dollar! You were worth so much than a dollar! And it’s for kids! Who in the world says no to that?!?! As I witnessed today, a lot of people. It just goes to show you how much the lack of awareness for Childhood Cancer, truly does effect the outcome. People won’t even give up a dollar. Standing in that Smart and Final today, I vowed to myself, once again, to make this change.

I went over and talked to the sweet girl that rang up my groceries today. I asked what her name was. She told me it was Ida. I told her how beautiful it was. I gave her one of your bracelets. I asked to speak to her manager because I wanted to ask him how much he knew about where this money was actually going. He came out, I introduced myself, and he didn’t know much. He went back to get the print out that the store was given for this Kids 4 Hope. I told him I was amazed that they were doing this in their store, for the ENTIRE month of October as this is unheard of due to Susan G. Komen. Everything for the month of October, goes towards Breast Cancer research. I thanked him and practically skipped out of that store today with our wobbly cart. I told Ida I would see her soon.

I came home and googled the handout I was given. It’s legit. You can read about the boys who started this, below.

Troy and Jake Paul are two Los Angeles natives who combined their passion for basketball and their desire to help other kids when they formed their charity, Kids 4 Hope.

When their mother Renee was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, Troy, now 13, began collecting bottles from local businesses and neighbors in order to raise money for his mother’s newly started charity,Racing For Hope, which benefits City of Hope. “We recycled the bottles and made $1,200,” Troy says, “and we gave the money to our parents’ charity.” But from that point on, Troy says, “we realized we wanted to be able to raise more money, and wanted to branch out and start our own charity.”

The desire to help children suffering from cancer came when the boys saw what their mother went through as she battled the disease. Jake, now 16, says they saw “how hard [battling cancer] can be for an adult, but trying to grasp a young kid going through that–I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like.”

This led the Paul brothers to start Kids 4 Hope, which, according to its website, “is dedicated to raising funds to support City of Hope’s research, treatment and special programs for all of the children battling cancer.”

In order to raise money, the boys turned to their biggest passion–basketball–and decided to create an event that would be both fun and charitable. “We wanted a way to put our own personal touch on the charity, rather than just raise money with a regular fundraiser,” Jake says, “so we incorporated something we both like, which is basketball, and made it a fun way for kids to help other kids.”

Jake and Troy Paul hope both Kids 4 Hope and its events will inspire other kids to take up causes they can enjoy also. “Of course we would love to raise money through this charity,” Troy says, “but hopefully kids can see what we do and take something they love and incorporate that into a way to help people.”

Their advice for kids looking to start charities of their own or looking to get involved in a good cause? “Find something that you’re passionate about, because it’s great to help kids, but it’s easier if you are doing something you love,” Jake advises. “The main idea is any way a person can help is positive. You are helping someone else, so do something that makes it seem like more fun than work.”

Can I kiss these two boys, please? I would like to kiss Smart and Final while I’m at it. Look at how these two young boys, took something that they believed in, and made it into something so beautiful.Well, I believe in something, Ronan. I believe in YOU. I believe that you truly are going to change the face of this disease so that someday, there will be a cure. I really needed to be reminded of this today, Ronan. That anything is possible. Well, almost anything, Ro. You know what I mean by that, baby.

Alright my lovie. I have to try to shut off this mushy brain of mine for the night. I’ve got an early running call in the a.m. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. G’nite my Babydoll.

xoxo

Just another hospital night, yo! I don’t miss my bed at all!

 

Tonight, my heart is peaceful and content. My mind is quiet; which doesn’t happen often anymore. Tonight, I am once again filled with a peacefulness that everything is going to turn out o.k. I’m not sure why. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. I’ve been so caught up with my worrying and trapped in a dangerous place where the darkness tries so hard to take over. It consumes me most nights… especially hospital nights. Not tonight. Maybe it was the fact that I had a much-needed day out of the hospital today and these little breaks seem to help me. Maybe it’s the fact that Dr. Kushner and Dr. Modak came to see Ronan and could not believe how well he looked for having a 0 ANC. Maybe it’s the fact that I got to listen to Woody tell me how well Liam and Quinn did at baseball tonight. How when Liam got up to bat, one of the coaches told him to hit this one for his brother and he cranked the ball out of the park. Or maybe it’s the fact that I just spent the last hour walking the halls of the hospital with Ronan while we both carried our toy guns and shot every person that came in sight. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the things above. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is it’s moments like this that keep me going, pushing forward, with my head held high. These little moments will carry me though to the other side of this awful mess. With Ronan in my arms the entire way.

Last night was rough. Rough as in I got very little sleep due to our stupid “pole” or “asspole” as I’ve decided to name it, going off every 20 minutes. BEEPBEEP!!!! BEEPBEEP!!!!BEEPBEEP!!!!! So. Freaking. Annoying. Every time this happens, I have to push our little red button and say, “We’re beeping!” The nurse either comes in right away, or it takes 15 minutes. Not fun for anyone. Our poor roommates included. The nurse also had to wake Ronan up twice last night to give him his oral morphine since they took off his Fentanyl patch a couple of days ago. They are slowly trying to wean him off all of his pain medication and he is now down to a really low dose of morphine. Try getting a 3-year-old to cooperate taking a medicine he doesn’t like, while waking him up from a dead sleep. Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming and fit throwing in the middle of the night. Brutal. Rough night indeed but we survived; once again.

Today, we had Ronan’s last day of RT on his arm. It’s nice to be done with that. It seems like it has really helped his pain and I am thankful. My mom came to the hospital, armed with a bag full of toys. For a small town mama, she is sure doing well getting around this big city. Proud of her 😉 I was able to leave the hospital and Ronan with my mom with promises of my return with new Star Wars guys. I went back to the RMH, showered, and got ready to meet my friend, Ellen for lunch. Ellen is the mom of Phoebe, our last roommate at Sloan. They live about an hour outside the city and she emailed me yesterday to say her parents were going to watch the girls for the day so she wanted to know if she rode the train in, if I could come and meet her. I jumped at the chance and we had a lovely day catching up. I loved hearing all about Phoebe and how she is doing. She is such an inspiration. They will both be at Sloan on Monday so considering Ronan is up for it, we will make sure we get over to the hospital to see them. Such a nice family who so does not deserve any of this and it sucks we are getting to know each other because both of our kids are dealing with cancer. Why can’t cancer pick on the real jerks in the world…. Hello rapists, child molesters, child abusers, murderers?? Cancer does not discriminate but it should. Leave us nice people and our kids alone. A-hole cancer.

After my day with Ellen, I walked the entire city in search of a couple of new Star Wars toys for Ro. He would have had my head if I had come back to the hospital empty-handed. Mission accomplished. He was very happy with my findings. I returned to find a very sweet boy waiting ever so patiently for me. Best thing in the world to come back to this dreary hospital life to. He melts my heart like butter. I also came back to find some beautiful mystery New Yorker had dropped off some goodies for us and I think, donated blood, as they left a little key chain that Sloan gives you for doing so. They also left the sweetest hand written card and only signed it, “A New York Friend.” Dear New York Friend…. who are you, you lovely person, you??? Would love to meet you and tell you thank you in person. Your gifts were so thoughtful and sweet. I had just run out of my stash of Coconut Water too. Thank you, my mystery NYC friend. You made this mama smile today.

Ronan has been so occupied tonight by watching things on YouTube. Mainly Star Wars things and we have been cracking up. I’m going to put a couple of his favorite findings on my blog. Hope you all enjoy them. Thank you, once again for your love and support. Thank you for keeping our family close to your hearts. It is such a gift to us. G’nite my sweet friends. Love you all!

xoxo

Yoga, Hiking, and Tears

What a busy, yet peaceful day. I started off my day joining my friend, Stacy, for a hot yoga class. An hour and 15 minute class where I was drenched in sweat and tears almost the entire time. I have not done a yoga class in years, but it has been something I have dying to get back into. It was almost too much… intensity wise. I felt broken, vulnerable, sad, yet strong and calm too. Stacy looked over at me at one point while we were standing up doing our poses and saw the tears pouring out of my eyes. She came over and held me for a minute and then asked if I needed water. She then goes, “What about Coconut Water? I have some!?” She made me laugh out loud at that one. Ah yes, Coconut Water makes everything all better. We had some after Yoga and it was the best Coconut Water that I’ve ever had in my life;) Thank you Stacy for the yoga today… I really hope to get a bunch of these classes in before we start isolation. It is a good way for me to let everything go and release all of the things I am feeling.

After yoga, I came home showered and got ready to head over to The Village for Liam and Quinn’s basketball game. I took Ronan with me. He was in heaven and spend a lot of the time helping Woody coach. He even had his own whistle hanging around his neck. It was adorable and he loved being out with his brothers. Liam and Quinn did great as always. They are such good little basketball players. Watching them play basketball is one of my favorite things to do in life. I am so thankful I was able to go today; it meant a lot to all of us.

After basketball we came home and I took a long nap. I think the hot yoga and all the crying I did this morning did me in and I had a bad headache the entire day. I felt better after I woke up and around 5 I headed out to church, a.k.a. hiking. I needed an active day today. It has been way too long since I’ve been in touch with nature and hiking is something that I have been missing so much. I ran up the mountain, watched the sunset, and prayed my ass off. It was one of the most gorgeous evenings tonight and hiking always clears my head. Today was absolutely perfect in every way.

The boys’ have their cousin, Luke, staying the night tonight. He is a fifth grader at their school and all three of my guys idolize him. Woody took them to play basketball at The Village and then to pizza tonight. If my boys’ turn out to be anything like Luke, I will feel like the most blessed mama in the world. He is a parents dream come true. Such a sweet soul, funny, and is so good with all of my boys’ but especially Ronan. We love having him here and spending time with him. I think it is really good for Liam and Quinn; it is good for them to have somebody to look up to who is a little closer to their age. Thanks Heidi for letting us borrow your Lukey. We love him like one of our own:)

Tomorrow we are having another low key day. I’m going to breakfast with a few girlfriends to go over isolation things in the morning and then we are planning on watching the Superbowl over at Uncle Jay’s house. He lives right around the corner so if Ronan gets too tired, I can just walk him home. I may try to sneak in another hike before my insanely busy week starts. My body is already beyond sore and it is a feeling that I miss so much. Before all of this exercise was my stress relief. It’s hard not to have the consistency of that in my life anymore as I don’t have any other outlets. I’ve got to make the most of these couple of weeks before transplant.

Ronan is curled up beside me. Luke has been in my room reading him some books and cuddling up with him. So cute… he loves to love on Ronan. It has been such a nice family night at home tonight.  We have really been needing this time together. I’m finally getting a little sleepy so time to shut things off. Hope you all had a great Saturday; thanks for checking in with us. Sweet dreams!!

xoxo

The silence scares me because it screams the truth

A week. It’s been a week of sharing a room. Hospital beds. Hospital clothes. Hospital T.V. Hospital seconds/minutes/days/nights. Hospital tears. Hospital depression. Being home last night for the entire night with my twins felt so good that it hurt. I took them to breakfast this morning and we looked just like the perfect little family. Just another mom with her sons’ on a gorgeous Sunday morning, happy, smiling, laughing. Nobody in the restaurant knew the reality of my life. They didn’t know that soon my horse-drawn carriage was about to turn into a pumpkin. They didn’t know about the 3-year-old that I have with cancer who was waiting in his hospital bed for his mom to return. That’s my reality everyday and nobody knows the pain and sadness that comes with it. It hits me hard during times like this… when I get a second of my sweet life back and then have it ripped away from me once again. I fucking hate hospitals. I fucking hate RSV season. I fucking hate cancer and all the time it is stealing away from my family life. How lovely that I was able to go home last night and spend 30 minutes with my husband and try to act normal the way a husband and a wife do, but then that turns into him saying to me while looking at an old picture of our 3 boys… “I just keep thinking, did he have cancer then? Fuck. How long has he had this?” That in turn makes me cry and I get to sit and stare into my husbands eyes as he watches me cry because some days are harder than others. Today is one of those days. Do you know why my little 7-year-old who was exhausted from the days events stayed up until midnight  with me last night insisting we finish watching “Talladega Nights?”  He told me he didn’t want to go to sleep because he didn’t want the time with me to end. I couldn’t agree more and he is so right in the way he is feeling. Just pile that on top of the things that are ripping my heart out at the moment and smashing it on the floor.

Today, I couldn’t pull my shit together and had to have my friend, Gay, come and sit with Ronan so I could get out of the hospital for an hour and cry my freaking eyes out. The tears wouldn’t stop pouring and I thought getting out of the hospital would help; but it didn’t. It’s was one of those day. Bloody, bloody, Sunday.  Sarah the Saint stayed with Liam and Quinn all day today so I could come back to the hospital and Woody could go to the office and work for the entire day. Ronan has been a handful with a lot of energy, but is still not wanting to leave his room. He keeps talking about going home and wants to know why he can’t because he says he is all better. I try my hardest to explain things to him as simply as possible but he doesn’t get it. None of this makes sense to him and it shouldn’t.

We still have our baby roommate, with no parents in sight. The nurses have been working non-stop tending to him. The second they try to put him in his crib, he starts to cry and will not stop. Poor thing. All he wants is to be held. Makes me sick to my stomach. Reminds me to be thankful. Thankful. Thankful. Thankful. Things could be so much worse. Ronan’s counts were still around 50 today. The same as yesterday. They have got to be higher tomorrow… I don’t expect a major jump, but in the low 100’s would be nice. We just want to go home. We have isolation coming up soon and this is cutting into our time with Liam, Quinn, and Woody.

I’m being rotten tonight and I know it. Time for a positive attitude adjustment. I feel better after my day of tears. Guess I just needed to clear my head and let some things out. I’m going to snuggle up with Ro now and do my favorite nighttime activity which is to watch him sleep and wonder what that sweet little soul is dreaming about. I hope only beautiful things. G’nite dear angels out there. Thank you Sarah and Gay for your help today. I don’t know what I would do without you two. Love you.

xoxo

A Margarita, Sangria, or George Clooney??

I talked to Dr. Wood this morning and Ronan’s ANC counts came up from 0 to 25. This still doesn’t mean we will be getting out of here anytime soon as they have to be up to 200 and rising for Dr. Eshun to discharge us. Dr. Wood said he expected us to be here until next week. Our little monkey is getting restless and tired of being here. How in the world am I going to entertain him until next week? We will just have to make due. My friend, Fernanda, came and sat with Ronan for 4 hours today so I could run home, shower, do some laundry, and run some errands. I got a chance to catch up on the phone with my Susie and Bethany. Both of those phone conversations were long overdue and it was so good to hear both of their voices and catch them up on things. I miss them both so much. Thank you, Fernanda, for taking such great care of Ronan for me. He LOVED having you here and is still talking about the things you two did. I am so lucky and blessed to have the amazing friends I do. I am thankful every second of the day for all of you. <3<3

I am really, really, really, excited for a few things that some amazing people are stepping up and doing for us. Not going to go into too many details but so many people have been coming out of the woodwork and wanting to help change PCH and the way things are done around here. They know who they are and they are just as passionate and excited as I am. All they needed was Ronan and his story to fuel the fire for making the world of Pediatric Cancer, a better place. I am so excited to be involved in this process with the vision and help of great friends. Ronan is changing the world already at the small age of 3… I can't wait to see what amazing things come of this. Thank you, my dear friends who shall remain nameless due to them being the kinds of people that don't want recognition, who just want to do amazing things when nobody is watching. I can't tell you how much I love this. There are not many people in the world who just do things without the whole world needing to know about it. I am going to have to come up with a nickname for this new friend of mine…. you know who you are<3 I will think of something after I get to know you a little bit better:) Maybe Mrs. Margarita due to your email tonight;) Love you, your passion, and your heart. Thank you, sweet girl.

The rest of today was spent playing with Ronan. We had a new nurse today that we haven’t ever had before. Imagine that! I thought we knew everyone on this floor. Her name is Holly and she was a delight. Ronan adores her and she was very sweet to us. We hope to have her again and also love the fact that she too is a former Sundevil:) The ASU baseball team came to visit the kids on the floor and I coaxed Ronan out of his room to go to the playroom to see them. I am so glad he agreed to go because he was able to meet some very special people and also get a couple of baseballs signed. Thanks Margaret for being extra sweet to Ronan. It was so nice to meet you today:) He was a little overwhelmed and a little shy but was very excited about the baseballs when we returned to his room.

I wasn’t going to ask to switch to a window room view while we were on the second floor….. because I thought we were going to be out of here by Saturday; but I did. If we are going to be here until next week; I will not survive without one. I feel like the biggest pain in the butt… as Dr. Maze said to me today, “What are we doing, playing musical rooms?” Made me laugh but that’s how it feels. What can I say, I’m a girl who knows how happy the little things make me and I’m not shy about asking for it. One of Ronan’s favorite things to do at night is to look out the window at the pretty neon lights that flash at the top of the new PCH hospital. He loves to say the colors out loud and we count the stars and say Goodnight to the moon.

Ronan is really missing his house and brothers tonight. He must have told me a dozen times how much he misses Liam and Quinn. It KILLS me to hear him say those words to me. I hate that he can’t be with them. He called tonight and talked to the boys’ for a while. I sat and while Quinn was on speaker phone and the boys’ went back and fourth telling each other how much they missed one another. It was heartbreaking and sweet all at the same time. After the phone call, Ronan and I spent the evening playing “lets throw the stuffed monkeys back and fourth to each other but not let them hit the ground due to the hot lava, game.” We played for a solid hour and he was laughing the entire time. We then went on a hut for our favorite nurse, Arica, and found her but she was in a room with a patient. She blew Ro kisses and came to visit us later tonight. Ronan was almost asleep but woke up as Arica was giving him kisses and loves, just so he could give her a smile and a giggle. I love that girl<3

Woody has been so busy this week that he hasn't been able to stop by the hospital to see us. Between his law firm and coaching the twins' two basketball leagues, he hasn't got a free second. Our catch ups have been consisting our our 3 minute phone conversations about 10 times a day. I HATE THIS. I miss my husband, my twins, my house, my old normal everyday life. I am tired of falling asleep listening to the screams and cries of our roommates and their parents. I'm tired of the lack of privacy and this sharing room bullshit. It's bad enough that my child has cancer, but it's even worse the lack of privacy that comes with it. I know, I know… the new hospital will have it's private rooms. That does me no good as of now. I'm burnt out, I'm discouraged by all the sadness that surrounds me everyday. Listening to the screams at night haunts me and is another huge reason to why I never sleep well. I know Transplant is going to be hard, but at least we get our own room. Trying so hard to find the positive in anything and everything I can.

That's all for tonight. I hear some Coconut Water and a movie calling my name. I could really use a Margarita and some freaking chips and salsa. What I wouldn’t give for that. I need to get lost in something tonight, otherwise I’m going to lose my freaking mind. Ahh… spoke too soon. My friend Stacy just texted me to ask if she could bring me anything. My reply was, 1) A margarita, 2) Some Sangria or 3) George Clooney. Can you guess what she is showing up with?!?! Either way, I win!! YAY FOR GOOD FRIENDS!!!! G’nite dear darlings. Sleep well.

xoxo

Kathryn~ Thank you for the Star Wars picture you sent for Ronan that Annie Leibovitz shot and signed for him. He is going to freak out over the picture; I am freaking out over the fact that such an amazing, talented soul, took the time to do such a sweet thing for Ronan! Made my day!! Tell her thank you as well:)

Living is easy with your eyes closed

I have no idea what day it is even…. Wednesday I think? The days and nights are so blurry here and it is so easy to lose track of the time, days, and nights as they all seem to blend together. I do know that today is my dear birthday bunny, Jen’s birthday. Happy Birthday my sweet friend. Thank you for being a rock for me these past 5 months. I love you dearly<3 I hope you had a beautiful day.

My morning started off great with my friend Melissa bringing by coffee and her gorgeous smile for me. Ronan wasn’t up for visitors, kicked her out of the room, so we went into the hallway and caught up for a bit. Ronan would scream for me every so often so I would come and and tell him I was looking for Dr. Wood. He seemed satisfied with that answer so I was able to go back into the hallway and finish my conversation with Melissa. After she left, I was able to get out of the hospital today for most of the day. It was much needed and Mimi Kay and Papa Charlie came and sat with Ronan for me. So thankful. I can feel myself going a little stir crazy. It was nice to be out and about today. I returned around 5 to a happy Ronan and our 3-year-old roommate, Angel, who had been left alone almost the entire day. He sat and told me that his parents were never coming back. These are the same parents who left him alone last night for about an hour and when I went to ask Angel where they went he replied, “They went to smoke.” OMG. I spent the next 2 hours tonight tending to him and sharing Ronan’s popsicles and toys. I felt bad for the little boy. A 3 year old should not be left alone, EVER! He started throwing things at Ronan which in turn, made Ronan upset and the two of them were screaming back and forth at each other. Ronan ended up in tears because the roommate said to him, “You’re a bad boy!” Ronan looked at me and said, “I not a bad boy, mama!” I told him of course he was not but that didn’t stop the little tears from sliding down his cheeks. He is so tough but really got his feelings hurt tonight. There was not a nurse in sight up on 3 to handle this, so I did best I could. That floor 3 is a little coo-coo. Dr. Eshun gave us the green light to move to the 2nd floor tonight, thank god! We moved down here after the Angel incident and his parents had still not returned. We are just happy to be out of that room and down to our fun floor with the BEST nurses in the world. They were all so excited to see Ronan and he was just as happy to see them. The 2nd floor is like our second home now… it was weird to be here, but not with our “family.”  Somebody even wrote, “Rockstar Ronan,” on the whiteboard where all the nurses/patients info goes…. so cute that they know his nickname:) We are happy campers to be back down here and Ro baby is sound asleep. His ANC was still at 0 as of this morning. UGH. Please let it come up tomorrow. We are itching to get out of here and be back home.

Somebody sent some goodies tonight and I have no idea they  came from, as there was not a card. It was a bag full of some Star Wars toys, some fun books, Coffees for me…. Any takers??!?! Please let me know who you are… I would like to give you a proper thank you. It made our night! Ronan has been having a blast with his coloring books and little light saber racing car. THANK YOU!!!!!

I’m getting anxious and homesick tonight. Hoping I can unwind with a movie or something. I could seriously use some yoga in my life right about now. I feel like I have a lot to say, but my mind/body/soul is shutting down. Hospital exhaustion is kicking in. I am so thankful for my thoughtful husband and the Bose Headphones he bought me for Christmas. Music is saving my life through all of this…. thanks Wooddawg for being so thoughtful all of the time. You are the best gift giver in the entire world. Hope you all have a beautiful, blessed night. Sweetest dreams!

Extra special dreams tonight to my dear Charisma. I told you all the stars would end up aligning for you. More good things to come your way my dear. I can feel it!!

xoxo

The little monkey made it through the night

We ended up staying out of the hospital last night. Ronan slept and slept hard. His fever was off and on through the night, but did not ever go above 100.1. So thankful.  I had the most awful dreams last night. UGH. I can’t shake them this morning. I had a dream that Ronan could no longer have his Stem Cell Transplant because he had too much Neuroblastoma everywhere. All of our doctors were in my dream and there was a lot of screaming, crying, and hitting done by me. Can’t I catch a freaking break?? Why can’t my sleep be at least be peaceful; my days are filled with so much crap you’d think I’d at least be able to take a break while I sleep. Not the case, ever. I need a break today. I may have to just bite the bullet and leave Ronan for a bit to go and hike Camelback or something. I need to clear my head for just awhile.

The boys’ are excited to watch the Packers football game today (Go Packers!) and they also have a birthday party to go to as well. Woody and Quinn are still asleep and I am cuddled on the couch with Ro and Liam watching Mickey Mouse. Ronan does not want to do anything; except have me be by his side. The little guy gets upset if I even leave his side to get up and try to do some things around the house. Macy and I have been laughing about this on the phone and calling him my warden. He certainly is the one who rules the household around here. I don’t mind, I secretly like being his slave. Especially when he looks at me and tells me I’m the best mommy in the world. It’s moments like that, that make me realize I can get him through this because he is so worth all of this.

On Friday night I got a call from my OBGYN,(the BEST one in the world, Dr. Kathleen Schwartz) We have been trying to connect forever but I keep missing her when I am in for my visits. She is the one who delivered my twins and Ronan. It was so nice to hear her voice and to talk to her for awhile. The first thing I said to her was, “Can you believe this is happening to us?” She was very sweet and very concerned and it was nice to catch her up to speed on things.

All of my little monkeys are up now so I’ve got to get breakfast made. Have a great morning… I basically just wanted to update you on Ro’s fever. Hoping we continue to keep him home. Thank you Stacy Frakes for saving my life with your Hava Java delivery this morning! You are the BEST!!!!!

If I could open my arms
And span the length of the isle of Manhattan
I’d bring it to where you are
Making a lake of the East River and Hudson

And if I could open my mouth
Wide enough for a marching band to march out
They would make your name sing
And bend through alleys and bounce off all the buildings

I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same time
Oh, what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you

And it is true what you say
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is going to drown

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is going to drown

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is going to drown

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is going to drown

Your love is going to drown
Your love is going to drown
Your love is going to drown
Your love is going to drown
Your love is going to . . . .

An old soul

Ronan had his clinic visit this morning. His levels have dropped just as we were expecting. We are so used to this chemo thing now that we know where his counts will be. What I didn’t expect wash his platelet counts to be so low. They were 10,000 today. WHAT?!?! 10,000 and not a bloody nose in sight? How is that possible? Since we started this chemo journey, anytime Ronan’s platelets drop lower than 20,000-30,000 we are guaranteed that he has the dreaded bloody noses that we cannot control. I told “A” today that maybe it’s due to having the tumor out of Ro. She smiled and I know she doesn’t think there is any correlation between the two, but I am going with what I have been saying all along…. He really is a brand new boy. He was so sweet as we were waiting at the clinic today. He sat and talked to me about all of the nurses who take care of him. As “A” walked by, he goes, “She’s so nice, Mom.” The he told me how much he loved Sharon and Kristin. He is so full of love today and is just so grateful, even though he is feeling so crummy. His ANC is at 60… which means his immune system is almost wiped out. I’m expecting it to hit 0 tomorrow. We will have to keep a close eye on him…knock on wood no fevers or bloody noses. It would be so nice to stay out of the hospital until Transplant time.

I spoke with Erin from Transplant today; she is basically Dr. Adams go to girl as far as scheduling and preparing us goes. She told me to expect to start Transplant on February 15 or 16th. Assuming all of Ronan’s tests come back with the results we are wanting to see. She didn’t see any reason why they wouldn’t, but he has to have everything from his heart, liver, and kidney checked to make sure they are functioning properly before we can get the green light. He has those tests scheduled for February 9th. So far, every time he has had his organs checked, everything has looked great. It is amazing how much the human body can take. After we get the green light for transplant, we will then be randomized to see if Ronan will have two transplants or one. You know we are hoping for two…. even though I am scared shitless at what this is going to do to my little guys body. Woody keeps saying we’ve got to throw the kitchen sink at Ronan’s cancer… and two transplants is definitely throwing the kitchen sink at it. If Ronan’s cancer comes back, it will be because we didn’t kill all of the cancer cells the first time around. Two transplants we feel, will increase the chances of killing all of his cancer.

I am trying to mentally prepare for Transplant/Isolation. I am wracking my brain for everything that I can possibly think of to keep myself and Ronan happy during his stay. I’ve been trying to think of it more like… If I were stranded on a desert island rather than… if I were trapped in a solitary confinement… what would I need?? Something tells me George Clooney may not be realistic. So far, I’ve come up with easy things such as: my computer(duh) my camera, movies, books, my coconut water (have I mentioned that I am OBSESSED with the stuff??) my yoga mat, Ronan’s favorite toys, Art supplies, his favorite bedding, his Wii and PS3. We will have to set up Skype to keep in touch with Liam and Quinn. I am trying my hardest to turn this into something really positive. Not many people get the opportunity in life to just simply “be.” I am hoping something really good will come out of this and it will make Ronan and myself even stronger. It will be a time for great reflection and learning. Tricia and I were laughing the other night because I told her I was going to study Buddhism while in Isolation. She told me she was going to make me a little sign to wear around my neck that says, “Cannot speak,” due to respecting the silence that comes with this religion. The image in my head totally made me laugh. Don’t think I’ll take it that far, but I love her for making me laugh.

I talked to my NYC Miss Macy today. That crazy pants. She texted me to see if the boys’ would like a King Cake from Nola. She is going there on a business trip soon and wanted to ship the boys one. I had no idea what a King Cake even was so I listened as she Googled it and explained it to me. I also told her that I needed her to come stay with me in Isolation. I was half joking and told her I needed her purely for selfish reasons. She told me to say the word and she would be on a flight if that is what I needed to keep me sane. I told her that we would save her visit for when we are finished with this Stem Cell Transplant and that way, we can all enjoy Miss Macy to the fullest. We are going to have such a reason to celebrate! I know Ronan is going to soar through this transplant with flying colors. He is so tough and has done so well with everything else, how could he not.

For now, I am going to soak up being at home with the boy and Woody. These past couple of days have been so sweet. I am thankful every second of the day, for all the blessings we have in our life. Ronan being the biggest one of them all. One of the night nurses that takes care of Ro whenever we are admitted to PCH says the same thing to me every time she comes in to check his vitals. She always tells me that she can tell Ronan is an old soul. This always makes me smile because I have known this since the day he was born. He has always been different; almost like he has been here many times before. He just has that look in his eyes that tells me not to be scared, not to worry, because everything is going to be alright. Looking into his eyes, I know this. This cannot turn out any other way; he has way too many hearts to break and way too much trouble to cause.

Sad to leave, but have to go

The update is we are coming home tomorrow. I am scrambling, have been scrambling for a couple of days now, mentally, I was not ready to go back to Arizona. I feel like I’ve taken these past couple of days to get my mind wrapped around coming home. I feel like I am ready now. Who am I kidding, I am not ready at all. Everything about this trip has been so positive and I am beyond sad to leave earlier than expected, but we cannot fight the COG on this. The COG is the Children’s Oncology Group and they are who is charge of Ronan being on study. We have to stay on study, we want to stay on study, because we really are hoping that Ronan is going to be chosen for 2 stem cell transplants, instead of one. If we go off of study, we won’t have any chance of getting a second transplant, and after the research we’ve done, we really feel like this will increase his chances of survival. So, in a nutshell, the COG is bigger than the doctors and we just have to follow their rules. Hard for me because I really just want to give them the middle finger. I just want what is best for Ronan, and as I said before, I feel like letting him heal fully here is what he needs. But things change and now we are coming home.

Also, Ronan has developed an infection in his broviac line. He has been spiking fevers the past few days and they thought it was just due to surgery, but they tested his blood and one of the cultures came back positive. This is a minor bump in the road considering all we have been through. It is something that Sloan has under control and has been reassuring me that it is something that is treatable with antibiotics. Well, they started the first dose of antibiotics last night and as I was holding Ronan, I looked down and his entire head was red and he started itching it like crazy and screaming bloody murder. I looked at Mace and Tricia who were both white as a sheet and said, “Call the nurse, he’s having a reaction.” Sure enough, I was told, he had developed what they call “Red Man Syndrome” to the Vancomycin. The nurse came rushing in and told me they would start him on Benadryl to get rid of the reaction. I was pissed. I wanted to know why in the world I wasn’t told that this could possibly happen, and I was informed that it happens to about 60/70 percent of the kids that get this antibiotic. Gee, I wish somebody would have told me this little piece of information, just so I could have been aware of it instead of being scared to death because I did not know what was going on with my child. What if he would have stopped breathing or something?!? We were soon able to get it under control and thank god for Dr. Maze, who I was texting during this entire thing. He took the time to calm me down and explain everything to me. We had a not so good nurse last night who did not seem to know anything and seemed very nervous about all the questions that were flying her way. Other than that, the nurses have been incredible and so has the care. Last night was rough but we got it under control and were able to get Ronan settled down and back to sleep. His fevers have stopped and we will get one dose of his antibiotic tomorrow at 7 a.m. with the Benadryl before, which takes 2 hours. We will hop on our flight after we see Dr. La Quaglia and as soon we land in Phoenix we will have to go right to PCH so we can check in and get Ronan’s second dose of the antibiotic. He has to have it twice a day for about 10 days. All of the doctors here have reassured me that we can still start his chemo, even with the infection, as long as his fever does not come back. I’m even more mad about having to leave here now. How mad is Ronan going to be knowing that we are going home, but don’t really get to go “home” and he has to stay at PCH for about 10 days. It would have been so much easier to stay here. STUPID COG. If you can’t tell I’m a wreck. My anxiety is through the roof and my nerves are shot after these past couple of days.

I sent out an email yesterday to somebody who shall remain nameless, asking if there was any possible way they could fly us privately back home. Part of my panicking was the thought of putting Ronan on a flight. Within the hour, I got an email back, and then a phone call saying, absolutely, they could get us back to Phoenix on their private jet. No worries that is was so last minute, no questions asked, they were just so happy to help. I cannot say thank you enough to you, SB and Mr. B. You have just given us such an amazing gift in helping with keeping Ronan healthy. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and I can’t wait for the day that I can personally thank you with a big hug and one of Ronan’s famous smiles. We are beyond grateful that there are such kind people in the world out there like yourselves. O.K…. SB….. I know you said no more thank you’s so I’ll stop. After one more huge, THANK YOU!!!

Last night was one of the most heart wrenching/fucked up/hilariously funny nights that I have ever had in my LIFE. Tricia and Macy (who now by the way are in LOVE with each other;))stayed at the hospital with me until about 1 a.m. Macy picked up Thai food (which was to die for) and we got some bottles of Sangria to go and smuggled them into Sloan. While Ronan slept, we ate, talked, laughed, cried, and laughed some more. Macy and Tricia got to see what my world is like on a day to day basis. Macy was bawling half of the time which in turn made me cry and our poor sweet roommate…. she had a crisis with a bloody nose, throwing up blood, and she was scared to death. She is the most beautiful 11 year old girl that I have ever met and she is fighting bone cancer. She has had 17 rounds of chemo and surgery on her leg. It was a privilege to share a room with her and her amazing mom. I tried to help with the bloody nose situation, since I have been there many times with Ronan. I went over and I tried to explain it to her and to calm her down but I wanted to just curl up and die. Her mom was on her bed holding her while her little girl sat and told me how tired she is of being sick, how much pain she is in and how scared she is. I started bawling, and when I finally went back to my side of the room, Tricia and Macy were bawling as well. In the 3 days that we spent with this little girl I heard her talk about all the things she appreciates in life and how she is so thankful for her “good days.” She is wise beyond her years and stronger than most adults. One of the most beautiful, inspiring, souls I have ever met with an amazing family who will no doubt, get her through this. Tricia, Macy and I bonded over so many things last night and Macy is now without a doubt, a friend for life.

I got all of our stuff packed up today while Tricia stayed at the hospital with Ronan. I came back to Sloan and Trish ran out to do some things. She is probably in the middle of cleaning our room at the RMH so we can be all ready to go tomorrow. Thank you, TT~ I don’t know what I would do without you. Macy came by to say good-bye to us and left me with a card. After she left, I opened it up and started to cry just from the words on the front of it. I’m an emotional wreak tonight. Ronan is depressed and told me tonight with his lip quivering, that he misses his brothers so much. Tomorrow is going to be awful. All Ro wants to do is to be home with Liam and Quinn but he can’t. I’m not even sure that the boys’ can come to PCH to visit due to it being RSV season. UGH. I don’t even want to think about how much Ronan’s heart is going to break going from one hospital to the next. Poor baby.

Tonight I say good-bye to New York with a heavy heart. I’m scared to go back to reality and back to my real world… I’m scared I’m going to lose the Maya that I have found while being in this city. As crazy as this sounds, this trip was one of the best trips of my life. Knowing that Ronan came here with a big job to do and it was so successful and positive, is maybe why it seems so hard to leave. I’m sure most of this is just my anxiety speaking. It will be wonderful to be home surround by my sweet twins, amazing husband, family and friends. I have missed you all dearly. I’ve just got to figure out how to keep this momentum going that I have found in this city. I will forever be in love with New York, Sloan Kettering, Dr. La Quaglia, Dr. Kusher, and the whole team of Neuroblastoma doctors. I will be back here next year to run the Marathon with Ronan in remission and waiting for me at mile 16. I love you New York! I feel so blessed to have had you heal myself and my baby!!

Goodnight world. Thanks for all of your love and support!!!

xoxo