She is changing the world. She is getting shit done. She is moving mountains. She is on of the biggest reasons that I am alive. She is responsible for saving my life. I am thankful every single hell on earth day for her. I love you, Dr. JoRo.
I had the worst dream last night. It was all about scan day. We woke up and got ready to go. Fernanda was downstairs waiting for us, with coffees in hand and off we went. We arrived promptly, like always, and soon Ronan was called back to anesthesia; I held him tightly as they injected him with his Propofol, and kissed him as he went to sleep. I left him on the table and covered him up with his blanket, Gigi. Out in the waiting room I went and fell into Fernanda’s arms. Leaving Ro for anesthesia is never easy on me, especially without Dr. Maze there to be the one to take care of my little guy. Fernanda and I gathered up our things and pushed Ronan’s stroller up to floor 9 to let the waiting begin. And wait we did. For fucking ever. I think we sat for a good 2 hours. Fernanda tried her best to distract me with her her stories; but there was nothing that could take my mind off of the things to come. Soon, I saw Dr. Kusher, the man I had been waiting for. He was back doing Ronan’s bone marrow aspirations. He breezed right past me without making eye contact. This was my first clue. My stomach dropped to the floor. Fernanda goes, “There he is, let’s chase him down to see what the results said!” I just looked at her and told her no. He knew we were waiting and would get to us when he was ready. By this time, Ronan was waking up from the anesthesia. We went back to get him and my little groggy guy just wanted to be in my arms. I put on his pants and shoes and picked him up. We went back to the waiting room to wait once again, for Dr. Kushner. We sat and waited and fed Ronan some food as he was hungry. As I was getting up to do something, my Claude necklace, the one that I always have around my neck for important days; that has the tooth of St. Claude in it, fell to the ground. It had somehow come detached from the chain and I scrambled to pick it up. I picked it up and tried to figure out where it had come detached. So weird, I thought to myself, as the clasp was not broken. I did my best to ignore the St. Claude incident and told myself it was not a sign. I didn’t even tell Fernanda this which is not like me at all. I tell her everything. Soon, the kid at the front desk told us Dr. Kushner was ready for us. We were taken back to room 7 to meet with him. As soon as I saw him my stomach dropped to the floor. He couldn’t even look me in the eyes. I looked at him and said, “No no no no no no no.” His eyes were wet and he said in his weakest voice something like, “The cancer is spreading. The chemo did not work.” I clutched Ronan, sat down in a chair because I was going to pass out. I don’t remember much more. At some point, he recommended we call Woody on speaker phone. I sat there and listened as Dr. Kushner tried to explain things to Woody. I watched him as his eyes kept getting wet. At one point I asked him if he could please give me just an ounce of hope. Just one ounce… something. He looked at the floor. I went into shock and asked him if this ever gets any easier for him. I told him it couldn’t possibly ever get easier. He got up and turned his back to me. Where did the man go that said he would fight for my baby with everything he had? Because that man in front of me was nowhere to be found. I saw a coward. A man who had completely given up on my child. I somehow gathered my strength and got up. I gave him a hug and told him thank you. I told him he was a good man. I walked out of the doors to his office with Ronan running beside me. Dr. Kushner, the man I had put all of my faith into, had given up on my child and there was no looking back.
Fernanda and I walked back to the RMH. I remember nothing about getting back to our room. All I knew is I wanted to get home, back to Phoenix, asap. I curled up on my bed while Ronan ran around like mad and Fernanda buzzed in the background making travel arrangements and figuring out what to do next. I remember something being said about needing to get me Valium. I remember sitting on the floor playing with Ronan and drinking a coconut water. I remember taking the coconut water and throwing it as hard as I could across the room while I watched it hit the wall and liquid splashed everywhere. I told Ronan we were having a party and I wanted to see if my water would explode. He then took a can of root beer and poured it everywhere to make it explode like a volcano. I think Fernanda got in on the fun and dumped her Diet Coke all over the floor on a blanket on purpose. We sat and had a fucking pop throwing party because what else could we do? It made perfect sense at the time. She then spent the next 7 hours packing up our room, running all over the city to buy more suitcases for all of our shit, did laundry, cleaned our place, got me my Valium, composed an email to Dr. Mosse at CHOP regarding starting Ronan on MIBG therapy and we finally got Ronan into bed so he would settle down to sleep. Fernanda watched as I rubbed his back and he asked me to sing him “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I sang to him our song as I do every night. We all fell asleep around 2 a.m. Our alarm woke us up at 3:30 a.m. as our car was picking us up at 4 a.m. to get us to the airport. 9 suitcases checked later and we were at our gate. The flight was blurry and Ronan slept much of the way. I did too due to the Valium and Ambien. I asked Fernanda for more Valium and she told me no. I cried on our flight and watched her cry by herself in the aisle across from me. She looked like an angel. I woke up at one point and looked down at Ronan and I saw his pinky intertwined with mine. That’s how I know this is all a nightmare and none of this is true. Because his little pinky of his refuses to let go of mine, even when we are both in a deep, deep sleep. As we were getting off of our flight I hugged Fernanda tight and told her that she was the best friend I have ever had and how nobody else would have done this for me. She told me there were a million people who would have done this for me and I then told her yes, but not the way that she did. She came in, in the middle of the biggest storm of my life and attacked it head on and beat the fuck out of it. I have no idea how in the world she did this and I kept offering to have Woody fly out to help us. She looked at me like I was crazy and yelled at me “For what?!?! We can do this! I’ve got it under control!” I’ve learned not to argue with a Mexican Goddess. You will never win.
I somehow made it home, back to the cleanest house possible and to my twins and in-laws. Before I knew it I was in my bed and passed out. I woke up to my husband and 3 boys playing away. The days are blurred and I’m not really sure what is going on. I went out this morning to meet up with my Mr. Sparkly Eyes. I told him how disappointed I was in Dr. Kushner and how I am learning to lower my expectations of people because I set the bar so high. He agreed with me and also tried help me understand that he is sure Dr. Kushner feels like he failed us and is heartbroken. I told him I understood that, but all I wanted was for him to have a bit of decency and compassion which I felt he completely lacked. I just want somebody to be mad at and I know that is not fair, but I have a right to be mad at the way things were handled. Dr. Kushner had his freaking assistant call Woody today to tell him he thinks we should go to CHOP for MIBG. He didn’t even call Woody himself. That is not only rude, but classless. And this is a man that I completely respected, but I have come to find out that when push comes to shove and times turn to the darkest hour, the people who you think will be there until the end for you, can turn on you in a heartbeat. I told Mr. Sparkly Eyes that we refuse to give up and as long as Ronan is still fighting, we will fight as well. He more than agreed and promised to never give up on Ronan, told me that he, himself, is not going anywhere and all I have to do is say the word and he will be at our home to sit with me or whatever I need. I told him how I didn’t know how I was going to write this post, as I have been trying for days but lacked the words. He told me to just be honest, like I always have been. So here I sit, writing the most honest words that I have ever had to write in my life.
I had my house full of my dear friends and family today helping to get everything unpacked. Stacy, Karen, Liz, Fernanda, Heidi, and Mrs. Martin all buzzed around doing everything they could. I don’t think I’ve done much of anything except Heidi got me out for a pedi/mani and I got to see Marisa who met me at my nail salon to hold me.
What’s next? First, I have to wake up from this nightmare because I refuse to believe it is real. Ronan is running around like mad, playing with his brothers and having lightsaber wars with his favorite cousin, Luke. Once I wake up, we plan on getting on a plane this Tuesday to take Ronan to Chop to start him on MIBG therapy. This is a fairly short therapy, but intense. We will get Ronan through this. As my friend, Ed said to me, “It takes one child to change the odds.” That is the best thing I’ve had said to me all week. Until we leave on Tuesday, I’m going to do my best to get thought these next days. I’m going to hug all of my boys extra tight and surround myself with all the love I can get. As much as I want crawl up in my bed and not come out, I have 3 boys, and a husband whom I love more than the stars combined to try to remain strong for. I still have hope, faith, and a belief that Ronan will be the miracle to come out of this.
I love you all. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. This is not even close to being over and we will never give up on our Ro.
P.S. If any of you ever see that angel of mine, Fernanda Borletti on the streets, at the grocery store, at school, wherever….. please wrap your arms around her and whisper to her that she is an angel on this earth. She deserves a god damn Noble Peace Prize.
I wish I could tell you tonight that we have our answer. But I can’t. Woody and I both left the house on the same page this morning, thinking we knew which approach we were going to take. That all changed after meeting with Dr. Adams, the head of Stem Cell Transplant at PCH. I should have known the answer was not going to be so easy. Woody, Fernanda, and a I sat across from Dr. Adams and Woody did all of the talking. Fernanda sat and wrote notes and held my hand; I sat, listened, absorbed, and cried. At one point I looked up and told everyone I was just trying to do my best not to throw up everywhere. Dr. Adams looked at me and said she didn’t blame me, she was devistated that she had to be having this conversation with us. But, she said she still feels like Ronan can be cured…it’s just going to take a little more work than we would have liked. She said we have a ton of options available but unfortunately, nobody knows the right answer. The decision we are going to have to make is going to have to be based on all the data we collect and a gut feeling. Those were her words exactly. I told her I’d be gut feeling, and Woody could be the data:) Sounds like a perfect match to me. What Dr. Adams would like to see is us do 2 more rounds of a different type of chemo here, than rescan Ronan and make a decision after that. She does not want us to jump head first into anything. Woody and I both agreed that this sounded like a good idea to us as long as it won’t close any doors as far as other options go. We are waiting to hear back from Dr. Kusher at Sloan to see if he is o.k. with this. We don’t see how this would hurt Ronan at all, if anything everyone seems to think we can get rid of some more of his disease this way.
There are not many people in the world that I would trust with the life of my baby, but Dr. Adams is one of them. I don’t have a super personal relationship with her for obvious reasons, but I don’t need one to know that she is a very special woman. She is brilliant beyond belief, compassionate, open minded, and has dedicated her entire life to this. She truly cares about each and everyone of her patients. She has this amazing aura around her and I feel it whenever I’m in her presence. After we left her office, Fernanda and I went out into the main waiting room to take care of some business. Fernanda looked at me and said, “I still have goosebumps after being in that room with that woman.” Fernanda felt it too. This woman is a gift to us and I want to keep her involved in Ronan’s care for as long as possible. I fully trust her and respect her opinion so much. She wants to give Ronan the best shot possible is willing to do whatever she can. She was very hopeful because Ronan has responded so well and as I said before, she just thinks he needs a little something extra. Staying here and starting chemo would give us more time to figure out our exact plan. I hate just to jump right into anything if we can take baby steps instead to really make sure what we are doing is right. Fernanda had Dr. Eshun’s assistant get all of Ronan’s scans out to about 6 different doctors. We will take all of the opinions we can get right now. This is not the end of the road my friends, not even close. This is the beginning of a new path we are going to take to get Ronan well. I am embracing it with open arms and know it will be the right decision, when the decision is made. I trust in the higher power who is in charge of this…..whomever that may be as I believe there are many forces behind getting Ronan well.
Once again I am in awe of my husband. I sat today and watched him fire out questions to Dr. Adams that I think she was even surprised to hear him ask. He knew the names of all of the studies, the side effects, what things would open doors and what would shut doors. It is pretty amazing when you can watch someone like Dr. Adams be so impressed with a father and his wealth of knowledge. I wish I could have been of more help, but I cannot seem to detach myself from the emotional side of all of this. I don’t know what I would do without Woody. I said to Tricia yesterday, “Could you imagine if I were married to a moron and going through all of this?” There is no way I could get though it. I am so thankful I am married to such a brilliant man. I love you, Woo <3
We still know Ronan is going to beat this but as I said before, he is going to do it his way. We will get this figured out but it is going to take a little bit of time. Nothing is set in stone and I loved it today when Fernanda said in her beautiful accent, “Honey, I love that you’re not married to one idea, your still dating!” I’ll never forget how her words made me feel today. I’ll never forget her sitting in the clinic with me and seeing her tears over something I had shown her that I carry with me everywhere I go…. her Christmas card picture with all of her 5 beautiful children on it. I feel like it brings me luck and it will help to guide me. It’s the little things that mean so much to me now. Whether it be the Claude necklace I always carry with me, my four leaf clover necklace that I never take off, Pam’s bracelet that she gave me that I also never take off, or Fernanda’s Christmas card. All of those things bring me peace and although they seem little and insignificant, they all mean the world to me.
Today was a long day to say the least. I have taken my sleepy medicine so I can actually sleep tonight. If I miss a dose, sleep does not happen. I’m o.k. with this. It won’t be forever, and I know how important it is for me to get some real sleep. My dreams are still intense and sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are bad. Working on tricking my mind into making my dreams as peaceful as possible.
Goodnight my sleepy friends. Goodnight Moon. Goodnight my sweet baby Ro, Liam, Quinn and Woo. Goodnight my Fernanda… I will meet you in my dreams for cocktails, on a beach, far away from all of this. I love you.
The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
You’re barely waking
And I’m tangled up in you
I’m open, you’re closed
Where I follow, you’ll go
I worry I won’t see your face
Light up again
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide
I’m quiet you know
You make a frist impression
I’ve found I’m scared to know I’m always on your mind
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to ryhme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide
You finally find
You and I collide
You finally find
You and I collide
I got a phone call from Dr. Maze today re: Ronan’s scan results. He told me as much as he could, which was so nice of him to do. Waiting is the hardest part and he instantly put me at ease with his news. Woody heard from Dr. Eshun around 5:00. We have some very good news to share tonight. 2 weeks ago we were told to expect the mass in Ronan’s abdomen to shrink around 20-25 percent, but not much more than that. Dr. Eshun told us tonight that the mass has actually shrunk 47%. That is huge news for us! We could not be happier with those results. It is still in his bone marrow, and there are a couple of other areas they are going to watch… but nothing else has progressed or started to grow, so Dr. Eshun is very pleased with what he is seeing. I fell to the floor after hearing this news… and cried like a baby. All I could think about was how I knew Ronan would fight this as hard as he possibly could. He is proving it by the results we are seeing and how well he is handling everything. He is so unbelievably strong. He is fighting so hard for us all of us, because he loves us all so much.Today has been such a happy day for our family, a day full of hope and a big sigh of relief. We still have a long road ahead of us, but today was a victory for us. Tonight, we will sleep a little better and dream a little sweeter. We are so full of hope and joy and are going to continue to love Ronan so deeply and so much that it kills all of his cancer. We are doing everything we can to surround him with positive energy, laughter, and love. We will continue with his treatment plan and pray that we continue to see amazing results.
I had lunch today with 3 lovely ladies. I finally had the chance to meet another mom, Lara, her son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma and he is now 10 years old. They live here and are very involved in raising money to fund less toxic treatments for this disease and to find a cure. I cannot tell you how much meeting her meant to me. Her son, Noah, is alive, healthy, and is so full of love for life. He beat all of the odds and is living proof that miracles do happen. Lara gave me a lot of great advice and seeing her courage and strength was so very inspiring. I can’t wait to meet Noah someday and introduce Ronan to him.
I also saw a therapist today. I knew within 15 minutes of our session that she was the one. Intelligent, compassionate, and we meshed well. She gets it. You want to know how I really knew she was the one for me?? She asked me about Ronan’s cancer, she asked me to tell her what his treatment plan entailed. I went through the list of 5 rounds of chemo, surgery, another round of chemo, stem cell transplant (maybe 2), Radiation, and the last blast of antibodies. She looked at me and goes, “Does cussing offend you?” I go, ” No, quite the opposite.” And she goes, “Good. Holy shit.” Ahhhhh, a woman after my own heart! I loved that she was so raw and blunt. I don’t need any sissy pants, sugar-coating, therapist. I need someone who understands that this is one of the worst possible things to happen to a parent and who can look me in the eye and tell me it’s bullshit, but she can figure out how to get me through it, so I don’t have to check myself into a loony bin. This lady is going to be that person for me, I can already tell. I feel better than I have in a very long time. I can see little pieces here and there of our old life coming back. It’s like there are little flickering pieces of glitter floating through the air and every once in a while I’ll catch one. I caught one yesterday when I spent a few hours with Woody. We went furniture shopping and to lunch. I can’t tell you how important those few hours were with him. I allowed myself to forget about Ronan’s cancer for a while and just enjoyed spending some time with my husband. It was a beautiful day spent with a beautiful man.
I just want to tell each and every one of you who are reading this blog, following Ronan’s journey, praying and thinking about us, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will say this over and over again until the day I die… I know he feels your love and I know all of the love, prayers, and positive energy are working. There is only so much medicine can do, so please continue to do whatever you are doing for him:)