The worst of times are the best of times

Last night my very sweet friend, Ed, hooked our family up with 5 tickets to the New York Knicks game and floor passes. It was our intention to take Ronan, but with him inpatient at Sloan, there was no chance of that happening. Mimi and Papa offered to come and sit with Ronan so Liam, Quinn, Woody and I could all go to the game. I felt a little guilty leaving Ronan behind, but I knew how important it was for Liam and Quinn to spend some time with us. The four of us hopped on the Subway and headed downtown to the game. On our walk there, I caught myself getting really upset about not having Ronan healthy and happy and with us. It seemed so weird it just being the four of us. That was not how our family was meant to be. Woody could tell I was getting upset as I was being really quiet as I tend to do when something is bothering me. He kept looking back and asking if I was o.k. I put on my best face and told him I was. I gave myself a little pep talk about how important this was to Liam and Quinn and how I needed to try to enjoy the night as much as possible.

Once we arrived to the game, someone met us and we were taken down on the floor to watch the Knicks warm up. It was beyond awesome. We sat for a good hour and watched the teams practice and then went up to the suite where we were sitting. Before I knew it, I was having the best time. Quinn and Liam were so into the game and it was a great second half. It went into over time and the Knicks ended up winning. To my friend, Ed, who set this all up…. thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much the 4 of us needed this time together as a family. It has been a long time since we have done something like that together. It was a great few hours of enjoying each other and something we will never forget. You have created diehard Knicks fans in both myself and Quinn.

Woody slept at the hospital last night and I stayed at RMH with Quinn. Liam went back and stayed with Mimi and Papa. The 3 of them left this afternoon back to Phoenix. Sad to see them go as we will miss them very much. Quinn is still here and has been hanging out with Woody all day while he works. I hate that he cannot be at the hospital with us and I am hoping Ronan will be discharged this week. Dr. Kushner came to see us this afternoon and was very pleased with how well Ronan is moving around. He is using his little arm more and more so that is a very good sign. We talked about the “plan” and as of now we are planning on doing scans again around April 11th. Depending on what they show, we may do another round of this chemo or go on to the NK-Cell trial. The most important thing that matters to me right now is keeping Ronan out of pain. It seems as if the radiation and chemo are doing the trick as far as keeping that under control. I find myself being able to breathe a little easier everyday as his pain becomes less and less.

This week we are focusing on getting Ronan out of here (come on ANC counts!) and spending time with Quinn. He played in the playroom of the RMH house all day while Woody worked. They had some volunteers doing mad science stuff and he had a blast. I am going to be so sad when he leaves to go back to Phoenix with Woody. A part of me really wants him to just stay here. I can’t wait for school to be out so we can have both of the boys’ coming out here more often and for a longer amount of time. It is so good for Ronan’s spirits. He completely lights up when they are around.

I am sleeping at the hospital tonight and Woody and Quinn are off at some movie. Ronan has been playing away with his Star Wars guys and I finally got him to eat tonight. Victory! He ate an entire Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich and some Mandarin Oranges. His little appetite has been poor for a good week now. I can tell he is feeling better than he has in a while tonight due to the giggles and feistiness he has been displaying. I called him feisty tonight and he looked at me and goes, “Stop calling me spicy! I’m not spicy!” His little voice cracks me up. I spent the rest of tonight telling him stories and singing him songs. We talked a lot about all the people who are going to visit him in New York. I named off everyone under the sun and he kept saying, “Who else, mom?” I love my little conversations with my almost 4-year-old. I love you to the moon and back my little man!!!! That boy will never understand how much happiness he brings me with something as simple as his smile. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

My mom is taking the Red-Eye here on Sunday because Woody and Quinn are leaving. I know I am going to be a mess when Wood leaves. He is my rock and I already miss him. I love having him here with us so much. I mentioned before that we do really well in this city together. Not sure why, but we do. Maybe it’s because we are fully focused on Ronan together, without having many distractions. Makes me feel like we can do anything together… including getting our son well. My mom will stay until Friday….. I think. Tricia is also flying in next Wednesday-Sunday. Can’t wait for them both to be here with me. Ronan is very excited as well. My mom has never been to New York so I am hoping to get her and Tricia tickets to a Broadway show so she can experience something New York. I know the only thing she cares about is spending time with us, but I would like to let her enjoy New York and what it’s all about, even if it’s just for a few hours.

That is the update for tonight. I’m a little homesick but trying not to think about all the things I miss in Phoenix. It’s not things… it’s once again just my old life that I crave and yearn for. The only thing that is of importance which is being at home with Woody and my 3 healthy boys. I want that so badly that I can taste it. That’s why I have to keep pushing forward through all of this; so I can get us back there someday. For good. I can see it, I just can’t touch it yet….but I know it’s there just waiting for us. I will never give up on this baby boy of ours and he is never going to give up on me. He promised me tonight that he will stay with me forever. I refuse to let him break that promise to me. I will hold him to that until the day I die.

Miss you all very much. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on us and all of your offers to help. If any of you that are reading this and are in New York and you want to help us out in any way, I thought of an amazing way to do so. You can donate blood or platelets to Ronan. All the information is down below and it would mean so much to us. And to all of you who aren’t in New York but wherever else you live, if you get the chance, please donate. These two things have saved my son’s life countless times. It is pretty easy to do, fast, and painless. Every time Ronan gets a bag of blood or platelets, I kiss the bag as I like to think I’m kissing the person who donated it. What an amazing thing to be able to do in this day and age and it helps so many people. Think of Ronan when you are doing it and think of all the other lives you are saving. Such a selfless act, and so simple and easy.

Sweetest dreams to all of my lovelies out there. Thank you for your outpouring support and love. Hugs and Kisses from NYC. G’nite!

xoxoxo

pastedGraphic.pdf RONAN THOMPSON Needs Blood & Platelets

Ronan is currently a patient at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. His treatment for Neuroblastoma requires regular blood and platelet transfusions.

Ronan would deeply appreciate your donation of blood and/or platelets and requests you ask others you know to donate. Donations not used by Ronan will be released for use by other patients many of whom are children.

To benefit Ronan Thompson all designated donations must be made in the Blood Donor Room of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Please visit www.mskcc.org/blooddonations for complete information about donor eligibility and the donation process for blood or platelets.

For answers to questions and to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you please Contact:

Joe Licata – 212-639-8177

Manager, Blood Donor Program

licataj@mskcc.org

Blood Donor Room – 212-639-7648

1250 First Avenue (between 67th/68th Streets) NYC – Schwartz Building lobby

Open Every Day

Fri Sat Sun Mon 8:30am – 3:00pm

Tues Wed Th 8:30am – 7:00pm

The process for donating whole blood takes approximately1hour

The process for donating platelets takes about 2 ½ hours.

Appointments are necessary- All blood types are acceptable

FREE Donor Parking –

-Somerset Parking Garage, 1365 York Avenue –entrance on NW corner of 72nd Street

I get by with a little help from my friends

There is no better way to start a Sunday morning than meeting up with my girlfriends at Taylor’s for breakfast. Tricia, Bethany, Fernanda, and Stacy all came prepared with everything we needed to talk about as far as getting things in the works for transplant. These women, I swear could rule the world. Smart, compassionate, funny, beautiful, and savvy are just a few things that come to mind when describing them. Fernanda came armed with a lot of printouts about questions we need to have answered about the isolation period and we put together a pretty good game plan. It was a little overwhelming but I know not to worry too much because these girls have it all under control. There is no way that they will not have everything and more covered. We started lists of everything from who will do laundry to the schedule for Liam and Quinn, to who will sneak me in coffee when I need it. There is nothing these girls will miss and I could not have more peace of mind with whom I am leaving things in charge of. Fernanda has read over 60 blogs of other Neuroblastoma moms and knows everything we need to do and ask.

As we were leaving Taylor’s I was getting into Tricia’s car and she looked over at me and called Fernanda a real life Superwoman. She hit the nail on the head with that one. Fernanda is a even better than Superwoman… she is my version of a Spanish Superwoman with sass, spice, brains, compassion, and just the right amount of  a fiery attitude to help me kick ass through this. Then there is Stacy. The most loyal person I have ever met who loves me like I am family. Who knows just how to calm me down by just giving me a look. If there is ever a time that I feel overwhelmed or panicked, all I have to do is look in Stacy’s eyes and I know everything is going to be alright. She is the type of person who will bend over backwards for you, without ever asking a thing in return. She gives with her entire heart, no questions asked, and fills me with the peace and calmness that I so need in my life right now. And Bethany. You look up the definition of Grace and Beauty in the dictionary, and you will find Bethany’s picture. She is somebody that I have known almost my entire life, just not well at all until now. She is guarded but wears her heart on her sleeve. I am honored that she has slowly let me into her life as it takes a lot to earn Bethany’s trust. She is the most amazing mommy, wife, friend and someone who I would trust with my life and the life of my children 110%. Last but not least, there is my Tricia Boo. My best friend for 6 years now and we have the kind of friendship that dreams are made of. It’s been a six year love story and now she has basically given up everything to help me through this. She is the Godmom to Ronan and my saving grace. There is no way I would be able to get through this without her. Sitting at breakfast this morning I felt so fortunate so be surrounded by these women. One of the biggest gifts I have received on this journey is finding out what people are really made of. The people that are in our lives, right now, at this moment, are pure gold. They are my hidden treasures whose hearts keep me filled with courage and strength. I am beyond blessed.

I think I just wrote a love letter to my sweet girlfriends above… I could seriously write a book on each and every one of them. You know how else I know I am beyond blessed?? Because I just took the time to write about those 4 girls above and I have a handful more amazing girlfriends who I could go on and on about as well. You all know who you are and I love you so much. I will never be able to thank you enough for all you are doing for me, for Ro, for our family. I will simply tell you everyday how much I love you and how thankful I am that people like you exist in the world and I treasure you all so much. Thank you for being the truest friends alive in the purest way possible.

After breakfast, Trish came over and we sat down with Woody to go over everything. We started an online calendar to get the ball rolling on what exactly needs to happen and to figure out which days/nights I will be in the hospital and which days/nights I will be at home. Seeing this on a calendar defiantly makes me feel better. Having something to look at helps to calm my nerves. I feel like we are starting to put a very good plan into place. The thing with cancer is everyday is different and you never know what to expect, but at least this gives me a little something to hold on to. I thrive in structure and with a good plan in place I feel like I will be able to fully focus on Ronan if I know who is doing what on this day and at this time.

Today, the boys’ played with their cousin Luke for most of the day. We also had Luke’s sister Lily over to play as well. She was such a little trooper, keeping up with a house full of 4 crazy boys. I took her up the street for some girly time and we got mani and pedicures. Lily is 8 and is just as sweet as her brother. I never get little girl time, so I was in heaven. She is darling and I loved spending time with her today. We both got glitter nail polish on our toes and Lily got pink on her nails with a little flower design. I would steal those kids every weekend if I could:) It is adorable to see this new relationship flourish between cousins.

After Luke and Lily went home, I could tell Liam wasn’t feeling well today. He took a big nap which he never does and woke up with a sight fever. I sat and held him for a bit but we had to call Mimi and Papa to pick him up so he could go and stay at their house for the night. We can’t take any chances around Ronan if Liam does have something. I hate that I can’t take care of my little guy who isn’t feeling well. I mean, that’s supposed to be my job… I’m his mom. We don’t have a choice though, we cannot have Ronan getting sick with anything before transplant. Off he went and Woody, Ro, Quinn and I walked down to Jay’s house to watch the Superbowl. We had a great time and Jay was the master of the BBQ making the best steaks ever. We hung out, watched football, ate, and played catch outside. Ronan got tired around half-time so I brought him home. Quinn and Ro are fast asleep now and Woody is having some boy time with Jay and Mark. He needs that so much. I am so happy that Woody’s best friend now lives right around the corner from us. It has been nothing but great for all of us.

Alright, xanex is kicking in. I must get a good night sleep tonight…. I have so much going on this week and if I am not sleeping, lord knows what I will forget to do or what I will mess up. I’ve got to try to start sleeping more at night…. otherwise my brain turns into mush and I cannot focus or remember a thing. Hope you all had a great weekend. It was one of the best weekends we have had in a very long time. Goodnight to all of you out there… sweetest dreams possible.

xo

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called “Yellow.”

So then I took my turn,
Oh what a thing to’ve done,
And it was all yellow.

Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know
You know I love you so,
You know I love you so.

I swam across,
I jumped across for you,
Oh what a thing to do.
Cuz you were all yellow,

I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.

Your skin,
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know,
For you I’d bleed myself dry,
For you I’d bleed myself dry.

It’s true, look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for…
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine…

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And all the things that you do.

Knock on wood

Today is day 8. Every time Ronan starts his chemo treatments, his blood levels are supposed to drop after 7-14 days. Which means, less energy, his immune system is low, etc…. Nothing yet. I took him to the clinic yesterday and his blood levels were still good. He has been full of energy and has been running around non-stop. Let’s hope this continues. Woody and I can’t get over him and how great he looks, for being so sick. None of this makes sense at all. I am just taking this as another great sign that Ronan is going to beat this and pray we continue to sail right through this. For dealing with something so difficult, he has been a champion…. not acting like a sick kid at all.

We have been taking advantage of being at home and doing normal things. The boys’ have been playing together non-stop. The love my 3 boys have for one another is so powerful and moving. It’s helping us win this battle. Last night Ronan cuddled up in Quinn’s bed and fell asleep with him. I left him there all night and only got up a few times to check on him. He slept peacefully the whole night through and woke Quinn up around 6:30 this morning to play. Ronan was upset that the boys had to leave for school this morning but I kept him busy. We ran some errands and I even took him into Target. Shhhhh! Don’t tell Woody;) I took him in to grab a few things, the store was empty, and I didn’t let him sit in a shopping cart. Poor kid has been begging me to take him for weeks now. We were very careful and I sanitized his hands about every 5 minutes. It made his day. He just wants to do normal things, like we used to do. So we did<3 And we will continue to do things as “normal” as possible. I am getting used to the looks of pity when we go out into public and Ronan doesn’t want to wear his hat. It doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore. Heck Ronan doesn’t even care or notice, so why should I??

As of now, Ronan’s surgery is scheduled for the end December. I have a nice little story about the exact date of his surgery. I was telling my new friend, Pam, who has the little girl, Victoria, who is a cancer survivor, when it is going to be. As soon as I told her, she got a little quiet and goes, “Oh my god. That is the date that Victoria’s surgery was.” Same surgeon, Dr. La Qualia and everything. Another one of those good signs that I’ve been seeing during through this entire journey. We both got goosebumps and I got teary eyed. So Christmas in New York it will be:) Just wish it were under different circumstances but we are going to make it the best Christmas ever. As my dear Karen keeps saying, it’s one step closer to Ronan’s wellness.

Our next round of Magic Medicine does not start until November 1st. Until then, if all goes well, we will just be making visits to the clinic twice a week and we will be home the rest of the time. There truly is no place like home. Tonight, we went for a walk down to the our neighbors house. Ronan ran the entire way, only turning back to catch the football we were throwing. We had a great walk with our friends and enjoyed the cooler weather. It was the perfect evening and I was so happy that we were all together as a family.

I fell asleep early tonight, cuddled up to Ronan. Only wish I could sleep the whole night through…. ended up waking up in a panic and now my mind will not be still. Too many unknowns and worries keep me up. How do you sleep when the baby right next to you has cancer?? I woke him up to tell him I love him a few minutes ago. I tell him that 100 times a day. None of this has gotten any easier, but it has become our new way of life. This is not a life I would wish on anyone, but it is our life now and we will make it as happy and beautiful as possible. To be any other way would not be fair to Ronan or the twins. I know how important consistency and security is in a childhood. Especially in little guys who are 7. They will remember most of what we are going through so we have to make sure we make this as positive of an experience as possible.

Woody came home tonight with his hair buzzed super short. So sweet and cute of him to do. Ronan loved it and kept wanting to feel the top of his head. His long eyelashes are starting to go, as well as his eyebrows. His eyelashes are still there, but they are not as thick as they used to be. It just makes him that much more beautiful. Every feature on that child is beyond perfection.

So, if you don’t hear from me this week it’s only because I am taking full advantage of my healthy baby and being home. This week has been spent playing catch up on all the things I am behind on from being at the hospital all last week. It is amazing how far behind I can get on things around here.

Sweet dreams, friends. <3