I’m not scared yet. Is that weird? Because at this point I should be scared shitless. And I don’t need to point out the obvious for you all to know what it is I should be scared about. Maybe it’s because I’m too numb, still in too much shock, or in deep denial. But I honestly don’t think those are the reasons for my being fearless. I still have this insane feeling in my heart that Ro is going to be fine. Maybe every parent whose child is diagnosed with cancer feels this way. It’s survival mode perhaps? Whatever it is, I’m not going to question it and I am going to embrace it as much as I can. I’ve questioned so many things today. Why Ronan was chosen for this journey in the first place, but most of all why he has to fight so hard through it. He is fighting like I’ve never seen a person fight before in my life. I know this is a big part of why I can’t give up yet. As long as Ro is fighting, I will not stop fighting for him. How could I? Any parent put in this same situation would do the same thing 100% guaranteed. To give up now would be so cowardly. I have never been a coward in my life and I am not about to start.
Today was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever had in my life. Fernanda picked Ronan and I up to go to the clinic at PCH. I cannot tell you how good it felt to be back there. Dr. Maze came to see us while we were waiting and I got to watch my friend and see the pain in his eyes. He puts on a very bad poker face even though he tried his best to give me his famous smile and everything is going to be o.k. look. He left after a few minutes and looked at me and told me he was sorry. I just sat and gave him a smile as that is all I could do. After he left, I sat and thought for a few minutes. I have no shame when it comes to telling him the things that come rambling out of my head so I sent him a short text that just said something like, “Please don’t tell me you’re sorry. I cannot have you give up on Ronan too.” He then replied that he would NEVER give up on Ronan and that is not what he meant. He just meant he was sorry that Ronan is in pain as it breaks his heart. I felt better after that as that man has been with us through this from day one. I know he will not give up on Ronan because he gets it. He knows Ro is different no matter how hard this is getting and he knows my child has the spirit of something that is unlike anything on this earth. Dr. Maze is not going anywhere and more mother fucking doctors should strive to be more like that man. Enough with the egos and the ” I am GOD” attitudes. Enough of this cowardly bullshit. Not naming any names, of course. That would be much too easy. Dr. Maze also knows Dr. Mosse and took the time to send her an email in regards to us. He thinks the world of her which is so very comforting to me. He is very good judge of character and the fact that he respects this woman so much, means everything to me.
We were soon called back to the clinic room where we sat for a while and Dr. Eshun, Ronan’s primary doctor at PCH, came in to see us. Another prime example of an amazing doctor who is full of compassion and heart. We sat and talked and the things we talked about were not easy; but not once did he break eye contact with me. That is HUGE in my book. It is a sign of respect and just pure hearted goodness. I asked him hard questions and he answered as honestly as he could. He gave me his warmest smile even though I knew he was sad. That mans smile could melt a room. I thanked him for being so kind to us and told him how much it meant to me that he had the courage to talk with me the way he did. He supports our decision and understands where as parents, we are coming from. I’ll bet he is the most amazing father. I can tell that about him. He takes all of this personally and has tried to guide us as best he could. We will always be thankful for that.
While Dr. Eshun was in the room, our social worker Marcia came to see us as well. She has been so supportive of us from day one as well. I’ve always known she was a special lady but today, she kind of blew me away. She was so hopeful and so supportive of what we are about to take on. She told me what a good mom I am and how proud she is of me. It felt really good to hear from her as I respect her so much. Her eyes were filled with so much light and love today and I know she believes. She believes in miracles and she believes in Ronan. She believes in our love as a family and believes he can do this. She is still standing by our side and is not going anywhere either. I am so thankful for this.
The next person I saw was, “A.” This was probably the hardest person that I had to face. I’m not sure why…. actually I am. It is because I am completely in love with that woman and I wanted nothing more but to come back to her with the most amazing news…. I did not want to come back to her this way. She sat with me, hugged me and held my hand for a long time. We talked about really tough things. Things that I think about on a daily basis, but I cannot go there yet. A is logical, realistic, and matter of fact. But this is why I love her so much. I know she is only telling me the things she is telling me because she wants to make sure I am as informed as possible and that I have thought about everything, every possibility, every outcome. She does this for me because of the love she has for our family. All that bullshit about doctors not getting personally involved with their patients is bullshit with A. She is fully invested and proved that by the way she ran out to our car today to chase us down to give us one last hug and kiss goodbye. Nobody at fucking Sloan would have done that for us. I think I may have set the bar a little too high with them. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are one of the best hospitals in the nation. But they will never compare to my little PCH and the kind of quality care we get there. Today, I felt like I was floating on a fluffy cloud with all of my favorite people waiting for me with open arms. As shitty as the circumstances are that we were back, it filled me with the love that I have so been missing.
Dr. Maze also came back to see us again and say goodbye. We will see him soon and Ronan asked after he left if he could come with us. I told him I didn’t think so, but this time we won’t be gone so long so we will be back to see him soon. He smiled and told me that made him happy. Little love bug.
While I was waiting in the isolation room with Ronan as he ended up needing platelets and blood, I saw the woman who walks on water to me. Dr. Adams. I hesitated to chase her down but Fernanda was like, “Are you crazy?! You know that woman always makes you feel better!” Did I forget to mention that “Nanda,” as Ro calls her sat with me all day long? My darling, F. I don’t know what I would do without her. Actually, I do. I would not be getting though any of this and would be curled up in the fetal position somewhere. Anyway, as I was getting ready to chase down Dr. Adams I looked at Fernanda and said, “I can’t see her, my entire ass is hanging out of my pants!” I’ll have to back up the story on this one. I forgot to mention that I was wearing this pair of pretty thin seersucker pants today and when we first went to the clinic and I was getting Ronan out of the car, I dropped my cell phone and bent down to pick it up. I heard a big, “Riiiiiiipppppp.” WTF?!? I turned around to Fernanda and said, “Did my pants really just rip and is my ass cheek fully exposed?” Indeed they had. The only thing I could do was laugh and roll with it. I spent the entire day pulling down my tank top to cover up my bum as to not expose anyone to the beauty of my milkshake maker. You know, my favorite booty song…. “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Yup. I fully brought my milkshake to the clinic today and I don’t think Woody would have appreciated it if any boys came to my yard. Fernanda, of course had the problem solved as she had another pair of jeans with her. I threw those on and went down to see Dr. Adams. I peeked around the corner and there she was. I waited for her to see me before I approached her. She had no clue we were back and it took her a minute to register it was me. She looked at me for a few seconds and goes, “What are you doing here. I did not want to see you back.” I calmly explained the situation to her and she teared up and pulled me into a room. She hugged me, held my hand and locked eyes with me while we discussed everything. And I mean everything. She kept telling me that what matters now is the care that I am giving to Ronan, which is 100% my complete love and strength, but I also needed to let him know that we are all allowed to be sad because none of this is fair or right. She was 100% supportive of trying this MIBG therapy. We touched a bit about how his cure rate is now becoming slimmer and slimmer. I told her I knew all of this but I didn’t care if there was a 5% chance that he could beat this. I wasn’t giving up yet. She told me she knows what good parents we are and we know what is best for Ronan at this point. I don’t think I’ve said this before but just being in her presence almost scares me; but in a good way. I swear to god I’ve known her in a past life or something and I also swear to god that she is seriously an angel walking around on this earth. She has such a presence about her and is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever come into contact with. When I am with her, it is as if she gives me the strength that seems to be surrounding her at all times. She has a very strong aura about her. I feed off of this and I actually felt really calm around her today. I always feel calm and at peace when in her presence.
We had our sweet Patty taking care of us all day. She is not even a nurse to me anymore; she is my friend. She sat with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and helped me with Ronan as much as he would allow. She helped me out to my car and carried all of our things. It was so nice to be back home today and I was so glad Patty was the one taking care of us.
Um, yes, hello. I could write a freaking novel tonight while on this red-eye. I should be sleeping but I have too much buzzing around in my head and to much to talk about today. I’m getting so sleepy but I want to touch on this woman Joanna who emailed me today and her email said please call me, I promise I’m not crazy. What the heck, I thought so I picked up the phone and called this lady who lives in Toronto, Canada of all places. Instant connection. She told me the most amazing story about something she had just experienced and swears it is a sign that Ronan is going to be o.k. I believe her. I cannot go into details because at this time, I am seriously about ready to pass out. This stranger picked me up off my feet today when I needed it most. We talked about fate, the timing of all of this MIBG therapy as if we would have started this any later…. Ronan would not be eligible for the antibodies that come after this due to a time period. She said maybe Dr. Kusher kicking us to the curb was a blessing in disguise because now we will start this therapy and if we get the response we are fucking praying our asses off for, Ro will still be eligible for the antibodies. We will cross that bridge when we come to it, but you all know I love a good fate story. Fate and hope are what I’m hanging on too.Thanks Joanna, for reaching out to me. It meant the world to me today.
Also, I am learning such lessons from a little 10-year-old. Not really lessons, but more like what it means to see this through the eyes of a very wise child. Mr. Luke Ashworth, my heart will forever be yours. Ronan’s cousin has been such a blessing to us. He loves my Ro so much and Ro loves him just as much. Luke gets all of this, as he is wise beyond his years. He looked at me tonight and goes, “Promise me you’ll never give up.” I looked at him and said, “Luke, of course I will never give up. I promise you that. I will never give up on Ronan.” We had our moment and I will never forget it as long as I live. He thinks about Ronan so much and is so worried about him. It takes a very special boy to be so concerned about something like this. I am so proud to have him as a part of our family.
This is all I can do tonight. Long enough for you all? Geez! Blabber mouth city could not shut up tonight. Adrenaline I guess. I’m in mama lioness fighting mode. One more thing I want to mention…. Thought-out all of this I find strength in so many places, but one person in particular is always on my mind. It is someone I never knew, but he is one of my idols; Pat Tillman. I have called Ronan our mini Pat Tillman since he could walk. I often think about Pat and how strong-willed he was and just what an amazing man and role model he is to our family. We all worship him. I think about his strength and bravery and I channel this by thinking about him when I think I can no longer go on. He helps me put back on my fuck you cancer boots and continue to fight. I know if he were here and in a twist of fate, he were to meet Ronan, he would never give up on him. I feel like he is one of our angels watching down on Ronan wherever he is. Ronan reminds me so much of him… just the little I know of him from reading some books that have been written about him. One in particular by his mom. The things he did as a child are so similar to the spirit the Ronan embodies. So, Mr. Pat Tillman…. thank you for being the definition of what it means to be a real man and to fight for what you belive in no matter how many people tell you differently. You will always be a hero and a god in our eyes.
G’night my lovies!!!!!!! Or G’morning I should say!
So proud to have you all by our side and I will never get tired of saying that. You mean so much to us. CHOP here we come. Dr. Mosse, I have faith in you; I’ve known this all along. NOT GIVING UP. Who could give up on a fact like Ro’s?? Only the UGLIEST of souls. And we don’t allow ugly souls on this blog.
We are here. We made it. I have not slept in 24 hours which is probably why my post was a little “hyper.” Adrenaline. In a turn of events, Ronan’s pain in his legs that he has been having, which has been horrific, is not bothering him at the moment. As soon as we stepped off the plane, he started smiling and told me he loved me so much. He has not complained once since we arrived to our room. I have a good feeling about this Philly place. I sent Dr. Mosse an email at 6:30 this morning telling her we had arrived, we were at her mercy, and would do whatever it takes to get Ronan started on this treatment as soon as possible. Not 10 minutes later she emailed me back saying no child should be in pain and that they will move his treatment from next week up to this Thursday. Now that is an amazing doctor. Talk about class, compassion, and heart. I knew this about her from the first time I met her. This is our time now. Things are falling into place and I am going to keep holding on to my belief of that. As Tricia dropped us off at the airport tonight and hugged me tightly she whispered, “Bring our baby home.” You bet your ass I will, TT. I promise you that.
Time to try to get some shut eye; although it looks like Ronan has other plans as he has set up a whole battlefield of Star Wars guys in our bed. Love my little fighter so much.
I hope you all have a beautiful day.
Oh Ro baby. Happy Easter. I’m not going to lie. It was a hard day today. At one point, I did not think I was going to be able to get out of bed. I wanted to spend the day hiding under my covers. It took me a few hours once I woke up, to get things started for the day. I was barely functioning. We planned on going over to Woody’s Uncle Larry’s house where all the cousins were going to be. In my head, I kept thinking, how am I going to face everyone? I’m way too sad. But I knew how much my twins were looking forward to it and I knew it would be good to be surrounded by our loving family. Woody and I got the boys ready and dressed and then got ready ourselves. Out the door we went and I turned my frown upside down; as best I could.
The day was spent watching the boys playing, laughing, running, swimming, and enjoying their cousins. Ronan even got a little wet and ran around as much as he could but stayed by my side most of the time. It was good to be with family on such a special day. There was a sadness in the air, but it was overcome by the beauty and strength of Ronan. I refused to let cancer ruin our beautiful day. Ronan was happy, smiling, and laughing while throwing water balloons at his cousins. Today, cancer did not win. Today, we held our heads high and enjoyed his little life to the fullest.
Ronan was ready to go after a couple of hours so Woody and I took him home while the twins stayed behind to play the rest of the day away. We came home and Woody ran out to do some things which left me here alone with Ronan for what I thought was going to be some quiet time. No quiet time allowed as I was told by him. He was all ready for a Star Wars battle so that is what we did. Fernanda stopped by to drop off some of her amazing confetti filled easter eggs which Ronan smashed over my head. She had her Brando with her and I wanted to just eat him up. Cutest thing ever. He was dressed in a tee-shirt, his skinny jeans, and cowboy boots. She has the most beautiful children and I was so happy they stopped by for a few minutes.
After Fernanda stopped by, I had texted Gay earlier to tell her Ronan was really wanting to see Cal. She then came by about an hour later with her boys, Cal and Chet. Ronan was over the moon. They played and Gay helped me get a lot of the little things around the house put away. I am so thankful for my wonderful friends and the way they are handling all of this. They all refuse to give up and are more than rising to the occasion. I will never stop being blown away by all of their support and love. We are so blessed to be going through all of this with the most amazing people by our side.
I am finding laughter in the stupidest things these past few days. Not much is making me laugh anymore and laughing is one of my favorite things in the world. Woody has put on our “South Park,” DVDs. So stupid, vulgar, and immature…. but I have been dying laughing at them. Trey Parker and Matt Stone = Freaking geniuses. I am such a sucker for some dirty, foul-mouthed humor. Works every time. Even in my numb, fogged induced state of mind.
Tonight, we did normal family things. I got to tuck my Liam and Quinn in to bed which is such a precious gift to me now. I spent today washing all of their sheets and duvet covers. Felt so good to do something normal. I love laundry and I could never get tired of doing it. It is my favorite normal chore in the world.
I thought about a lot of you today, even the people I don’t know. I imagined your faces that I have made up in my head and wondered what you were doing on this day. I imagined a lot of your kids dressed up in their Easter best, a lot of you at church, and all of you watching your kids with your love for them pouring out of your hearts because you know how blessed you are to have them and I know how even more thankful you are for their health. Thinking of you all made me happy and warmed my heart. I hope I get to meet you all someday. I would like to give you a smile and a hug and thank you for supporting our family, whom you don’t even know. I am so thankful for all of you as well.
Tonight, after all of my babies are asleep I am going to go and kiss my husband and thank him for being the best man in the world and tell him how proud I am to be his wife. He deserves to hear this everyday. He is simply the most amazing man living on this planet. I will always think I am the luckiest girl alive that the stars aligned and we met when we did. I’ll never forget our first date and how I just knew he was the one. 11 years later and here we stand, going through the hardest thing of our lives, but we are going through it together, not apart. As much as I would like to put up my walls and as much as I try, Woody always finds a way to knock them down and I let him back in. He is the best thing that has ever been mine, that Wooddawg of mine. Mine forever. No matter what we have to go through. We will never let go of each other.
Sweet dreams to you all. I hope you had a beautiful day with your beautiful friends and family. I love you all so very much.
This is from my sissy, Liz, tonight. I love you so much, Liz. This is just what I needed to hear.
Easter represents rebirth and new beginnings..how appropriate. Love you and your family with all my heart. And remember, we don’t call Ronan a rockstar for nothing!! 🙂 xoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxo
You want me to give up on this? You gave up so easily but I will never. Did you forget the most important factor in your decision making? Him. He is not like other little boys. He is our miracle, our Rockstar, our gift. This is not over and it breaks my heart that you stopped believing. Miracles do happen; everyday.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! RO, MAMA, AND NANA WENT FOR PEDICURES!!!!
I wish I could tell you all that I have not updated my blog for a few days because I have been so busy soaking up all of my precious time with my amazing family. That we have had such a fun filled, fantastic weekend full of no worries whatsoever. But, that is not the case. The weekend started out that way. We left PCH on Friday happy as clams, ready for transplant and for a great weekend. We took Ronan on Saturday to the twins’ basketball game and had a wonderful time. Afterwords, I came home with Ro and my mom and we were playing outside in the backyard enjoying the sunshine and warmth of the day. 30 minutes later Woody arrived, came storming outside, demanding that he needed to have a serious conversation with me and needed to have it now. My stomach instantly dropped, my heart fell to the floor and I knew something was wrong. He said he had just gotten off a lengthy phone call with Dr. Eshun and they had done the randomization for one stem cell transplant or two. We were randomized for one. I knew this before Woody even told me. Woody had asked me 3 days prior to this if I thought we were getting one transplant or two. I looked him dead in the eye and said, “One.” He goes, “How do you know?” I told him I just had a feeling. This is not the news we were hoping for. My head started spinning and it was as if we were right back to where we started, at day one of Ronan’s diagnoses. Although Ronan has made great progress, Woody and I have done enough research to know that not enough of his disease is gone for us to go ahead with just one transplant. This cancer is too strong. I spent all of Saturday crying my eyes out, trying to wrap my head around all of this, and Woody went straight into Woody mode and armed himself with as much information as possible as far as other alternatives. He figured out who we needed to call today to get answers from. He has spoken with several doctors from New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta. Time is not on our side and time is not our friend.
The one thing that every doctor that Woody has talked to, cannot figure out is why is Ronan’s Bone scan is negative, his Bone Marrow clean, his VMA (urine test) is negative, yet he has so many spots left on the MIBG scan. Dr. Kusher believes that the Neuroblastoma, is still in Ronan’s bone marrow, not his bones. We are at a crossroads with what to do and are looking at basically two different options. As of now, we are deciding between an MIBG therapy in San Francisco or heading to Sloan Kettering to start 3F8. As soon as we heard that Ronan had only been randomized for one stem cell transplant, we pulled him off the COG study we have had him on. There is no point in following their rules anymore. Although Ronan’s path is not clear, I have no doubt that we will find our way through this maze. I keep telling myself that Ronan is so unique and such a special little boy, that he was not meant to follow the yellow brick road on this journey. He was meant to make his own road full of yellow, purple, red, green and every other color you can possibly think of. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise because Ronan was not meant to have a transplant at all as it wasn’t the right answer. I have felt uneasy about his whole transplant thing from the beginning. I know what my heart and gut are telling me what the right answer is… but I think it is going to be a day or two until the answer is 100% clear. Woody and I are doing everything possible, with the help of my dear Fernanda who has been a godsend, to find out what all of our options are. We are still meeting with our transplant doctor tomorrow, Dr. Adams, but we will not be starting transplant on Thursday like we had originally planned. Just goes to show you how tricky this disease is and you really can’t ever prepare for anything. Talk about having the rug pulled out from underneath you. I told you Ronan was a rule breaker…. I really believe he was not meant to follow this protocol…. he is going to make his own.
I was a mess this weekend but tried to go on with some normal things we had planned. On Saturday night, Woody and I went over to Tricia and Max’s house with our friends, Danielle and Jay. We had fun, but I told Trish the next day, you know your in a bad place when not even Danielle’s toxic margaritas can mask your pain. We came home from Tricia’s around 1 a.m. and I tossed and turned the entire night. On Sunday, I had a dinner planned with some of my girlfriends and I refused to cancel. I joined Jen, Stacy, Jocelyn, Fernanda, Gay, Heidi, Bethany, Shelby, and Melissa, for a very special dinner that was supposed to be my “sending off” into isolation, but turned out to be, o.k…..here is the new news and what we are facing…now what the fuck are we supposed to do?? I tried my best to enjoy myself and when you are surround by the most beautiful women in the world, it is impossible to not enjoy yourself. I had to let go just a little bit and I have to trust in this new plan that is going to present itself. I texted my Mr. Sparkly eyes today and told him that decisions are begin made for us and we just have to trust. He believes this too, there is something bigger than us guiding us in the direction we need to go. I truly believe this with all of my heart.
What I am asking from all of you is just your continued prayers and love and your belief that we will make the right decision for our baby boy. Whatever path we choose, or whatever path chooses us, there is no looking back. We refuse to second guess anything we have done or are going to do. To live like that is foolish and we are very aware of that.
Hopefully by tomorrow, we will have a clearer vision of what we are doing as we need to get Ronan started on his next treatment as soon as possible. As far as Ronan goes, he could not be happier. He has been loving being at home with his brothers and playing outside. He looks amazing and his spirits could not be better. I am reminded everyday by looking at him what a gift he is as well as Liam, Quinn, and Woody. I am such a blessed mama and wife.
Please, no tears for us yet. Trust me, I’ve done enough crying the past few days for each and every one of you. This is a blessing in disguise. It HAS to be.