24 crazy hospital nights! Somebody bust us out of here!

 

I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster of happy and sad today. Happiness came in the form of our dear friend and Tricia’s sister, Sarah, getting a nursing job at Mayo. Soooo proud of you Sar! It also came in the form of my beautiful cousin, Shannon, getting a full ride to USD. She is about to embark on the greatest journey of her young life. Happiness came in my Ronan and his beautiful spirits and smiles. Not even being cooped up in a hospital for over 3 weeks now can keep him down. Sadness came in many forms as well. Hearing about somebody from my home town having his sister murdered last night. I don’t know them well, but my heart still aches for them. Sadness is undeniable in the hospital. I gave my biggest smile to a teenaged girl who was walking the halls with her bald head and her newly amputated leg. She told me how cute Ronan was as she passed us on her crutches. I told her she was beautiful. Sadness also came in seeing my friend, Ellen today and the look on her face after her visit to Sloan this morning. Phoebe is still in a lot of pain and is going to have to have surgery on her leg again this Thursday. I’m sick to my stomach for them. It’s nothing too major, but my heart breaks for Phoebe who just wants to be a normal girl. My heart breaks for Ellen as a mama because I know what it’s like to see your child in pain and to feel so helpless. I am praying that this surgery will help to lessen Phoebe’s pain and she can just get on living her life already. She deserves a break.

I spent the entire day playing with Ronan. He has a lot of energy and this leaves me thinking that somebody is messing with us. How can his ANC still possibly be 0?? Ronan ran circles around me the entire day and was so happy. He is not the picture of a little boy who has 0 immunity. It’s beyond frustrating. Every morning at 4 a.m. they draw his CBC’s…. his blood counts. Every morning I wait for them to come in and tell me today is the day, his ANC is rising. No such luck yet. Every time they tell me they are at 0, my heart sinks. I will just keep hoping and praying that they come up this week. I want Ronan to be out of the hospital and to spend some time with Liam and Quinn. I want my baby to be able to go outside and breathe in the fresh air. I want him to have some kind of normal….. you know how I really feel???? I want to take him home. Home seems so far away. So far away that I cannot even picture getting to go back there anytime soon. I know we are in for the long haul here and I am fully capable of handling that. But when you have been stuck in the hospital for over 3 weeks now…. it makes the homesickness kick in extra hard. I don’t tell Ronan this though. I just keep putting on my bravest face for him and telling him we are working extra hard to get him better. He asks a lot of questions, like why we have to be at a hospital in New York. He wants to know why he can’t have his old doctors back and be in Phoenix. I just tell him because this New York is a magical city that is going to get him better. He usually just smiles and says he just wants Liam and Quinn here with him. It takes everything I have keep the smile on my face for him and to keep his mind occupied so we can focus on the happy things. I may be sad and sometimes I can’t hide it from Ro. But I try my hardest to control it if I can.

Ronan fell asleep not too long ago. I don’t think he’ll stay asleep for the entire night. If I know my little guy, he’ll wake up soon and be ready to play. Last night we didn’t fall asleep until 2 a.m. He kept telling me he wasn’t’ going to sleep because it was party time and he was too busy shaking his booty. He cracks me up like no other. Every morning we are bombarded by “The Team,” of doctors. It’s one doctor and about 10 residents. It is a little weird. It makes me feel like we are zoo animals on display. Ronan gets so pissed and overwhelmed by all the people staring at him, that he usually ends up screaming and hiding under his blanket. The doctor usually goes over what the plan is for the day and asks if I have any questions or concerns. Ronan won’t let the floor doctor (the one I wanted to kick in the balls) exam him. Good instincts, kid. He has become very fond of a girl resident though. After ” The Team,” leaves, she stays behind to exam him and talk to him. He actually answers her questions. She is young, pretty, and very gentle with Ronan. Today, when she was listening to his heart I looked at her and I said, “He really likes you.” I saw her eyes tear up and she goes, “I feel the same way.” She is going to be a very good doctor someday. Ronan already knows this too. It’s the reason that he is so receptive to her as she treats him like a normal little boy.

Ronan only slept for about an hour. He woke up and we were off for our next adventure. We spent a lot of time out of our room. We walked the halls for hours, played in the playroom and avoided the hot lava that was underneath our feet. As soon as we returned back to our room, a nurse came in to tell me that they wanted us to switch rooms. Our roommate had left earlier in the day and 2 girl patients were begin admitted and they needed the girls in the same room. I hesitated as we have already moved once and it was a total pain in the ass. I had to move all our stuff by myself while Ronan waited on the floor in the hall for me. I asked if I could see the room we were moving into first. The lady told me the number and I went to check it out. Good thing I did, because there was no way in hell I was moving into that room. It was the size of a shoebox, the boy and his parents had the heat turned up to about 90 degrees. FUCK THAT SHIT. I came back to our room, which is huge by the way, and told our nurse, Alex, that I didn’t mean to be a pain…. but there is no way I could move into that room without going crazy. I pleaded with her and told her we have been here for 24 days now… could she please she what she could do so we didn’t have to switch rooms. Alex came back a few minutes later and just said they would move the boy that was in that room, into our bigger room. Thank the lord. A tiny 90 degree room is something that would have totally thrown me over the edge. So no moving for us. We are staying put where we are.

It is 1 a.m. here and Ro is just now laying down to watch a movie. We are so excited for Woody and the boys’ to arrive tomorrow night. Cannot wait to see them and wrap my arms around them all. Being here alone is fine… it’s just hard because I am stuck in a hospital and cannot leave to go anywhere. Ronan wanted pizza from a place down the street today and thankfully, they delivered. He refuses to eat the hospital food so he has been living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I make him. The hospital food is actually pretty good… for hospital food. But there is something about the smell of it that ruins the appeal. Hospital food smells makes me gag. Ronan too. No clue where he gets that from 🙂

Time to get some shut eye. Maybe. Depending on if my little man says it’s time to go to sleep. He runs the roost around here for the most part. I’m o.k. with that. The more time I get to spend with him, the better. He is more mature than most grown adults and I’m happy to follow his lead. He’s going to be a great boyfriend to some lucky girl someday. A man that knows exactly what he wants. Kind of like his Daddy:)

I love you all so very much. G’nite to all of you lovely souls out there. Miss all of you back home so much. Kiss your babies and hug them extra tight for me tonight. Thank you for checking in with us. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

Princess Leia and Captain Rex take on the world… or at least the halls of Sloan-Kettering

Last night was a little better than the night before. We have had a really, really, extra sweet nurse, Alex, the past 2 nights. She is adorable, looks like she is about 12, and really gets along well with Ronan. She is super patient with him, very calm, and is very doating. He meshes well with her which makes it nice on my part. All of the nurses are great here, but Ronan seems to have a connection with Alex. Reminds me a little of Arica back home, one of our favorite nurses on the floor of PCH. Miss her. I asked Alex what we could do last night to make sure we had less beeps. She tried her best, but the stupid “asspole,” went on beeping most of the night. “Inclusion in line, Inclusion in line!” is what it said. Which basically means there is a bubble in the fluids he is getting which causes it to beep every half an hour or so. Very disruptive and as my Charisma would say, “RUDE!” Ronan also had to be woken up twice to be given his morphine, which was not fun at all. He was a very mad little boy about it. After about 20 minutes of fighting, he swallowed his medicine and went back to sleep. Seems cruel to wake a sleeping child but rules are rules around here.

My mom came to relieve me around 11. Ronan was in a much better mood this morning when she arrived. We were sitting in our bed playing, when we got a special delivery via fax. A message from our very own “A,” back home! It was the sweetest note written to Ronan from her. I read it out loud to him and he got the biggest kick out of it. She even drew a monkey at the bottom of it for him. So sweet and thoughtful of her. It made both of our days. After our special letter, I gave Ronan his bath. He once again, sat and bathed all of his Star Wars guys which kept him busy. I told him goodbye and slipped out for my daily break. So thankful that my mom is here to help. She has had a lot of nice bonding time with Ronan. It is special for both of them. I went back to the RMH and thought about going on a run, but my left shoulder was killing me today. I decided to go around the corner to the Asian massage parlor I discovered a couple of weeks ago. It seriously looks like something out of a sketchy movie, but one thing I love about this city is you can never judge a book by it’s cover. It is the cheapest/best massage I’ve ever had in my life. Forget that there is almost no privacy as you are separated from other customers though sheets hanging from the ceiling that separate your beds…. the two times that I’ve been there, the place has been empty. A very well hidden secret I suppose 🙂  The women there give the BEST massage I’ve ever had in my life. I left there with still some pain in my shoulder, but it is better than it was. Thank you, ah sookie sookie now. (that was for you, daddy woo)

I returned to Sloan to find my mom chatting with Dr. Kushner. He stopped by to check in. We talked about Ronan and how great he looks and he told me him not having an ANC for this long is normal, considering all he has gone through. He also told me it’s great to see how well he is tolerating the chemo as he does not look like a sick child whose just completed his 8th cycle. He is such a tough little man. We talked a little more about our plan of attack but nothing will be confirmed until we see the results of Ronan’s scans, which are next week. Scanticipation begins. UGH. Dr. Kushner also sat and talked to me about running, because he is an avid runner himself and we usually always talk about it. He gave me some great Central Park tips which I always enjoy. He really is a very nice man.  Every time I look at him, I can’t help but obsessing over how brilliant he is. I cannot imagine the way his mind must work…. he has revolutionized so many things in the Neuroblastoma world. I really have to focus when I talk to him, otherwise I catch my mind wandering thinking about how he does what he does, eats, breathes and sleeps this disease everyday of his life. I’m curious as to how he came upon devoting his life to Neuroblastoma. So many questions, never enough time.

While I was out today, I caught up on things like mail, bills, emails, phone calls, etc…. I got to hear the voices of a few of my dear friends…. Fernanda, Tricia Boo, Niki, Danielle, Marisa, Pam, Amy, Lindsey, Auntie Karen, and Mr. Sparkly Eyes. I don’t get a lot of time to talk on the phone here due to being at the hospital so much. When I’m out alone, walking the city, I try to return a lot of my calls. It was so good to talk to my friends today. Good to hear their voices and to check in. Miss them all much.

Ronan and I spent tonight like we always do. We walked the halls for about an hour, shooting anybody that came our way. He was Captain Rex and I was Princess Leia. The nurses, janitors, doctors, patients, are great at playing with us. We came back to our room, played Star Wars, then called Liam and Quinn. It was good to hear their voices and I always love to hear the conversations between my 3 monkeys. Adorable. I cuddled in bed with Ronan and we sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” together just like we sing every night while I rubbed his back. It didn’t take much for him to drift off to sleep… it’s late here, midnight now and he fell asleep only about a half an hour ago. Sweetest dreams to the sweetest little boy. I whispered that I loved him to the moon and back and kissed him on his cheek. He tastes like milk and sugar.

My Tricia Boo is taking the Red Eye here tonight. Cannot wait to wrap my arms around her! She is staying until Sunday and Niki got in today as well. Double YAY! Niki is here with her kiddos and I am going to try to see them tomorrow. I only wish Ronan would be discharged so he could see his friends too 🙁 Keeping my fingers crossed that it happens by this weekend. I was telling Mr. Sparkly Eyes tonight that we have been inpatient for almost 3 weeks now. He feels awful and wanted to know how I was doing. I tried my best “Mrs. Positive Attitude,” and replied that I was making the best of it. He then went right to, “Cut the bullshit and tell me how you’re  really doing.” Can’t get anything past that man and it made me laugh out loud. I am such a fan of the bluntness. How am I doing this?? I honestly have no idea. I texted Woody in the middle of the night 2 nights ago to say if he didn’t bust us out of here I was going to murder someone. I have my moments of temporary insanity, but then they are usually quickly washed away by a flash of happiness, gratefulness, or beauty that comes my way… even if it comes in the form of something as small as Ronan telling me I look pretty and thanking me for being his mom. I swoon for his little, kind words. They mean everything to me.

Alright my sweethearts. Tired tonight and going to try to get some rest. G’nite and sweet dreams to you all. G’nite my Big Daddy Woo. Enjoy our cozy bed and cuddle up to my Liam and Quinn for me extra tight. I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU SO MUCH.

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

Magic Medicine…. Day 3, Round 7

Ronan and I started off the morning bright and early. He was up around 7 and was asking to go to breakfast. I needed an excuse to go and get him his Slurpee anyway to mix his chemo in, so we left the house and went over to one of my favorite breakfast spots, Taylor’s, for some grub. I ordered oatmeal, and Ronan asked for pancakes and scrambled eggs. He ate almost all of his breakfast, along with half of my oatmeal. He was so happy to be out and about and was loving how windy and stormy it was today. After breakfast we stopped at 7-11 and then went home. Woody and the big boys’ had already left for baseball and I spent the next hour getting us ready for our hospital stay. Sharon called around 10 and said they were ready for Ronan so to bring him in. Ronan was not happy about having to pack up and leave and kept saying how much he was going to miss his brothers. I told him it was only for a couple of nights and we would be back home before he knew it. Once we arrived to PCH he was in a much better mood and was so excited to hear Sharon was in the hospital working today. We only really ever get to see her at the clinic so having her on the 2nd floor today was a treat. As soon as he got off the elevator, Sharon was walking down the hall and saw us coming. Ronan ran up to her and she scooped him up in his arms and gave lots of kisses to her “boyfriend” as she calls him. He was tickled to death. Arica was also working today so it was a double surprise for Ro! He was in heaven and was in an extra happy and silly mood.

Woody came by to bring us lunch and soon after that we finally got the chemo started. It only took a few hours and then our nurse was able to unhook Ronan from his tubes so he could run free for the rest of the evening. With this chemo they only give him 2 hours of hydration afterwords so he doesn’t have to be attached to the pole 24/7. It really makes such a difference in his spirits if he is “hooked up” as he calls it, or not. We had lots of visitors today. My friend, Lisa, whom I have not seen in forever came by for about an hour. Ronan fell asleep while she was here and we sat and talked quietly. She tried to get me to take a nap with him but my mind wouldn’t let me relax even though I am mentally beat. Niki came by to give me a much-needed hug and Ronan let her stay for about 20 minutes before he kicked her out. Hey, it was better than nothing. Jen and Olivia came by late this evening and Ronan was still wide awake. He cracked them up with his little voice and bossy words. “Gilllllyyy….” “Sorry.” LOL. So funny. He was totally showing off for them with his sassiness. The girls stayed for about 45 minutes and then Mr. Boss man said it was time for them to go. He wanted me all to himself and I think his exact words were something like, “Just you and me, mom.” He was being adorably funny tonight. After the girls left, he insisted that we go down to the cafeteria because he was hungry. Off he went running out the door to our room and out to the elevator. He kept saying he was going to beat me because he is so fast. Geez! That kid had a ton of energy tonight and ran all the way to the new cafeteria. We were laughing the entire way. The hospital was really empty and quiet, but I’m pretty sure everyone could hear our giggles. Ronan has such a way of making the worst situations, beautiful and fun. As long as he is happy, and as long as we are together, you could put us anywhere and we would have a good time. I loved watching my child running around and being care free. This has been one of the best hospital nights that we have ever had.

The doctor on call said that we can go home tomorrow after Ro finishes his chemo and then just do the last day in the clinic on Monday. Yay for that! Only one night in the hospital!! Ronan is going to be so excited to be able to see Liam and Quinn tomorrow. The amount of love he has for those boys’ amazes me everyday.

Today, I had so many people send me pictures of all the amazing rainbows we had in Phoenix. It meant so much to me as Ronan and I watched the rain from the inside of our hospital room. Thank you all for the beautiful pics and for thinking of us. And Bethany, I too have such a peaceful feeling; glad you are feeling the same. I love you.

G’night all of you. Sweetest dreams and we hope you are having a lovely weekend.

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

Bone scans results…. kind of.

We started off this morning with Ronan’s Audiology test. It went alright… but we were not able to complete the test due to Ronan’s lack of cooperation. He was able to get through some of it in which the Doctor played high frequency sounds and Ronan would put a dinosaur into a bucket when he heard the sound. He did pretty well, but the Doctor is suspecting Ronan has a bit of high-pitched hearing loss. He is not confirming anything as of now. We are supposed to go back Friday to see if we can finish up the test. I refuse to believe Ronan has hearing loss… I don’t know why because it is very common side effect after going through so much chemo. Actually, I do know why. It’s because Ronan is different and is going to overcome any obstacle that comes his way. So what if he didn’t put the dinosaur in the bucket the second the high-pitched sound came on. He’s tired, mad, and sick of people testing, poking, and prodding at him. I wouldn’t corporate either.

After the Audiology test, we headed over to check in for Ronan’s scans. While waiting, I noticed a little girl who looked familiar to me in the waiting room. I have heard about her since Ronan was diagnosed, but have never met her. I’ve been on her website though so I knew the little girl was Ava. I went up to her mom, Chrisie, and asked if she was Ava’s mom and she said she was. I introduced myself and she knew who I was because I had emailed her awhile back. I thanked her for helping me out with my questions and we were able to update each other on both of our kids. I met Ava’s Grandmother and her Dad as well. They look like the nicest family in the world. What Ava is going through is beyond heartbreaking but she seems like a very strong little girl. All of Ava’s treatments are done at Sloan Kettering, even though they live here. Ava was here for scans today so please keep her in your prayers as well. Here is her website if you would like to visit it: www.caringbridge.org/visit/avaholder. Ava’s Neuroblastoma has relapsed twice, but she is still here and still fighting hard. I will scream and very loud, “FUCK YOU CANCER!!!!!!” for Ava. Makes me so angry. I just wanted to wrap my arms around her entire family while they were waiting for Ava to come out of Anesthesia. I am so happy I had the pleasure of meeting them today. What are the odds really? They are never at PCH and just happened to be on the same day I was there with Ro. It was meant to be. I feel so blessed to have finally met them and sweet little Ava. She is a little spitfire just like Ro 🙂

As we waited for Dr. Maze to come and get us for Ronan’s Anesthesia, he fell asleep in my arms. I sat and watched him sleep so peacefully. I took that time to think about what a long way he has come since first being diagnosed. I found myself in a comfortable state of mind full of peace and quiet. I sat with him in the dark and prayed for his scans to come back with the results we are hoping to see. I felt a wave of warmth in my heart wash over me because I felt, once again, that Ronan is going to be o.k. He is going to beat this and go on to live a normal, happy, long life.

Dr. Maze arrived and we were taken back to the room where they were getting ready to do the bone marrow procedure. He let me hold Ronan as he always does while he gave him the Propofol to go to sleep. I held him and watched him get sleepy and listened to him cry out, “Mama, mama, mama,” for me. He doesn’t like the way the sleepy medicine makes him feel. I told him I loved him and would see him soon and set him down on the bed. I gathered up my things, took one look back at my baby, and Dr. Maze yelled at me to go and eat something. I had to laugh to myself because at the beginning of all of this, Dr. Maze was so proper and reassuring. Now he knows me so well and knows that  I am so used to all of this that he is comfortable barking orders at me to eat something. Gave me just the chuckle I needed to get out of there without even tearing up like I normally do.  Woody met me at the cafeteria and I managed to eat a little salad, but pretty much just sucked down a giant Coke instead. An appetite is something that I am still having a hard time with, especially on scan days.

After Woody left, I sat in the waiting room and waited for Dr. Maze to come and get me. I tore through the piles of bills that I needed to get paid and the next thing I knew, it was time to get Ro. He woke up groggy and grumpy like he always does. Dr. Maze went back and looked at the scans for me and came back telling me as much as he could. Our Doctor, Dr. Eshun, is in New York City and will not be back to read the results for us until next week. Dr. Wood, who has followed Ronan since the beginning is here and I sent Dr. Maze a text asking him to please have Dr. Wood call us to go over the scans because next week is way too long to wait. I got a phone call from “A” tonight instead. It was hard for me to talk to her, as I had Ronan screaming in the background and had to run outside to even hear her talk. She said she could go over the results from the bone marrow and bone scan for me in a very limited way. As she put it, in her medical terms…. she told me that there was “No focal discreet abnormalities in the bones anymore.” Um… what?? She may as well have been speaking another language. I couldn’t think of what questions to ask, as I was distracted by Ronan and my nerves were a wreck. I said to her, “I have no idea what that means, but is that a good thing?” She said indeed it was a very good thing and that is just what they would want to see. She told me Dr. Wood would call us tomorrow or Friday to go over what exactly this means and to discuss things further in detail after they do the MRI, CT, Pet Scan tomorrow. Those scans will tell us in more detail what is going on now. All I know is “A” was not alarmed about anything and that alone will help me to sleep a little bit better tonight. I will let you all know the “formal” results when we get them, but as of now, there is nothing to be alarmed about. The treatment we are doing is working and that in itself is a huge victory in its own right.

We are all exhausted tonight and Ronan has another big day of scans tomorrow so I am going to try to get some sleep. Please continue to send your strength and love his way. His diagnoses has been beyond devastating to us, but the way he continues to beat all of the odds is beyond inspiring. He fills me with such hope and love every second of the day and it is the love that I have for him that will get all of us through this.

G’nite and sweetest dreams to all of you.

xoxo

There’s no place like home

The morning started off early and Stacy offered to bring me coffee; which I really needed. She then ever so sweetly offered to stay with Ro so I could run home and shower. So thankful for her because just being able to go home and shower makes such a difference in my day. Ronan was so great with her and he is now getting used to my friends who are coming in and out to help me. His ANC counts have come up to 56…. slowly they are jumping up. Hoping for better counts tomorrow. He has been a little grumpy today but I finally got him out of his room and into the playroom for about a half an hour. That seemed to help his spirits even though he was insisting that he wanted to go back to his room. I told him that we were getting out of that stinky room for awhile and going to do something fun. We ended up painting and picking out some Mickey Mouse movies to bring back to his room. We have been playing on one of my friends’ iPad as it has a ton of games on it that we’ve never played before. She dropped it off at my house this a.m. and it has been keeping us busy for a couple of hours now. Thanks, darling:) Ronan and I also disinfected his entire side of his room tonight. My skin was crawling thinking about the germs everywhere… we tided up his entire room and wiped down everything from his Star Wars guys to the freaking floor. GROSS. Do not get me started on the cleanliness of hospitals. It freaks me out. I have taken it upon myself to wipe everything down, everyday. Makes me feel better in a way. Weird and silly but it’s a feeling of control that I need right now.

Liam and Quinn’s 1st grade teacher called me yesterday and offered to sit with Ronan tonight so I could run home and see Woody, Liam and Quinn. BEST TEACHER EVER:) Thank you, Cindy<3 She is on her way now and I cannot wait to get home to my big boys for a couple of hours. I may stay the night at home tonight and let Woody stay at the hospital. It would be so nice to spend a little time with Liam and Quinny Q.

Home sweet home now. Got to see Woody and catch up on some things. It was beyond nice to spend an hour with him before he went to PCH to spend the night with Ronan. It feels so good to be home and so good to be with Liam and Quinn. I miss them so much. We spent the night playing “Little Big Planet,” and they both helped me with chores around the house. They are the sweetest boys’ in the world. I can’t believe how tall they have gotten! I swear they have grown a few inches since I’ve seen them last! Quinn has sprouted up and is a couple inches taller than Liam now. Woody said tonight he bets Quinn is going to be 6’8 or 6’9. My 7 year olds are going to be taller than me soon. So scary! The boys’ had 2 basketball games today and sign ups for baseball. We are trying to keep them as active as possible and everything as normal as possible for them still. From what Woody said, they both did amazing at their games today. They were both very excited to tell me about them. I loved hearing the excitement in their voices; my little superstars. Team Thompson rules;) I am so proud of them.

Time to try to get some shut eye now, I’ve got to be back to PCH early so Woody can go into the office for a few hours and get caught up on some work. Hope you all are having a beautiful weekend. Sweet dreams<3

xoxo

Serenity now

Deep breaths and an amazing friends have gotten me through this past 24 hours. We were admitted into the ER last night around 9:00 due to Ronan’s low grade fever. I didn’t have to wait in the waiting room of the ER; THANK GOD. It was beyond packed even at 9:00 at night. The doctor on call, called ahead to let them know I was bringing Ronan in. As soon as we arrived, I told them our name and we were taken back into a room in the ER. Ronan was really not feeling well and was so tired. He passed out pretty quickly as the nurses checked all his vital signs and drew his labs. My friend, Fernanda, sent me a text to say she was on her way to sit with me because she did not want me sitting alone. She came armed with Starbucks and a big hug. We sat for the next 5 hours, trying to get Ronan into a room on one of the floors. Fernanda was on a war path…. but in the sweetest way so. There was nothing the nurses/doctors could do as they kept telling us all of the rooms were full on the floors 2 and 3, which is where we were supposed to be going. We used every trick in the book and Fernanda even tried to bribe one of the nurses with some Oreos that she bought in the vending machine. Didn’t work, but we got a chuckle out of it anyway. Finally around 3:15 a.m., the nurse said we would just have to spend the night in the tiny, freezing cold ER room. I was not a happy camper, have been saying some not so nice words, but have now relaxed due to Ronan looking and feeling 100 times better than when I brought him in here. Dr. Maze came and helped me out around 8 a.m. by using his very charming/stern words to explain that we needed a room asap. An hour later we were whisked off to the 3rd floor. Thank god for that man.

I got about 3 hours of sleep last night and I’m sure Fernanda didn’t get much more, but guess who was here at 9:30 a.m. to bring me coffee and keep me company? She was. Did I mention that my darling Fernanda has 5 gorgeous children of her own all under the age of 7?? Talk about an amazing woman and friend. Ronan didn’t even mind her being here and that is unheard of with him! I ran home to shower while Fernanda stayed with him. Made my day! He always throws a fit when I leave him, but was completely fine with this friend of mine whom he hardly knows. After I returned back here, Fernanda left and I thanked Ronan for letting me go home to shower. He said to me, “Your welcome, I like your friend.” So sweet!!!! He also was sure to tell me how much he missed and and how he loves me to the moon and back. Ahhhhh, little man!!! That more than made up for the recliner chair I had to sleep in last night and my seriously jacked up back today:) He seems to be feeling much better but just as I suspected, his ANC is at 0 and he needs blood. We will be here for most of the week I suspect. Fernanda…. I’m never going to stop telling you thank you for being such an amazing friend to me. And stop with saying it’s nothing…. because it is, and it means everything to me! I am so blessed to call you my friend. I love you.

Sarah came over this morning to help get the boys ready for school and to take them as well. Thank you so much, Sarah the Saint. Auntie Karen picked the monkeys up from school with her daughter Olivia and took them home to do homework and then to get some dinner until Woody got home from work. Thank you both so much; I am so thankful that Liam and Quinn are in such good hands.

I am running on empty and have downed 2 giant cokes, 2 coffees, and a ton of water. My typical hospital meals. Ronan is sleeping now and they are getting ready to pre medicate him for his blood transfusion. I am trying my best to channel all of the inner peace and strength I have for this weeks hospital stay. I am calmer than normal and it has everything to do with the fact that Ronan seems pretty happy to be here. I found myself thinking selfish things today like, I so need a massage, a pedicure, a spa day, a bath and 12 hours of sleep to feel better. It turns out I needed none of those things because just having Ronan acting somewhat like his normal self and being so loving and sweet to me, made all of the whining and complaining I was doing in my head, disappear. I think he was feeling really crummy at home and now that he is starting to feel better I can see him coming back to me. He is comprehending so much these days for only being 3 1/2. He is confused as to why we are on the 3rd floor and keeps asking for his normal nurses like Sara, Arica, Danny, Kathy, and Amy. I tried to explain to him that it is because he has a little cough that we have to be on the third floor for the time being. With it being RSV season, any little sign of a cough and you are banned from the 2nd floor. Tonight, he was telling me about all the people that take care of him and who love him. He named Dr. Wood, Dr. Maze, Sharon, “A,” and then he goes and Dr. La Quaglia took the big Death Star (he calls his tumor the death star from Star Wars) out of my tummy. He even pronounced his name right which was so dang cute. Ronan is so smart and doesn’t miss a beat. I’ve got to start watching what I say around that kid:) We have had a great night together but are so beyond tired. I’m hoping to get a little sleep as I am exhausted from the happenings of last night and the 3 hours of sleep I am running on.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow will be even better as he starts to get his strength and health back. We’ve got to get him well before transplant and I would like to be able to enjoy our time at home before we go in for the long haul. Thanks for checking in and keeping Ro baby in your prayers and thoughts. We are so lucky to have all of you thinking of him. G’nite sweet friends. G’nite Daddy Woo. Hope you are enjoying our big bed all to yourself:) Miss you.

xoxo

Open Your Eyes

All this feels strange and untrue
And I won’t waste a minute without you
My bones ache, my skin feels cold
And I’m getting so tired and so old

The anger swells in my guts
And I won’t feel these slices and cuts
I want so much to open your eyes
‘Cause I need you to look into mine

Tell me that you’ll open your eyes [x4]

Get up, get out, get away from these liars
‘Cause they don’t get your soul or your fire
Take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
And we’ll walk from this dark room for the last time

Every minute from this minute now
We can do what we like anywhere
I want so much to open your eyes
‘Cause I need you to look into mine

Tell me that you’ll open your eyes [x8]

All this feels strange and untrue
And I won’t waste a minute without you

Magic Medicine… Day 2 Round 6

I so needed to take a little break from the hospital today. Ronan is still refusing to get out of bed so we spent the morning playing; I tried my best to entertain him. Our favorite nurse, Sharon, came to do Ronan’s dressing change. He did pretty well with it but at one point I heard him yell out to her as she was taking the tape off, “I’m not a brave boy, I’m NOT A BRAVE BOY!” Neither of us had said anything about him being brave, but in his little 3-year-old memory, he hears us telling him all the time how brave he is and as he was hurting from the pain, he decided to let us know that he was not brave. We both told him he was, that he was the bravest boy in the world. UGH. I could cry right now just by telling this story. A 3-year-old should not what it is to be brave and to have people tell him he is brave all the time. Cancer is robbing Ronan of his childhood and I am fucking beyond pissed about it. His childhood, his innocence, his toddler years are being ruined. This will never be alright with me and I swear to god, I will do something about it. For all the Ronan’s, Jacks, Mia’s, Phoebe’s, Coleman’s, Victoria’s, Leo’s, Noah’s, Tripp’s, Ashley’s, Layla’s, and everyone else out there that is suffering and dying from this disease. I will not stop until people start paying attention to childhood cancer

Auntie Karen came around noon and I snuck out to go home. I wish I could say I was productive at home but I just tried to catch up on some sleep since I only slept a few hours last night. I tossed and turned during my nap today; even though I was exhausted I can’t escape being restless. I got up, showered and ran off to my hair appointment. It felt so nice to do something normal and to be out of the hospital. Sarah (the baby whisper) came and relieved Auntie Karen and sat with Ronan for about 5 hours. Thank you both today so much; I don’t know what I would do without you.

Ronan is tolerating Round 6 really well so far. I know the effects won’t hit him until late next week but for now, besides the fact that his spirits are down, he is doing well. He hasn’t had any nausea yet which is great. I can’t wait to bust him out of here hopefully on Saturday evening. We then get a few weeks off from the hospital before we start the Stem Cell Transplant. We will have more scans done in the next couple of weeks to give us an exact answer on where exactly Ronan still has cancer left in his little body. I will update you when I know exactly what the date is going to be. Ro is peacefully sleeping now; he looks so beautiful. I swear I could sit and stare at him all night which is really what I end up doing most of the nights that we are here. My eyes will never be able to soak up enough of his beauty.

I received some exciting news tonight via FB! My friend, Jessica, posted on my wall that she saw my comment in US Weekly re: Sloan Kettering and Jake Gyllenhaal’s visit. I called up New York Macy to see if she had the issue. She didn’t and sounded half asleep but still said she would drag her butt out of bed and into the freezing cold at 11:00 at night to buy the issue. I was laughing at the thought of that and told her no way, that I would call up Trish or Sarah. I ended up calling Sarah and she ran out to grab a copy so she could tell me what is said. Thank you, SARAH!! You are such an amazing friend:) Not only did US Weekly put Ronan’s website in the latest issue, but they gave me a whole little side blurb. I am practically jumping up and down on the hospital couch I am SO EXCITED! After hearing this news, I can’t stop smiling and it feels so good. It’s been a couple of days since my smile has come out to visit:) This so raises the bar for us in getting the word out about Ronan and changing the way the world views childhood cancer. A huge thank you to Jennifer at US Weekly for keeping her word and having something so sweet come out of this. Now, if I can just get Jake to become the voice for childhood cancer. We don’t really have a voice and as I said before, I feel like he could really be a good advocate for us. I’m going to try my hardest to make this happen; people have to start listening and paying attention to this issue. There are too many babies, kids, teenagers, suffering from cancer for it not to get more attention.

Woody and I were having a conversation the other day about unconditional love and what it means. We are at a point in our life where we have so many amazing people doing things for us. You know who you are, all of you who are helping us all while asking of nothing in return. Please know that not a day goes by that I don’t think of all of you. Trust me, it kills me to not be able to sit down and thank each and everyone of you individually. You are all amazing, even the people that we do not know and who are starting to call themselves “Ronan’s Fans.” I try my best to keep up on all the comments on here and I hope you all know how much it inspires me, that I am inspiring you. Ronan is so full of beauty that he has flooded our lives with it by touching so many of your hearts. I will forever be eternally thankful for each and every one of you.

Transplant is going to be hard and some of you have asked what you can do as far as sending things for Ro to play with; for us to please make a wish list of things that you can send to the hospital to keep our little guy entertained. Keeping him on lockdown for 20-60 days is going to tough. I’m trying to get creative and think of the best ways to keep him happy. Of course you know his love for Star Wars so I was thinking of putting up a bunch of Star Wars posters in his room and making it very Star Wars themed. I went on Amazon the other night and they have a couple of different Star Wars tents that I am thinking he would love. As far as toys go…. I know everything has to be new or very sanitized to go into his room. It has to be insanely sterile. iTunes gift cards are always great. Ronan has totally taken over my iPad and loves to download movies, books, games, etc… My iPad has been my saving grace over these past few months; it keeps him entertained for hours. He has watched Season 3 of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for about 3 days straight now and loves that he can choose the episode himself. I love to watch him do this; I can tell it gives him a feeling of independence and pride.

I can’t believe this is the last round of Ronan’s Magic Medicine. Look how far our little guy has come! After all he has endured and all the pain he has suffered, his beauty never fades. I can’t wait until this round is done and I can do my “Ronan’s done with chemo happy dance!” The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer!!!

G’nite, sweet dreams, to all of you angels out there.

xoxo

Hospital Reality sucks

We moved out of the POU (Pedatric Oncology Unit) today and into a different area of the 9th floor. I wish we could have stayed in the POU, but moving to this room is a step up as far as getting us out of here. The POU only has 3 rooms and they are so private that you never see what is going on with the other patients there. The room we are in now, is just like the 2nd floor at PCH. Except worse in a way, because the kids seem so much sicker. I cannot even tell you what I have seen on this floor today, but it is something a mother should never have to see or experience. Let’s just say, it left me in tears most of the day. One room in particular is covered in signs about heaven and God and through the window I saw a mommy feeding her baby ice chips, scooping them into her mouth. The doors here are covered in posters that say things like, “Be strong, Be positive, Be brave.” I have had that empty pit in my stomach the entire day again and it is once again thoughts are filling my head like I can’t believe my baby is in the cancer club now. I have been so positive and upbeat lately… this has kind of thrown me for a loop. On top of it all, Woody left today and I guess I need him around more than my independent self thinks. I was so spoiled by having him here with me the entire time. He gives me so much strength and we are such a great team. We have a roommate too. I think the little girl is about 11 and has bone cancer. That’s what I’ve picked up on so far. There hasn’t been a lot of time for chit chat. Ronan spent the day walking around some more. Still trying to do everything himself. He is so sweet. Everything is always, “Please help me.” or “Please hold my hand.” or “Please get me a drink.” He says please before asking me to do anything in his squeaky little voice. He is hurting so badly but is too proud to tell me.

I met a new friend today named Ed. He is somebody that my friend, Niki, reached out to after hearing his story about his son, Jack, and his battle with Neuroblastoma. Jack fought long and hard, but passed away at age 5. It was hard meeting Ed today, the pain in his eyes was undeniable. From the second I saw him though, I felt as if I had known him forever. He sat with me for about 2 hours and we talked about everything. It was comforting to me and hard at the same time. He said it was therapeutic for him which I was surprised to hear him say, but it says a lot about the type of man he is. He left me with a big bear hug and I had tears in my eyes. Today was a very special day and I feel privileged to have learned about his journey. He has been through hell and back and is still standing; with a smile and a laugh that will melt your heart.

Tonight, is the first night that I am really homesick. I guess it’s true…. my home is wherever Woody is, because I know that is why I am feeling this way. Also, I really miss the twins. My heart ached when I talked to them on the phone tonight. I hate being away from them. We are almost done with New York though… I am going to make the most of these next couple of weeks. So glad Tricia gets here tomorrow. That is going to make me a lot less homesick.

Ronan is doing well and Dr. Angel (La Quaglia) came to visit. Ronan gave him a big smile the entire time he was here. It’s like the two of them share a secret now… they have a special bond. My friend Pam’s husband, Larry, told me that Dr. La Quaglia walks on water to them. I couldn’t agree more.

My Xanex, that I NEVER take, is starting to kick in. Thank god. I was feeling like I was going to jump out of my own skin all day today. I need a night of sleep without nightmares. My dreams are so vivid anymore. The night before Ronan’s surgery, I had a dream all about it. Everything turned out perfectly, Ronan was fine, and then Woody had to share the news with me that he had an inoperable brain tumor. WTF is that all about?? My baby was saved, but my husband was now dying. I remember everything about that dream so vividly, down to every single person that was in it. I woke up thinking it was real. I’ve never had dreams like this in my life. They are so real, it is scary. Sleep is hard now because I wake up so often, because of a nightmare or because of worrying. Hopefully there will come a time when it will once again be peaceful for me again. WIth that said, head hitting the pillow, asap. G’nite, sleep tight, love to you all.

xoxo

Baby’s incision 🙁