4 Months feels like 4 Years. Thanks, Cancer. You’re AWESOME.

Ro. I can write tonight. I need to write tonight. It’s been a couple of days I think. I don’t know that I’ll be able to sleep tonight. It’s creeping up. The 9th of every month date. 3:30 a.m. will be here soon. I’ve been dreading it all week. Consumed by it. 4 months is almost here. What was I doing at this time, 4 months ago? Laying with you, while Fernanda sat and watched you so we could get some sleep together. I was cuddled up beside you, which was always my favorite place to be. I’ll bet you Fernanda was rubbing you, trying to sing, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” but she didn’t know the words, so she had to Google them on her phone. I love that story. She watched you because she knew that I needed the rest and I wouldn’t sleep if someone wasn’t keeping their eye on you.  She knew when it was her time to go and I think she left around 2:30 a.m. She kissed us goodbye and left the two of us in the room, alone together. She knew that it was time for you to go. She knew that we needed to be alone. She knows so much. I remember watching you. Your little breaths got so shallow. I remember The Ryan House nurse standing over us and how fast my heart was beating. I looked up at her and asked if you were gone. She told me not yet, but it was going to be soon. I remember thinking how unfair it was that my heart was rapidly beating, yet yours was getting ready to stop. I kissed you all over. I told you I loved you and whispered to you, “Come on baby. Come with me. Let’s get out of this place.” I asked her to go and get your Daddy. You waited for him to come in and kiss you goodbye. Then your little heart just stopped. Just like that. I go over this night in my head, at least 10 times a day. I pray that you know how much I love you, I pray that you were not scared as I worry about that so much. I still can’t believe you are gone and that I am still here, living this life, without you.
I had a mini freak out today. Panic took over after I dropped your brothers off at school. I knew I could not go home to an empty house. I went to Starbucks and sat with my computer and went through emails and paid bills. I emailed somebody at www.spirithoods.com and told them about you and asked them if they had ever thought about donating their amazing “hoods,” to kids with Cancer. I told them how much you loved yours and how many cancer kids would comment on it, but probably couldn’t afford to buy one. I asked them to consider donating some. I actually got a response pretty quickly and I was very impressed. I’m working on them and I have a feeling they won’t let me down. Could you imagine how many smiles their Spirit Hoods would bring to the faces of kids everywhere. Hospitals are notorious for being cold. Remember how much we loved wearing ours together. You looked so cute in yours. I could have gobbled you up and am sure I tried. I miss your little face so much.

One of our favorites met me for a bit today. I was a wreck, but tried my best to remain calm. I don’t think I put on a very good show. It’s fine. I have never been one to pretend with our lovie. No reason to. I talked about how this date is hard for me every month. I tried not to cry and just listened to the words that came my way. I tried to keep an open mind and to not be angry at the fact that you are not here. Our lovie sat and told me that you are not really gone, that you are everywhere. That you will never be gone. I know this deep down, but it does not take away the pain of your physical self not being here. It does not take away the pain of not being able to hear your squeaky voice or look at your beautiful face. Our lovie asked for a smile. I refused as my smile seemed nowhere to be found today. I’ll bet you I went the whole freaking day without smiling. And I always smile for our lovie. That’s how you know it was a really, really, bad day. I know you know. I know it’s on my really bad days, that you find some way to make me feel a little happy. I found that today when I went to visit my new friend, Katie, at her boutique. Her kind heart and kick ass music playlist made me feel good. I joked with her that she must secretly have access to my iPod because I swear she always has my favorite songs playing while I am in her store. Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane,” was on when I was telling her that. Oh, Tom Petty…. how I love thee. And Miss Katy…. this new gorgeous girl you have put in my life, Ro. Thank you. I can tell she is going to be a big part of this new, strange, life without you. Another one of your little gifts. Thanks baby.

The rest of the day was spent in therapy. Therapy with your Daddy and than I went off to therapy alone with Sarah. I felt like my head was spinning most of the day. Than I decided that it should feel that way, as I have many hats that I am wearing right now. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing; but it is where I’m at. You want to hear all of the hats I’m wearing? I’ll tell you.

The Maya Hat- Trying to take care of me. Whatever that means.

The Ronan Hat- Trying to connect and still trying to take care of you. It’s all I want to do.

The Mama Hat- Trying to be a good Mama to your brothers. I’m naturally a good mom, so this is not hard. But it still takes a lot more effort than it used to.

The Wife Hat- Trying to be a wife to your Daddy. Failing.

The Therapy Hat- Sarah, Dr. Rachel, Dr. Joanne, and Dr. Beth with Liam and Quinn. FUCK. That is a lot of therapy, but so necessary.

The Friend Hat- Trying. Failing. I miss my friends.

The Foundation Hat- My busy work. Trying to get everything figured out. I like this hat. It gives me HOPE that I am keeping  you alive; even though you are gone.

The Not Slitting my Wrists Hat- Want to. Everyday. Everyday I survive without doing this is a fucking miracle.

The Grieving Hat- I’m doing this. In my way, alone. Or in the presence of therapists. I’m working hard to do this. I don’t want to stuff away any pain because it will all come back to haunt me later if I do.

So baby. What do you think about all of that? That’s A LOT of stuff. Remember back in the day, when all we had to worry about was naps and grocery shopping? That life does not even seem real anymore. I feel like I’ve been living this life now, forever. What a stupid, spoiled brat I was. I’ve got a lot of making up to do for being such an ignorant human being. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. It’s fine, baby. I’m not scared. I know you are going to help me, therefore, I can do anything. Fuck You, Cancer. Right, Ro?

My new friend, Heather, also stopped by for a visit. She is the Queen of random, surprise drive-by’s. I just happened to be home and was so glad to see her face. We sat in the kitchen today and talked for awhile. She is another one of those peeps with such an amazing heart. She always seems to appear when I need  a bit of cheering up. When I need a little kick in the ass to remind me of how strong I am. She told me that she tells someone, at least once a day, that I am going to do for Childhood Cancer, what Lance Armstrong has done for Cancer in general. WOW. What a compliment. Talk about picking a girl up, when she is down. I took a minute to think about what she told me. I started to get overwhelmed, but a calmness washed over me. I think she is right. I think she is right because I have you to fight for and the strength you give me will help me change things, in a drastic way. Everything I used to be scared of, Ro…. no longer exists. I am here, on this earth, to change things for you. Because you know that you did not deserve to die, nor does any other child suffering from Cancer. Somebody has got to take this fucker down. Super Ro to the rescue!!!!! I know we can do this, little man. Heather, knows we can do this. She lit up like a little Christmas Tree when she was telling me this today. It was so stinking adorable. It was so beautiful. It was so you.

Oh, Ro. Nice song pick tonight as I was just getting to end this post. Seriously! That just got you the BIGGEST SMILE! I love you to the moon and back, baby. I hope you are safe. You are so right, this is absolutely not the end.

THE BRAVERY

Tell me
Come on tell me what you can
Even as you wait for death your wiser than I am
Tell me what does it mean to exist
I am not a scientist I must believe there’s more than this
And I can not accept
That everything that’s real
Is only what our eyes can see
And our hands can feel

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
Are just as real as the time we spent
You’ll always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

I see
I can see you’re still afraid
Weathered like the silver moon, on you even fear looks good
I wish, I wish I had some words to give
But all that I can think to say
Is I’ll be with you everyday

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
I just realized the time we spent
You’ll always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

La la la la la
This is not the end
La la la l al la
This is not the end

I don’t care
I don’t care what you believe
As long as you are in my heart
You’re just as real as me
Maybe
Maybe even more
Someone who’s touched so many lives
can never, ever die

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
I just realized the time we spent
You always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

You belong among the wildflowers

I was telling my bestie today that I remember when I was a child and my parents used to watch the show “30 Something.” As  a little girl, I always thought the people on the show were so old and the show was really strange. I then told her how I wished I would have paid attention because then maybe, I would have picked up on the warning signs that being in your 30’s is hard. Or maybe it’s really not, and it’s only because of our situation, but is seems as if everyone around my age is going through something right now. Please tell me it gets easier…. because right now this is so not how life should be. WTF?? I also told her that I feel like someone just came along, took a look at me and thought, “Oh, hello. You’re life is too perfect so we’re going to give your kid cancer.” Just out of nowhere, BAM! This comes along. Really? Thanks a freaking lot. Couldn’t I have been hit with something a little less drastic? This is so not necessary. Trish and I both decided that if we were told that the world were ending tomorrow, we would believe it. It is the only explanation for all of this bullshit. I am laughing out loud thinking about something that happened after she and I hiked tonight. We were walking back from Camelback Mountain and we were almost to my house when some car comes flying out of their driveway and almost hit us. Tricia seriously had to grab me and pull me back from being hit by the car. We both then started dying laughing saying how we should have just jumped in front of the car so it could have hit us. O.K…. maybe not such a funny story as I sit and re tell it, but we were dying laughing. Totally kidding of course but I swear the only way I am going to get through any of this is laughing at as much stuff as possible. No matter how morbid it may be. Oh, bestie. How I love you so. I will tell you everyday of my life that you are my saving grace. I am so lucky to have you. Together we will get through all of this. I promise you this.

So, this weekend, as horrific as it was due to some terrible bullshit that has gone down; was absolutely lovely. Pain and sadness cannot be denied, but through all of the tears I see a soul being cleansed and renewed. It is amazing what can come of things when you are surrounded by the people who love you the most and who refuse to let you fall without picking you back up. This weekend was spent doing things that we used to do as a family before all of this. Hanging out, going to baseball practice, playing outside, movie night, eating out for breakfast. Such normal family things. It felt so nice because it has been so long since we have been able to really spend time together like this. Ronan is acting as if he is the healthiest boy in the world. He is full of nothing but giggles and smiles, love and light. He is so happy to be at home with his toys and his brothers. He happiness is infectious and keeps us strong.

I spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend doing what I used to do before all of this. I went on a 2 hour hike with Trish and Sarah yesterday. It was so therapeutic. I love nature, love being outdoors and the time with the two of them is always healing for me.  Then this evening I hiked Camelback with my Tricia Boo. Hiking Camelback is something we used to do all the time together. It’s our church and our special place. We got to the top, sat down for a bit, and I prayed my little heart out. It was so peaceful and gorgeous. I miss doing things like this so much. I’ve already made Trish promise that we will get back to how things used to be, as much as possible. I’ve got to have a little normalcy in my life and time spent with her, running or hiking is so good for both of our souls.

Ronan and I go to PCH to the clinic tomorrow. They will do the standard checking his blood levels to see how he is doing. I’m not sure when, but sometime this week we are flying out to NYC so they can check my blood and do his scans. You ready to hear step one of what we will be doing at Sloan for Ronan?? Here goes……

Full Title :
PHASE I STUDY OF ANTI-GD2 3F8 ANTIBODY AND ALLOGENEIC NATURAL KILLER CELLS FOR HIGH-RISK NEUROBLASTOMA
Purpose :
The goal of this study is to see if it is safe and feasible to give chemotherapy (topotecan, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine), natural killer (NK) cells, and an antibody called 3F8 to patients with high-risk recurrent or persistent neuroblastoma. 

The NK cells, a type of white blood cell, must come from a patient’s relative who shares half of his or her HLA proteins, which are immune proteins important in transplantation. Studies have shown that NK cells from a donor can be given safely and can be helpful in treating some diseases. These NK cells are collected from the donor and purified.

NK cells can recognize and kill abnormal cells in the body and can work together with antibodies to kill target cells. The antibody 3F8 specifically recognizes a protein present on neuroblastoma cells. Researchers have already shown that the 3F8 antibody can be administered safely to neuroblastoma patients. They want to determine the effects of the combination of chemotherapy, NK cells, and 3F8 antibody on patients’ cancers and bone marrow function, and how to maximize its benefits in treating cancer.

Eligibility :
To be eligible for this study, patients must meet several criteria, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Patients must have a confirmed diagnosis of high-risk neuroblastoma that has persisted or progressed despite standard therapy.
  • Patients must have a matched blood relative who can donate NK cells.

This is where we are starting. We will start this on March 21st and will be in New York for 5 weeks straight. We will then be able to come home for a 3 week break. To explain all of the treatments combined right now is too overwhelming for me. But I wanted to let you all know where we are starting off. Dr. Kushner has seen great results in the lab as far as this study goes and it’s been successful in kids as well. We are putting all of our trust into him. This has to be effective. We don’t need anymore bumps in the road, please. This is going to be tough on Ro. I know the 3F-8 stuff is painful. But he is so strong. If anyone can do this, it’s Ronan.

I hope you all are well tonight and had a beautiful weekend. We are so thankful for all the love and support through all of this. We are very thankful every second of our lives. Sweetest dreams to you all.

xoxo