Adoption is the new Pregnant

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adoption

 

We wanted to share with everyone that we are on the road to being matched with and adopting a sibling pair through the State of Wisconsin! We are about 80% of the way through the process of being a licensed home, with the last few steps being completed this coming week. From there we will get matched and begin the adoption process. We recognize that this is going to be a super wild ride full of challenging times and amazing times!

Since we have begun telling our family and friends this exciting news, we have had questions about how we got here.  So here’s our “road to adoption” story…..

Not to be repetitive, but Wes has cancer.  And since his diagnosis we have spent quite a bit of time with the scientist folks in the Genetics department at both UW and GHC.  We have learned that his cancer is genetic, and so on top of a devastating cancer diagnosis we were told that if we had more kids we had a 50% chance of passing the cancer gene on (and then the child would have a 98% chance of developing Retinoblastoma).  And the same goes for Wes having kids, if he isn’t sterile from cancer treatment already.  But, back to our current situation.

I LOVED being pregnant.  And the minute I was in the recovery room after my C-section after a long and difficult labor, I told Jake I wanted to do it all again.

When we were told by Genetics this lovely little gem about having other kids, we explored all of our options.  One option is to get pregnant naturally and then check the baby at 10 weeks and if it carries the gene we can terminate the pregnancy at that point or know that we are strapping that child with a heck of a cancer burden when it’s born.  *Insert buzzer sound* Wrong answer for us.  Next option is a donor pregnancy.  Not quite how we pictured having another kid.  Last option is to go through all of the fun of fertility treatment and then doctors pick the embryos that didn’t have the gene and implant them.  Along with the risk of multiple births and the harm that fertility drugs can do to your body and personality?  No thank you.

And of course at the time doctors and friends suggested adoption.  We were in no position to even think about adopting a child into this chaos at that point, but we did the cursory “yeah, maybe” answer.

Fast forward to April of this year.  It’s been a year since Wes was off chemo, a year and a half since his diagnosis, I have been back at work for a year, and Jake has been at his job for a year and a half.  Wes and I are visiting my bestest friend Jenny and her family.  Jenny has the arduous task of telling people involved in car accidents what the insurance will and will not pay for.  I do not envy her for one second.  She pours her heart and soul into that job and she works hard, pushing past what she even thinks she is capable of on most days.

Driving home to her house from an event on that Sunday of our visit, she tells me a story.

Jenny is handling a claim where she is researching a child support lien against the title of the car that she has determined is totaled.  While she is on hold with the State, she jumps on their website and pokes around to see if she can get the info quicker than being on hold forever.  She stumbles upon a page that shows kids available for adoption in the State of Indiana.  A picture and bio of the most adorable 4 and 7 year old brother and sister catch her eye.  It has been weeks since she saw this bio at the time she is telling me this story, that’s how much these kids stood out to her.

Later that evening we are all sitting around watching television and Jenny pulls up the kids’ bio and picture on her ipad.  Oh geez, there is a video too.  Seriously, the most adorable kids.  And the little boy wears glasses!  Ay yay yay.

I head home Monday morning, and in the 6 hour car ride, all I can think about is those kids.  I picture them in the backseat of my car, at our dining room table, on walks.

That night I talked to Jake over dinner and shared all of this with him.  I asked him to just let it sit.  Let it sit right there in his gut, in his heart, and just think on it.

Over the rest of the week we talked about it a lot – what would our family think, what would Wes think, could we afford it, did we want to change our lives because things were pretty good as they were, could we provide for more kids for the rest of their lives including a college education, how would adoption through another state work, did we want to foster instead of adopt.  By Thursday night we had made a decision.

On Friday I called the State of Indiana and left a message asking what the process would be to adopt kids in Indiana from Wisconsin.  I never did hear back from them, but on Monday when I was looking up the number to try them again I saw that those two adorable kids had been removed from the website – they had been adopted!  That is wonderful and amazing news for them.

I found the website for the appropriate department for the State of Wisconsin and devoured any information I could.  I signed Jake and I up for an orientation meeting, and we began our journey.

Many thoughtful questionnaires, piles of paperwork, home visits, interviews, references, and training hours later….here we are.

We hope to have the process to get licensed completed by this Saturday.  The next step then is our social worker will send us bios of kids that fit the basic profile of what we are looking for (a sibling pair between the ages of 3 and 9), and we will all work together to ensure that we are a good match for each other.  There will be pre-placement meetings and time to get to know each other, and at least 6 months of time where the kids will be technically foster kids in our home (this is required by law).  There are lots of other details in there, and we are happy to share them with anyone who is interested, just ask.  That is the crux of it though.

In our training yesterday, an idea was shared that really struck home with us – in the adoption process, in order for your family to grow another family must end.  Additionally for us, while we are excited to grow our family through adoption, I still cry occasionally thinking about never being pregnant again.  So while we will celebrate our family growing, we will also mourn for all the reasons that bring these kids to our family.  One does not negate the other – we can do both.

If anyone is thinking of maybe fostering or adopting, please check out the links below:

http://www.chw.org/childrens-and-the-community/family-support-services/child-welfare-services/adoption/

http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/children/foster/

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5 Reasons You Should Try Yoga at a Yoga Studio

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On this first day after completing a Spring challenge at Kula Yoga where I went to 20 classes in 30 days, I find myself wanting more.  Yes, I have a type A personality so I like challenges, and yes, I have an “addictive” personality so I get addicted to activities.  But this yoga thing.  It goes deeper than all that.

I saw this quote along with a beautiful picture of a yogi in a fabulous pose on a friend’s Pinterest page.  I know, don’t get me started on Pinterest.  So here’s the quote:

“Sometimes when I go to a yoga class, I feel a little silly. It’s usually a room full of rich white people, and it reminds me of yoga’s roots and how far it’s veered. I am happy people in other cultures are practicing what has the potential to be such a healthy and spiritual practice, but I can’t help but think it disrespectful on a certain level. ” – Author Unknown

When I first read that quote I was very offended by it.  It actually stayed with me for a few days (and as it turns out since I am including it in this post, it has stayed with me for a while).  It angered, offended, and festered.  And then I realized that this person is just different than I am.  Me, I’d stand on the rooftops and tell everyone I know and don’t know about how amazing yoga is.  Rooftops don’t get very tall here in suburbia so I turn to this blog post and facebook instead.  One of the things I loved about experiencing this Spring Challenge at Kula was watching other people have personal victories (she did a handstand for the first time!), and seeing more and more people in classes each day.  More people were finding and loving yoga.  Or falling back into love with it after life got in the way and made them too busy.

So here are the 5 reasons you should try yoga at a yoga studio.  Stay with me for the whole list, because #5 is the very best reason of all.

1.  Yoga in a studio ain’t your mama’s 90’s yoga VHS tape.

The beauty of being guided by a live real human being through your practice is that they seem to always know just what you needed to hear that day.  And the assists.  Ahhhhhh, the assists.  That point when you think you just can’t get any deeper in a pose and a slight touch and adjustment from the instructor just changes your world.  I have done those VHS tapes my friend, and hated them.  Yoga in a studio is different.

2.  You gain flexibility from going to yoga, you don’t have to be flexible to start.

In my entire childhood and teenager years, I can’t remember being able to do the “sit and reach” test in PE class comfortably.  Now, I am touching the hell out of my feet in a forward fold.  Yeah baby.

3.  The variety of classes.

Sure, you’ve probably heard of a typical flow class that includes Warrior 2 and all that wonderful jazz.  But have you been to an Aromatherapy Yin class?  Um, hello, you end the class with a luxurious oil foot rub.  Have you ever seen an aerial yoga class?  I can do inversions in the silk that I can’t do on the floor.  It is truly incredible and powerful stuff.  Meditation class?  Okay, this one was more of a nap-time for me, but some folks adore it.  My little 2 year old loves Storytime Yoga and regularly walks around saying “om”.

4.  It is for everyone.

There are men, college students, beginners, seniors, and everyone in between in every class.  This isn’t the place for judging, people, it is the place of acceptance.  The teachers regularly talk about how today your body might be different than yesterday, and hell, your left side might have the flexibility of a 15 year old today while your right side is 90.  It is all about you and your experience that day on the mat.  That’s it.

5.  It’s about what your body can do, not what it looks like.

As a nerdy and overweight teen, I struggled with my body image.  Although I wonder which one of those came first – low self-esteem or the overweight part?  Regardless, I have always been the “does this make me look fat” person.  I tried it all folks – Weight Watchers, P90X, and every other diet and exercise plan – with some modicum of success but still always self-conscious.  Then, I got pregnant.  And for the first time in my entire life, I loved my body and felt beautiful and strong every second.  And in the two years since I had my son, my self esteem and self confidence hasn’t been as strong as when I was pregnant but it’s definitely better.  But you know what really set that in concrete for me?  Yoga.  This wonderful body of mine is so strong and capable of amazing things.  At least once a week I have an “aha” moment in class where I can do a pose deeper or feel strong enough to attempt a pose I haven’t done before (and sometimes nail it which is awesome but not necessary).  Our bodies are amazing things.  These crazy things hold us up, move us forward, stand us back up when we fall, and can even be inverted!

 

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State of the Union

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Wow.  I haven’t written a blog post in so long that I couldn’t even remember my sign in.  Terrible.  Writing is therapeutic.  I think of blog post topics all the time…..at 2am, while I’m driving in the car, and many other inconvenient times.

 

The State of the Union of Wes’ Treatment.  The State of the Union as We Approach One Year Since His Last Chemo Treatment.  The State of the Union of This is Our New Normal and We Don’t Stop To Think About It a Lot Anymore Which is a Good Thing Sometimes.

 

Wes went in for what is called a VEP earlier this week.  It is a vision exam that is given to non-verbal children.  He can’t tell you he can read the 3rd line down, right?  So what they do is hook up 3 electrodes to various parts of his head (which involves cleaning off the spots, sticking them on, and then covering two of them with a super fun athletic band) and point a video camera at his pupil while the other eye is covered and he is watching varying heights of black and white horizontal lines go across a screen.  They pull the data together from what his pupil is doing and what the electrodes tell them and they get a pretty good idea of what his vision is in each eye.

Wes eye exam

 

They are approximating his vision in his right eye to be 20/20, and in his left eye it came up as 20/150 but the doctor feels that is too high of an estimate given how large the tumor was in the smack-dab center of that eye.

It has been a little over a year since they conducted this test, and the results came out essentially the same.  We are celebrating that fact, because the tumor in his left eye was huge and did shrink with chemo but then every time he has to get cryotherapy in that eye  on little bitty tumor seeds in various parts of the eye the cryo permanently damages the spot is applied to so he won’t see out of that spot either.

I hear what the doctor is saying about the estimate for the left eye being high in her opinion (she thinks he doesn’t see much at all), but as a mom I watched him not freak out as much when they covered his good eye and I’ve seen him have pretty darn good depth perception so I think he sees quite a bit out of that eye.

Wes made a couple friends in the waiting area at the eye clinic – with the multiple steps involved in these appointments we were there for almost three hours!

Wes waiting room

This poor doctor, I ask her the same question every time I see her.  And bless her heart, she answers me straight and true every time and is patient and kind with all the questions I have.  She even told us that she talked to another doctor in Canada about Wes’ case over the weekend.  Let me repeat that – OVER THE WEEKEND.  What?!  Oh, and Canada has the the world’s leading research center for retinoblastoma and that is where our amazing doctor trained.

Back to the question I always ask her – is his disease well-managed right now so we are staying the course?  It’s not always worded that way, but that’s the crux of it.  Her answer thus far has been yes.  They feel that finding some little bit to zap with cryotherapy as often as they are now is still normal, and those little bits are responding to the cryotherapy.  We are as good as it gets at this point.  Carry on.

 

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!”

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Okay, I have.  Flipped out.  I am angry at the world.  Why?  Because the amazing toxic cocktail of chemo drugs that shrunk my baby’s tumors comes with a nasty little side effect.  And nobody told me until Wednesday.

There is a family of chemo drugs that includes Etoposide, one of the drugs that Wes received, that can cause Secondary Leukemia.  Sure, you’ve heard of Leukemia.  And you’ve heard of my little fighter Wes.  So you probably think, oh, no problem, if he gets that he’ll beat it.  Secondary Leukemia has a poor prognosis.  It’s not like “normal” leukemia.  Which still f***ing sucks by the way.  But Secondary Leukemia means chemo and a stem cell transplant and you cross your fingers.  Sure, Wes is a fighter.  But you know what?  So are all the other sweet little babies who get Secondary Leukemia and don’t make it.  They don’t die because they weren’t fighters.

We really have no choice at this point but to think positive of course.  And I will get there.  But for now, I’m angry.  Angry that where we stand as a world with cancer treatment is drugs that can cause other cancer.  Angry that the oncologist dropped this bomb on me on Wednesday, having never met me before (he was the attending on duty at the time).  Angry that I didn’t know, me, the researcher at heart.  Angry that in the end, we really had no choice but to use this drug.

Studies show that not using this drug makes for a chemo treatment that isn’t as effective.  Our alternatives would have been a potentially less effective chemo treatment, removing both eyes and doing no chemo, or radiation (which carries a much higher risk of secondary cancers than Etoposide).

And the real kicker is that the Secondary Leukemia tends to show up about 2 years after chemo is completed, but can show up any time between when chemo ends and 5 years later.

When I’m done being angry, I will focus on the 80% chance that Wes won’t get any secondary cancers.  In the meantime, my anger is dissipated by that amazing little infections giggle and smile.

 

What can you do?  Spread the word about childhood cancer and the need for more research.  Tell everyone you know about any events you know of that raise money for childhood cancer research.  Be angry with me, and let’s use that anger to change the world.

 

Two events coming up that I know of:

http://2013trek100.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1053901&supid=380210773

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/166029063572957/

 

 

Here’s a video of Wes on happy juice before his sedation yesterday – some of those infectious giggles!

 

Did that really happen?

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2013-03-01_12-19-18_997This is Gigi and Wes holding hands in the backseat a few weeks ago – ADORABLE!

 

 

Wes is almost 90 days out from his last round of chemo, and has had 3 eye exams under sedation since that last round of chemo.  All is going well, exactly as the doctors and us would hope and expect.  He had laser on the big tumor in his left eye yesterday, as planned and expected, because there was a small area that was still looking a tad bit active and the doctors wanted to just zap it and be done with it.  No new tumors, and the existing tumors have stayed consistent in size and activity.  His hair is coming back, seemingly getting longer every single day.  He is very close to walking, and he says “ball” and “doggie” and “e-i-e-i-o” and claps with the skill of a 2 year old (so I’m told) and he is going to eat us out of house and home.

I have been back at work now for almost 8 weeks.  Most days it does not feel like 8 weeks.  There are some days where everything feels so normal, I have to wonder if this whole cancer diagnosis and treatment actually happened.  There are also days where the anxiety and stress reactions just get me and I am overwhelmed.  Until Wes’ diagnosis, I considered myself a person who did well under stress – I was a fixer, a go-to person, the calm head who called out orders when something chaotic happened.  I consistently answered the question of “how much stress do you typically feel in your day to day life” with “very little”.  I was a do-er, responsible, reliable, able to overcome fear or discomfort to get anything done.

Now?  Now I am on meds for anxiety because of several episodes where the anxiety left me incapacitated.  What a vicious cycle – feeling so anxious you can’t do something, then feeling angry because you’ve never had to deal with debilitating anxiety before, and then angry because even that anger can’t motivate you to actually do the thing you were anxious about doing.  And I learned from my doctor that my inability to focus on a thought or project is a normal stress reaction.  Ay-yay-yay!

Recently the Badger Childhood Cancer Network used Facebook to share a new study by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health that found that stress in parents of children with cancer is vastly underreported.  Essentially, if you ask a parent of a child with cancer how their stress level is they will tell you it’s low, but when you get into the physical signs of stress (sleep issues, nausea, headaches, social anxiety) you find that they actually have a lot of stress.  The Badger Childhood Cancer Network asked what “experienced” parents of children with cancer would advise newly diagnosed families about stress management and reduction.

Every person is different, so all I can do is share what helps me.  The main thing that has helped me is being open about how I am feeling, and others being open with their own experiences with anxiety and stress.  I share with my husband and friends and family how I am feeling, what is stressing me out, when my stress level feels particularly high or low, or things that I anticipate may cause anxiety now that I am aware of it.  I had coffee with a customer-turned-friend two weeks ago and she was open enough to share with me that she has anxiety and what her experiences with it has been.  It was amazing, just what I needed at that moment, to hear that a seemingly “has it all together” woman also had stress and anxiety that was difficult for her.  Just knowing I wasn’t alone in that moment was incredible.  I honestly feel that if people were just more open about their experiences, we’d all feel a lot less alone.  I do recognize though that this level of openness isn’t for everyone.

Having an amazing support system of people who care about what’s happening with Wes and how we are coping with things is incredibly valuable.  I cherish the quick texts and Facebook messages friends send cheering us on and saying they are still there and thinking of us.  Friends and family who accept whatever we can do today and whoever we are today, even if we are cranky or plan-cancelling, that is priceless.

The meds have helped me as well, but I do not want to be on them for long and want to find other ways to deal with my stress.  With a terribly cranky Mother Nature wreaking havoc on us this winter we haven’t been able to go for walks much.  I found work-out buddies in my mother-in-law and several friends – we go to Zumba and now hot yoga.  Please allow me to get on my hot yoga soapbox for a minute!  You can skip the next paragraph if you just aren’t interested, but I’m telling you this hot yoga is amazing!

As a woman who has always struggled with her weight, I frequently have “blah” days where I don’t like what I’m wearing and I don’t like my body.  I battle this with diets, life-style change attempts, fitness crazes, acceptance, and shopping.  Only once in my life have I ever felt 100% comfortable in my skin, and that was when I was pregnant with Wes.  I loved being pregnant, and for those of you that knew me when I was pregnant you are probably sick of hearing that because I seriously loved being pregnant and told everyone!  After Wes was born, I was more accepting of my body and the amazing life it had created, but still had to think about it and be conscious of appreciating my body.  And then came hot yoga evening classes.  I don’t know if it’s the candlelight, the fact that everyone is sweating so I don’t feel self-conscious about that, the mindfulness of yoga, or the wonder at what my body can do even though I haven’t been very physical this winter, but I feel almost as comfortable in my body as I did when I was pregnant.  It is an amazing feeling, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try it.  It may not be for everyone, but you don’t know unless you try!

So the answer to the question about what I would advise newly diagnosed families about how to manage and reduce stress?  Be open, and try things until you find something that works for you and then share that with others.

 

 

IMG_20130425_153031_024This is Wes just before he woke up after his sedation yesterday.  Such a sweet face!

 

 

Here is a link to the UW study referenced above:

http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/stress-is-underreported-in-parents-of-children-with-cancer/40109

Return of the Jedi

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So that’s it.

Today I go back to work officially.

Wes had his central line removed last week.  He is now 3 1/2 weeks out from his last round of chemo so there are no concerns with needing blood products and his counts are all good and should stay that way.  He had that central line for almost half of his life.  We don’t know what to do with ourselves not having to flush the line every day and change the dressing once a week and worry about him pulling it out while playing!

When we were told he would need 6 months of chemo, it felt like everything was moving in slow motion but also flying by all at the same time.  We barely had time to register Wes’ diagnosis before chemo started.  The first few treatments seemed to drag on – we were just taking things day by day.  Now I can hardly believe it’s been almost 6 months!

Every day Wes learns something new.  Yesterday he learned how to put the blocks into the side of his Alphabet Train.  Last week he started putting yogurt on his spoon and getting it into his mouth.  Two weeks ago he learned how to get back down off the ottoman once he climbed on.  He has two “words” now – he says “e-i-e-i” when you sing Old McDonald, and he says “yaaaaaaay” when you clap and say “yay” for him.  He isn’t walking just yet, but he is close.  I can still vividly picture the first time he pulled himself up to a standing position – it was on our hospital stay for his first round of chemo.

So that’s it.  Except it’s not.

Now we wait.

He will have another eye exam under sedation on March 28th, and every month after that for the next few years.  We need to see what his body is going to do now that it has no chemo, and he had laser therapy done on the big tumor in his left eye last week so we wait and see what his body does with that. The picture below was taken after his central line was removed and he had the eye exam and laser therapy so his eyes are a bit swollen. The hope is that the laser worked and that tumor does not become active again.  We also hope that as the doctors are doing his eye exams each month if they see a tiny tumor starting they can zap it with local therapy (cryotherapy or laser therapy).

The best case scenario is we ride through the next few years with minimal local therapy needed to each eye, there are no long term effects from the chemo (liver, kidney, heart, hearing, nerves in hands/feet damage), and he continues to learn and grow like a normal kid.

The worst case scenario is that one of the tumors, either an existing one or a new one, doesn’t respond to local therapy and we have to consider more chemo or eye removal.

The statistics and Wes’ body’s reaction thus far are in our favor.  Plus we have all of you and your positive thoughts.  Here’s to the return of the Jedi!

 

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Let’s Hear It For The Boy

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Let’s hear it for the boy
Let’s give the boy a hand
Let’s hear it for my baby
You know you gotta understand

My baby may not be rich
He’s watching every dime
But he loves me, loves me, loves me
We always have a real good time

And maybe he sings off-key
But that’s all right by me, yeah
Cause what he does, he does so well
Makes me wanna yell

Let’s hear it for the boy
Oh, let’s give the boy a hand
Let’s hear it for my baby
You know you gotta understand

Cause every time he pulls me near
I just wanna cheer

Let’s hear it for the boy
Oh, let’s give the boy a hand
Let’s hear it for my baby
You know you gotta understand

Let’s hear it for my baby
Let’s hear it for my baby
Let’s hear it for the boy
I’m your biggest fan
Let’s hear it for the boy
Just watch my baby dance
Let’s hear it for the boy
Oh he’s my dancing man

Let’s hear it for the boy
C’mon and clap your hands
Let’s hear it for the boy
Yeah watch my baby dance
I’m your biggest fan

This song is so appropriate for my little man!  He loves to clap, he craves music so much that he will dance a little jig to my phone ringing, and we are celebrating that he is done with chemo and he just turned one year old!

Of course when your baby has a birthday, you reminisce about the past year and their birth story and you spend time imagining what the upcoming year may bring.  And boy does the time fly.  When Wes was born, so began the worrying that many first-time parents go through.  Honestly my biggest concern was getting him to his one year birthday so that his risk of SIDS dropped dramatically.  Hah!  Funny how the things you worry about turn out to be the things that never happen, and it’s the things that blindside you that cause the biggest problems.

When we began Wes’ cancer battle and we were told he would have chemo for 5 months, I thought 5 months was such a long time.  But it really has flown by.  Perhaps I was in shock for some of it so that made it seem to go by faster, but none the less it feels like much less than 5 months has gone by.  It was 5 months ago today that we sat in room 17 on the 3rd floor of the AFCH and were told he had cancer in both eyes and would need to start chemo in just a few short days.

On Wes’ birthday two weeks ago, he had to go to the hospital for his monthly sedated eye exam.  He gets completely put to sleep for this procedure, so we were on the 3rd floor again.  As they walked us back to our room, it seemed like they were headed for room 17 and I nearly had a panic attack.  There is no way I will ever be able to step foot in that room again.  I don’t care if I cause a scene or make everyone around me think I’m crazy, it’s not happening.  But then the nurse kept walking and we ended up in room 21.  Whew.

Wes’ Aunt Nikki and grandma Mary made the occasion as happy as they could – there were birthday signs taped up all over his room, balloons, gifts, and cupcakes for the hospital staff.  His Aunt Stacy had bought him a “My First Birthday” onesie that he wore that day, and the hospital staff let him wear that into the operating room instead of a hospital gown!  The hospital staff all signed a birthday card for Wes, and everyone wished him a happy birthday as they saw him.

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After his procedure we went to Red Robin where Wes wore his glasses for the first time!  The staff there brought him balloons and sang to him.  We ate most of his birthday sundae, but by the time we left his lips were stained orange from the frosting on his birthday cupcake.

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Last week Wes completed his final round of chemo.  It scares me to say “final”.  I feel like I have to choose my words so carefully.  What if it’s not his final round of chemo ever?  What if this cancer comes back?  What if he gets another cancer later in life and has to get chemo again?  I am not crazy for worrying about these things – they are definitely things that can happen, and have happened to other kids with this type of cancer.  My husband and mother-in-law assure me the worrying will lessen with time.  I sure hope so.  Did you know there is a term for the anxiety that comes with diagnostic tests after cancer treatment?  Scan-xiety.

The hospital staff sang “Happy End of Chemotherapy” to Wes and brought him a certificate signed by all of them, a scarf, a toy, and a big cake to celebrate.  We told the staff that we liked them as people and caregivers for Wes, but we are happy to see much less of them in the future.

2013-02-11 07.16.26

As my mom and mother-in-law and I sat around Wes’ hospital room those two days of his final chemo treatment, we talked a lot about the last 5 months. Here’s what I know.  I recognize that we are fortunate Wes has this particular kind of cancer, because other types of cancer come with a higher mortality rate and lengthier treatment.  If it wasn’t for Wes’ diagnosis, my mom would not have been able to spend as much time with him over the last 6 months (her work gave her special exceptions to take the time off to be with us during his treatments even though they weren’t generally letting people take vacation days).  Wes’ diagnosis has brought my mother-in-law and I extremely close.  And I have been able to spend the last 5 months at home with my sweet, sweet boy.  These are not examples of finding the silver lining, these are things I am truly and deeply grateful for.

2013-02-08 11.14.21