Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My very own "What Would You Do" episode

Today, the boys and I headed out for a morning of errands in preparation for William's birthday party this weekend. With these errands kind of hanging over my head, I tried my best to be as positive as I could in hopes it would all go smoothly. Anyone who knows what its like to run multiple errands with two little ones knows you are nearly guaranteed a moment of "ugh" at some point, whether in involves the kids, a battle trying to squeeze a double stroller through tight aisles, trying to one-handily get the cart-protector in place or a battle with big brother begging to be out of the shopping cart to wander at this own liking...or any other trauma....its all just "ughs."

After 3 errands down at Norther Lights, everything was going amazingly well. William was peppy and jingled bells all through the Christmas Tree Shoppe and we made it out of the Party Source with just buying a 7-cent green Dum Dum sucker that Nicholas paid for all by himself (it was so cute and I was just beaming with pride for him).

Our last stop - Target for our bi-weekly pick-up of two prescriptions for William. Nicholas did his expected asking for popcorn and a slushie, so I told him we would stop at the snack bar after shopping. We had a little unexpected hurdle at the pharmacy when I found out one of William's prescriptions was not registered with the auto-refill system and requires at least two hours to be prepared. The pharmacist kindly said, "just swing by after 2pm and I'll have it all ready." Yeah, not so easy, buddy! (Apparently, they don't want this prescription on auto-refill because it is very costly and looses potency after 14 days of being filled, so I have to remember to call them on the day I plan to pick it up. Add that to the list...again, easier said than done!)

So, we were off to the snack bar, finally! As I was filling our slushie cup, I noticed little William smacking his lips from the cart - eyes glued to the slushie! I was shocked and ever-so excited! I offered him the straw and he went right for it, but was unable to suck. Grabbed a spoon and gave him the tinniest of tiny tastes, of which he opened wide for. He was rather surprised by the cold taste, I'm sure, but seemed interested in more!

I decided to following William's lead, beg for a small cup for a little slushie for William and park us over at the Starbucks area to pursue feeding William this fully-sugarized treat. At this point, we celebrate anything William will take by mouth, every spoonful.

A few little tastes later, William was beaming, Nicholas was in his glory watching the cars in the parking lot and all was nice. I even felt a little "normal" sitting there and considered topping off the productive morning with a coffee for myself. Well, things turned instantly. A huge gag from William, a giant ball of gooey mucous/bile gunk on the floor and William turning all shades of red & purple as his entire body went into a full-blown spasm trying to purge everything from his system. I'm trying to comfort William, while catch this crap hanging from his mouth all while carrying on a conversation with chatterbox Nicholas. I started looking around for napkins when I quickly realized all eyes were on us. Of course, we were in the middle of the Starbucks at lunchtime....there were tables of construction guys eating snack bar foods, some ladies enjoying coffee together and a couple tables of moms eating with their kids.

Needless to say, not one person stopped gawking to lend an offer to help in any sort of way. Now I completely understand that this sight may seem intimidating to someone outside of the world of dealing with a vomiting child (since really, only like 98% of parents have dealt with a child vomiting at one point)...but seriously, not even a "here's some napkins, lady." This whole incident sparks so many thoughts in my mind, from one perspective of feeling like I'm just a mommy-zombie forever stuck in this world of pediatric cancer ...I must look so foreign that people would be afraid to approach me when my child is struggling, to really, this is what our world has come to.

I realize when we are out and about, none of us has a clue as to what the person next to us in line or those we pass in a store are dealing with. At the same time, really?...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby William

Saturday May 22, 2010

It was a gorgeous, bright sunny day to celebrate William's big day. Although this day was particularly special to all of us, he just took it in stride and enjoyed himself, as only we could have asked for. Physically, William had a good day. The night previously he woke at 2:40am, 4:30am and 6:10am (then up for the day) experiencing his severe gagging/vomiting episodes (in addition to needing to be re-rocked back to sleep 45 minutes after he was put down in the evening). We are still awaiting a night where he sleeps through uninterrupted - fingers crossed.

After wracking my brain as to what he would enjoy most for the day, it dawned on me as I was washing his hands following an infamous splash party in Nicholas' full potty (of course, his top choice is always Zoey's water bowl). We made our own water fun day, enjoying our morning as a family and with a visit from Grammy and Poppie. Nicholas was so excited for the day and enjoyed the little 3-foot kiddie pool just as much as William.

William is such a good waver.

Our little 'ub bub.'

We all hung on to William's belly laughs when Nicholas was blowing party blowers.

These two truly have a special bond. William just lights up whenever Nicholas is around. Like I said when we were stuck in the hospital in NYC - if anything/anyone was going to make William feel better, it would be big brother Nicholas.

Nicholas helped William open his presents, instructing him, "start at the edges and pull..."

My two boys.

After attempting naps, we enjoyed dinner at Aunt Beth's house with Johnny, Grandpa John and Esperanza. Nicholas chatted my ear off the entire way home from Tully. William just watched in pure admiration and babbled on and on as if trying to get a word in. As quiet of a day it was, it was a very nice way to celebrate all we are thankful for ~ love, family and togetherness.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What a HUGE accomplishment!

One year ago today, I can still vividly recall all the thoughts rushing through my head. It was my last day of pregnancy and I knew our lives as a family of 3 would be forever changed. I was a bit nervous (entering a repeat c-section was a whole lot more anxiety-provoking than the first time around), was wondering how Nicholas would react, worried how I'd balance life with a newborn and an active 2 1/2 year old, excited to announce his name to the family, wondering if nursing would work...on and on...but definitely, most ecstatic to meet the new little man of my life.
What I didn't know was just how much our lives would be different one year later. If someone was to tell me last May 21st that a year from now I'd be celebrating my baby's first birthday with him as a cancer survivor, after six tumultuous months of non-stop appointments, 7+ weeks of being hospitalized, 14 days in PICU's, 2 rounds of chemotherapy, 40+ hours of him under general anesthesia, 10 blood transfusions, us being responsible for caring for his central line and feeding him intravenously every day....not to mention 12 full months of never sleeping through a single night......I'd never believe it (to put it lightly).
This has been an unimaginable journey for our entire family. Our routines, traditions and all we've grown to expect has been interrupted. We have been separated from each other, including William and I not seeing Nicholas for 2+ weeks at a time. It has been an incredible stress on all of us. This experience has affected us in every aspect of our lives and surely in ways we've yet to even realize and understand. There was life before cancer... and now a new life after.
Some how, we have made it through all this...and more... and continue to take one day at a time (trust me, there are many days I have to take it one minute at a time - literally). As much as William has been through, as sick as he surely feels, he continues to provide me inspiration and strength to continue this fight for him....with him. I have become his words, trying my best to advocate for him. In return, I get little smirks made with two gorgeous lips, catch glimpses of a twinkle in his eyes, lots of sloppy kisses and the joy of seeing my two boys light up when interacting with each other.
I've truly missed blogging over the past 6 months for many reasons. I miss the ability to journal our family's adventures of what should be such a fun time in our lives with two growing, mischievous boys...I miss having positive events I'd want to share and look back on... and I miss the innocence of life before cancer.
Putting all aside, we are where we are. We have been forever changed, whether we wanted it or not. And more amazingly, William is turning one tomorrow! I can't think of a better reason to resume share little snip-its of our lives and to document just how far we've come....
Here's some of my favorite pictures of William over the past few weeks.

He was so pround of himself for grabbing grass.

~ my favorite ~

~ singing "If you're happy and you know it" ~

~ this is how he feels about rice cereal! ~

nice tall kneeling, buddy!

While brother naps, William gets in his time in the coupe!

He has the yummiest toes!

His look of "hey, what is Nicholas doing over there!"