Way back when, on our first hospital stay when Gage was on like SEVEN different antibiotics for almost every hour of the day beacause he almost died; he came down with a lovely little diaper rash. His diapers were changed often, but due to chemotherapy and antibiotics he still came down with a rash. There was no preventing it.
Please note when I say lovely I really mean the ugliest, most painful, open sores bleeding and blistering type of diaper rash. The kind which took three nurses to hold him down, when changing him. I came to dread diaper changes, choosing to leave the room more often then not, it was too hard hearing him scream out in pain. Because there was nothing I could do, nothing I would say was soothing or calming to him.
It wasn’t until begged for something, anything for the pain that Gage was finally given darvocet. Which he got just in time too, because the Kid started to get his all his teeth popping in at once. Adding insult to injury, in my opinion. But thankfully he was able to go through that time with little to no more pain. Finally, after about three weeks his diaper rash finally went away.
But ever since that horrendous experience I am almost fanatical about changing his diapers. I can’t go through that again, if I even see a hint of redness on his pasty white butt, I lather it in ILEX and vitamin A & D ointment; and say a quick prayer that it doesn’t get worse. I also let him run around naked, not caring if he pees on the floor, that cleans up better then a rash does. I do draw the line at pooping on the floor though, for that I rush him to the potty, so I guess I am also potty training him at the same time. BONUS!
So I guess what I am saying is: when life handed me lemons, I found the tequila and started taking shots. You know best out of every situation and all that shit.
I did something very indulgent yesterday. I hired somebody off of craigslist to come to my house and clean up Gagers room, because even though we have been in this house for… OMG, three months as of today. The most I had gotten done in there was getting his large furniture put together, clothes and toys were always on the floor. Unpacked boxes, hangers, empty target bags I hide from the Hubs so he doesn’t see how much I actually buy ***target is like mom crack, totally addicting*** and a hospital overnight bag. Just in case. But on the floor it all was, taunting me.
Everyday I would go in Gagers room and then walk right back out again, promising myself and the Hubs that I would clean it tomorrow. Promise. Finally after three months of midnight diaper changes and almost spraining my ankle over all the crap on the floor, I took action and her name is Jovita. She is an angel in a denim jumpsuit and knock off Sketcher Shape ups. It took her two and a half hours and forty dollars but it was more than worth it for me, seriously it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I swear Jovita is just like the miracle worker the rest of my day was totally amazing, my hair looked super shiny, my makeup looked flawless, and I fit into my skinny jeans!
OK, that last part was a total lie. My skinny jeans don’t fit and I don’t see them fitting for a long time. I’d like to blame the girl scouts for that. Them and their stupid cookies…thin mints sandwiched between dark double chocolate chip galato. Yumm-O.
Honestly though, sometimes a person just needs to do what is right for them. Jovita was exactly what I needed. Firstly, because I am super lazy much to the Hubs dismay and secondly, because I finally got to put Gagers new race track carpet on the floor in his room instead of rolled up against a the wall. He totally loves it.
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Tagged blogher, broviac, cancer kids, candida, chemo, chmotherapy, CT scan, death, delayed intensification, Gage, healing, hickman line, hope, hospital, hubs, leukemia, life, love, panic attacks, trust
Bath time in our house is a HUGE event. For Gage. Not for me. Gage loves baths, mainly because he only gets them once a week. Then he is only in the bath for like fifteen minutes tops, with no splashing. While during the entire bath I am freaking out, begging Gage not to splash, and telling him to “sit down before you fall down.”
Normally Gage would be able to take a bath for as long as he wanted to, heck I have had to refill the tub with hot water half the time, he can play in the water for hours. That all changed in December when, after careful consideration and tons deliberation Gages doctors decided to take out his port. Because no matter how hard we tried, and how much medication we pumped into him, Gage kept getting candida in his blood. So with fear and trepidation, we sent Gagers back into surgery to remove his port and replace it with a temporary hickman line. Which is a pain in the butt, not only because I have to drive to the hospital every three days to get the dressing changed, because it’s an open site. But also the site can not get wet. Hence the excitement of bath time.
I have concocted my own special, Gage is gonna have a bath dressing. Which involves saran wrap and surgical tape. Poor Kid he hates this, mainly because every bath he gets, I use half a roll of the saran wrap and a whole roll of surgical tape. But Gage gets his bath, the nurses get a clean smelling baby for clinic the next day, and everybody thinks I’m a good mother for making it possible to Gage to bathe; so everybody wins.
I was begging Gage to give me the bucket, since he is on steroids right now I have to ask nicely and make it seem like he totally wants to give me the bucket. Or he might go Linda Blair on my ass, and throw him self backward in the tub, his head might start spinning; and throwing up chemo medicine on me. Come to think of it, he does that when I don’t get his food to him quick enough too. But he did give me the bucket, nice and calm like; and so I gave him an extra fifteen minutes in the tub. Ain’t I just the nicest?
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Tagged bath time, broviac, cancer kids, candida, chemo, chmotherapy, clinic, CT scan, death, delayed intensification, failure, fear, fun, Gage, healing, hickman line, leukemia, life, live, love, lukemia, maintenance, normal, pancreatitis, panic attacks, picc line, port, sick, surgery, trepidation, trust
Gage started delayed intensification last Thursday. It was a long time in coming, six months in fact. Some days, I never thought we’d get to this point, and now that we are here I am scared of all the complications that can happen. I take his temperature like every hour just to make sure he doesn’t have some random fever. I call is doctors because his cough is back, and oh my gosh is that a rumble in his chest, did the cough move to his lungs? I have an overnight bag packed just in case we have to go to the hospital at the last moment.
The Delayed Intensification “road map” looks like this:
This is what Gage is going to be subjected to in the up coming weeks, he should also be receiving Pegasparaginase (PEG), which is two shots in his legs during week one. But he had the allergic reaction to the last shots of PEG he received, which in turn caused him to get pancreatitis and the ulcers on his pancreas that landed us in the hospital for three weeks before Christmas. So thank you Baby Jeebus, no more PEG shots!
Since starting delayed intensification, Gage has been so cranky. He is on seven days of dexamethasone, and seven days off for a couple of weeks and not only is he getting adorably chubby, since he is eating like a little piggy but he is getting not so adorably bitchy, as well.
His nick name from the hospital is back, we call him Ragin’ Gage. He screams and fusses all day long and as soon as Daddy comes home, he is all sunshine and lolly-pops. I have actually called the Hubs at work, in tears begging him to come home, because there is nothing I can do to fix Gages tantrums. I know it’s the medicines fault that he is acting this way, but after seven hours of screaming fits, all rationalization is out the window. Though the highlight to being at delayed intensification is once we are done with this round of chemotherapy we head into maintenance, which is kind of like the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is what Gage looked like last time he was on the dexamethasone. So cute and chubby! (sorry the picture is so blurry it was taken on my iPhone on zoom)
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Tagged broviac, cancer kids, candida, chemo, chmotherapy, Christmas, death, delayed intensification, failure, Gage, healing, hickman line, hope, hospital, leukemia, life, live, love, maintenance, pancreatitis, panic attacks, picc line, sick
I don’t think that I will ever breath easy again. The panic attacks are back with a vengeance and I can’t control them. I don’t see things that have happened but things that could happen. Since Gage was diagnosed back in August of last year, we have had to be prepared for the worst. And by worst I mean I have his funeral planned out. I know nobody wants to hear this but it’s truly been my way of coping with his leukemia. Sitting nervously in the waiting room at three o’clock in the morning not sure if he was going to make it out of surgery, I prepared myself. What Gage would wear, what the Hubs and I would wear, the colors. I knew then that no matter what since Gages life was such a joy and celebration to us, his funeral would be the same. A party in his honor, a celebration of his life.
It’s with a cold detachment that, when I think of it all, almost like it’s not happening to me. Like it’s not my baby. We all tend to think because he is doing so well right now, that he will continue to do well. Which is what I am begging for, because I truly do not know what I would do, if anything were to happen to him. But that can all change at the drop of a hat, he can end up sick and in the hospital, or worse. His life is just so unpredictable right now, as a family we don’t take a single day of Gage for granted. Which means he is going to be so spoiled because we can’t seem to say no to him, or take away his bottle.
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Tagged broviac, candida, chmotherapy, death, delayed intensification, failure, healing, hickman line, hospital, leukemia, life, live, love, panic attacks, port, sick, surgery, trust
Last week I had emailed Megan at the Pablove foundation, because I had questions about the True Pablove event. I really wanted to be able to attend but was unsure of going because of all of the people. So I emailed Megan asking if there was going to be a place for kids with cancer, just so they would not be around all of the people; in case somebody was sick. Megan emailed me back, saying unfortunately no, there would be no special accommodations, but that they’d love to have Gage and his guests come to the event as guests; and they hoped we could make it. Which was so nice if them, thank you so much!
It was so amazing to be able to spend the day outside with Gage, my parents, my bestie and her daughter. Gage had a blast! I really felt like he was a normal toddler for the afternoon. He got to meet Yo Gabba Gabba, listen to Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang and decorate Valentine crafts; it was such an amazing day. It was easy to forget why we were there, that we were honoring the memory of a little boy who lost his fight with a bilateral Wilms’ Tumor, by trying to raise money to fund pediatric cancer research.
It really was such a great day, one I will remember forever and make sure Gage knows about it too. It was an almost normal day.
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Tagged candida, CT scan, fun, Gage, hospital, leukemia, live, love, normal, pablove, port, yo gabba gabba
So I have a secret. I read other mommy bloggers and the journey that is their kids leukemia. All. Day. Long. Much to the Hubs dismay, because this means I generally get nothing done. All. Day. Long. But I read their blogs to see if ours lives are similar, to know that I am not alone, that Gage is not alone, because even if I talk to the other moms in the clinic, it’s just not the same. I talk to those woman once or twice a week in the clinic, where these woman on the internet, who have no idea who I am. I read about them everyday, getting to know them, getting to love them. ***I kind of feel a little like a stalker, weirdo right about now***
I get strength from these woman, knowing that they have been through hell and back, and they have survived even if their babies don’t. I have cried desperate tears of pain, while reading funeral preparations for their babies. I have cried happy tears while reading posts written about when babies had their last chemo treatment, and got to go home for good, never needing to have another lumbar puncture or bone marrow aspiration again. I’ve gotten sick to my stomach at seeing the word of relapse, and praying and bartering with God or whatever divine being is out there to please never let me hear those words said in the same sentence as Gages name. I have found myself in these woman, and hope that someone is reading what I write and if they are going through what I have gone through that they get strength from me as well.
What I have learned from the majority of these blogs, is that not only do I have the most amazing health insurance, but the hospital we go to is fan-fucking-tastic. I have read about kids having to wait for five hours, before being admitted into a hospital room, or that when from the time Gage was diagnosed with leukemia to the day we knew the type of leukemia he had, acute lymphoblastic leukemia was a total of five days, which I guess is not the norm, because I have heard some places take up to four weeks for results. Those five days seemed like the longest of my entire life, I know I would have gone crazy if I would have had to wait a whole month. Did you know that some hospitals have cancer patients share rooms?! This has got to be the most absurd thing I have read so far! There are no good things about leukemia, chemo, or hospital stays but having our own room is a little, teeny tiny perk.
One of the terms I have heard over and over again has been a baby has “earned” his or her wings. Yesterday I read that Josiah has earned his angel wings, and I hate that term, because he should not have earned them so young. He should have gone to college, gotten married and knocked his wife up with eight babies. He should never had gotten sick in the first place. I hate that we can put a man on the moon, pick the gender of my next kid if I wanted to, or wear underwear that magically makes my waist and thighs two inches smaller; but we can’t find the cause or a cure for childhood cancer. The world truly does suck in that regard.
Some days I really feel like I am barely staying afloat. The last couple of nights I have been having trouble sleeping. I lay awake for hours staring at the wall above my bed, not seeing the wall itself but a movie reel of those first nights in the hospital. Me holding Gage in my arms as a nurse tries without luck to find a vein to start an IV as Gage slips in and out of consciousness. I see his pupils start to dilate, and his mouth starts to foam. I hear the nurses asking me to please go sit in the parents waiting room, since it was starting to get crowded with all the nurses and doctors rushing in. I’m walking the hallways, again. In my nightmares I’m just walking a hallway, lap after lap after lap. CODE PINK is blaring out of the hospital loud speaker and I can’t stop screaming. This is my hell and I have been here almost every day since August 2, 2010.
These last few weeks Gage also has been suffering from nightmares, I hate that he can’t tell me what he is dreaming about. When I go in his room to check on him when he cries out at night, his sobs of terror are heartbreaking; nothing can comfort him. The look in his eyes kills me, because I wonder if he is remembering those nights, like I remember those nights. I had hoped that he wouldn’t remember any of this, that he would be too young; so far it looks like that may not be the case. I hate those nightmares for him more then I hate those nightmares for me.
I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Our lives have been such a roller coaster ride I keep praying, hoping, and wishing that we can keep on this positive healthy path Gage has been on. But he has a little cold right now, and I get up like eight times a night to make sure his cold hasn’t turned into a fever, I count his coughs every hour to make sure they don’t get worse. His poor doctors must hate the fact I have every single one of their phone, pager, and fax numbers on speed dial. Because, let me tell you since Saturday I have been calling, paging, and faxing at least three times a day. “No, Mom the cough is not in his lungs. It’s just a cold. He’s fine.” How do they know, since they haven’t seen him in a few days? We go back to the clinic for another dressing change, hopefully he will have improved by then that way we can have an easy, stress free weekend.
So once the shock of being pregnant wore off, I did EVERYTHING I was supposed to do. I said hello to prenatal vitamins, and goodbye Tylenol for headaches and sciatica, my bloody mary became a virgin mary and no more sushi,***California rolls do not count, they are not sushi*** I planned for a drug free birth; that the Hubs quickly vetoed. Thank you baby Jeebus that he did too, because I was rushed in for an emergency c-section after twenty-two hours of labor. Which happened to be the easiest labor, ever. It was that that last hour that totally messed everything up. Thanks Gage.
But once Gage was born, I thought the biggest thing I would have to worry about would be autism. I swear, dumb, I know but I guess I have always been the “glass is half empty” type of girl. So we bought The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears and again, yes, I know that there has been no proven link between vaccines and autism, but we still chose to go through with the alternate vaccine schedule, and no flu shots ***I don’t tell you how to raise your kid, don’t tell me how to raise mine*** I nursed forever, used glass bottles, attempted to make my own baby food, Gage took one bite and refused to touch the stuff ever again. I might have even tried cloth diapers, but I throw Tupperware away if it’s been sitting in the refrigerator with food in it too long, so extra laundry wasn’t something extra I was willing to ad on to my to do list.
I would never have guessed that this is where my life would have taken me. A stinking cute toddler, with a terminal illness. A little person I love more then life it self, who if I could magically take this shit on myself and save him the pain, I would. I never thought that maybe Gages, first birthday could have been his one and only, or that the reason he would be getting his first haircut was because, I wanted it to on my terms and leukemia and chemotherapy could suck it; so we shaved it. And then it never fell out, because apparently 5% of kids do not lose their hair during chemo. Gage is one of those kids who doesn’t follow the “chemo rule book.” Everything that should not happen, happens and what should happens, doesn’t. Ain’t that the shit? Makes everything much more of an adventure.
He’s our fearless little warrior.
What did you do today? We walked…
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Tagged broviac, candida, CT scan, Gage, happy anniversary, hospital, leukemia, live, love, port, surgery, the walk