As of yesterday we were discharged from being an inpatient. We are now home living in Mt. Elgin until we hear the results of this coming Friday's surgery. We hope that we can remain as outpatients attending the hospital only for chemotherapy days. Life at home is very different now that we are on constant alert for signs of a fever, vomiting, rash, dehydration, etc... Sadly, these are all considered symptoms that every child will go through, but for our son means to the hospital for an overnight or more to prevent further difficulties. Mike and I have realized life won't be the same for years, but we are willing to give up whatever it takes to get our son healthy once again. The pediatric team is not concerned about his numbers from blood tests being low (white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin and neutrophils) as they prefer children being in their own homes away from environments where there is more of a chance of picking up infections. We have the relief of knowing there is staff on-call 24 hours a day to assist us. Gabriel's chemotherapy regiment is both oral and IV. Parents become the primary medical staff for their children since the process is so intensive and involves both home and in-clinic for chemo.
My life has changed immensely as I have come to realize that my daily routines such as day trips to town for children's programs, to stores with the kids, Sunday school teacher and seeing clients for counselling has all changed so that I can take care of my son's needs 100%. I have "happily" and without "hesitation" made the decision to take a leave of absence from everything until we know that Gabriel will be okay. I do this without hesitation because my family is the most important aspect of my life. I do acknowledge that I will have days where I will miss my other roles such as Social Worker and Sunday school teacher, but I will find ways to take care of myself without feeling resentful. God has given me great strength from past trials and tribulations to help me proceed on this journey. I have felt God's presence in the past and know he still carries me through this journey too.
Mike is coping the best that he can with all the changes. He realizes that during the day his routine remains the same. However, the difference will be his constant worry he has of how we are doing. He also realizes that in his clients won't care if he is having a difficult day as business continues inspite of life's turmoil. Mike will have to adjust to being committed to his clients and not developing a sense of apathy towards his clients. For families suffering with serious illnesses it takes a sense of diligence not to compare your difficulties to what others are suffering. We each deal with life's journeys very differently. Mike struggles with defending clients who have committed crimes when he knows his own son is coping with cancer. As a Social Worker, I remind him of the systemic reasons that his clients are in the situations they are in. His client's may have not dealt with suffering in their past well (parental illness, childhood illness, abuse, etc...) and resulted in destructive coping mechanisms. We forget that people who commit crimes are suffering from much devastation in their past. I am so proud of Mike for working for people who are oppressed. Jesus calls us to go into the world to help those who are oppressed to see a renewed life in Him. Mike is a great lawyer and is doing a great practice for those who suffer. I know I will have to remind him of this when he struggles to attend to his clients, but he is a great man who tries to do only the best for everyone. I am proud to be his wife.
A final note:
Gabriel is considered neutropenic (can't fight infections), so visits will be limited or not at all. Therefore, please know as much as we would like to see everyone we apologize that we cannot at this time for the protection of Gabriel. However, as long as you and your children have not been sick Mike and I are glad to see you without Gabriel. We hope that we can open our doors for a few visits once his neutrophils have increased. Our words cannot express the gratitude Mike and I feel for the thoughtful calls, e-mails, gifts and cards that you all have provided. Please know that this helps us more than you will ever know.