The Smith family had to endure a night of vomiting. We were concerned that Gabriel may have spiked a fever. A fever for Mike and I causes many concerns. First, the pain it causes watching and hearing our son in pain when they take blood cultures. Second, a fever determines whether there is an infection in his body, which at this time his body is incapable of fighting. We were certainly on alert last night, which also helped us realize what life at home will look like. We are somewhat afraid to leave the hospital when that time comes, but we know that we are vigilant parents who would do whatever it takes to keep our son safe. The most difficult part for me last night was that I could not be there to help my son while I was trying to not get sick. I have been coping through all of this by keeping busy and doing whatever I can to help Gabriel be comfortable. Therefore, I felt so sad as I know my baby boy needed me during the night and Mike had to attend to his needs. I am glad that it was his daddy that could do this, but as his mother it felt horrible to not be the one.
Gabriel's day tomorrow (Friday, Feb 20) involves another surgery to determine whether chemotherapy has"killed" some or all of the cancer cells and to insert more chemo into his central nervous system (spine). Gabriel continues on his chemo everyday and the Doctor's are pleased with the outcome thus far. We are reminded everyday that his counts won't be within the normal range until his body starts building his numbers without artificial assistance. This thought can be difficult. We try to not focus on this aspect of our journey. We look for every moment where our son is smiling and laughing, even on those days it only lasts for an hour or even for just a few minutes. We were reminded today that Gabriel will lose his hair and his face will become quite round from the chemo medications. Mike and I were saddened by the fact that he won't look like our little boy. We are sad because the only thing at this point that has remained is his physical appearance. However, in a few months we will be reminded of his cancer every time we look at him. The nurses indicated this was the most difficult stage for parents because they realize everyday life is very different for their child and for their family. Mike and I are strong, but sometimes we have many moments where we are weak and wish we could wake up from this nightmare. God is making us strong each day and we do feel a sense of peace even during this time of unpredictability. We may have times of weakness, but we are strong in faith and reassured that God is gracious and loving. I can only trust and pray that He will take care of our son each and every day.