Today, I struggle with this blog as so many emotions and thoughts come to the forefront. I have shared a vulnerable emotional side in this blog for the following reasons: to help and inspire others whom may face similar circumstances, show the power that God can have over our lives if we commit to Him, to provide you all with consistent information and to assist with writing a journal to release my own thoughts and emotions. However, I know that unless you are a parent who has suffered watching your own child with cancer it will be hard to empathize this pain. We truly comprehend the lack of not being able to empathize as we were once those parents with a healthy child. I, was the parent, who watched the advertisements for Toronto Sick Kids and would remark to myself "I can't imagine what those parents must be going through." In the past, this statement could never depict the immense amount of pain it would be to watch your own child, who you conceived, go through the procedures that "no"child should ever have to go through. I know our prognosis is so much better and we are receiving positive reports as this is the piece I happily and without hesitation share with you all. However, this is just a debriefing and not the full story as I hesitate to share the exact journey we have and will take for the next 3.5 to 4 years of the "Smith Family's life". Today, I need to share those missing pieces that I have left out of my blog. It is the pain and misery that strikes us every time our son is forced under general anaesthetic for a spinal tap that he will receive once a week for three months, to watch them subject him to chemicals every week that have so many risk factors and repercussions such as heart problems, induced secondary leukemia, heart problems and the list goes on. The unbearable pain when I had to listen to him scream "mommy" as I was forced to leave him as I walked down the long hall because I was not permitted in the room to watch him fall asleep for surgery. We had to and will continue to cope with listening to him scream as they take blood every week to check his blood count. Even though he has a port it is not used for small blood counts. This is just a few of the aspects we will face over the next few years. As you can briefly read it is this process that makes this journey so difficult. Simone, our amazing daughter, has picked up at an early age something has changed significantly in Gabriel. In one week, she has transformed into a person that Gabriel needs so much in his life. She makes him laugh. Her personality that God has given her inspires us to laugh and enjoy the small moments in life. God has given her an amazing personality that cheers all of us during the most depressing of days. One day she will know what a true gift she is to her mommy, daddy, and Gabriel.
Mike and I want to express our appreciation for the best wishes and praise for the prognosis thus far. Please also remember the journey we will be taking every week to diminish the cancer cells forever. Therefore, prayer and a listening ear are the most powerful gifts you can provide.
Today, we were informed of the protocol for Gabriel's next 3.5 to 4 years. It is great that he is a fast responder, but based on the diagnosis of the trans located leukemic chromosome his treatment will still be intensive. This means an introduction of more drugs, more frequently and weekly spinal taps where chemo is inserted. Mike and I understand the purpose of this treatment, but it does not beget the pain that produces in Mike and I.
Praise God for the following:
making him a fast-responder
that he has ALL and not AML
that he has not had cancer in his central nervous system
that he is three at time of diagnosis as this increases cure rate
that he has less than 3% cancer cells left in his body as of today
that his blood counts are changing to positive counts (his hemoglobin is at a wonderful 131, his neutrophils have increased slightly and he is beginning to make his own platelets)
Thank you heavenly Father!!!!!
Please continue to pray for Mike, myself, Gabriel and Simone for strength, peace, and trust in the Lord's will. In addition, we ask for Prayer for protection over Gabriel as he does not face the risk factors known and unknown to chemotherapy.