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The bagel lady

We have so many of our special friends in the hospital right now…Sierra’s in with pneumonia, Sam is there with uncertain chest xrays and a fever, Baby Leo is in for an undetermined fever, and Mathew is starting his first round of chemo to get him in to remission. I also got news of another relapse of a friend, Justin Jones, who had finished treatment. He initially had a brain tumor and it’s now in his spine. Please keep these and all the kids battling their diseases in sincere and faithful prayer.

Bad week in the cancer world. Would you think that there could be a GOOD week in the cancer world? In comparison to what this week has been, yes, other weeks can rock. But this is a week when we mourn the lives we had before we learned what cancer is all about. We fight anger at the indiscriminating way it attacks our kids, the ruthless way it tries to deprive them of their joy, we are frustrated and tired of having to see another child suffer just to make it to the next day. I would never have dreamed of taking my preschool age child to go “hang” at the hospital, but now that’s nothing. As long as she isn’t getting a bracelet and a bed, she’s good to go and visit.

Peyton and I dropped the kids off at school, during which I was told, not so gently “You don’t have to walk me to class anymore”. Just about 3 months ago, Rachael had to walk to class alone and almost had a nervous breakdown in the hall when she couldn’t find me. Today she lets me know that she’s cutting that umbilical cord with a razor sharp butcher knife. Oh the pain!!!

So, I parked the car and we all started to get out of the car.

“I said I don’t need you to walk to me to class, mom. I can do it by myself.”

Fine, I always liked your brother better anyway.

“I’m not going to walk you to class, I’m going to talk to some of the other moms.”

“Well, just don’t follow me to class.”

See here, missy, I carried you in my belly for 9 months, giving birth to you was much like trying to push a Buick through a garden hose and if I want to walk you to class, I will wear my “I’m with Rachael” shirt, point at you, screaming “I’m walking THIS child to her classroom today!!!” every step of the way.

Instead, I stood back, watched her walk away proudly independent and felt a pang for the child who stood in the walkway, bawling because she couldn’t find me.

Nathaniel, in his perfect timing, said “You can walk me to class, Mom.” Thank you very much for my co-dependent child!

After drop-off, Peyton and I headed to Einsteins Bagels to load up for a trip to the hospital. All stories told are that the food there is a complete abomination and getting you to eat is just considered “job assurance” for the doctor and nurses.

We order two dozen bagels IN BOXES, a dozen assorted pastries IN A BOX, a BOX of coffee…and the 15 year old kid behind the counter looks at me and asks “Is this for here or to go?” Are you kidding me?

For here, of course, I’m planning in put myself into a carb-induced coma and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be when I finish off 24 bagels than right here in the mecca of processed white flour!

Peyton and I packed up our industrial sized load of bagels and coffee…TO GO….and headed off to the hospital. I had to pull out her crappy old stroller that has been in the trunk of Pete’s car forever and put all the food in it. Peyton was not happy. I try to make her walk as much as I can, because she’s too heavy for me to carry and she gets very lazy if she thinks she can get me to push her. When she saw me get the stroller out, she lit up. Then she saw me put all the food in it and she asked where she was going to sit.

“In the parking lot, by yourself, if you don’t walk.”

She gave me the look of death and plodded along beside me with her head hung in misery. I am so mean. But it’s not like the bagels are going to walk themselves into the hospital!

I got the chance to be the world’s oldest candy striper (my first spelling of that word was stripper….what kind of volunteer program are they running at St. Joe’s?). We got all the gang together and ate and talked and just had a little impromptu Little Tales meeting right there in Baby Leo’s room.

On our way to see Mathew, we ran into his family outside the day hospital. Mat, Karen, and little Andrew were there getting their blood tests to see if they are going to be matches for Mathew’s bone marrow transplant. Andrew was born just after Mathew was diagnosed, so they saved his cord blood, just in case. So, with a special blessing from God, he’ll be a perfect match and that will enable them to use Andrew’s blood.

Mathew has a tremendously harsh protocol of treatment. Induction, the first part of leukemia treatment is rough all around, it’s set up to get a quick remission and the rest of the treatment is given to solidify the remission. Mathew’s cancer the first time around was resistant to the chemo and it took a very long time to get him in remission. Because he’s relapsed while in treatment, the grocery list of medicines they will be giving him is brutal. There are 3 daily IV chemos, 3 doses of Prednisone each day, and he’ll receive a bone marrow aspirate on day 14 to see if it’s worked. There are two more cycles planned if the 14 day BM shows he still has leukemia cells in his blood. But we are praying for success in the first 14 days. As soon as he achieves remission he will be taken to All Chldren’s Hospital (our hospital) because they have the bone marrow unit. They will waste no time to get the bone marrow done.

Many prayers are needed for Mathew.

Pete, the kids and I went to the Children’s Cancer Center Christmas party tonight. The kids looked smashing in their holiday finery….not a single picture taken. We had a blast with all our friends and the chance to get closer with new ones….no pictures of them either. The kids got to sit on Santa’s lap, meet Buc’s players and make crafts…..you guessed it, no pictures. It was so much fun tonight, it was just a chance for me to not chase the kids around snapping pictures as I am so frequently doing.

I want to share with you what a year has done for Peyton. Last Christmas was the time when Peyton looked most like a cancer patient. I mean, she was like the poster child for cancer. She was the color of milk, she was shiny bald, she was so very skinny and just looked sick. Tonight she was running around non-stop, she had her shiny cap of dark hair, her little cheeks round and she was smiling at everyone. We are so thankful for each precious day we have together.

This was last Christmas’ American Cancer Society Christmas party

Big changes…HUGE changes! No, I just love this picture, it makes me laugh until I cry.

f.r.o.G….fully relying on God

1 Comment on “The bagel lady”

  1. #1 Basi
    on Dec 1st, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Hi Anissa,
    I'm sorry to hear about your friends who are having such a hard time right now. I promise to keep them in my prayers and if there is anything that I can do from here, PLEASE let me know b/c if we can help make their holiday even a tiny bit better, count us in.

    I can imagine it's been a tough and scary week for you. Hang in there, love,