Monday, September 13, 2010
Day +530: Reassimilating
It's day +530 here at the Meyer homestead and life is good! Max had his monthly check-up last Tuesday morning with Dr. Davies and her team and they were pleased with how he looked and how all his blood counts looked, etc. The best news from the visit was that his engraftment was back up again to 87.4%! It continues to bounce around in the 80's but, I think we are all feeling that it is somewhat stabilizing there. We continue to hope and pray that this is the case. Only time will tell for sure.
Max and Alex are both doing brilliantly back at school. We had one small blip so far - Tuesday of Max's second week, the school called about 10:30 am to say that he was in the Health Aide's office with a tummy ache. Of course, for their sake as much as mine, I dropped everything and headed up there to check him out. I ended up bringing him home here, as he was still complaining that it hurt...and, as suspected, nothing came of it. Thankfully. I was afraid that we might be starting something so, we had a few "heart to heart" discussions that day about being sure we were really sick before we went to the nurses office and came home and things like that. Maxer must have gotten the message because it hasn't happened again so far, thank goodness!
Ellee also started preschool last Friday! She was very excited about going until we were just about there when she announced for the first time, "mommy, I don't want to go to school." She shed a few tears as Alex and I left her but, the teacher's said that they were short lived and she was happy as could be when we picked her up. She will be there each Friday morning for 2 1/2 hours so, it gives Alex and I some "date time" which we are excited about. It's so nice to have one on one time with each child. I am looking forward to having Friday mornings to hang with Alex, my sweet little boy.
Beyond all that, we have been busy having lots of fun too! Matt went on his annual golf trip with his buddies a few weekends ago and the weekend after that, I headed down to Hilton Head with just my family for my cousin's wedding on the beach. It was beautiful and I enjoyed my time away, especially getting to hang out with my sister and brothers and mom and dad without constant interruption from one of our little ones. I was anxious to get home here and really missed my family but, it was a special weekend and I am so glad that I was able to get away for it.
We went to the Reds game this past Friday night and the kids had a ball! The boys are really excited about the Reds and their hopeful pennant race and they love the new pitcher, the Cuban Missle. They were thrilled to be able to attend another game this summer and we all enjoyed a beautiful fall night here in Cincy. We also hit Kings Island this past weekend! We hadn't been all summer so, we took advantage of some discounted tickets through GE and took the kids. We all enjoyed it for awhile although Max was quite disappointed that he is not tall enough yet to ride the big rollercoasters. He was really looking forward to riding the Beast and some of the other coasters but, unfortunately, he is just not there yet. He was very sad and frustrated and bummed out about being so short for really the first time ever. As he cried about it, I told him that I was so proud of him because his small size is never an issue for him. He never lets it phase him and that is something to be proud of. I told him that it was impressive to see him out on that basketball court, playing against kids two or three heads taller than him, not even phased by it! I tried to make him feel better by saying that I was sure next year he will be tall enough and we will ride the heck out of the coasters then. It was tough to see him so disappointed.
I am doing my best to continue our reassimilation back into reality. I could not be more pleased with how well the kids are doing. I wasn't sure what to expect and they have just blown my socks off, as usual. They are all so happy to be back with kids their ages, doing what they are supposed to be doing at 8, 5 and 2! It's absolutely a dream come true to see it happening. At the same time, to my surprise, I am struggling more than I have in a while. I think for the first time, I am feeling much of this journey. I knew that the time would come when I would crumble a little bit and I think it is now. When you are in the heat of a journey like this one, you do what you have to in order to get through it. You hold back your tears, you pull yourself together, you do your best to put on a happy face and make the best of it. It isn't until you have gotten yourself and your loved ones through it that you are able to digest it more, from a distance, and have some moments. There are times these days that I can't figure out what I am feeling or why I am feeling it. I just know that my head is full of thoughts and emotions and sometimes, I just have to let them go...let them out of there...not hold them back any longer!
I know that this is all part of this journey. The other night at our Parent Advisory Group meeting at the hospital, we actually got on the subject of caregiver/family support and a couple of the other parents were saying that the roughest time for them wasn't necessarily when they were in the hospital. It was once the treatments were all over and their children had been given a clean bill of health and were returning to reality that they really struggled. I felt so comforted to know that.
I have been thinking a lot about all this lately, trying to make some sense of it for myself (my analytical mind at work, unfortunately). I know that part of it is that I am feeling things as I remember experiences that I probably didn't fully allow myself to feel before now. I also know that another part of it is that I miss being with my three little ones each day, although I am thankful for my quiet time in the afternoons while Ellee naps. But, I think the other part of it is that my perspective on life is forever changed...somewhat for the better and somewhat for the worse. My mom put it well yesterday when she said that in some ways, our experience has made parts of life more joyful and special and in other ways, unfortunately, it has taken some of the joy out of life.
The best way that I can come up with to describe it is to imagine yourself going on an oversees assignment with your family for 18 months, say to Germany. The place is different; the people are different; the way you spend your time is different; even the language is different. When you have an oversees experience like that, you can be forever changed; your horizons can be broadened; you can see life in a different way than you did before. To a large extent, that is how our last 18 months have been. I am not the same person that I was before this journey and, while it is so good to be getting back to doing things that we did before this all began, it can be tough at times.
I share all of this with all of you because I just think it's important to give you some insight into this part of the journey. While Max is doing incredibly well and that is the most important thing in the world to us, we are continuing to feel the ramifications of this experience. I know that with time, I will "reassimilate" and work through my thoughts and emotions. In the meantime, don't be surprised if I have a sudden teary moment over something you would not ever have imagined someone crying about (I still get tears in my eyes every time Alex climbs on that afternoon Kindergarten bus to go to school)!
On a positive and happy note, we are thrilled to see our progress thus far with regard to Max's Mighty Mob and the walk to support Cincinnati Children's Hospital on October 16th! We would love to have more of you join us or support the hospital financially, if you can! Please visit our team link at http://giving.cincinnatichildrens.org/NetCommunity/maxs_mighty_mob. As I said on our team's page, we can never repay the medical team at Children's for giving Max a second chance at life...all we can do is do our best to get one heck of a team out there at the walk each year, raising money for Dr. Davies and her team to continue their life saving research in order to make the next family's bone marrow transplant journey a bit easier!
Thank you for your continued caring support of Max and our entire family!
Peace and love,
Kristi (and Matt, Max, Alex, Ellee and Spud)