Sunday, May 09, 2004

“Out of the Mouths of Babes”

aka Happy Mother’s Day

You know that cartoon, Family Circus, about the family with four little kids and every Fathers Day one of the little kids “draws” the cartoon to give his dad the day off? I’ve decided that today, for the first Mother’s Day I am spending as a “cancer mom”, I’m giving myself the day off and want to let some of the wise, profound, and occasionally funny things that kids say fill the journal entry instead.

Before I pass the baton, however, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Mother’s Day. First to my mom Betty, who proved again last week that even at the age of “achooooo—two!’, she’ll still drop everything to help one of her kids in need. My sister Kelly and I, and Blaine and Cliff by marriage, have all been very, very blessed. Second, to all the moms out there spending this day in the hospital with their sick children, or sitting by the grave of a child, my best wishes and condolences. And to all the moms whose kids are home and healthy, give them an extra hug today and thank God for the noses and tushes that need wiping, the laundry and homework that need done, the taxi-cabbing, cooking and cleaning that are your life. Really, what better life is there? None.

Zachary Finestone is a Caringbridge site I have been following for months. Normally written by his dad Scott, whose sense of humor is twisted, wrong, and highly enjoyable, go to the May 5 journal entry for the essay by Zach titled, “Why I Hate Cancer.” I think Zach said it better than most adults do. Grab a Kleenex before you read this essay ..... but if you go back through the journal entries and read some of Scott’s older entries, grab a Depends.

I know many of you are closely following the current transplant journey of Spencer Rocket. I especially love the conversation Spencer and his dad had in the May 6 journal entry. Nothing like the honesty of a child, eh???

And for another laugh to go Christopher’s Page and read his poem, “If You Give A Kid On Steroids…..” in the May 6th journal entry. Very, very clever, very, very true!

And out of the mouth of the Mom of a Babe (fitting for Mother’s Day, don’t you think?) I encourage you to go to Katie’s Page and read her mom Sue’s journal entry for April 27th, discussing the “stinky cheese factor” of having a kid with cancer. Sue really hit the nail on the head for how I feel many days with Kendrie.

Sue also gave me permission to reprint a section of her journal where she explains (in much better terms than I am able) the clinical definition of “remission” and why kids in remission still need chemotherapy:

“I had a conversation today that I have had many many times over the last 8 months. Most people do not understand why if Katie is in remission she needs to continue chemotherapy for two more years. Part of that answer is that "clinical remission" is defined as less than 5 percent blasts or cancer cells in the bone marrow and none in the spinal fluid. Remission is based on the technology they had to look at cells way back in the 1940's. In 1940, when they looked through their microscopes they didn't see anymore cancer cells and they thought the cancer was gone. With modern technology they can find one cancer cell amongst thousands of normal cells. We are told that blood cancer starts with one bad cell reproducing - so in theory you only need a single cancer cell to survive for the cancer to grow back. So the answer really is that "clinical remission" is only a baseline to which all patients need to get to proceed to the next stage of treatment - it does not mean the cancer is all gone. (Although that is what we tell Katie - because it seems more hopeful and glass half full kind of thinking is important when dealing with cancer) Presumably 2 more years of pumping chemo into Katie's body will kill off all of the cancer cells in her blood.”

Thanks, Sue, for letting me blatantly plagiarize your page!

Well, I guess that’s it for now. I’m off to sit in front of the tv and eat bon bons on my special day. Kidding, of course --- If you want the truth, I will be hiding, with Blaine’s Mother’s Day Blessing, in my scrapbooking room all day, indulging in my latest favorite craving for beef jerky, and waiting for him to grill out at dinner. Sounds like a pretty fabulous day to me! And sometime in there I’ll manage to squeeze a hug or two out of the three little rugrats who give meaning to my day and allow me to enjoy the blessing of being a Mother. Thank you Brayden, Kellen and Kendrie; I love you, Mom.

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