So I have been struggling for a while on how to say thank you. In the face of the worst thing that can be thrown at you, Casey, Connor, Claire and I are reminded that life is generally good, and that is because of the people you surround yourself with. We have daily reminders of how beautiful life is, how our support network has lifted us up, I have feared doing a post like this, because I can not thank everyone, or will forget someone, but because I do not have a free minute in my days I want to say thank you, since I can not send thank you notes.
To my three best college/post college girlfriends, Kristin/Ryan/Jenn, thank you, you have made sure my family and Casey is well fed, you have made sure Claire is well fed with exciting “kid-friendly meals”, you have made sure and researched where I can get food while in the hospital, you are setting up a fund for Connor’s medical expenses, you donate blood, you will do anything, while I have been unlucky in life lately I am blessed in the friend department.
To my two best high school friends, Michelle and Celeste, you both traveled from far away to attend The twins birthday party, you made sure both myself and Connor could pack for the hospital without thinking twice (you knew what we would need without me knowing, I realize I need something, look in the bag and poof it is there), and you made sure Claire had activities too, plus Michelle, you made Connor’s life by sending Elmo to the PICU, I still have tears in my eyes thinking about it.
To Meagan Dougherty, I always thought photos were important that is why we chose to invest in them. I can honestly say neither Casey or I ever took one moment with our family for granted, we struggled through infertility then micro-preemies, a lot over the last year we would just look at each other’s and say “pinch me” we were so blessed, Meagan documented a truly happy time for us, by photographing a last minute thrown together 2nd birthday for the twins (this is of special importance because the twins could not have a first birthday because it was during RSV season), see the pictures here: http://maegandougherty.com/connor-and-claire-celebrate-2/. I will treasure this day forever!
To heartworks, a local “acts of kindness” charity in remembrance of the “acts of kindness” shown to our neighbors family after loss from 9-11, you supplied our 2 year old with an iPad, I had promised myself, tv and technology would not be a huge part of my toddlers life, they would play outside and be kids like I was, then brain cancer happened and we do not travel anywhere without Connor’s iPad, he is obsessed, we are obsessed, he watches unlimited Sesame Street and everything else, it is a night light, it is a sound machine, it is the only thing that gets us both through the day.
To my Verizon family, our credo says we run to a crisis, the thing that makes me so proud to work there is the friends and support system I have made, you have all run to my personal crisis. From the gift cards that will help Casey and I with food, lodging and parking while in the city, to the surprises that have arrived for Connor and Claire to the almost daily texts and emails I get from many of you, all I can say is I am so thankful and miss you. I feel so bad about how I left, without any transition (even after the twins I had the composure to type up a detailed transition list, this was different), this is the hardest part, I feel like a piece of me is missing without work, but unfortunately, cancer is taken that from me too, it takes everything, but to you all, I love, miss and think about you every day. I actually heard from Lauren something I had been working on was happening, that gave me a smile on a rough day.
To Judy and Lauren, my “cancer friends” thank you for letting me text you at 3 am and provide real time updates and thank you for turning up your phones to provide real time advice. I know the two of you will make sure Connor will get through this as easily as possible.
To Anna, I know you have probably taken this harder than anyone. You are the only person I know who can relate on an emotional level to what 25 weekers can do to the “mom” emotionally, your emotional support is invaluable and I know you are one of our biggest supporters and prayer warriors from afar, I look forward to our next Bucknell reunion when this is all behind us and we see 4 miracle 25 weekers running the quad together with no memories of any of their medical traumas.
To cousin Lauren, you are always there, from texts, to play dates, to making sure we have everything we need for Claire, from a crib to a high chair, thank you.
To my Aunt Pat, thank you for your notes on research and support networks and making sure Casey and I have the means to take care of ourselves while we are away from home.
To our families, words can not do it justice. Casey and I found each other probably because family was so important to each of us. Casey’s parents come in almost everyday, they bring me lunch, they give me the opportunity to shower and brush my teeth, they love and interact with Connor, they tell me to take a walk. To Casey’s siblings, you all would do anything for us, from Allyson and Rick getting us a room during our first hospital stay, from Brady flying here from California and coming with me to get Connor’s stitches out which was not fun, from Donnie coming to visit in the hospital, to Tucker being willing to do anything, including cleaning out our kitchen. To Uncle Matt, thank you for providing Claire laughter every day. To my parents, Dad, you will drop everything to come visit, to my mom who has uprooted her whole life to raise Claire. She lives where Claire lives, she mAkes sure Claire is well fed and happy, she is Claire’s second mother, I could not leave her without knowing my mom was taking care of her, to my sister who has opened up her house, who would do anything and now essentially has two kids and who is the best friend in the world, thank you.
To my amazing family, Casey, Connor and Claire, there are no other people I would want to go to battle with, we are such a team and love each other s much and I know cancer is no match for us.
To everyone else or anyone I may have missed we are so thankful for the prayers, words of encouragement, cards, the presents for Connor and Claire that give us a smile, and the food that keeps us going.
As for Connor, today was a rough day, the chemo and flu and everything else are taking a toll on him. His fever is still touch and go, his rash is still there, and he now has mouth sores, which are quite painful, he actually wanted to eat today but couldn’t because of the sores. He continues to perplex the doctors and we are happy to have a changeover of the inpatient team because perhaps they will pick up on something new and solve the mystery. His counts are still very low, but we are hopeful that perhaps we can get him home at some point next weekend as he starts cycle number two a week from wed.
Some pics of Con today enjoying some surprises from my bp team at work (this care package bought tears to my eyes because everything was so thoughtful including the “virtual hugs”).
A moment of normalcy on my night off, wishing though there was a third car and Connor was in it!