Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sticks and Stones

CJ had his port access, flush, and blood counts today. He did really well even though it takes a lot of effort for him to get ready to go in the morning.

I purposefully made the appointment later in the morning to try to help with this but I think it only makes it worse. I think getting up early and out is wiser. Better to have no time to think about what you are about to face that day. I was able to cheer him up a bit once we were on our way. I wanted to sit there in silence too but I knew that wasn't serving or loving him so I started talking to him and we had some fun to lighten the mood on the way there.

When we arrived, they told me we needed to check in at the Cancer Institute before our appointment since it was a new year. The Cancer Institute is for all cancer patients at Memorial. As we sat and waited, I realized that most of the people checking in were elderly. CJ was the only child at that time. I am typically surrounded by kids with cancer so this was a different view. It reminded me that this really should not be a childhood disease. What always amazes me is the shock and sadness the adults with cancer get at the thought of a child battling what they are going through. They hate it. You can see it on their faces. However, I see it the opposite. I hate the thought of an elderly person battling what I have seen CJ go through. They don't have the advantage of youth or the benefit of naivety on their side.

After checking in , we made our way over to the office. I was a little worried about getting good blood return on the port because his port tends to be sluggish if he has not been accessed in a while, but he did fine with this. His blood counts were good! His doctor said his white blood cells are a little slow in coming back up but that this is not too uncommon and that he is doing just fine.

They said to come back in a month for blood counts and another port flush and they have him on the schedule for April to get his next set of scans and the port removed if all is still clear and there is still no evidence of disease at that time. NED! NED! NED!

CJ heard the doctor mention this and said, "My birthday is in April. That will be cool to get the port out for my birthday." His doctor assured him he would not schedule it on his actual birthday because that would not be a cool way to celebrate. Surprisingly, CJ just looked at him and said, "I don't know about that, sounds cool to me!" He probably can't think of a better birthday present than to get that port removed.

We have been so blessed with this port. CJ has done amazingly well with it. He has the same port that he got implanted in his chest over 2 years ago when this all started. Many kids have had to have it replaced multiple times due to infection or malfunction. We were always worried about that but praise God it has not happened.

CJ's port sticks out a lot and is very visible. This used to bother CJ a lot and make him very self conscious but his doctor told him today that it was a good thing because many kids put on weight and the port get buried deep and is more difficult to monitor and access.

You would be absolutely mortified if I told you the stories other mothers have shared with me about they ways their cancer child is picked on and ridiculed by kids at school and sports because of having cancer whether it is for being bald, having the port or just the cancer in general. CJ has been so fortunate to be homeshooled and attend a church where the kids have been so compassionate towards him. I remember when a whole group of kids and grown men shaved their heads to stand in solidarity with him. What a blessing that was.

On that note, please take some time to talk to your child about other kids who may be different or struggling with something. It may be cancer or speech impediments (which CJ also struggled with) or skin disorders or any visible dysfunction. Don't think it won't be your child that ridicules another child. No parent thinks it is their child that is the one doing the things that are shared with me. They would probably be just as mortified as the parent of the child being ridiculed.

I will actually go ahead and share that even good kids from good homes who you would NEVER think would hurt or belittle another child can do this whether intentionally or out of ignorance. My OWN child, who is the sibling of a cancer child did this at the age of 7. We were completely mortified at his comment to another child who was an amputee. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE talk to your children about this sensitive issue. You can not imagine the pain you could save someone by having a simple conversation with your child and guiding them in this area.

I will tell you that "Sticks and Stones" is the BIGGEST LIE I have ever been told in my life. You know... "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." I don't know if that is still a popular school yard chant but it was when I was little. To this day I can't imagine who came up with that. They were obviously never called a name or ridiculed in their life. I can't really remember all the details of much of the physical abuse I have suffered but I can tell you word for word every name I was called or mock I heard directed at me. I can tell you exactly where I was standing when it was said and the look on the faces of the ones saying it. So yes, words can hurt you! Teach your children to be kind with their words. And since most of my verbal abuse came from adults, consider your words carefully as well!

As I said, CJ has had to deal with very little of this, thankfully. Most of the things that were said that hurt him were completely unintentional like I remember once a child seeing a welt on someones arm or something and started joking loudly, "A tumor, a tumor, you have a tumor." CJ was there and was obviously a little offended by this but just figured the kid was clueless as to what that meant anyway. All I could think to tell CJ was that if he did not have cancer and a body full of tumors he would have been clueless as well.

Other comments were outright funny. CJ was at baseball practice this past season and one of the little brothers of one of CJ's teammates was running bases. He ran into CJ at first base and put up his hands as he ran into CJ. His hand must have landed right on CJ's port because he looked up at CJ really strange with big eyes and then walked off and started saying, "Dude, that kid has some big nipples." He was telling all the kids on the team he couldn't believe how big and hard CJ's nipples were. I asked CJ what he did and if he explained about the port and he just said, "No, I thought it was funny so I didn't tell him." Thankfully, he took that well.

Still, I am glad I wasn't there though. I would have went into momma bear mode before the boy could have formed a grin on his face. It is amazing how us parents are so much more offended than our own children are. CJ was able to laugh and laugh at so many things. That really helped me immensely. I will admit I struggle with any form of mocking or name calling being for fun or out of love. I can see that healthy people do well with this but for those that were on the receiving end of harsh words and little praise most of their life it is a difficult transition into the healthy side of affectionate mockery.

So once again, we have another appointment under our belt. We are in a new year looking forward to the end of another phase for CJ. Port removal in April! NED NED! Keep praying!

Thank you again for all your love and support and prayers! I pray the journey of this blog these past two years has been as much a blessing for you as it has for us.


Anonymous said...

That is so awesome! Words are really so powerful thank you for sharing, we will keep you in prayer.

beckyg said...

Yet another blog post that makes me laugh AND cry within reading one post. I will never tire of thanking you for how you openly share your life with us through this blog. Hearing about all that the Lord is doing in and through you guys blesses, encourages, and refreshes my soul.
Praying for a birthday port removal!
For the Gonzalez Gang

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

So grateful to hear that this check up was clear! April is just around the corner! What an array of events you have been to! From a motorocycle ride to a famous persons backyard! Alberto and I rode int he Toy Run many years ago and it was quite amazing as you say! We are all so amazaed at how you all keep focised on helping kids and families and not "hiding away" from it all now, as many people do.

You are all always in our thoughts and prayers

Nicole Ana Alberto

Anonymous said...

Well I guess I can't type tonight!! :)

Anonymous said...

Yet another heartfelt post that makes you stop and take a long, hard look at things...and vow to do a little more, try a little harder, make a bigger difference. Can't put into words how much I LOVE to read your blogs, your always teaching us something!!!!! Keep on making the world a better place! So so happy that all is well and the port removal is in the near future. Will be an awesome birthday present whether it happens earlier or later. We have no words to THANK YOU for ALL you did for us for Christmas, for keeping Alicia, for the handmade cards that are still on the wall. We have some chemo bags to give you. We're getting excited to help the CBC for the 50/50 thing with the Panthers!!! You do so much for others and we can't wait to help do something for CBC!

Sue, Yovany, Alicia, Anthony, Kenzie & Chris

Break the Mold said...

Hey Dawn! Amy, here. Just wanted to drop a note to say hey & let you know how extraordinary I find your blog. I read as often as you post and speak of it, often, with others in my life. Each time I make an attempt to describe your blog and how it affects me, to someone, I find myself at a loss for words. It's really nice, the way you write of events and moments and thoughts, even the ones that others may be afraid to "admit" to. Like i just read the post about Winterfest, and the honesty in the end was just beautiful. Your posts are just so...well, REAL. Please keep it up, you are touching many peoples' lives. I hope you know this.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I am so glad to read of things going well for CJ and the rest of those wonderful George's. A successful apointment is so HUGE,people without health problems cannot even conceive how big it is to walk in with YOUR child into a cancer setting and walk out with good news. That is HUGE!!!!! We keep up, we will always keep up, we miss you all very much and we can't wait to see you this summer. Thank you for taking the time to write and thank you especially for your comments about teaching your children to be kind and say kind words, for as you know, Truman's life has been changed dramatically with huge physical changes in the loss of his leg and he will always be one of those kids who stands out and kids stare at, thank you for educating people on educating themselves, everyone is different in someway, some people's ways are just more obvious than others. WE love you and your entire family and we are blessed beyond words to know you. We hope ALL your kiddos are doing great. All our love, forever.


Cory Mulligan said...

Hey Guys! Just wanted to stop in and say that you are all always in my prayers esp. my pal CJ! Im heading to another Cancer weekend at Boggy Creek and hope that it is half as great as the weekend I got to spend with you and your family.
CJ: Stay strong Buddy! April is not far away and im praying for NED for you!
Love Cory

mold treatment said...

great to hear that you guys are working well, god bless and keep safe.