Thursday, April 13, 2006

Georgia Unleashed

Georgia is feeling great, except for a little croup. She has actually never felt ill, and that in itself is a huge blessing. So many children with this disease are bedridden with terrible pain that morphine can’t relieve.

She can climb out of her crib now, and her playpen. She is adept at undressing. She’s learning how to work a doorknob. If you find a naked blonde baby in the middle of the street at 3 am, she could belong to us.

We had Georgia’s first MRI check, and her first physical examination for follow-up, and both were fine. She’s missing an adrenal gland, but no new lumps or bumps in her abdomen. Next MRI is on April 19th, and we’ll be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house the night before—thank goodness. It’s no fun traveling two hours in a car with a 20 month old who isn’t allowed to have breakfast.

Sydney has continued to raise money for The James Fund by selling bracelets for Georgia. She presented Sydney Birrell with a cheque for $871.50 on March 16th. I had to work that day, but Scott and Georgia were present. They met the incredibly inspiring Birrell family. Our contact with them and The James Fund has led us all to commit to doing more. This is the only fund that channels money directly into neuroblastoma research. If we ever have to face chemotherapy or worse with Georgia, then the work The James Fund has done is our best chance for a brighter prognosis.

The past few months have been quite challenging for Scott and I. When a kindly man sits you down in a little room with no windows and tells you your baby has cancer, the world becomes a fog for days and weeks on end. We’ve done a lot of soul-searching, and reached some amazing conclusions. The things we used to think were important, the pride of owning a house, the satisfaction in paying our bills and having a few nice things, driving that car—those things do not matter. At one point, I was at peace with the possibility of losing my job, our house, my car and quite likely having to declare bankruptcy. And it just didn’t matter. Kindness to others, consideration, empathy, and spending time loving the important people in our life—those are the things that matter.

It’s funny, being a member of a ‘cancer family’ now—how the perceptions of people who haven’t fought this disease are so black and white—you have cancer and then you don’t. In reality, remission is a gray area. Continued monitoring is a fog. That terrible foe could return at any time. And, we are well aware, if neuroblastoma comes back, the odds are greatly against us. But we’ll still fight. We’ll still smile. We’ll still thank you all for your incredibly comforting support and love, for your prayers and kind words and your thoughts of our little angel.

What we’ve decided to do, what we instinctively did without really discussing it, is this: spend time with our children making each day a special day. We have dinner together every night. We tell these precious little girls how much we love them—every day. We try not to yell. We try to have a happy time, a moment for a cuddle, a smile and a laugh. I love sitting on the cold kitchen floor while Georgia runs across the room and launches herself into my arms. I revel in snotty kisses and peanut-butter hugs and ‘help’ folding the laundry.

For now, we are lapping up every minute of the smiles and sound bodies both our daughters are enjoying.

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