Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life is not a gurantee...

This is long, but I think it is well worth the read. We don't like surprises at our house, because we have had a lot of bad ones. But one thing I learned for sure, never, EVER take the ones you love for granted. Many times when people hear this though, their thoughts automatically shift to a spouse or a parent. Maybe a friend or sibling. For Stacy and I, our thoughts shift to our children. Now, that is not to say that I take any of the above listed for granted. I know my husband has a dangerous job, and I never take that man for granted, I let him know I love him each and every time I can, and I also know that it doesn't take a dangerous job for someone you love to be taken from you. But I definitely learned this the hard way, unfortunately from my children. I wanted to share, for those who don't know me that well. Please take this to heart, this is a true account that we wish was make-believe.

When Blake was diagnosed in Jan. 2007, we didn't know how bad it was or how it would end up. Thankfully he has been doing good since September 2008, and with each check up we pray that continues, but we know that could change in a heart beat. His surgeries were 8 and 10 hours long, that is a long time for anesthesia for a child that in itself was scary, and because of the nature and location of them, his surgeries were just as risky as the disease itself. It was a scary, dark time. And it was then that my life and my outlook on such changed. I stopped taking things for granted. I started thanking God for every day that I, my husband and my child woke up.

Then miss Natalie came along. The ray of sunshine we needed in the darkest of times we had faced. She was perfectly healthy and the light of her brothers eyes, as they both were to us. Just as her brother had his last major surgery (so far) and finally on his way to a true remission, she was getting ready to make her entrance into this world. And then 3 short months after she arrived, we were at CHOA again, but this time we were praying over her bed in the Scottish Rite PICU, begging God to let her make it through the night with her pertussis. When the odds were stacked against her and her little body was all fought out, and with every struggled, gurgled, breath she took, I held mine, hoping it was not her last one, but she made it! The doctors called it a true miracle. And it was, and it just magnified what I already knew was true. You can't take anything for granted, NONE of us, not even babies, are promised tomorrow. I think what tore me up the most, is when we finally got to take Natalie home from Scottish Rite, family members where he had been staying while we were with her, brought Blake home and I found him later that night, in her room, while she slept. He was crying. He said "Mommy, I was so scared (keep in mind, NO ONE told Blake how deathly sick Natalie really was), I was so scared that she might go to Jesus and she was hurting like I had to hurt. But I asked Jesus to not take my sister. I don't want to not see her everyday."

We went through some really hard times as parents, within an 18 month span, we watched both of our children become be attacked by two different monsters that we could not prevent and had no control over. One was in the form of tumors and one was in the form of a virus. We watched two healthy kids become fragile, weak and fight for their lives. We watched them hurt. We watched them go through things children should never have to go through, but mine did, and so many others do as well. I would have traded places with either one of them in a heart beat. I used to think it was just bad luck and I used to ask God if he thought it was funny, or how in the world could he possibly hand us anymore? Every time I turned around I was afraid it was bad news about my children. Every time Blake's ear hurt or Natalie sneezed, I worried. But I see the blessing in disguise. You have to take the bad and try to find the good. I can't change what happened to my children. I can only thank God that they are still here and take a lesson from it. The lesson is, as I have already stated. Never take it for granted. Love them as much as you possibly can and enjoy every minute that you can with them. For no one knows what tomorrow holds.

I love my husband and children more than words from this keyboard could ever express. I can't put it into words. Stacy and I know what it is like to feel like the whole world is stacked against you and there is nothing you can do about it. I don't think you can grasp the whole feeling that we felt and still do feel unless you have been through the types of things we have with our kids. And for those of you who have never had to feel that, praise God! For those that have, you know what I am talking about here. That feeling. The feeling that something is happening to your child and you can't do a damn thing about it. You have to put your trust in doctors and God. But you can't shoot it, you can't smother it, you can't run away from it. You have to face it, head on. My husband is the strongest man I know. He is a hero among men, but even he felt defeat in the wake of what we went though. His words to me in reference to Blake on the day he went in for his first major surgery were " I can stop a bad guy and I can lift twice my weight in the gym, I can fix anything that needs fixing and I can out run most people, but I cannot stop this for Blake and for that I feel like failure and the weakest man in the world, my son thinks I can move mountains, but I can't protect him from this and I can't out run, stop, lift, or fix his hurt."

We never showed the kids how scared we were. We reserved those moments for private moments in a hospital elevator, or a bathroom, or a quick trip to grab clean clothes before going back to the hospital. We put up a strong front. But we know what is like to see the child you love so much flash before your eyes and to have to even consider the fact that something might take them from you.

Tell those you love that you love them. And tell them every chance you can. Enjoy every little, single moment. Make the best out of the worst, and the most out of nothing. If your a parent, realize what a privilege that is. If your kids are healthy, realize what a TRUE blessing that is. It doesn't matter whose child is dressed best, the smartest, the best, etc. If they are healthy you need to get on your knees and praise God for that. I do everyday now. And I hope that I continue to get to thank him for healthy children! If you took the time to read this, I would ask that you always keep us in your prayers, but especially Blake. While his battles are over for now, the war continues. At any time, the tumor could have a significant growth, it is expected to happen, we just don't know when that will be. Maybe one day we can look back and say "they were wrong, it never grew again." But I don't know what the future holds and so I just ask God day by day, for another day of healthiness for Blake.

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