Friday, March 13, 2015

1 year

A year ago today, Jon and I received some of the most devastating news two parents could ever receive.  Callum's diagnosis changed the world as we knew, forever.

Taken a year ago, after a morning of scary procedures

It's still fresh enough in my mind, that I often have trouble recounting that day's events (and the events leading up to it, for that matter).  And it still stings enough that I have trouble looking at pictures of our life shortly before we received the news.

On that day, and the days to follow, we were suddenly thrown into a world of hospital visits, multiple doctors, a battery of tests, exams and lab work on our little guy.  We've learned how to flush his PICC line and administer chemotherapy (and other gobs of medicine).  We've learned about the parts of his blood that count the most (for us of course), and have learned to live (as best we can), lab result by lab result.

Jon learning how to flush Callum's PICC line

We've learned what type of bandages and cleaning solution Callum's sensitive skin seems to tolerate the best.  We've learned what type of movies he enjoys when he needs to be comforted and what foods he demands after waking up from an LP procedure.  We've learned what type of monster our son could turn into as a teenager, during the weeks of steroidal rage.  ;-)

We've learned what questions we need to ask the doctors, and keep asking, when we visit the clinic.  We've learned how to decipher the incredibly non-intuitive insurance claim codes on our "Explanation of Benefits" and argue when something doesn't seem quite right.

We've learned we have an amazing group of people whom we can call family and friends.  We've learned that we couldn't have made it through this year (or future years) without their continuous support.

Finally asleep after a very long day (taken a year ago)

We've learned to keep an emergency overnight bag packed in the car at all times.  We've learned to live our lives more "by the moment", since who knows when our next hospital admission might be.  And we've certainly learned to cherish every memory, good or bad.

We've learned that Callum has an amazing spirit.  He is cheerful and bright, sarcastic and playful.  He is a tough kid, a strong fighter and a resilient flexible patient.  And he is becoming wise beyond his years.

We've also learned that Logan is a sensitive old soul, a watchful brother, mentor and friend.  His capacity to care for his brother, and the rest of his family, is enormous.  Callum's leukemia weighs on Logan heavily, and we've learned it has also been quite stressful for him.  He depends on his brother's cheerfulness just as much as his brother leans on his every embrace.

We've learned we're a pretty strong family and we all support and love each other very much.  We've learned we have an enormous capacity for stressful situations and trying times.

We've learned that sometimes these traumatic experiences can really test and tear families apart, but in our case, it has created a much stronger bond between two brothers and between husband and wife.

We know we still have a long road ahead of us, with some bumps along the way.  But we are truly grateful for what we have today and optimistic of what our future holds.

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