October 24, 2017
It’s been a while since my last update, which is a good thing. Not that I don’t always have a lot to say on the matter, but, for whatever reason, I’m compelled to write more frequently when things are a little harder. We had a check-up and chemo today, and Calum is doing so well. His counts, though still suppressed for what a normal child’s would be, are literally exactly where I wanted them to be. We are moving along through maintenance and we don’t anticipate many surprises from here on out; unknowns, sure, but not real surprises. I’ve heard of some kids losing their hair again near the end of treatment but, if that happens, it will, once again, just be a visible side effect. This long phase is a little about the “wait and see”. We will wait and see if he loses his hair again, we will wait and see if he can get his port taken out early, we will wait and see if he goes to school next year, and we will wait and see if he will have any long-term side effects from his chemotherapy.
While we don’t know exactly what to expect in the long term, neither does anyone else. At this point, Calum doesn’t seem to have suffered any lasting effects; he’s a little smaller than average and that could likely be from all his chemo, but we are told that genetics should take over and he will eventually grow to whatever size God intended him to be. We do know that, even after being diagnosed with cancer, Calum is doing a lot better than a lot of less fortunate kids in this world. He is loved and cared for, and he is happy. We know that we will continue to get through this and see it through to the end, no matter what it takes.
A lot of people ask me about how Mike and I are doing, and specifically Mike. I won’t answer for him, but I will tell you what I think about Mike. Many people have mentioned to me that, if Mike and I can get through this together, that we can get through anything. That sentiment truly never occurred to me because, since the day we set foot in the hospital with Calum, I don’t think there is anyway in the world I could have gotten through this without Mike.
Mike, in many ways, has this the hardest. Calum is the most special person in the world to Mike and there is nothing he’d rather do than be home with Calum holding his hand every single day, every step of the way, but, the reality is, someone has to pay for all the baguettes we buy when Calum is taking steroids. Since early on in this process, when we were both completely terrified and shattered with sadness, without complaint, Mike headed off to work because he had to. I can only imagine how exceedingly difficult it would be to focus on work and remain strong in his role professionally at that time. His company has been very supportive, but the world is a tough place and there is only so long you want to accept sympathy before it may become detrimental to your career; and that is not in Mike’s nature anyway. He’s not a victim. He’s mentally strong and an incredibly hard-worker. He’s the truest badass, and the biggest reason why he’s such a complete ace is because he does it all without a single shred of ego. Never once has he breathed a word about how tough it is for him to do what he does. Through it all, he’s up no later than 5:30am every day, working constantly from the moment he sits at his desk until the moment he gets up, and still comes home with so much love and energy for me and the kids. Sometimes I want to murder him for it, but he always, always goes the extra mile. I think we both lean on each other in different ways but, Mike compels me to be a better person and a harder worker.
While Mike may not say a whole lot about himself, our overall morale is good. I think we both are still shell shocked from the eight-month whirlwind we are coming out of and the new version of life we are adjusting to, which makes it complicated to know exactly how you’re feeling but, when it comes to Mike and me as a couple, there is not a lot in life I can say that I feel surer about. We just celebrated six years of marriage and, though I realize it’s a relatively short amount of time to be married, we have packed a lot into those years. Certainly during the great times, but mostly in the tough times, I know that Mike is my life’s greatest blessing (and if he doesn’t mirror this sentiment, then I’d like a divorce).