TO HELP OUR FAMILY, JOIN HAZEL'S CARE COMMUNITY BY GOING TO Here to Serve AND FILL OUT THE REGISTRATION FORM
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your prayers and good thoughts these past couple of days. Seeing you all rally around us was incredible and such a blessing of comfort and encouragement. Something I forgot to share in my last post, which made leaving on Thursday evening even more difficult, that Friday the 17th was Hazel's big sister, Elizabeth's 8th birthday. It tore my heart apart having to be separated and knowing that cancer was, once again, taking something away. Well through the incredible devotion of my husband, who stayed home from work to make sure she had a great birthday, and through the grace and love of our community of family, friends and even strangers, Elizabeth had such a wonderful day! Aaron and I were able to plan a scavenger hunt for her to find her present. He took pictures of some clues in our home and emailed them to me, so I could text them to Elizabeth on Aaron's phone when she got home from school. She just loved this! And all throughout the day, people came by and brought her cupcakes, flowers, balloons and cards, many of which she knew came per Mommy's request, so she didn't feel like I forgot her. When I spoke to her last night, I asked her how her day was, and she replied with and enthusiastic, "GREAT!". My Mommy heart felt such a swell of relief!
As for our little Hazelnut, she woke up today, a brand new girl! Her counts jumped up, her energy and appetite increased tremendously, and her spirits seemed to be headed back to her usual joy filled place. On top of that, for the first time in four inpatient stays, we were finally taken off isolation! Boy, what an amazing change it was to be able to go out of our room, and just take a walk! We hardly spent any time back in our room today! She was in the playroom, set up a tea party in the family lounge for us and her nurses, had a dance party and walked and walked and walked, of course with her and I donned with princess tiaras and fairy wands and blasting music from her iPad, just spreading joy wherever she went. It was so good for my soul to finally see her this way. It helps remind me that it is true that "weeping may stay through the night; but rejoicing come with the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
She's actually felt so well, that they discharged us at midnight, tonight ! So we got to go home!
More post after these photos:
While she was feeling well, this stay has still been difficult. Not because of how she was feeling, but because what cancer does to every family. We saw and heard many things this stay, that reminded me of why I fight so hard for more awareness and for a cure! As we walked the halls, we saw families breaking down in tears, just outside their child's room, likely from a new diagnosis, or facing the end. We met another family, who's child just received a diagnosis that is considered terminal, a word not uncommon out of the mouths of many childhood cancer families (this should just not be so!). And right next door, is this beautiful 1 year old baby, who unfortunately has been entirely alone our whole stay thus far. As an added difficulty, she has been on isolation, so she cannot be held by the nurses as they do their charting, and has been stuck sitting in her crib, day in and day out, all alone. As I hear her cry, and no nurse is around to comfort her, my heart shatters in a million pieces, thinking about how she just wants to be held and loved, and does not know why no one is there. Hazel and I have spent much of our time in her doorway, singing her songs, playing peek-a-boo, waving hi, and doing whatever we can to show her some love and bring her joy. It is moments like this that make me so incredibly grateful for the support system we have. I see, so often, how much Hazel needs me for her care and even just for her comfort, but thankfully, there has never been a time where she has been left alone for extended periods of time. But some families do not have the kind of support we have. Some come from other states, or even other countries, for treatment, and have no one to help. Some are single parents, or have to work several jobs to make ends meet, or have other children at home who have no one to take care of them, and since the child in the hospital has a wonderful medical team to take care of them, those families have to make the impossible decision to leave that child alone while fulfilling the other responsibilities that need to be met.
So as you pray for for us, please pray for the families who are struggling through this journey, some on much more difficult paths as we. They need a community like ours to help carry them through. So if you know of another family in your community, please reach out to them. Or find local childhood cancer charities in your area, and they can direct you to how you can help! Help these families know they are not alone!!