Well, way back in July of 2009 when I heard the dreaded words "your son has cancer". He was just 4 days past turning three months old. Just a baby. I didn't know babies could get cancer, I didn't KNOW babies could have chemo. I learned a LOT of things over the last five years that I "didn't know"!!
So this week was his 5 year scans. An absolutely TERRIFYING moment of our lives. JOYOUS, and terrifying all at the same time. I have felt so conflicted. Crying happy tears, and scared tears, and every thing in between.
I don't have xray vision I can't see what is going on in my sons body. Scans once a year is scary enough. A lot can happen in a year. NO scans at all? Is even MORE scary! We are going to be relying on physical exams and urine labs from here on out to determine what's going on inside his body. Holy. Crap. That's scary.
However, my son is NOT sad to miss out on the IV he has to get every time he has a scan so he can get a radioactive isotope injection concoction to prepare him for his MIBG scan that he has 2 days later. Nor will he miss having iodine drops for a week to protect his thyroid from the radioactive stuff that gets pumped into him. He will NOT miss laying PERFECTLY STILL inside those big scary machines. I know ADULTS that have to be sedated to go into those machines for even just a few minutes. He's been doing unsedated scans since he was 4 years old, and one of his scans takes 45min or more to do! You cannot move. Do you know how hard it is to be a child that young and lay THAT still for 45min? How he does it...I have no idea.
Wednesday was the CT scan so we went to the children's hospital and he got the IV placed, and had his exam done and played in the play room to wait till it was his turn. The CT went well, it goes quick and he doesn't mind it. This time they asked him to hold his breathe in the machine and he did it very well, was very proud of him! He's never had to do that before.
We went back up to the play room because we had to wait on the isotope injection to arrive (it got held up in St. Louis due to the weather). It finally arrived and he got that done and we went home.
Today we went back down for the MIBG scan. That big ol' long pain in the butt scan that means so much to us though!
Results from both scans....normal. So that's a good thing! So now he's officially 5 years NED and now he still goes once a year, but only for a physical exam and to pee in a cup for a urine lab (which is how his cancer is monitored). So no more pokes, such a relief.
He's happy to be a normal little guy. He'll be playing soccer this year with his brother and sister, he's so excited and has almost all of his soccer gear.
He is loving Kindergarten and has a fantastic teacher. Tuesday when he got home from school he had a card in his back pack that the teacher had made and all of the kids signed it in his class. It said "GOOD LUCK KEEGAN" on the outside and "We'll be thinking of you" on the inside. Keegan said "I love my teacher and my friends they are the best!" I have to agree, they really are the best!
We got home JUST in time on Wed. to make it to their school so we could see Marshall got his award at the awards assembly so proud of Marshall! Keegan cheered loud for his brother. Unfortunately we missed my daughter assembly as it was earlier in the day but a friend snapped a photo of her getting her award which I greatly appreciated!
So proud of ALL THREE of my amazing and hard working children. They are my world. There is a saying that your children are your heart walking outside of your body, oh yes, that's very very true!
Recently someone royally irked me off by accusing my husband and I of playing "favorites" with our children when we said we were having a 5 year NED party for our son on Saturday. That it 'wasn't fair' to play favorites and they should all get equal things.
Well, generally I agree. As a parent, I work my butt off to KEEP things equal between my kids. Face it though, that is NOT always going to happen. One kid may need you more than another at a particular time. One child may choose an activity that costs more than the activity another child chooses. You cannot possibly keep EVERYTHING equal all the time.
At the time I was FURIOUS. Then I remembered this was coming from someone who doesn't even HAVE children.
Only my husband and I know what we do for our kids, and what we've been through as a family. No one knows EVERY intimate detail of our families life but us. We give our children everything we can.
My daughter is enjoying her 2nd year of Girl Scouts, my sons are looking forward to joining Boy Scouts soon, now that they are old enough. They are all three going to play soccer this summer. Last year they played T Ball and I was their team coach (I am NOT coaching anything this year, ha!), We look forward to our family trips to the lake, and to the zoo this summer. My daughter recently went to a Father/Daughter dance the town put on in January. In March we go to a Mother/Daughter Tea Party the town puts on. In the fall they have the Mother/Son stuff. This summer they have the fishing derby and we can't wait to take the kids to that (after they get fishing rods for Easter anyway!)
We have family game night on Friday and play all kinds of board games, and Kinect games. And try to do something fun together on Saturday's. We also volunteer together for a local dog rescue.
Trust me. Things are as equal as they can be around here.
We also know that when something MAJOR happens in the lives our children, it deserves to be celebrated. 5 years no evidence of disease is a VERY big deal. (the comment made came from someone who is not only NOT a parent, but who is ALSO a cancer survivor themselves). So I was doubly floored by their comment. You'd think they would understand how big of a deal 5 years is. Apparently, some do not.
So yep. We decided to (as a family) throw a party for Keegan. Marshall and Kamilah have been a HUGE part of the planning. They helped pick out a gift to their brother. They helped plan the cake and the decorations. They are helping keep it a semi secret from Keegan too. They get it. They know. They understand how big of a deal this is. They also know that their mom and dad things they are ALL amazing kids who deserve to be celebrated and they know this party is as much for them as it is for Keegan. However, they also know and have said themselves that THEY weren't the ones that got poked, stabbed, operated on, and given chemo, it was their brother that had that not them. They have always just understood that cancer is life and death. They know they are lucky to still have their little brother here 5 years later.
It's a big deal.
We will celebrate it.
We celebrate the small (yet big in their own right) things too. Like 100% on a spelling test, 100% on math sheets, going up a level in reading etc. Those get celebrated too. They are not small accomplishments. They just get celebrated in different ways.
Besides, the boys have their 6th birthday coming up in April ;) There will be another big bash for BOTH of them -- VERY much equally!
So for five years NED :) HOOOORAY! Party on!
We still don't know what the future holds for Keegan. However, one BIG mile stone has been met and for now, we will enjoy that!