Teddy Rodd's Journal
Not sure of much, but...
Written Dec 10, 2013 9:32pm
Chemo by mouth at home sounded like a grand idea.
Just five days.
Three pills at bedtime.
First night, Teddy shakes a capsule with great suspicion. He mockingly peers deep into its core looking for something slimy, “You sure about this?”
What can we say?
We’re not sure about much these days.
He tilts his head back in pure Teddy drama, “Here goes one grenade down the hatch!”
Second night, I’m wishing for the infusion bag.
Pale faced and on the couch by then.
With the infusion bag, he gets chemo from the metal rolling hanger with spindly tubes and needles.
They’re the culprit.
With the capsules, it comes straight from mom and dad.
One toxic grenade after another.
We’re not even supposed to touch the stuff.
Arrives in a dark, glass bottle.
The next week is spent completely wiped out in bed with an appetite for zero.
Zero food, liquid and fun…with the exception of when Aunt Karen or Cousin Caleb drops in from up the hill.
Pill by pill we seemed to lose our Teddy.
His spirit completely broken and docile; realizing that this will be one long, eighteen month haul.
Last night he lounged solemnly in bed adorned with a camping headlamp.
Reading King David’s Psalms.
Psalms of despair, trust and hope in the midst of the unseemly.
One after another.
“Want me to rub your feet, Bugga?”
“Sure, but I might kick you in the face. You know, blood everywhere.”
Imagine teenage smirk on face.
“You’re turning down a foot rub? That’s stupid. I’ll take my chances.”
He smiles benignly.
Starting to soften and feel somewhat whole.
Cracking Teddy jokes.
Soon after, I gently prodded, “We need to sleep, Bugga.”
I slowly started to pull his Bible from his tight grasp. He fought back and fiercely curled around it in a tight ball.
Never letting go.
Desperately hanging on.
Still somehow, by fierce faith, sure of God’s goodness in this journey.
Quietly wept ourselves to sleep.
This morning was supposed to be his first day back at school.
Didn’t work out.
He hid out in the car.
Maybe will try again tomorrow.
Back on the ranch, we needed to offload Ziggy, our sweet paint mare, and Waffles, our braying burro.
Sad to see them go.
Ears, noes and eyes flickering through the slit panels of the horse trailer as they rolled away.
Seemingly not sure of much.
But happy to leave “together” to their new home.
A wonderful home with dear friends just across the valley.
The Elk are bedded down below. Spindly legs, lethargic from pawing away the crusty snow, yet they can scale a Colorado mountain in a heart beat.
Phantoms in the frosty mist.
Their bellies full of freezing grass.
It’s below zero out there.
On the other end of the wild kingdom, Henri, our cow pug, is on the outside terrace looking in.
Blind as a bat.
Smooshed nose frozen up against the glass.
A wreath of fog fanning out from his twitching, bubble-eyed face. Waiting patiently to be let in to the warmth of our wood stove.
Not sure of much.
Rather confident though that “together” inside by the fire, is far better than outside down in the valley with the spindly things…
EARLY TOMORROW MORNING
Written Dec 1, 2013 10:34pm
Only two options left on the table...
An eighteen month marathon of back n’ forth to Denver laced with a cocktail of unthinkable that one would normally never dare to infuse into their sweet child’s body.
If just a hair of anything goes wrong, meaning decrease in neuro-function or any more tumor growth; then we proceed to option number two.
A six week sprint of daily treatments.
Would mean moving to Denver for even more of the unthinkable cocktail.
Each path carries its own benefits, short term side effects and long term risks.
So it’s really not a simple fork in the road. It’s more of a “which path to choose first.”
And the choice is fully ours to make and embrace.
There’s no medical, professional consensus on which path is best. All agree though, that if a hair of anything goes wrong, then we sprint for life with option number two.
“Teddy, we can’t make this decision without you.”
He’s grudgingly sitting on the entryway stairs, dripping slush and mud in his snow boots.
Rather annoyed, “So when we’re done talking about it, can we NOT talk about it again until Thanksgiving break is over?”
“Yep, not a word. Do you want the details? We can talk about the risks and side effects again if you want.”
“I already know ‘em.”
“So we think it best to move forward on the marathon.”
“I’ve already decided that’s what I want. Can I go back out and sled?”
Many have asked how they can help our family.
We’ve already maxed out our Children’s Hospital vehicle from the last four year journey; more than two-hundred thousand miles.
Need to purchase a replacement that will take us over the Colorado passes in winter storms.
Just an honest deal from a known, trustworthy seller.
Any ideas, please email me privately offline at email@example.com.
Teddy remains sweet, valiant and wise beyond his years. Somehow he manages to live in the moment; yet somewhat stoic and aloof.
Wish I could deal with it in similar fashion.
Hard not to think about what’s around the next bend in this marathon.
Gearing up for the sprint.
It’s late Sunday evening and much to Teddy's dismay, we just informed him that he leaves for Denver early tomorrow morning for his first five-day-in-a-row treatment.
At least we gave him his entire Thanksgiving break without a single reference to cancer.
Back on the ranch, tonight’s menu? Well of course it’s Fettuccine Alfredo.
His comfort meal…
Steve, Teddy’s Dad
CHEST PORT VERDICT
Written Nov 23, 2013 9:58pm
Dr. Nick pensively entered the consultation room.
Scans clamped up secret in his fist, “It’s bad. I’m so sorry.”
Teddy sat stone-faced.
Daring anybody to touch him.
Cancer’s growing again. This time towards the bottom of his spine.
Only two more options left on the table.
May amount to another 18 to 24 months of weekly (and at times daily) blood draws, chemotherapy, nausea, infections…and an assortment of other things we’d rather just not put in writing right now.
Need to make a decision soon on path forward. Already slightly symptomatic to the new growth.
The spinal chord is a tight conduit connecting the brain to the rest of that exuberant life that our youngest lives so out loud.
Wasn’t designed to accommodate an invasive tumor.
Wants to enjoy his Thanksgiving holiday and meal. Whatever path we choose will immediately begin the following Monday.
With a whole lot of back n’ forth up the Gun Barrel to Denver.
Oh, and the chest port stays put.
I’m still stuck on, “It’s bad.”
Steve, Teddy’s Dad