Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Holding them tight

There are a few blogs that I read on a regular basis, written by women that I've never met, living in cities across the US. One of them is written by Emily, who can be found at her own blog, http://www.captainhambone.typepad.com/, as well as over at http://www.parents.com/.

About a year ago, Emily posted an entry about some friends of hers, who while on vacation, found out that their young daughter, baby Emily, had a brain tumor. For those of you who know me and my family you are well aware that my Father-in-law passed away after a very short battle with a brain tumor. So this story hit home, simply because of the familiarity of the situation. I was touched by their story and was drawn into their lives as they uprooted their home life in VA and moved to Boston in order to get some of the best medical care for their daughter in the hopes that they would be able to fight the tumor. Throughout their journey they posted stories, updates and pictures.

There were some days that I would be reduced to tears as I imagined how difficult their lives had become. How they were facing an upward battle and how they would be left making decisions that would keep their little girl from growing and learning the way a normal 1 year old would. Between the surgeries, the emergency procedures to eliminate unforeseen issues, the tubes, chemo and radiation...well it's hard to put my thoughts into words but anyone who is a parent can understand.

Yesterday I received an update on one of the websites that after a year of fighting, on March 28th, the family sat down with the doctors and reviewed her latest CAT scan. There was new blood vessel growth that was applying too much pressure on her brain stem. Additional chemo was out of the option due to the rapid growth, radiation would cause more swelling so that was also ruled out and although surgery would be an option to help extend her life, the risks were far too dangerous and so the family chose to bypass that route as well. The decision was made to make her comfortable and enjoy whatever time they had left with her.

Yesterday, March 30, 2009, Emily's parents snuggled her with her favorite blanket, pillow and stuffed dog. Her breathing tube was removed and as she was cuddled in her mother's arms, surrounded by family and friends, she passed away. She was two years old.

As I look at my own, soon-to-be two year old who is babbling to me in his own little language from over the baby gate, I can't help but count my blessings. I'm relieved that the hardest decisions I've had to make for any of my kids are the everyday, tedious decisions such as vaccinations, what schools they should attend, they sports they'll play, how late they can stay up and how much T.V. we'll allow them. I'm grateful for the fact that I can walk over into the other room, swoop Robert up into my arms and hold him tight, right now or anytime I want. I breathe a sigh of relief that I can do the same thing when Megan and Matt get home from school.

Tonight, after they are asleep and I make that one last daily trip into their bedrooms to make sure that they are covered up for the night, I will touch their heads lightly as I kiss them goodnight and say a little prayer that I have the opportunity to do this over and over again.

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