One Year. It's been an entire year since we took our sweet little tired 5 year old to the hospital. An entire year since we were told by a doctor, who we would grow very close to very quickly, that we would get use to our "new normal". An entire year since we had to call family and close friends and tell them of the battle we had ahead. An entire year since I spent hour after hour sobbing and searching for faith, relying on everything I had been taught since a baby. An entire year since we had to explain to Carter that a good part of his childhood would be filled with hospital visits, pokes in the port (oh- had to explain to him what that was-- after it was explained to us), pokes in the arm, pokes in the finger. An entire year since I started giving myself internal pep talks, reminding myself that I CAN do this and I'll do it with a smile on my face, dang it! (At least in public. :)) An entire year since we were faced with the realization that we would have to FIGHT to keep our son alive. And what a year it has been!!! I would like to say that the biggest thing we have learned over the course of the last 365 day (or is is 366 days since it's leap year?) are facts about Leukemia. Don't get me wrong; I've learned more about Leukemia than I EVER thought I would know. But we have also learned so so SO much more.
~We have learned how to lean on each other.
~We have learned to rely on God and exercise our faith.
~We have learned that it's ok to be served (this was a hard one for me... I think all us mommies want to be Super-Moms).
~We've learned that we can drive to the hospital with our eyes closed (don't worry... we don't do it... just sayin' we could if we wanted to).
~We have learned how to unaccess his port at home.
~We have learned how to give him chemotheropy through his port on more than one occasion.
~We have been to the ER 4 times.... or is it 5? We have taken advantage of having a radiologist as a neighbor in order to get discharged from the hospital faster. (Don't look at me like that! You would too if you were a frequent flier over there. And he doesn't mind!) *** Tangent Coming*** The most recent time into the ER is right now. Carter woke up with fever of 104 so off we went. (It was Bryan's turn. I took the girls to church.) Don't worry, they are on their way home right now. They think it was just a random virus that in a normal person would have passed without even being noticed.
~Carter has been poked (this is a guess on the low end) at LEAST 75 times between the port, arm, and finger. (Usually arm or port.) (Bryan thinks it's closer to 100.)
~We have learned that we are loved by so many people. We have people follow his story that don't know him or us all that well. We are prayed for by people everywhere. Nothing warms my heart like hearing my friends tell me that their little ones pray for Carter. So sweet!
~We have learned that PRAYERS ARE HEARD! They are answered. We have a very loving Father in Heaven that is healing our son. I am not taking credit away from science. For the first time in my life I actually APPRECIATE science. (I stand corrected to my 16 year old self who hated science more than words.) But, at the end of the day, God decides. The ball is in HIS court. If he wants our baby to live, he will (and he WILL!). If it's his time to go home (it's NOT!) then that's what is going to happen at the end of all this.
We have grown closer to close friends, gained an entire new circle of friends at the Pediatric Oncology Clinic, and cried more than one time to our moms. (Ok, I've done the crying... to both moms... :)) We have grown to love Dr. Cook and Dr. Reaves so very much for the interest that have taken in this journey we are taking as a family and the unconditional love they have shown Carter... and the patience they have shown me. :) Our family is closer than it was a year ago. Our marriage is stronger than it was a year ago (and it was already pretty awesome, all thanks to Bryan). We hug our babies tighter. We tease Carter about how we are going to poke his port. We tease Addilyn about how we should shave her head like Carter's (was) so they look more alike. We have planned our super awesome Make-A-Wish trip (first week of this December!!!). We have witnessed the merciful hand of God. We think it's funny that our two year old knows that "Cawter at chemo." We are the proud owners of a DS (SWORE I'd never let my kids have one) that Carter can only play at chemo.
In short (who am I kidding? This post is anything but short) it has been quite a year. And we have survived it! That in itself is something to be proud of. We are use to our new life. We enjoy our time together. We have adjusted and are loving our lives. We thank our Father in Heaven daily for the health that we have and for how well Carter is handling this. We are thankful that THIS is our trial and not something else. There are so many things that could have happened that I don't think I could have survived. (Although I don't think I would have said we could have survived this.)
We love our life! We love our battle and we love our Savior, Father in Heaven, and guardian angels (oh yes, they DO exist!!) for helping us face this day after day. Carter is the toughest little guy around. He tougher than any football player in the world in my book!
Side Note: I had big plans to take some pictures of Carter today playing Legos and being a "normal" little boy... but plans changed. So, we have pictures of him passed out on my bed because as he declared to Bryan on the way home from the hospital, "Dad, I'm gunna find the first soft thing I come to when I get inside and take a nap!"