Combat soldiers, torture victims, natural disaster survivors. I was surprised to find myself on the short list… but apparently parents of children with cancer rank rather high on the scale of those who must now cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I wrote about this on our CaringBridge blog seven years ago, but with the hopes of coming out on top, “We have a happy marriage and great kids. We are firm and committed to our Faith. And we are surrounded by wonderful friends, even those far away are such a source of strength to us. Every meal, every hug, every kind word and all the encouragement given to Greg through this website… they are all like a cushion to me, or a comforter. I am sure he feels the same way. I look forward to more “normal” times and the chance to be the strong one and reach out to others again. In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who reads this and shares this time of our life with us… it means so much.”
Today I would repeat myself – in thanking everyone who was so kind to us. Friends, Family and Faith – this is what saw us through at that time, and hopefully during all times of trial.
Today is for Smiles and Celebration!
We are celebrating SEVEN years since Greg received his “bionic” leg – Isn’t it beautiful?? It is one of my favorite family photos! Reading my journal entries on the days surrounding his surgery did indeed bring back a measure of stress – I had forgotten many of the details, but it made for good reading. Here is the link to our CaringBridge blog – the format has been changed and I wasn’t able to make the link go to the surgical date, but it is easy to find 1-11-11.
A few highlights:
- He earned about 30 inches of scars (and resulting bragging rights) as they removed his right tibia, his right rectus abdominus and a mass from his left calf. Imagine the recovery this required! He was in a wheelchair for months!
- It took over four hours for him to recover sufficiently to leave PACU – they finally allowed us in to see him… late at night, when he was the only patient left. We still didn’t know if he would be going to adult oncology at OHSU or pediatric oncology at Doernbecher or the ICU because they couldn’t get his blood pressure stabilized.
- They finally resorted to administering minimal pain medication in order to raise his blood pressure – intense pain has a way of doing that… and it wasn’t fun to watch. That was a long day!
I remember how I loved knowing that the terrible tumor we had been watching for so long was no longer a part of my child’s body!
Celebrating Greg today – in the past seven years Greg graduated (on time) from high school with an associates degree from Clark College, served a two year mission in Oakland/San Francisco working with the Hispanic population, has undergone surgery and six months of chemotherapy to treat colon cancer (away from home while taking university classes and working), supported himself through college – paying his way and managing to buy a car and build up a savings account, and will soon graduate with a degree in Global Supply Chain Management.
Reading about our seven months in the hospital with Greg reminds me of what an incredible young man he was – and seven years later I am writing about what an incredible man he has become. He continues to find ways to unselfishly serve in a myriad of ways. He continues to bring joy into the lives of his parents, his siblings and the many friends who surround him. Did I mention he is handsome like his daddy?
I am reminded that each day is precious. Our lives are full of meaning, most poignantly when we are concerned about the welfare of others. Congratulations Greg and thank you for your fine example!! On your anniversary I extend to you my support, admiration and love. I smile and I celebrate…. If we had thought of it in time we could have made a “tibia” cake, a “bionic” one of course.