It is so good to be home.
Justin is more relaxed here at home and enjoying being with his brothers. Last night, we watched a movie then had a “camp out” in our bedroom. The boys pulled their sleeping bags in, and Michael told us a story. He recounted the story of God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, with perfect recollection of the ten plagues in chronological order. (Thank you, Mrs. Elliot!)
Justin is still struggling with being sick to his stomach as well as walking, particularly upstairs. However, being more comfortable at home with his family has really improved his stress level and cooperation. He’s no longer having outbursts of anger or spitting out medication.
We have a long list of symptoms to look for that would indicate Justin going back to the hospital. Developing a fever or becoming very lethargic are the two biggest signs that he would need more care than we can provide at home and possibly a blood transfusion. But there are many other less critical possibilities that we have to watch for and monitor.
I was never germ-phobic or super diligent at making my kids wash their hands. I mean, in the bathroom is a no-brainer, but I wasn’t on them constantly. We were the more laid back, “five second rule” kind of family.
Now I’m the hand washing/sanitizer police. There are several bottles stationed all over the house. And if you come for a visit, I will direct you to the nearest pump.
Obviously, we have two other kids and can’t put Justin in bubble wrap. But it’s very important for us to try to keep him from catching a cold, virus, or the flu. Any of those scenarios could put him back in the hospital.
Justin is taking oral chemo medication at home and will go to CHOP in Voorhees once a week for IV chemotherapy. The oral meds cause this wild combination of extreme hunger, weird food cravings, nausea and vomiting.
So we are either cleaning up barf or trying to find corn on the cob in the dead of winter. My dad is currently trying to get steamed crabs, which was Justin’s latest request. Last night, he asked for a bagel with cream cheese and mustard. Even Justin admitted that was completely gross after a few bites.
I still have these very surreal moments when I realize all over again that my youngest son has cancer. Like I was folding a basket of clothes and listening to the boys argue over a video game. Everything felt entirely NORMAL. Then this thought disturbed the mundane. “My baby has cancer. How did this happen?”
Well I don’t know how or why it happened. But it did. And it’s hard and complicated and messy and sad and painful and inconvenient and life-altering. But somehow it’s also good. You may think, “how can a mother say that?” Well first of all, apart from the grace of God and power of the Holy Spirit, I absolutely couldn’t. And I can say it because I believe the promise in Romans 8:28.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.”
ALL things. And there are no exceptions, not even cancer. Grace be with you, my friends.