Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Napkins


During dinners during the week we make sure that we ask our kids a couple of questions about their day or week that will elicit more than a yes/no response.  They have become so accustomed to this tradition that if a couple of minutes go by during Taco Tuesday or Meatless Monday one or more of them will excitedly announce they are going to answer first.  While in New York I came across a brand of napkins that advertised their napkins were "conversation starters", and after a quick glance at the examples they were placed excitedly into the cart.

During one of our most recent meals one of our children received "Swap Day...Who would you switch with and why?"  A sideways lip and squinted eye along with "hmmmmm" was hummed while the answer was being thought over when another child said
"I know who I wouldn't want to be....I wouldn't want to be Sonzee, because she is missing her CDKL5 and it is sad"
I cannot remember Sam nor my exact reaction, but I do recall saying that I agreed it is really sad.  To be honest the statement did not catch me off guard, nor did it make me upset.  In hindsight if anything is sadder than that purely innocently stated truth, it was the fact that Sonzee was sitting by the table with us and there was not a look of hurt or even awareness that this conversation was occurring mere inches from her.

Last night I attended an event with an amazing speaker who touched briefly on the subject of grief in regards to child loss and infertility.  She mentioned that you can have children and grieve that you do not have more, that you can grieve that you became a parent but maybe not following the path you had envisioned, that you can feel grateful for the family you do have while mourning the family you might have planned.  Her words so perfectly spoken, I am sure resonated with every person in the room despite their individual circumstance.  For me, there were multiple times during her discussion I pushed away the tears that filled by eyes. A few times because I did not realize I had buried a lot of the emotions from our entire "becoming parents" journey, other times because I have never really thought to grieve over the miscarriage we experienced after Sonzee, and mainly because of the grief I have yet to settle within my heart over our family not turning out at all how I dreamed.

I never expected nor wished to have a child with a profound disability and I certainly never wanted any of my children to experience parts of the childhood they have had to, nor inevitably will.  However, I am beyond grateful they are learning one of life's most valuable lessons, that life is not fair, and it is how they handle the situation that is important.  They are learning to cope with challenges that will surely enrich them and at the very least enhance how they grow.  What I cannot adequately express is how thankful I am for their openness, innocence, honesty, and vulnerability.  In addition, the gratitude I have towards the creators of these conversational napkins should not go unrecognized because sometimes you need a prompt to a safe place to let your true feelings be known.


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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Firsts

Yesterday was Sonzee's first day of the 2018-2019 school year.  Since she does not wear a uniform she of course was wearing an adorable "first day of school" outfit, complete with a rhinestone centered hair bow.  She took her first day of school picture in front of the chalkboard wall in the playroom and when it came time, she was escorted by an entourage into her classroom.  Since she attends school with her same at home nurses, I am left with little to no anxiety about the process.  We found her cubby, placed her items inside, explained to her teacher the stationary note I will send to school daily to keep her updated on how things were after the previous school day and the current morning before school, gave Sonzee a kiss, and off we went.

I walked down Utah Dr (which is the street in her building that her classroom is on) while I saw and heard the sounds of a more "typical" drop off experience.  Children sad to see their family members leaving, parents quickly running out in hopes that it would make it easier for the distraction to begin so their child would calm down, and me too preoccupied to give anything a second thought, while trying to hurdle the other kids I had with me out of the building so we could get to our next checklist item.

Due to every school day this week being a half day, a mere 2 hours and 45 min later, with the entourage in tow, we went excitedly to hear all about Sonzee's first day.  Maybe it was because of how wonderful things were last year during school, I did not give any thought to the possibility that her day would or could go any other way besides perfect for her.  I honestly do not know why with all of discomfort, cries, and pain she has been experiencing at home, I assumed that being away from home and back in school would make her magically better.  I do not know why I was taken off guard when her nurse told me how miserable she was and how she wishes something would work for her because she cannot spend her days like this.  I know all of this.  We have been living it all summer.  We have lived this so many times before.  


Last night as I sat thinking about Sonzee's first day of school I was brought back to a position of frustration.  Frustration that yet again, another first for her has to be tainted.  Frustration that another day for her was spent in pain and that we are failing her by having no answers or giving her any relief.  Frustration that this has become our normal.  Frustration that whatever band aid we do provide will likely result in more pain in a different way.   There is not winning and no matter how much normalcy we attempt to provide for her, it is nearly impossible for her to just experience a first. 

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Chasing

She’s out on the corner trying to catch a glimpse
Nothing’s making sense
She’s been chasing an answer
A sign lost in the abyss, this Metropolis

It has been a little over 2 years since we first and last dealt with Sonzee's GI issues.  We have never really gotten a clear answer as to what is going on besides CDKL5, and the bandaids we have used always seem to fall off.  It has never sat well with me, but after searching in and out of state and with multiple professionals, "You are doing amazing with making the best out of a less than ideal situation" has always been how we have ended nearly every discussion on the topic.  Maybe that phrase is supposed to make me feel better over what little bit I feel we have been able to do to comfort her?  Maybe it is supposed to make me actually believe we have and are doing everything we can for her?  Maybe.

Here we are two years later, no better off, but not for any lack of trying.  If only that made our current situation any different.  We will be having another care conference, and for some reason I feel the same way I did on March 15, 2015 before I realized we were going to live a real-life nightmare.  Finding myself completely caught off guard despite knowing deep in my gut what the situation is.  No idea what I expect to happen but knowing something must happen.  Praying I am wrong while hoping the situation will just fix itself all on its own despite history proving repeatedly that will not be the case.  There is a heavy rock sitting in the pit of my stomach leaving me unsure what best/right choice will lift it and wondering about unanswerable questions.

I will never understand why our Sonzee must suffer the way she does.  I will never stop praying for the suffering to end, despite where that leaves me on this journey.  I will continue to tell myself and attempt to believe there is some real significant meaningful purpose behind all that she has to endure and hope one day it will be visibly revealed and that the bitterness inside me has not eaten me alive by that point.  


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Packing

Over the past two days the townhouse we have been renting has been filled with half filled plastic bins, boxes, and suitcases.  The last loads of laundry are being completed, counters wiped down, and floors swept.  I have been putting off packing until the absolute last minute because I am not exactly ready to leave.  My mind knows that I cannot stay here forever, but there is something about this place that has my heart, I think it is the combination of mountain air and the most amazing friends we have continued to make and strengthen bonds with over the years.  So today we will walk down the steps of TH49 and drive down Town House Road one final time for 2018, and yes there will most likely be some choking back of tears.  This day every year is always bitter sweet as it marks the end of our summer retreat but paves the way for the next 10 months. 

I am always amazed at how quickly 6 weeks passes by.  Sonzee made it another summer with minimal interventions required.  She got to spend time in the pool, outside, bouncing in her bouncy seat, and relaxing.  I will be honest, she did minimal therapeutic activities and minimal work.  We can just pretend that her eyes were patched daily and that she worked on weight bearing after the 2nd week.  She did get 40 nights of sisterly snuggles, naps in the arms of Sam and myself, and a multitude of conversations with so many people who care about her.  She went to a new amusement park, returned to familiar places, witnesses a couple family lip sync contests and dance offs, and got to meet new people.  Her GI issues earned her a visit to the local hospital ER, but luckily she was not given a tour of the actual inpatient rooms.

Overall, in my eyes, I know her summer was a success.  This is small town in New York has turned into our safe zone, the place where reality is muted and life adjusts to a calmer, slower, and serene way.  So today we will pack up our bags and memories from summer 2018 and hope that google photos and my mind will do them justice and carry us through the tougher times that will inevitably come our way. 

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Monday, July 23, 2018

8 days

Our summer in NY comes to a close in just 8 short days.  I am wondering how some days feel so long but time continues to pass me by with record breaking speed.  By the end of this week Sonzee's oldest brother will have turned 7 years old and her youngest brother 8 months.  I would pray for time to stand still except for the fact that for the next 8 days I can confidently say that Sonzee will be uncomfortable and in some sort of pain, and so each day is one day closer to being able to address her needs in a more suitable environment.

I wish I could say that once we return home her issues will be remedied, but I am more realistic, and we have danced this dance a time or two.  In the recesses of my mind there is hope that our next solution will be successful, but it will not come without a hefty price tag of potential yet guaranteed challenges.  While Sam and I are finally on the same page, the pit in my stomach, weight on my chest, fear in my mind, and pain in my heart are all too much to handle. 

This summer as usual has provided the support I have needed to rest and recharge so I am able to tackle what inevitably lays ahead.  It has allowed me on a certain level to ignore life and choose what we want to focus on.  Being away has kept me from emailing doctors daily, kept us out of inpatient stays, and allowed us to provide some semblance of stability for Sonzee's siblings while keeping Sonzee as comfortable as best we could.  We have 8 more days to live in our version of fantasy, to go on our 3rd annual trip to Hershey Park that Sonzee's siblings have spent a year anticipating, and to continue creating family memories.  So while the next 8 days will be filled with bitter sweet moments we will do our best to highlight the sweet ones and overcome the bitter ones.


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