That was the message Ava received in a card from Zoey and her parents. I’ve thought of it often since she got it. There have been times Ava’s told me she didn’t remember what she liked or what she enjoyed before getting sick. It’s hard to hear. Then I remember that she has be dealing with this horrible disease since December 3rd 2018. She’s literally going on nine months. It’s been nine months since she was a carefree teen enjoying her life without fever or fear.
The past three weeks without chemo or perhaps the past three weeks on Zoloft, I can’t be certain which, have allowed be her to get glimpses of who she is. It’s been great! I’m not sure if it was her amazing experience at the Spirit game last Saturday, but since then she’s been more “Ava” than I’ve seen in a long time. Even though she didn’t make counts on Monday and we had to come home without treatment she was in a good mood. We went to visit her cousins like she loves to do. Monday night her Aunt Justine texted me and said how happy she was to have spent time with Ava. She mentioned how it had warmed her heart to see her so chatty and Ava like because she couldn’t remember how long it had been since Ava was so engaged and herself. My Aunt Vilma sat with us and kept telling me how happy it made her to see Ava laughing and smiling so much. At home she’s back to being her goofy, sweet, sometimes sassy self. She’s texting her friends more, picking out school supplies, and prepping for her online classes. It may sound crazy, but to her learning brings such joy. Thankfully she’s also getting validation on her other joys. Her nutritionist and physical therapist have each mentioned how her being an athlete has helped or will impact something and each time she hears it she beams. She takes such pride in others identifying that way. The last week she’s been happy.
Kohen and Ellie have loved having their sister back and also loved having a “normal week” to remember who they are, who we are. Kohen had 6th grade orientation yesterday and loved it. Ellie couldn’t be more excited about 4th grade and her schools open house today. Following Ava’s suggestion she’s also looking forward to restarting gymnastics.
Kevin’s been able to go back to work for a couple days and is getting use to working from home more. Each day he’s hovering a little less and allowing Ava to do a bit more on her own. When we were in the hospital the 2nd time around she mentioned how much cancer had changed him. She said before I was the worrier and Kev the laidback one. She said now Kevin worries even more than I do. She noticed how she could barely move without us staring at her. He’s staring a bit less and letting her move without jumping to assess why. He’s such an amazing dad. I’m sure of all of us he never forgets who he is.
This week I was also able to remember who I am. I love, love, love being mother and am extremely privileged to be Ava, Kohen, and Ellie’s mom, but at my core I am also a teacher. I am “Mommyteacher”. For me they are so intertwined if I could turn the words into a compound word I would. Being in my school, in the classroom, with students, and my kind of people brings me such joy and such hope. Being able to go back to work this week has really helped me prepare for the next round of chemo.
Speaking of which, today Kevin and Ava will be heading to Hopkins for labs and counts. Hopefully her ANC is up to 750 and she will be able to begin consolidation. She will have fluids given and begin her infusions. The plan is for me to meet them there at 3 to meet with her fellow and have her LP. Then we will come home and pray for no fevers. If she doesn’t make counts Kevin will take her back on Tuesday to try again. On Tuesday I will be back for the first day of school. I can finally say I am okay with however this plays out. Yes I have a preference, but in the end I understand that her best interest is most important. No matter what I’ve got faith that God’s got this.
As you all know by now September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Ellie isn’t waiting until September though. On Saturday she’s hosting a lemonade stand to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand and to bring awareness. If your local we’d love for you to join us, if you’re not you can still donate by clicking here…