Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Making Magic


This is for you, Colleen.  You never let me stop believing, even when we were given the worst news imagineable.  You made all sorts of magic for me and for Ty, and you still do.  Thank you for your pep talk yesterday.  Some day I will take your advice and let go of the fear, but I just can't do it yet.  I try!  Keep sending me your magic and it will happen :)

Most of my sleepless nights revolve around the lingering fear.  In addition to fear, I have a heavy guilt for being happy over the past four months.  At night, I pore over stories on facebook and caring bridge.  I know I promised I wouldn't do this anymore, but I keep doing it!  I guess I am part of a world now that I can't escape and I don't want to escape.  My eyes have been opened to just how many children are suffering with pediatric cancer and I need to know their stories so I can think about them and pray for them.  I don't connect on a personal level because I am simply not strong enough to help, but at least I feel like I'm doing something simply by being aware.

When I hear about a child's recurrance after remission, I begin to drown in the greatest depths of my fear.  It's my worst nightmare.  When I hear about a family's devastating loss, I am hammered with tremendous guilt.  And anger.  I get so angry.  Kids just shouldn't get cancer.  There needs to be more research, more treatment options.  When is a cure for cancer going to be found, this is ridiculous!?!?

These feelings I harbor are fierce and they are vicious.  I am so blessed and so lucky.  Sometimes I need to remind myself that these days are real, that Ty is getting better.  I lived in a burning hell, but somehow I got out.  My baby is still here with me and I believe with all of my heart that he will live a long, happy life.  Reading about all of those who have lost their own beautiful and most special child makes me realize, "How dare I ever feel sorry for myself!  For what I've been through!"  Who cares!  I'll always hate that Ty had to suffer, but who cares about my sorry self.  I am a better person for all of this.  If I were to lose him, I don't think I could ever be happy again and I would simply want to die.  The constant worry or fear of recurrance sits in my stomach 24 hours a day. 

First and foremost, I despise the thought of Ty having to suffer like he did ever again.  I worry about that more than I worry about how I would survive without him.  I have told God that he can take my arms and legs and abandon me in the woods to live out the rest of my life alone and helpless... I wanted it, I begged for it... as long as Ty could survive and be happy again.   I guess it was easy for me to make that plea because if I lost him, that's what my life would be like anyway. 

Tonight I am praying for all of these bereaved parents.  How incredibly sorry I am. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Improved physical strength

Since Ty has been on daily chemo - our new life over the past four months - I simply can't figure out the "rhythm" of it all.  My instincts are always challenged because I don't know what causes Ty's bad days versus his good days.  I can't figure out why one day might be so much better than the next.  Today was a really, really good day.  I hope tomorrow follows suit, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't.

Today, Ty had an appetite.  It was wonderful! Considering he ate nothing but rice puffs over the past three days (which are only 25 calories per serving) I was so excited when he announced that he wants an ice cream cone this morning.  By 11:30 I decided it was close enough to lunch time to get ice cream.  But first, I told him, he had to have some lunch.  I never thought he actually would, but I was trying to plant a seed.  We ventured off to The Red Rooster Drive-in (eat your heart out, Nancy) and I was completely shocked when he said he wanted to eat a hot dog first.  He had two bites before he dived into the french fries dipped in ketchup.  After one french fry (it takes him five minutes to eat just one), he moved on to one and a half chicken nuggets before saying.. "Hey!  What about my ice cream?"  One vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles, please!  He ate about 1/6 of it.  I know this doesn't sound like much, but OMG - this is a HUGE meal for Ty.  He never eats like this.  I was so excited.   This continued until he went to bed tonight.  He ate more chicken nuggets for dinner (I ordered another one "to-go") and some corn on the cob.  He snacked on sour patch kids and nerds.  He had animal crackers for dessert.  It was amazing.

His physical therapist came at 4PM for their regular session.  I was upstairs at the time, but I was listening the whole time in case she needed me to join in during therapy.  Instead of the usual resistance, Ty was in great spirits.  He had a great day with his therapist because he didn't fight her on everything.  He actually stood for almost 10 seconds without any support, and he took two baby steps toward the couch 100% independently.  These are both very big "firsts" for Ty, and I was almost in tears.   Lou and I are always so concerned at how slow he seems to be progressing, but today was the opposite.  I was so impressed.  Later tonight, I let go of him and had him standing on his own for a few seconds.  He was scared, but afterward he said "Call Stephanie (our wonderful PT)!  I want you to tell her I standing!"

Like I said, tomorrow may be the complete opposite.  It happens all the time and I don't know why.  He is scheduled to return to preschool tomorrow after several weeks away and I am really hoping for another day filled with energy.  I want him to be excited to return to school - I know I am. 

Goodnight, everyone.  Thank you so much for your love and prayers. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

JETS Jets Jets Jets

Today, Ty went to his first NFL football game.  The Jets, of course!  What a way to end this incredible weekend.  We have more and more to be grateful for with every passing day.  Today was a day that will live in our memories forever. MetLife (as in, MetLife Stadium!!) awarded Ty complimentary tickets to the game. Little did we know what incredibly special arrangements the company had made for us. We had the time of our lives.

In fact, a great friend and past NYC roommate of mine recently joked that Ty is going to have to "get over himself... we get it... he's great..."  Shep, you are right.  I pray that some day I'll have a hard time explaining to Ty that this is not normal and should not be expected.  :)

Here he is, once again, being a super little badass psuedo-celebrity.


First, MetLife provided us with passes to stand on the sidelines pre-game.  When we picked up the tickets we didn't actually think our feet would be touching the same turf that the JETS play on... but indeed it was!  Defensive players Marcus Dixon, Sione Puoja and David Harris came over to talk with Ty during their warm-ups.  So did Defensive Assistant coach Jeff Weeks (what a nice guy) - he said "let's see if we can win one for this little guy."  Which, by the way, they did!  It was a nailbiter, but the Jets won!

Personally, I was eyeing Mark Sanchez the entire time (what can I say?) but he was too busy warming up for the big game. 


Yes, that's Mark Sanchez

However, my sister-in-law's favorite Jets veteran, Wayne Chrebet also stopped by to talk with us.  Wow, was he the most thoughtful man - and so cute.  Before the Jets, he had played for Hofstra University on Long Island so of course I was smitten, too.  He asked a lot of questions about Ty because he is an advocate for pediatric neuro-disorders.  He was so thoughtful and kind.  Here he is talking with Lou.  He might be the ONLY football player we saw in person who didn't absolutely TOWER over us. 


  
Once the game began, we were treated to amazing seats at the 50-yard line and full access to the coaches club.  It was outrageous.  There was tons of food, and there was even a candy bar that had everything Ty could ever ask for.  It completely made his day.  Here he is with a selection of the candy he was eating (smarties and gummy bears).


Since he is only four years old, I often worry about whether or not he is going to have a break down and start whining to "go home."  To my surprise, he enjoyed every minute and watched the entire game.  And it was a really, really good game.  We all enjoyed it without any major issues.  At one point I had to take him for a walk around the stadium, but I didn't care because I was happy to see the new stadium (I haven't been to a game in over five years).  It is so nice.  Very different from the old stadium I remember. 



Ty has been through so much.  I cherish moments like these when he gets to feel special.  He is our most precious gift.  I try to enjoy every single moment; every sound and every breath that comes out of his mouth.  Oh, and could the weather have been more perfect?  I don't think that was coincidence or luck, either. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so special for Ty (Catherine - I love you so much).  Goodnight everyone.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend filled with blessings. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The dishes can wait

My house has been turned upside-down since Wednesday.  I am not usually comfortable with this.  However, over the past few days I've tried to let time with all three of my boys take precedence over ignorance in the sink.  We played with Play-doh in every room of the house, we finger painted, we did sticker art on the floor (and our faces), we went to the tree farm and "tagged" the tree we will cut down in a week or two, we reintroduced the Elf on the Shelf to Ty and Gavin, we ate late lunches, even later dinners and dessert for breakfast.  Right now I'm surrounded by a sea of toys while Lou and I watch Two and Half Men.  Who do we think we are?  Just watching senseless TV and unwinding with a glass of wine?  This is great!!  These carefree crazies probably won't last past Monday, but I am loving it while it does.


It should always be fun like this.  Given all we have been through, I should be living every day to its fullest, but the truth is...  I still get totally stressed out and caught up in the small stuff.  I don't want to.  Tonight I was listening to Gavin singing in his crib while reading facebook updates from several cancer families.  So unfair.  It's why I remembered to focus this post on how lucky I was to spend Thanksgiving weekend at home having fun with the boys. 

So, even though I forget to heed my own advice sometimes... think of this adorable picture of Gavin and try to remember that the dishes can wait. 

PS: To Marilyn - who has done so much for me and my family.  I hope you had a wonderful, fabulous birthday. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for so much...

Handsome boy on Thanksgiving


We are all so thankful that we didn't have to spend this Thanksgiving in the hospital again.  What a relief!  Ty's latest cultures are still negative, too, so we resumed his chemotherapy this morning and he is doing well. 

We spent the day at Aunt Debi's house yesterday, and during the ride home I asked Ty once again to tell me what he is thankful for.  He said "presents".  No surprise there.  Then, he really surprised me.  He said, "I'm thankful for my pointies".  Ty calls an "appointment" a "pointy". 

"You mean, you are thankful for your appointments?"
"Yeah!" he said with excitement.
"Your appointments with your doctors and nurses?"
"Yeah!  I'm thankful for my pointies, too!"

I realized at that moment, that he gets it.  He knows how serious cancer is, and he knows how important his visits with the doctors and nurses are.  Even though he hates being there, and it hurts, he is still grateful.  He is becoming so smart and so mature in his four short years.  I am so proud.  And, of course, eternally grateful. 

This year, I am thankful for:
- Ty's miracle
- my family, always. 
- 2 consecutive clean scans.  Keep 'em coming!
- everyone who reads this blog or supports Ty otherwise
- your countless prayers, well wishes, thoughtful gifts and positive thoughts
- Amela, our beloved babysitter
- the influence Ty has had on others so his suffering holds more purpose
- Daniel, Tom, Sue, RaeAnn, Christine and Allie - Ty's loving nurses
- Dr. Kevin DeBraganca, Dr. Jeff Greenfield and Dr. Vijay Ramaswamy, also Mary, Maria, Cheryl, Vanessa and all of the pediatric neuro-oncology team at MSKCC
- countless meals from my friends and neighbors, I don't know how my family would have survived otherwise :)
- The Guardian Brain Foundation, Make a Wish, The Robert Manzoni Foundation, The Michelle O'Neill foundation, Friends of Karen, Cookies for Childhood Cancer, The Iron Riders of NY and so many others who have given so generously
- the support of our community, including "Ty's lollipops"from our friends at the bank, special care from our local pharmacist, Get Well cards from the students at Pawling elementary and the "pajama day" party for Ty at the Sunshine School
- all of the special gifts that have been sent to our home - both for Ty and for me.  We will truly cherish them, always
- the words of encouragement posted to Ty's blog and his facebook page
- the Fordham football team, for adopting Ty through the Friends of Jaclyn foundation
- the most amazing, unique and memorable experiences that have been arranged for Ty over the past year (i.e. meeting Spiderman and Derek Jeter!! a fly-by of Manhattan during Ty's first flight!! an anonymous delivery of 365 balloons on his anniversary!!)
- reconnecting with old friends, and making so many new ones around the country
- spending this Thanksgiving home with family, and preparing for Christmas for a healthier, happier Ty who is NOT on hospice care

Wooo Hoooo.  How Thankful we are!  Lou and I spend a lot of time today reflecting.  We read the blog entries from November and December last year - some of our darkest days - and we cried about the pain and suffering that we all experienced.  Especially Ty.  We cried for all of the other children we encountered since last August.  We cherish every single day and we are grateful for every smile, every word, every mess our kids make. 

Written below is Lou's beautiful Thanksgiving poem :)


Thankful - by Louis Campbell
I am thankful he is alive
I am thankful he can hold his head up
I am thankful he can breathe normally
I am thankful he can see straight
I am thankful he doesn’t have head pain
I am thankful he can wiggle his toes
I am thankful he can eat and drink
I am thankful he is home
I am thankful he is smiling
I will be thankful when he can walk
I will be thankful when he can go to school by himself
I will be thankful when he and his brother can wrestle
I will be thankful when he graduates
I will be thankful when he becomes a father
I was thankful yesterday
I am thankful today
I will be thankful tomorrow

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A false positive. WHEW~!

What a crazy week this has been, and it's only Wednesday.  As I mentioned, Ty was running a fever on Monday.  His white blood cell count was elevated, specifically his ANC which is usually more indicative of a bacterial "bug" rather than a virus that might be causing the fever.  Given we were on a plane home from Mexico on Sunday, if there was something in the air it would certainly make sense that Ty would catch it given his poor, broken down immune system.

So, of course, I brought him into the city for cultures and an exam on Monday afternoon.  He was given a broad anti-biotic that is geared toward a wide range of bacteria, and we went home.  It was a long day spent in traffic and in between the busy hospital walls.  Ty was a trooper.  

The next day (Tuesday), we had to return for his chemo infusion (Avastin - which he gets every two weeks).  He was 100% better.  No fever for over 24 hours, he was feeling great except for a small bout of diarreah.  I was warned the day before that he would probably have symptoms in his digestive system if he was fighting any sort of bacteria in his system.  The cultures, which were drawn 24 hours before, had so far been clear (meaning, nothing grew back on the blood samples) so no one suspected that he might have an infection in his bloodstream.  Another long day at the hospital -- the 3 - 4 hour drive round-trip was a bit more exhausting the second time around -- but we had some nice quiet time together, we shared a lot of smiles and jokes, we read books and played games while waiting in the hospital and it was a pretty good day regardless.  We kept the needles in his mediport overnight so the only real torture for Ty was having them removed at the end of the day.  The nurse was great, she did it super fast and careful, and after a few tears we were on our way.

This morning our phone rings at 7AM.  Immediately, I know it must be his cultures.  He has an infection, doesn't he?  The familiar accent of the German fellow on the other end of the line didn't even have to continue to explain... I know the drill.  I waited to talk to our trusted nurse practitioner to get an idea of what to expect before leaving so I could prepare.  No surprise to us, she said a 72-hour hospital stay was most likely in our future.  No Thanksgiving again this year. 

Lou and I spent the morning packing up for a hospital stay.  We called our families and "cancelled" Thanksgiving.  We figured out where Gavin would be staying and packed up all of his essentials.  It was depressing, but still we were/are thankful.  Thankful that Ty was feeling well despite the positive culture.  Thankful that he hadn't had a fever for almost 48 hours (a very good sign when fighting infection).  Obviously, most thankful that his hospital stay wasn't tumor-related.  My boy is still cancer-free which is way better than his prognosis was last Thanksgiving.  Not a single oncologist would have believed Ty would even be with us this Thankgiving.  So yes, we are beyond Thankful.

I don't typically mind the drive into the city.  After living there for almost a decade, I am very comfortable there and often have thoughts of what it would be like if we never left for the burbs.  There is so much that I miss about it.  What a great life I had there.  Not as good as it is now, thanks to my amazing children, but still... it was great.  Anyway, my point is that on the contrary, today I absolutely dreaded going into the city.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving?!?!  The absolute WORST day travel day of the year?!?!  The good news is, I was lucky enough to make both a traffic-laden trip INTO the city, as well as a traffic-laden trip HOME today.  Let me explain :)

It takes time for bacteria to grow on cultures.  And even more time for the lab to figure out exactly what kind of bacteria is growing.  At the time we were called, the team saw both "rods" and "cones" growing, which is likely indicative of a staph infection.  As some of you might remember, Ty has a very, very complicated history of several very serious staph infections in both his bloodstream (MSSA) and his CSF (MSSA, MRSA, Candida - not a staph but still!, etc).  So, we don't want to take any chances with this.  However, by the time we arrived at the hospital the infectious disease team was able to better identify the type of staph that was growing, and it turns out that it was not nearly as serious as the bacteria we have dealt with before.  In fact, they felt that it was most likely a contaminated sample because the type of bacteria they found usually sits on the skin and is very rarely found in the bloodstream. 

Long story short, we were given a pass to go home.  At least until tomorrow.  They drew more cultures today and they will be monitored.  If anything grows on the new cultures over the next 24, 48 or 72 hours, we will have to return... but Lou and I were happy to take our chances and we smiled in traffic the whole way home.  NO! Thanksgiving will NOT be cancelled this year :)  Tomorrow I will post a list of the things I am most thankful for.  I will try not to bore you too much, but I think you know it will be a very long one.  It's been a long day and I think I am actually going to fall fast asleep the second my heads hits the pillow.  Which is right about now... the wine helps :) 

XOXOXOXO.  HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 
PS - topping my "thanks" list tomorrow will be all of you, and your neverending prayers. Love you all so much.


 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Uh oh. Fever.

Ty was running a low grade fever this afternoon.  For anyone else, it would have meant Tylenol and maybe the rest of the day in bed.  For a cancer patient in treatment, it means a trip to the hospital.  These are the days I wish we lived closer. 

I was so worried about him for a while.  He was just so lethargic which always raises concerns about hydrocephalus or shunt malfunction.  I had tremendous guilt knowing he probably contracted a virus or something on the plane.  I called his team before leaving and asked for permission to give him Tylenol before the ride in because he had been whining and moaning in his sleep non-stop for three hours already.  Although they were reluctant because they wanted to see what he would peak at (at the time he was less than 101), they said it would be okay.  I'm so glad they allowed it, too, because by the time we arrived he was returning to himself again.  His eyes were still glassy and he told the nurse he still felt "yucky" but that he was definitely "feeling bedda".  He hadn't eaten or drank anything all day so they immediately accessed his mediport and put him on fluids.  This requires two huge needles through the skin in his chest - which he does NOT handle well - but all I could think about is how nice it is that he only has to suffer through this procedure an average of once a week now, instead of what he used to endure.  They ran all sorts of cultures (results from which take at least 24 hours) and they checked out his blood counts. 

His regular doctor isn't in clinic on Mondays and the one we saw today doesn't check on Ty frequently.  I prefer to only see Ty's primary doctor because I love him and he is familiar with Ty's complicated history, but I still liked today's doctor a lot because he is very thorough.  It can get overbearing, but at the same time I prefer when no stone is left unturned rather than being rushed out the door.  I have had way too many bad experiences when assumptions are made.   The doctor told me that Ty is truly an amazing kid... that he doesn't see many kids like him that can really communicate how they are feeling and converse with the medical team.  Ha!  I would have never thought that Ty gives that impression with the way he usually shuns everyone who tries to talk to him, but hey... I know he's amazing and I'm so glad he does, too.  :)

His CBC was amazing.  Like that of a perfectly healthy kid!  The only thing that indicated a possible infection was the fact that his ANC (his neutrophils - which are the bacteria fighting white blood cells) were very high.  That elevation shows his body was/is fighting something, but the team wasn't too concerned.  They gave him a 24-hour IV antibiotic and we have to return tomorrow for another CBC, another dose of the antibiotic, and for his regularly scheduled infusion of Avastin anyway.  In the meantime, they sent us home on a pump so he basically gets his IV fluids over night without any hassle.  He was feeling so much better after getting those fluids, he even asked me to stop for a corn on the cob at the KFC drive through on the way home.  It's the only thing he ate today, but I'm just so happy he ate.  Whatever the King demands....

Tomorrow will be another long day of back and forth at the hospital.  Due to the fever, I am going to skip YET ANOTHER day of preschool (so disappointed), but at least I can get in and out of there earlier which means I won't have to cancel his occupational therapy in the afternoon.  Hopefully.

Ty is sleeping soundly now, and my fingers are crossed that he can maintain that throughout the night.  I kind-of already know this is out of the question.  When the Tylenol wears off, he will most likely be awake and uncomfortable.  With my luck, those types of things usually occur around the time that I am finally dosing off because of my endless insomnia.  So, perhaps you will hear from me again around 3AM - if he allows me time to go online during Max and Ruby or whatever other Nick Jr. program he chooses to watch.  He probably won't because when he's sick like this he prefers I cradle him on my lap :)  Lucky me, really.  I love him so much, I don't mind our alone time in the middle of the night anyway.  As long as he isn't suffering. 

When we left for the hospital I brought my emergency overnight bag and expected I would need it 100%.  In fact, I cried a bit because I was afraid we would be spending our second Thanksgiving there in a row.  When I quickly searched through the essentials I was happy to see that it still had a few mini bottles of wine left in there, though ;)  Of course, I was even more happy that I didn't end up needing to use it.  I can't remember if that has ever happened before.  If I was prepared to stay inpatient but then I didn't have to.  Oh, how things are changing slowly but surely.  Thank you, God.  And thank you, everyone, for keeping tabs on our special boy.  He is such a love. 




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Healing in Mexico

Home sweet home.  It was a short trip, but well worth it.  Lou and I never expected Ty to have as much fun as he did.  At home, he is very, very reluctant to get out of his comfort zone.  He would hardly ever set foot in a pool unless he was forced to, he doesn't like to be outdoors (especially in the sun since his skin is so sensitive), and he doesn't like crowds of people he doesn't know.  We came prepared with DVDs so he could watch them outside on a lounge chair.  Books to keep him occupied.  A few favorite toys.  We thought we have to bend over backwards just to get him to sit outside with us for more than 10 minutes at any given time.  Boy were we wrong!  Instead, he was saying "More swimming! More sandcastles!  More walking!  More FOOD!?!?!"  He had at least one filet mignon every day - my prince.  I cried so many happy tears.  He was like a new kid.  It was another incredible turning point on his road to recovery.

Several things happened during our trip that could be considered coincidence, but I think otherwise.  We arrived late the first night, and Ty's star was shining so bright down by the ocean.  We were told there was a long streak of terrible weather before we arrived, but we had nothing but clear blue skies every day.  One day, there was even a cloud in the sky in the shape of a T!!  I have proof and I will post the photo soon :)  Another day we sat near a family that had children the same age and I noticed the woman was looking at Ty a lot (most people do, because they are curious. I don't mind at all).  It turns out I sat next to them again at dinner and she began asking me about him.  She happened to be a radiation therapist who knew his hair loss must have been a result of radiation, but it took her a while to ask me.  She ended up reassuring me about some things that never quite returned to normal since Ty completed his last course of radiation therapy and she made me feel so much better.  She doesn't work specifically in pediatrics, either, and I am pretty sure she and her husband left dinner that night with a new love in their hearts for Ty Campbell, and thanking God for the health of their own two beautiful babies. 

All through this vacation, I couldn't help comparing it to our Make A Wish trip to Disney last year.  How different it was!   Our Disney trip was the most memorable and forever will be, but that's probably because we were told his condition was terminal.  At the time, his tumors were growing so fast we were told to prepare for his passing in 6 weeks or so (how any parent is supposed to do that is beyond me, but okay).  Every moment of our trip to Disney was a first and a last.  Ty's first time on a plane.  Ty's first time meeting Mickey Mouse.  Ty's first time seeing animals at a zoo.  Ty's first time at an amusement park.  We were on a mission to "do it all" and I would save every little thing I could get my hands on (you should see his "keepsake" BOXES - yes there are several of them filled to the brim).  I would shove my face in his dirty laundry and relish in his smell.  He was on so much morphine and such high steroids, none of us slept a wink for months and months and months.  We just wanted to do, do, do and give Ty everything we could. 

On the contrary, this trip to Mexico was a vacation focused on healing.  Ty was 100% free of all medication (we will start up his daily chemo again tomorrow, but couldn't risk it while being away).  We didn't rush, we didn't plan, we just tried to enjoy Ty and Gavin and enjoy the beauty of where we were.  The only non-relaxing activity Lou and I indulged in was a jaunt on waverunners and all I can say is "YAAAA HOOOOO!!!!!"  I drove that thing full throttle, jumping over wave after wave, for a half hour.  My hair whipping behind me, I yelled and laughed out loud the entire time.  It was so liberating!  I felt so happy, finally, and so aware of how beautiful life can be for the first time in a long time.  I am so blessed.  Every living thing on this beautiful earth is a miracle and God is indeed good.   Goodnight everyone.  More tomorrow.

Oh... and I know that Gavin is confused about the "kitty" pool because when we were walking by it after dinner in the dark, I reminded him that it was the "kiddie" pool he had been swimming in earlier that day.  He said "kitty pool?"  "Yes, kiddie pool," I repeated.  Then he started crawling and meowing like a cat over and over.  He had that mixed up the rest of the trip - so cute! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making memories in Mexico

I have so much to write about, but my laptop has been taken over by Ty and Gavin.  The hotel here in Riviera Maya doesn't have a DVD player, so they use my computer to watch their movies which makes it impossible for me to get online to post an update. 

Our vacation has been wonderful.  Better than we could have ever imagined.  I will share a full update tomorrow - hopefully we will have internet during our flight home.  In the meantime, here are some photos so you can see how much fun we've been having.  This trip has been so long overdue.

Building sandcastles at the beach

Swimming in the kiddie pool (or, according to Gavin, the "kitty" pool)

Drinking strawberry smoothies at the kid's bar

This is my favorite so far!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Busy weekend

We had such a wonderful weekend.  On Friday, Aunt Theresa came over with Ty's cousins James and Ryan.  The way all the boys played together made me wish so much that Ty and Gavin had a bunch of older siblings to keep them entertained and laughing all day long.  I hardly had to do anything all day!  It was amazing!  And, Ty was more motivated to scoot across the floor and be active with his cousins which was great for his physical therapy.  He even wanted to take a bath, a rarity, because his cousins were taking one with Gavin.  He hopped in and really enjoyed it.  My house was totally destroyed, but it was also filled with roaring laughter.  It was great. 

My sister slept over that night and after we put the kids down we stayed up late with a bottle of wine.  We talked about family and friends and so many other silly things... but surprisingly, we didn't talk about cancer.  At least, not too much.  I am at the beginning of some very big changes in my life, and it is wonderful.  Slowly but surely, we are all healing and we are all finding our way into "normal" life again (whatever that means).  I will never be the same person, and I think I will have to learn to live with a new and permanent stress/anxiety that I never even knew before August 2010, but that's okay.  I am better for it.  I recently saw a necklace that was engraved with the word "remember" and then in flipped up to read, "breathe".  It seemed so fitting considering how I feel all the time :)  Just remember to breathe.  Things will be okay.


Saturday afternoon we headed down to Fordham University to cheer on our favorite football team.  Ty was the honorary "team captain" and he led the team out onto the field.  He also flipped the coin to kick off the game.  It was so great.  We were originally scheduled to do this at the West Point game two weeks ago, but that game was played in the midst of the huge snowstorm and we couldn't get out there.  We were going to give it a try, but in hindsight we are so lucky we didn't get on those mountain roads, we may have ended up stranded on Bear Mountain!  I'm so glad it worked out the way it did, anyway, because Saturday was the most perfect day for football. The sun was shining, the leaves on the trees were falling lightly in the wind, and we didn't even need jackets.


All of the guys on the team seem so mature.  They treat our little man with such respect, it's so adorable.  I was hoping that Ty would bring them some better luck this season, but so far he hasn't helped them win many games.  This will be a long-term relationship, though, and it's only our first season with the team.  I'm sure we will see Fordham's record improve continuously as Ty gets more and more involved, because we all know that Ty is the luckiest kid in the world these days ;)

 
After the game yesterday, Lou's mom and dad threw him a belated birthday party and invited some of his best and oldest friends over for some late night snacks and cake.  Ty and Gavin were such good boys that night, and it was so fun for me and especially for Lou to catch up with everyone. Especially following such great news about Ty.  Everyone was just buzzing.  The atmosphere is always very different when things aren't going well because we are filled with worry and sadness.  Instead, we were celebrating and all was good.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.

Today was a busy day preparing for our upcoming trip.  I have to get back to packing tonight, so I am going to sign off for now.  I will be posting again before we leave and then, of course, I will have my computer with me and can't wait to share photos with you all.  Fingers crossed that Ty is willing to try out the pool!  It has been so long, and he is so afraid, but I just know once he gets in there it will be so fun for him.  We'll see!  Hugs and kisses.  Goodnight everyone.  
  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Miracle MRI recap

Tuesday was one of the most stressful days of my life.  It already seems like it was sooo long ago.  I have been walking on clouds ever since and life just doesn't feel real yet! 

Following a sleepless night on Monday (of course) Lou and I hit the road at 5:30 in the morning to arrive in time for Ty's 7:30 MRI appointment.  We arrived five minutes late, but because Ty's mediport wasn't accessed yet (which caused delays) they had to push his appointment back to 11AM.  Can you imagine having to wait another three and a half hours on top of the endless waiting that preceded?  I was falling apart.  On top of the obvious anxiety, Ty was NPO so I wasn't going to eat or drink anything in front of him all morning.  I went without my morning coffee and I was dying for it.  Oddly enough, I crave caffeine the most when I feel the highest levels of stress. 

Ty was under anesthesia for more than two hours, so Lou and I went to our usual place down the block to get something to eat.  Imagine sitting at breakfast talking about day-to-day things with your husband while you wait to hear whether your son is going to live or die?  That is exactly what we did - for what felt like the umpteenth time.  No one should have to go through that.  It is horrific. 

Lou and I both had a bad feeling about the MRI.  We tried so hard to stay positive, but I would be lying if I said that we didn't think otherwise.  We were very concerned over how weak Ty has been.  We returned to the hospital to be with Ty when he woke up, and it took another three hours in the waiting room on the pediatric floor before our doctor arrived to discuss the results with us.  It felt like an eternity!  A torturous, slow and painful death!  Finally, I saw him walking toward me just seconds after Lou left to go to the bathroom.  I could not get a read from his face what-so-ever as he walked toward me.  "It's good," he said, before he was even close enough for me to hear.  I was reading his lips but I couldn't be sure of what he was saying because I was so panicked.  "What??  What??" I needed to hear it again and again. 

"It's good!  It's good!" he repeated, more excitedly this time.  "I just wanted to get that out of the way before saying anything else."  What happened after that is a blur.  Lou found us.  He was white as a ghost when he saw me with the doctor.  I told him it was good and he needed me to repeat it for him, then he needed to hear it from the doctor.  It is a miracle.  A MIRACLE!!

So, the next questions are... When is his next scan?  When can we stop the chemo?  His next scan is in two months, and over time it will eventually be moved out to every six months.  Some day he will only have to visit the hospital once a year to high-five his doctors and thank those nurses and other medical staff who remember him from when he was a toddler.  I have visions of this and I believe in those visions.  As for treatment, for now he will be on chemo indefinitely.  His doctor does not think there is any microscopic disease, rather, he wants to maintain therapy to combat any future mutations that may occur.  We can never know if or when this might happen, just like we don't know how his cancer started in the first place, but since Ty's original tumor metastasised there is a greater chance that such mutations may occur again. 

How and when do you just take a chance by stopping therapy?  Especially when the chance likely means life or death?  If our prayers continue to be answered, this is a difficult decision we will face in the future, but right now I am just happy.  I am thrilled.  I am OVER THE MOON! 

So, we are trying to resume with life.  Ty returned to preschool today and he was really excited to go this morning!  He didn't last the entire time, but he had a lot of fun while he was there. 


When Gavin saw me taking this picture of Ty, he wanted me to take his picture, too.  Here is adorable Mr. Bedhead in his pajamas.  Cheese!


Before Ty was diagnosed, Lou and I booked a trip to Mexico to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.  We were supposed to go in September, 2010.  Of course, we had to cancel the trip, but Lou and I recently decided to reschedule for next week!!!  We have changed the itinerary to include Ty and Gavin, and we are going to celebrate on the sunny beaches of Riviera Maya starting next Tuesday.  Ahhhh.  I can't even imagine what it might be like to feel relaxed, but I hope I can reintroduce myself to that foreign feeling. 

Ty is on a different chemo as of yesterday.  We finished the most recent cycle with Cytoxin and we are now starting our third round of Temodar.  Last night, Ty got sick from his new medicine and he threw up his entire liquid dinner.  I was more careful tonight, making sure he didn't eat as much before bed and giving Ty anti-nausea meds before he fell asleep.  I have to sign off to administer the rest of his medicine now, and I am crossing my fingers that he handles it well.  Goodnight everyone.  As always, I can't thank you enough for all of your love and support.     

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thanks be to God

As many of you already know from Ty's facebook announcement, his MRI was clean!!!!!!!!  There was no evidence of disease, which means Ty remains cancer free.  May he remain cancer free forever.

This is truly a miracle.  Ty was diagnosed with terminal cancer less than a year ago, and today he has no evidence of disease.  Thanks be to God, to his doctors and nurses, and to all of you who are praying for him and sending words of encouragement.  Please continue to do so.  He is still in treatment and he is having a tough time with the chemo, but we will never stop fighting.  Here he is at the marathon just two days ago.  He looks great, doesn't he?


I have so much to share, but I am in too much shock to organize my thoughts.  I was terrified today.  Ty was showing so many signs that have meant "tumor" in the past.  The drooling, the vomiting, the slurred speech (in hindsight, it was probably the chemo taking a toll on his tiny body).  I still can't get a hold of my emotions.  I am overwhelmed with the news today.  It was the best news Lou and I have ever received in our entire lives.  More tomorrow.  As for now, I am just waiting for the word from SuperTy so we can go snuggle together in bed and sleep, sleep, sleep.  I can't stop kissing him all day today (and everyday) and I don't think I'll be able to let go of him all through the night.  :) 

Grace, a very special girl, also has her MRI tomorrow.  She had a clean scan the day after Ty just two months ago.  I am praying for her and her parent's tonight.  I can't wait to hear her good news tomorrow.  God Bless Ty.  God Bless Grace.  God Bless all of you!  XOXOXOXO.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just opened this Fortune Cookie.  How perfect.

Amazing

26.2 miles.  That is a long way to run.  Yesterday was very emotional, very inspiring, and very exhausting.  Lou, I meant it when I said that I have never been more proud of anyone in my life.  Aunt Debi, you are amazing.  We love you.

Ty and I went out for breakfast yesterday morning before we set off to cheer on Fred's Team outside of the hospital  (as usual, Ty wan't interested and I ended up eating breakfast for two).  There are 775 men and women running to raise funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer research.  We saw someone running for Fred's Team pass by every minute!  It was awesome.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We shared the sidewalk with so many of the nurses who care for Ty, and some of the boys and girls staying in the hospital were allowed to come down to cheer on Fred's Team, too!  One runner stopped to give his medal to a little one in a wheelchair.  He said, "I'm running for you" and he didn't even know this child.  I was wiping away my happy tears all day. 

One of Ty's supporters spotted him right as we were leaving the Fred's Team section and he wanted to talk to Ty and take his picture.  Ty was soooo tired and cranky at that moment he refused a picture.  Then we had to leave rather abruptly because I was nervous about making it to the finish line in time to see Lou.  I hope that sweet man is reading this post, because I would love to mail him a photo of SuperTy.  Please email us at tylouiscampbell@gmail.com with your address :)  We are so thankful for your love and support and we didn't mean to rush off like that. 

After we got a big hug from Daddy and Aunt Debi in front of the hospital, we raced to Central Park on foot to catch them at the finish line.  Thank God I had several friends meet up with me early in the day because they were so helpful.  If it wasn't for them, I don't think this amazing, happy ending at the finish line would have been possible... check this out!



That is Lou carrying Ty across the finish line!!!!  It was so amazing.  Thanks to all of the people who were willing to bend the rules for Ty so that Lou and Aunt Debi could see his smiling face at the end of the race.  It was simply the best.  Later that night we went out to dinner to celebrate Lou's 40th birthday.  I don't have any pictures of the birthday boy to share just yet, but here is the photo montage I posted for him back on Father's Day.  I also pulled this picture down from Debi's facebook.  Can you believe this?  She is so beautiful, you would never know how much pain she was in that night.  She is a superstar, too.  XOXO.



MRI TOMORROW.  As I'm winding down from all of our weekend excitement, I am feeling more and more like a train wreck.  I am so anxious about Ty's MRI tomorrow.  Please pray, pray, pray for it to remain unchanged.  No evidence of disease forever.  Ty is still getting sick at random and drooling a bit more than usual so I am especially concerned.  I am beyond worried but I am trying to stay cool and confident.  After we got home today I went into town for a cup of coffee and I took a walk to clear my head.  I went to church, I lit a candle, I brushed my hands over the brick that is engraved for SuperTy and I stood by the statue of another little boy who lost his battle with this terrible disease.  I will forever be consumed by just how unfair all of this is. 

I truly believe with all my heart that Ty remains cancer free, but there's nothing I can do to otherwise control my fear of "what-if."  He will be going under anesthesia at 7:30 in the morning, and the scan takes about 2 hours.  We will wait for the results in the late morning and we will post the good news as soon as the official report comes in later tomorrow afternoon.  In the meantime, we can't thank you enough for thinking of him and keeping him in your prayers.   Another sleepless night awaits. 




Saturday, November 5, 2011

Marathon tomorrow!

Ty and I traveled down to Manhattan to be with Lou and Debi tonight as they prepare for the Marathon.  The midtown hotel is buzzing with anticipation for tomorrow's race.  I am so happy to be part of all of this excitement.

Ty had a terrific day today.  No vomiting whatsoever and he had a decent appetite so I feel a bit more at ease tonight.  I don't know how any of us are going to sleep a wink regardless, but still - at least I can exhale just a bit. 

We took Ty to Dylan's candy shop this evening and then to one of my favorite sushi restaurants on the Upper East Side.  He was such a good boy the entire time!  I think he likes the city very much when he is here for reasons other than going to the hospital.  He especially enjoyed hailing the cabs.  He was adorable.  I'm SO glad that the G-shots kicked in and he is no longer neutropenic.  Otherwise none of this would have been possible. 

Tomorrow we will be waiting for Lou and Debi in front of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  All of the nurses and doctors come down to the street throughout the day, and they even bring the kids down from inpatient who are able to go outside.  It is going to be so emotional for all of us, I am so excited about this and so incredibly proud of Lou and Debi.  Then we will walk over to Central Park so Ty can be there for Lou as he crosses the finish line.   We have a "Happy Birthday" banner for him that my niece and nephew made.  He is going to love it so much. 

I only wish Gavin could be here, too!  We left him home with my mom and dad because he is just too young.  The city is so crowded and he gets out of hand sometimes, but we will be thinking about him all day.  I believe watching the marathon and cheering on Fred's Team will become a Campbell family tradition so he will be there next year :) 

Panic Attack

There is blood all over my beautiful new sheets.  I was picking my cuticles in a nervous state of stress last night and five of my fingers are raw and bleeding.  It hurts, but I still continue to do it over and over again.  Until cancer entered my life, I had never known what a full-blown panic attack feels like.  I experienced high stress - mostly work related - where I swear I could feel wiry gray hairs sprouting from my scalp.  But this level of panic and anxiety was foreign to me.  I wish it still was. 

Lou had the day off yesterday so he got up extra early with Ty and I slept until Gavin woke up.  When I came downstairs, I noticed Ty was in different pajamas.  I asked him, "Hey, what happened to your Sponge Bob PJ's?"   He didn't answer.  Lou game me an exaggerated frown.  "What?  What happened?"  Lou made a gesture that showed me Ty threw up.  Since I am incapable of subtlety under these circumstances, I immediately started to panic and shouted a slew of questions out loud.  "What do you mean he threw up?  Why?  Does he have head pain?  Did he say he doesn't feel well?..." and so on. 

"Don't worry," Lou said.  "He was drinking his apple juice so fast this morning he started to cough.  I think it just went down the wrong way and it caused him to gag."  Ahhhhh.  Thank God.  I can totally believe that answer, it happens.  Ty has a very, very sensitive gag reflex and I was relieved. 

Then, not even 20 minutes later, he threw up again.  We both had to change our clothes.  Some juice must have been leftover, upsetting his stomach - or so I tell myself.  Another 20 minutes later I have to give him his morning medicine.  Again, he throws up.  We travel down to the hospital for our weekly appointment and I share this with his nurse.  While we waited to be seen, Ty ate a bunch of grapes and he seemed totally fine, he kept them down and was in a great mood.  His nurse felt this probably meant that the vomiting in the morning was isolated and nothing to worry about.  After we met with the nurse we spent a couple of hours in the day hospital waiting for Ty's infusion to finish.  He ate 1/4 of a banana.  He threw it up within minutes.  On the outside I kept it together, but I started completely losing it on the inside.

I had to walk away.  I went to the bathroom that was furthest away from where we were sitting that day, and I felt like I couldn't see or hear anything around me.  I was floating in a bubble that didn't have enough oxygen.  I don't know how I got to the bathroom, how long I was in there sobbing, or if I was quiet enough so I couldn't be heard outside.  I splashed water on my face, and I just stood there, bent over in a panic.  I calmed myself down by trying to think of other things.  I decided to leave and take the elevator downstairs for a cup of coffee (I don't know why, when I am most anxious, I always crave caffeine - not exactly what my body needs).  Again, I don't know how I got down there.  I was unaware of my surroundings.  Sounds were muffled.  All I could do was concentrate of breathing and not crying. 

Luckily, I recovered after a while.  When I returned to Ty, I was in pretty good shape.  Lou could tell I was a mess, but Ty didn't know.   I am an expert at altering my voice so he won't know I was crying.

I don't know what this means, but I just have to hope and pray that it isn't cancer-related.  I believe Ty is healing.  I believe his scan on Tuesday will prove this to be true.  But right now, we have to just wait with painstaking scanticipation. 



The next 3 days are going to be brutal, but also filled with so much excitement as Lou prepares to run his first marathon on Sunday.  Ty and I will be waiting for him at mile 17 - right outside of the hospital - and then we will walk over to greet him at the finish line.  It's going to be amazing.  Thanks to all of you who are supporting his fundraising efforts, and those of his sister, Debi.  Lou is in the Top Ten among all 775 runners from Fred's Team.  All of their fundraising will be going directly toward pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.   I can't wait to update you all on the marathon - we are heading to the city in just a few minutes. 



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three things

I have three things that I want to report on tonight before I get back to the mounds of dishes and piles of garbage leftover after cleaning out my refrigerator.  There is a plus side to the power outage... I had some very old c*ap in my fridge and freezer that must have been buried in there since the ice ages.  It was actually liberating to throw away the freezer-burned, family pack of pork chops that was dated 2009 (how it even made it here in my move from Long Beach is beyond me).   Clearly, I'm not exactly big on cooking ;) 

FIRST - I have several "Happy Birthday shout-outs.  Colleen, what can I say?  You make me laugh constantly.  You lift my spirits.  You have been my friend since Kindergarten and even with 3,000 miles between us I feel as close as ever.  I love you.  Hope you had a happy birthday. 

Catherine is friend who I've known for 12+ years, and we've only gotten closer as time goes by.  She is a wonderful cook and she used to have me over for dinner often, especially when I was still living in Manhattan.  I miss those nights with my girlfriends... indulging in delicious food and talking about silly stuff.  She refers to last month as "Sulltober" - or a similar mash-up of her last name and the month of October - and I couldn't believe it was November 2nd when I looked at the calendar today.  Sulltober came and went and I missed her bday completely.  Happy birthday Catherine, I hope you are having a fabulous weekend in England (you fancy b#@$!). 

My friend Christina, who is one of my nearest and dearest, got engaged last week on her birthday.  We celebrated over champagne at my house last weekend and I am just over-the-moon happy for her and her fiance.  Christina and I have been friends since we were 16 years old, and she is a very, very close friend of mine.  I love her with all of my heart and can't wait to talk "wedding" with her so I can focus on something that is so much more fun than chemotherapy, bloodwork and anti-anemics.

Today is also our love Yasmine's birthday.  Yaz, you are so special to us.  You, Anthony, Eva and Theo bring so much happiness to our entire family whenever we are all together.  I hope you know how much Ty and Gavin love you.  Sending GIANT hugs and kisses from me, Lou, Ty and Gavin tonight.  We love you.

SECOND - G-Love.  I just want to share something adorable that Gavin did tonight.  Since Ty became neutropenic, I wasn't able to take them to a studio to get their pictures taken for Lou.  Instead, I tried to have a "photo shoot" at my Mom's house this morning, and it was a ridiculous failure.  I bribed Ty and Gavin with a trip to the candy store and these were the best shots I could get.  Not exactly frame worthy :) 




I am sharing this because our trip to the candy store resulted in Gavin choosing two Pez dispensers - I couldn't get him Buzz Lightyear without also getting Woody.  He absolutely insisted on having both.  The funny thing is that he played with those two Pez dispensers like they were his best friends for the rest of the day.  He had me put on the movie, and he showed his new friends how they were on TV.  He had them watch the movie with him until bedtime and then he took them to bed with him.  It was the cutest thing.  He tucked his Pez dispensers under his blanket as he went to sleep and I felt so happy.  It was just adorable.

THIRD - SuperTy update. Ty is still doing well, but I started his GCSF shot today which will cause him bone pain over the next few days :(  When we got home today, we caught him scooting around the den and hiding some of his toys.  When I asked him why he was hiding them, he said "cuz I be sill-wee".  He is silly.  I love him so much.  He is such a good boy.  Here he is with his first science kit that was gift from cousins James and Ryan for his birthday.  I believe he is reading the ingredients on his fruit snacks. 


Goodnight everyone.  Thank you for keeping tabs on our special boy. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Healing rainbows for all of us.

Ty's bloodwork showed that his counts were still dropping as of Friday.  We cut his daily chemo dose by another 25% (this is the second week in a row we lowered his chemo) and he was so happy I thought he must be bouncing back.  Unfortunately, his bloodwork today showed his white blood cell count to be dangerously low.  We are down to an ANC of 0.2 from 0.6 (for those who are familiar with the term) and we are going to have to stop the chemotherapy altogether for a while.  I will also have to begin giving Ty his "G" shot every day starting tomorrow.  This was definitely unexpected, but for me it only verifies that we made the right choice by beginning this metronomic chemotherapy regimen instead of traditional chemo because Ty's bone marrow just isn't strong enough for all of these toxins. 

His spirits are so great, you would never know that he is neutropenic.  He has always been that way.  I remember the first time I brought him to the emergency room for a fever after his first course of chemo... the doctor was completely shocked when his bloodwork showed he was neutropenic because in the middle of the night he was up playing games and charming the socks off of everyone with his smile.  He is very good at that :)

So, we have been buried in snow and without power since Saturday afternoon.  After three freezing nights in a row, our freezer was defrosted as of this morning and we were told by the electric company that our power lines weren't expected to be fixed until Wednesday at 11:30PM!!  So, I packed up Ty and Gavin and drove to my mom's house with bags full of laundry and a cooler full of my best perishables.  Of course, I got a text message just two hours after we finally got here to tell me that our power was restored.  We are going to stay the night, anyway, because Ty was having so much fun with Grandma and Pop-pop.   Besides, with Ty being neutropenic there isn't much more we can do, anyway. 



Halloween in our new neighborhood was totally cool.  Despite the snow, we had tons of trick-or-treaters, and I think Ty had more fun giving out treats than he did getting them for himself!  He waited by the window when the sun went down, and told us to "run" to the door with our flashlights so he could see all of the great costumes and hand out candy.  Gavin was just as excited.  It was adorable.  Ty went as Iron Man (because Iron Man has a "mediport" in his chest just like Ty does) and Gavin was Wolverine.  Is it terrible that I convinced Gavin that Wolverine would be cooler than Buzz Lightyear because I wanted him to match his brother?  I wanted them to have the same "Super Hero Squad" theme :)  I don't think he was upset about it, just look at him showing off his claws.


As promised, Ty stood on his own two feet for a photo this Halloween!  He was supported by the couch, but still!!!  How amazing!!!!  The real superhero.



What a year, what a year.  Our Ty is one amazing little boy.  He has been through so much and we are finally coming full circle.  I am just so anxious for the day that we can declare him cancer free.  His MRI on November 8th is right around the corner and I just can't stop thinking about it.  With every bone in my body and every ounce of my soul I truly believe that this scan will remain clear, but it is only natural that I am still sick with worry. Luckily we have the marathon and Lou's 40th birthday coming up on Sunday to keep us distracted. 

I received an email from a college friend recently that helped me a lot. I couldn't figure out why I have been feeling so vulnerable lately.  Why I feel like I could fall apart at any given moment, just as everything else is finally coming together.  She reminded me that up until August, I have been living in pure survival mode.  That I was in overdrive, with a daily stress level that human beings aren't really capable of enduring before it will eventually take its toll.  Now that my day-to-day concerns are less critical, I am starting to feel the effects of all that pent up stress and emotion.  She was totally right.  I have been feigning confidence when in reality, I feel weak and broken.  But, it's all good!  It's very good.  She was right when she said I am "detoxing" and it is necessary.  That's exactly how I feel - like the pain that built up over the past year is working its way out my pores.  I'm happy to be going through this phase because it's certainly better than the alternative.   

My friend Colleen says that she pictures Ty wrapped in a real rainbow with the glowing spectrum of colors healing him completely.  I like that very much. I like to think that I am wrapped in a healing rainbow, too.  So warm and comfy.  Goodnight everyone.  All of our love.