|Ty entering the chamber for the last time|
I just kissed Ty goodbye as he was rolled into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber for the last time. I am so happy. He did it! Look at the smile on his face. Oh, and the haircut, too! So handsome. I'm a very proud momma.
Of course, he started to cry some crocodile tears as game time approached. "I scared," he whined. I just smiled and said, "C'mon, Ty! After sixty times, you know the drill. Everything is going to be fine." I can't believe we have been doing this since his very first treatment on April 19th. As I was racing to the hospital this morning, late as usual, I was imagining how I would probably get pulled over for speeding. After all this time, I expected it on our last day - especially knowing how often "Murphy's Law" tends to interrupt my daily life. Alas, I was lucky for a change! We arrived on time, no speeding tickets. It was actually a pleasant commute this morning :)
I stop at a gas station for coffee every single day on my way to Phelps. One time the man at the register - who never takes a day off - complimented me on my smile in the morning. He said something along the lines of how everyone is always so grumpy in the morning, but I always come in with a positive energy. That came as an absolute shock to me. "Really?" I said. "Because my four-year-old son is waiting in the car; we are on our way to the hospital. We do this every day for treatment that we hope will help heal some of the late effects he's had after radiation treatment for his brain cancer. I don't feel very positive, but I'm glad I can fake it."
The man told me that I am not faking it, that it is a natural gift I have. I don't take compliments well, and am embarrassed to share it here because I feel very much the opposite. Anyway, my point of the story is this.... somehow, when I picked up my coffee this morning, that same man knew something was different about today. We rarely exchange much more than "good morning, how are you" but today, he reached out unexpectedly and took my hand. "How are you?" he asked in his adorable accent. When I answered "good, thank you," he didn't let go of my hand and I felt like he was searching my eyes for more. So... I gladly explained how today is Ty's last treatment and that I hope I won't be seeing him very often anymore. He was genuinely so happy. So was the girl who is always working the register next to him. We didn't have to exchange many words. I promised I would come back to say hello now and then, and he wished us all the best. It's always so strange to me when a person can get a good feeling, a real understanding, from another complete stranger. What an amazing world we live in, filled with so much peace and beauty. I'm grateful for the warm and fuzzy our short exchange gave me this morning.
Of course, it's not easy for me to maintain that perspective. There's certainly an overabundance of evil and wrongdoings to counterbalance the good - like the cancer that attacks our innocent children. But Ty's cancer is losing. It has only made my love stronger, my heart bigger and set my fighting heart ablaze with something fierce.
This exact time of day on August 9th, 2010 - two years ago to the minute - Lou and I were sitting in the Emergency Department of Cohen's Children's Hospital, watching Ty pass every neurological exam and answering the same questions over and over and over again. We hadn't slept at all the night before and we spent most of the night on the phone with different doctor's and wondering if we should go to the hospital. Early that morning, once we had someone to watch Gavin, we headed over with no idea what was in store for us. I remember those first days in the hospital SO well. I never imagined that hospital stays with our little boy would become part of our regular life over the next two years. On Saturday, August 11th, it will be the two year anniversary of Ty's diagnosis. We are going to run away that day. We're hitting the road bright and early to take a family vacation. As Ty likes to say... "EAT MY DUST!" We are outta here.