As the new year comes upon us — it seems to be a time to reflect on the previous year and evaluate the successes, worries, mistakes, losses, relationships… I could reflect on the year with a negative view. So many trying and stressful moments – you just need to read my archived posts. I have had moments of sheer anger and frustration – it has not all been positive for me. However, I think if I let the sadness and worry take up too much of my mind and heart, I would fall apart. I have learned that looking for the sparkle of goodness in trying times helps shed the hope that is needed to get through. Some may call it having rose coloured glasses or being naïve – but I would much rather be that then having resentment and bitterness.
As I venture into 2014 I think of the amazing daughter’s that I have. Their strength, ability to adapt, courage, and resilience has astounded me. How can I complain about anything when I see the way they cope everyday with pain and illness? Their laughter during rough times is like music to me….they see the good and funny even when times are very hard. They are truly blessings and I am so proud to be their mother.
I also think about the amazing community I live in — strangers, friends, students, families, colleagues, family all finding ways to support and help us — no matter how many times we seem to be in crisis people do not give up on us. I reflected long and hard worried about my pride but willingly opened up to receiving help – and the strength, support, and love I felt towards the number of people who have given to my family overwhelms me. I am so grateful and appreciative.
Some have told me that I should be so mad about the last year and that I must be waiting for the new year and things to change. I don’t…I live each day appreciating it for what it is, what I can learn, and how I can be more kind, caring, and giving. Happy New Year…look for the sparkles of goodness in each moment.
(I will be starting to update the blog more frequently as Ryleigh soon begins the process of her stem cell transplant!)
We are hopeful that this will be our last long stay in Vancouver. Ryleigh and Chloe continue to show such courage as they adapt yet again to another home, another routine, and another healthcare team to get to know. Ryleigh is scheduled for an autologous stem cell transplant. This is not a cure of her Crohn’s disease but it may give her some reprieve so she can grow, develop, and thrive for some time. She will have her own stem cells harvested and transplanted in her after she has received chemotherapy to get rid of the overactive cells that are currently attacking her digestive system. As this transplant is done with cancer patients Ryleigh will be on the oncology floor for the actual transplant. She will be admitted on January 2 to start the harvesting process. I will explain the process in more detail in later posts as I research and learn more about it.
We are settled in a quaint little apartment in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver. We have made it as home like as possible. I had to make some decisions about where we could stay that would be comfortable for Chloe and Ryleigh. Chloe is still struggling with her pain – the syndrome she has is relentless. I am so amazed at how she manages when her body is fighting her every step of the way. Unfortunately, stress does contribute to opening the pain gates. I am grateful for this space we have to help her remain relaxed and calm. It is also somewhat isolated from large crowds of people as we will need to be as “germ” free as possible when Ryleigh begins her transplant process. Hopefully, the family residence program will help out with the cost of the apartment but…they are limited in the amount of time they can support us.
I was sad to say goodbye to my class and the Evelyn Dickson School community. Being surrounded by children that are healthy and joyful was good for my spirits…it made me realize what I am trying to get back for my daughters. My students were so kind and generous to me each day – it was such a delight showing up to work every day. Over the last week – my students were hoping that a Christmas Miracle would happen and Ryleigh would get better so that I can return in January. I do not think that will happen but I am hopeful that this incredible experimental procedure offered to her by BCCH will be the miracle and we will be returning to our hometown in March.
I will be blogging regularly again and look forward to connecting with family, friends, and others. Blogging allows me to process, relay information, communicate with others, and feel connected to those that care about us. I am glad to have a blogging history of the events…I have referred back to some previous blogs for inspiration and information. We will continue to have hope, faith, and courage to accept our journey.