After many attempts and the thought that all possibilities had been explored — we are all on our way to a possible positive outcome. Ryleigh’s stem cell transplant continues to be successful and we are cautiously optimistic…not a cure but a reprieve. Although there is no specific treatment for Chloe – some strategies and coping skills have allowed her to be more independent and do more. Mindfulness and balance have helped me cope through a very challenging experience. Because of not giving up we are now experiencing a break from a medical centered life. Thankfully the odds are leaning in our family’s favour…whew, finally it feels strangely odd to be in a such a positive place but I will take it fully and embrace quiet or loudness, messy or clean, sadness or happiness, frustration or ease, disagreements or agreements, rights or wrongs, work or rest….so much more..but the best of all is that:
WE ARE HOME!!!
I am loving the endless possibilities of what we are dreaming, sharing, and participating in as a healthier family – we are taking time to enjoy the calm energy we all feel. As Chloe, Ryleigh, and myself learn how to pace and find balance – we begin to once again show our true colours that have not been shadowed by health problems.
Chloe – has continued to transform into a confident, wise, and intuitive young woman. She is determined to cope with her pain in the best ways that she can. She can identify and share with us when she is over stressed, stimulated, or just plain tired. We understand now when she needs quiet, rest, and distraction from the pain and other distressing physical symptoms. Sometimes this involves doing a quiet activity with either Ryleigh or myself, watching a television show or movie, cuddling with our precious puppy Jakob, or just hanging out and talking. Chloe is also showing confidence and skill as a young driver. Starting out in Vancouver was very smart (although challenging). Coming home to the slower pace and understanding of rural drivers has her enjoying driving even more. The process is much less stressful than I thought. Chloe is also spending time working with our goldendoodle, Jakob. She finds animal behaviour fascinating and likes to spend time with him working on his learning and training. She is resourceful and is reading up on as much as possible to work with Jakob and make him even better as a family pet (member).
Ryleigh — WOW…I had really forgotten the sparkle and spunk that she has. Her health issues literally were sucking the life out of her – physically, socially, and emotionally. Now, she is eager to do regular activities and is looking forward to starting a more regular routine on Monday. This will include some school work and some simple household chores. Ryleigh’s sense of humour is so witty and sarcastic – I appreciate every sassy comment and factoid that she shares. It is so restful for me to NOT see her in pain and struggle with basic activities. I know she still has a long way to go to being fully rehabilitated but I am sure enjoying the process. Ryleigh is also enjoying time with Jakob and is learning from Chloe how to be the “alpha” and getting him to respond to her commands.
Jo – I am basking in the glow from both my daughter’s as they settle into being back in our wonderful home town. I am also so happy to be back in a town where people are not in such a hurry they won’t smile or say hello. Or wait patiently in a line at the grocery store if I have forgotten and item and run to get it quickly. I enjoyed much of what Vancouver offered us…but I am so grateful for the overwhelming sense of community I feel here: When I wave to students I have taught and they wave back with bright smiles. Or when I get big hugs of welcome back from friends and acquaintances when they see we are no longer in Vancouver but actually home. Or tasting a warm, freshly made apple fritter from the bakery…Or listening to the swans fly overhead … or….so many moments that are such a blessing.
I am excited to be going back to work on Monday. A chance to reconnect with a great group of young people, colleagues, and parents. Teaching is definitely a passion of mine and I appreciate all the challenges and rewards it has to offer. After the major stressors of having critically ill children…being in a school and classroom is a welcome break.
The reflection of what these experiences have taught me and changed me will continue to percolate and will come out in different and I am sure odd ways. I will continue to find stories to share, ideas to reflect on, and blogs to write as we move in another direction on this interesting journey…as long or as short as it may be I am looking forward to