Monday, May 26, 2008

Semi-Final Entry (I think)

We get up. We have breakfast. I clean. They play. We go to the park or on a walk. We come home. We have lunch. I clean. They play. I play with them. Jill naps. Anna pretends to nap until Jill's asleep then gets up and we do a craft or cook something. Jill wakes up. We go to dance class or music class or just hang around the house playing/reading/singing/dancing/dressing up. Daddy comes home. We have dinner. We clean up. I go to the grocery store or the gym. Or he does. Or we all stay home. Or walk. Or watch a movie. The girls take baths/have snack/brush teeth/read books/go to bed. Matt and I clean/read/watch tv/sometimes its a little more fun than that :). We go to bed.

Yawn. Boring. Mundane. Blah.

But would I trade it for our life from October through April? Are you kidding? I am so grateful for this humdrum life. So grateful to have 2 happy healthy children and an unborn baby who is no longer taking the life out of me (I'm finally over my nausea/exhaustion). So grateful to have a place to live, even without a backyard, an extra bedroom, and a flat safe street for my kids to ride their bikes on. One of my first thoughts on receiving Jill's diagnosis was losing our home. Losing our livelihood. Losing everything, not least of all, our child. But we're doing fine. More than fine, in fact....there is no need anymore. Unless Jill relapses, I don't see how we could possibly fall on our faces financially anymore. Thanks to so many generous giving people and their one-time or continuous contribution into our family's "getting through it" fund, we have not struggled one bit. Granted we cut back a lot on a lot of things...we never once felt desperate or even slightly lacking. We are amazed at how (now it seems) quickly and smoothly this horrible trauma passed.

Jillian is bright and sunny and dynamic and fun and powerful and beautiful and completely cancer-free. She got her Broviac (central line) removed on Friday....it's stunned me how many hoops we had to jump through to make that happen...first the consultation with the surgeon, then the massive paperwork, then the pre-registration at the Outpatient Surgery Center, then the day of the surgery and the waiting and the surgery itself (only about 20 minutes) and the 2 hour recovery after....seems a lot easier now having surgery as an inpatient! But it made it seem more real, more final....it wasn't just a quick little thing....it was a BIG DEAL to have this line removed. Granted, now, 3 days later, she got her entire chest wet for the first time since October 2nd! She can splash, she can play in water without us hovering "don't get your shirt wet!". We visited the tidepools on Saturday and she played with hermit crabs and starfish, dug for seashells, splashed her little tootsies in the warm warm water and got to be a huge sandy mess. It was glorious. I'm looking forward to the next warm spell we have (not too warm, though) so we can set up the kiddie pool and the sprinklers and she can don her funky bathing suit and be the happiest baby on the block! Pretty soon, we'll take her to the Y for open swim (it's a public pool, so we're being a little cautious) and she can be a fish again, like she was 2 months before her diagnosis. She has always been lively...even through all of this mess, but life is finally meeting her and taking her forward. I'm so happy. And so proud.

People ask, "So how is she doing? Is she completely cured?" and I say, "Well, she seems fine for now, but there is a 50% chance of relapse". This is what we've read/been told. Matt keeps telling me that he wishes I would stop saying that. That he wishes I could believe (as he strongly does) that it's NOT coming back. That she's all better and she's gonna stay all better. There is NOTHING to worry about. I wish I could have that attitude. But I'm not sure I ever will. She goes in on Wednesday for her first blood work-up since being discharged last month....it will be the longest she's gone off chemo, and I'm truly scared. We will have these appointments once a month for the next year and I'm pretty sure I'll be scared every time.

As for now, Anna is still going to preschool 2 days a week. I'll take her out in July/August and may enroll her in a gymnastics camp. We're very involved with the YMCA....the girls will both be doing tumbling/gymnastics there starting next week...Anna is finishing up soccer and will continue swim through the summer (I'll enroll Jill in swim for next month). Matt's sister and her son are coming to visit in early July. Matt and I are planning a short trip to St. Louis in early August. We're also going beach camping with a bunch of good friends in mid-August for a couple of days....something we've never done with kids! It's been a long time! Not sure I can sleep on the ground now that I'm pregnant, but I'll suck it up for the experience (that's what I say now...talk to me in 3 months!). We ARE going to find out the new baby's gender (our wonderful and sweet next door neighbor is an ultrasound tech and has offered to take us into to her office this Saturday, so hopefully the baby will cooperate!). I will return to work (at 3 days/wk) in September then will take maternity leave from Oct-Jan (or so). I'm hoping to start Anna in a new preschool (LAUNCH) in the fall (if I can work out where she'll be 3 afternoons a week when I'm at work). Jill will go back to her daycare lady, Rose, for the month of September and will probably continue there when I return to work after the baby is born, for the rest of the school year, along with the baby. We love Rose, she's so great. We've been seeing her once a week or so since Jill's been home to go on walks with her and the handful of kids she watches...Jill has missed them...today, our entire family joined Rose and a whole gaggle of kids (some of whom are too old now for "daycare" but whose schools were closed for Memorial Day, and whose parents had to work) for a fun walk and chalk drawing adventure. How she keeps everybody happy and safe, even crossing busy streets, blows me away!

For those who don't already know, Sat June 14th is the Torch Run for kids battling cancer and survivors and their families/friends.....it is actually a big fundraiser for the Jonathan Jacques Children's Cancer Center in Long Beach. We are planning to go run with our little survivor and party with the doctors/nurses/friends we've met along the way at the carnival afterwards. We would love it so much if you, our friends and family, could be there to celebrate with us. Email or call me for details.

So, I guess this is pretty much it. I will be posting updates every so often, I guess, following JIll's appointments or big events (like the run), but my guess is that this blog will just fizzle out. At least, I hope it keeps a reason to. I can't thank each and every one of you enough for your love and support throughout this time. Even without family living close, we still felt like we belonged to a huge extended family....one that refused to let us fall. From the meals to the babysitting to the visits to the gift cards....no deed was insignificant and none will ever be forgotten. I hope you feel good about what you did for our family and that you know what a difference you made to us. In helping us bear this burden, you made it bearable. It seems like such a blink of an eye now. Such a short period of time. Such a poof! and it's gone. I can't believe she did it. That we did it. It has certainly made me stronger and more confident and helped me to realize what really is important. I still firmly believe that God felt we needed this...for some reason. To teach us something...to teach others something. I pray every day (and wish upon countless stars) that cancer is not a word we will need to utter in our house any longer. That the mission is completely completed and that the next big challenge will be how to get through the first 3 months of a newborn, a 2 and 4 year old without losing my friggin' mind. I welcome that challenge. So, thank you again for keeping us in your hearts and making this dream a reality. And maybe if everyone believes....(as Cinderella says) "The dreams that you wish, will come true."

3 comments:

Alyce said...

Litton Family,

Thank you so much for the update. You always remian in our thoughts and prayers! Allyson talks about Anna and Jillian a lot. Perhaps this summer we can get the girls together again. Tonight at bedtime we will say some extra special prayers for tomorrows doctors visit.

Have a Happy Day,
Alyce and Family

lovingaudrey said...

It was nice meeting you today (June 14) at the Champions Run for Life event in Long Beach. When our little Audrey was first diagnosed in February 2008, she spent her first hospital stay on the 2nd floor. But we kept hearing about this amazing little girl named Jillian up on the 3rd floor who loved running up and down the hallway. It was nice seeing her today doing so well. We wish the best for her always.

The Orrs
John, Darrelyn, Jackson, Charlie, and, of course, Audrey

Feel free to visit Audrey's blog, http://www.lovingaudrey.org

Deb in Maryland said...

Well, Michelle...as usual I need to scrap the mascara before reading your blog :) I loved the church story and the one of the grandfather~ Wow. powerful stories.
I loved the photos and so glad to see you all so happy. Huge hugs to Jillian and Anna! I hope you are getting rest and feeling great!!
We were up to 8 miles this weekend! Onward we go!
Love ya, Deb