Victoria was well enough to have chemo today, week 62 done and dusted! We also has an appointment with the occupational therapist who was pleased with the way Victoria was using pressure with her left hand to stabilise the paper when writing. When chemo finishes we may look at some more hydrotherapy to help build strength in her left arm.
A big thank you to everyone who is 'carrying' us through this last 3 months of Victoria's treatment. It is so re-assuring and comforting to know that we have this support. Ken and I have been enjoying our Saturday night date nights, getting out and having that uninterrupted conversation. The Thursday hospital help has made a huge different to my mental state, even as I drive into the carpark, I think to myself, "I have help, this will be a good day." The Thursday night dinners that arrive at our home, finish off a huge day wonderfully. And of course everyone who is praying for our family, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Another big thank you to everyone, family and friends, who made it possible for me to get away from a night earlier this week. This time alone gave me the opportunity to pray and gather my thoughts regarding making an emotionally healthy transition from 'treatment life' to a more 'normal life' for hopefully at least 12 months. The wonderful Redkite organisation run a 'transition' group via telephone (a telegroup) for 7 weeks. Redkite describes the group this way, "These intimate discussions bring parents together and reduce the sense of isolation they can often feel once they return to the community. They provide the opportunity for everyone to share their experiences and learn from each other, encouraging the development of personal strengths and coping skills."
Unfortunately I won't have the opportunity to join one of these groups until early 2014, so I really wanted to take some time to consider the changes that will take place in our lives when Victoria finishes treatment at the end of October and how we can best manage that change. Somethings won't change, for example Victoria will still have the portacath in, so the routine of going to hospital if she has a high temperature will still be required. But as Victoria won't be having chemotherapy pummeling her neutrofils, she should be at less risk of an infection, and hopefully the hospital visits will be as simple as checking her out and sending her home again! Rather than the 3 day stay.
During this transition time, one area we do want to focus on is re-building the connections within our family. By the grace of God they have withstood the barrage of change and upheaval over the past almost three years. But now it is time to move from survival mode, back to doing, what Ian Grant in his book 'Growing Great Boys' calls 'Intentional parenting'. Here is an excerpt from his book...
During the sixties and seventies, a generation of parents who'd rebelled against societal norms and the standards of their parents began experimenting with different ways to bring up their kids. A relatively values-free approach to child rearing became the norm for many. However, as children who have grown up without boundaries are picking up the pieces of their sometimes chaotic lives, there appears to be a bit of a swing back. Educators and parents recognise the value of mentorin, boundaries and a sense of future as passed on by loving and firm parents. I like to call this 'intentional parenting'. (p 193)
Whilst I was away for the night I was finally able to finish reading this book, Growing Great Boys, and it has given me many ideas about re-connecting with our children. I will mention a few over the coming weeks.
To finish off this post, here is a poem from the book. You may have seen it before, but I think it is well worth another read, especially given the way today's society generally works.
The Anyway Poem
By Kent M. Keith
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred
Forgive them anyway
If you are kind, people my accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you may win some false friends and some true enemies
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
Transparency may make you vulnerable.
Be transparent anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.