My family is perfectly imperfect and not a day goes by without humour, tears or tantrums. Blogging is the modern version of keeping a diary so feel free to read along while I share the good the bad and the ugly aspects of being me!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ding Ding ... Round #1

On Monday Nick started his first round of chemo, we had been told that often times there are no side effects seen during the first cycle so we were rather surprised to see the rapid onset of not wanted symptoms.
I sat for hours and watched my child vomit so violently that his entire body heaved, the first anti nausea medication did nothing, then the second as well, thankfully the third medication that we added to his cocktail seemed to take the edge off.
The list of medications that he takes is long, so long indeed that I couldnt count them on my fingers and toes, so long that the hospital pharmacist booked two appointments with me because there was just too much info to cover in one sitting.
I am thankful that Dom decided to stay at UPS instead of leaving for a job opportunity that paid more hourly, the benefits that his employment provides are essential. Despite being covered for 75% of the medication it is still going to cost us thousands of dollars over and above what Manulife will provide.
I cant even imagine the strain and stress that a family with less financial means would be enduring over and above the emotional aspect.
Today we got to meet a very nice woman named Maria, she is a "child life specialist" here in the hospital and she is someone that is specifically here to help Nick cope.
One of the things that they did today is start his collection of "Bravery Beads",
These specially designed beads are given for each and every procedure that he will have done over the entire length of his treatment... a visual and tangible object for him to keep not as a memory of the dark and painful time but as a memory of the strength, courage and survival that he will one day appreciate and be proud of.
At first I didnt think that he would agree to collect these beads as my need to photograph had been met with less then a pleasant reception; he said that this wasnt something that he wanted to remember, but this afternoon after I had strung his beads and then began to read a book I noticed him quietly pick up the rope, run his fingers slowly over each bead and simply gaze at it before putting it on the tray next to his bed.

The beads in this picture are what he has "earned" over the last few weeks, when he is finished this journey I am sure that his rope will be long enough to drag on the floor but it will represent so much more then a tacky childish craft and I am very proud that he is brave enough to acknowledge it in the physical form.

Smiley Face: Help A Child Smile Logo
Dark Blue: Admission
Maroon: Needle Pokes
Purple: Bone Marrow Aspiration
Pink: Surgery
Green: Chemotherapy
Orange: Tests/Scans
Flower: Port Insertion
White: Dressing Change
Lightening Bolt: ER visit
Heart: Echo
Faces: Steroids
Lime Green: Sedation
Gone Fishing: Home Pass


  1. Oh Cassandra.
    My heart is breaking for Nick right now.
    You are an amazing mother to be so strong for him and help him through this. Please know how much you are helping him right now.

  2. Ditto TrailRunner's comments.

    We are here for you and I think this necklace adn the meaning behind it will inspire Nick for years to come. I see my husband 4 years in remission from a type of lymphoma now and I swear the pride in his eyes is amazing and Nick will be proud of this necklace.