We are HOME! Finally, the doctors had mercy on us last Monday and let Elizabeth come home. Her ANC was not exactly where they wanted it to be, but with it trending in the upward motion they released her to come home. Oh sweet home, how we have missed thee. As the doctor’s did their rounds that final morning, Brooke and I joined in to see what they had to say. You see, for the past two weeks, we had been waiting for her ANC to come up to the magic number of 250. We tried everything from our special “Raise the ANC” dance to asking our Magic 8 Ball, daily. Well, come to find out that Magic 8 Ball is not so magic and the dance while it was fun, also did not work. That bone marrow was enjoying a long needed vacation. A little too long of a vacation if you ask, Elizabeth. She was ready to get home. She missed Ginger. She missed Bryce. She missed Kate. She missed all her toys. She was tired of the nurses waking her up at night. But most of all she was tired of me being in a room with her every waking minute. And I don’t blame her, if I were in a room with my mother for 16 days straight, well, I would probably freak out on her too. We were eventually told if Elizabeth’s ANC was at least 200, that we would probably get to go home. Well, finally the counts were in…195. Are you kidding me? What? Darn it! Brooke and I looked at each other like, “Is this some sick joke? She is 5 away! We were trying to talk each other through it. We were not only trying to mentally prepare if we would have to stay, but also trying to reason our way into believing we could be going home. Would it be close enough for E’s doctor?” We were not sure what the verdict would be. It was finally time for the much anticipated rounds. I knew it had to be our day when I looked down and saw E’s doctor wearing silver sparkly sneakers! Then all of a sudden E’s doctor looks at Brooke and I with our fingers crossed (and it was not because we were trying to avoid the cheese touch) we were willing to try anything at that point. E’s doctor motioned towards the door with a thumb and said “YOU’RE OUT OF HERE!” WHAT? REALLY? IS IT TRUE? I suddenly heard in my head, WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! Brooke and I both broke into tears. I wish I could describe to you the emotion of joy that came over me at that moment, but the best way to show you is the photo I snapped of Elizabeth just moments after hearing this news for herself. It was the best news we could have hoped for. Elizabeth jumped on her Daddy’s back giggling with excitement. We were so thankful. Before we left she needed to be transfused again so we did not end up coming home until later that evening. I remember seeing a family packing up to be discharged as we were arriving on the 7th floor that first night around midnight or so. I thought why would they not wait until the morning? I sure as heck now know why!
Since we have been home, all has been so wonderfully normal, siblings fighting, toys flying, the dog crazy and barking. All has been so completely normal. It was the fabulous five of us for Thanksgiving this year. The girls helped me make the sweet potato balls and cranberry jello salad the day before. I told them about how my grandmother taught me how to cook Thanksgiving dinner and how my first Thanksgiving I baked my first apple pie from scratch (crust and everything). It was the most super duper sour apple pie anyone had ever tasted. Peeling all those apples seemed like so much work for one little pie back in the day. Today I think I peel that many apples a day between all my kiddos. Anyways, so I didn’t peel the apples. They were granny smith green apples, very sour. It looked completely Martha Stewart, but definitely did not taste like it. The girls laughed and after we were done we all ventured outside to the project at hand. While the girls and I were cooking, Bryce was collecting sticks, leaves and fruit to make a centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table. Now, this is when things got FUN! You know the only thing I have helped craft since stupid cancer were the girls Taylor Swift Posters. So…On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! I gave the kids some cans of pink and green spray paint as well as glitter in every color and they created the most rainbowlicious piece of art. They spray painted and glittered all of Bryce’s treasures from the tree outside as well as themselves. These kids put it all together and created the most perfect piece of art. Perfect because they made it together. The three of them, together.
The next day, on Thanksgiving, I thought about making pink mashed potatoes, and putting edible glitter on everything but instead we got out the Alice in Wonderland tea set and fine china and had a Totally Turkey Tea Party. At dinner we each had a heart to place in the centerpiece container and say what we were thankful for. We needed at least 100 hearts each as we could have gone on forever, but here are just a few things we are thankful for this Thanksgiving…
Thankful to be home. Thankful for not having to pee in a pan. Thankful for not being hooked up to an IV pole anymore. Thankful for no fever. Thankful to share dinner ALL together. Thankful for crunching cornflakes with rolling pins. Thankful for no one hitting each other over the head with the rolling pins. Thankful for marshmallows. Thankful to teach my daughters how to make sweet potatoes. Thankful for spray paint. Thankful for glitter. Thankful for spray painting and glittering each other. Thankful for my kids making the most beautiful centerpiece for our table. Thankful for truly beautiful people. Thankful for courage. Thankful for strength. Thankful for hope. Thankful for bravery. Thankful for freedom. Thankful for medicine. Thankful for temporary tattoos. Thankful for love. Thankful for kindness. Thankful for patience. Thankful for pet therapy dogs. Thankful for our dog. Thankful for fashion shows. Thankful for tissue flowers. Thankful for snow in a can. Thankful for my kids fighting. Thankful for screaming. Thankful for laughing. Thankful for crying. Thankful for sprite. Thankful for hello kitty. Thankful for bubble baths. Thankful for chocolate soap. Thankful for faith. Thankful for giggles. Thankful for believing. Thankful for caring. Thankful for peace. Thankful for moms. Thankful for dads. Thankful for brothers. Thankful for sisters. Thankful for grandmas. Thankful for papas. Thankful for aunts. Thankful for uncles. Thankful for cousins. Thankful for family. Thankful for strong, incredible friends. Thankful for unconditional love. Thankful for rainbows. Thankful for pink. Thankful for music. Thankful for dancing. Thankful for tracing hands to make turkeys. Thankful for microphones. Thankful my son likes the stories I make up at bedtime. Thankful for rocket ships at bedtime. Thankful for ipads. Thankful for pictures. Thankful for videos. Thankful for the husband who is thankful for his wife. Thankful for the wife that is thankful for her husband. I AM JUST SO REALLY REALLY THANKFUL FOR MY LIFE.
As we sat down, I asked Brooke to say grace. The kids got extremely quiet, we closed our eyes, folded our hands and bowed our heads. Silence filled the room. You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet. Before Brooke could begin grace, he started to sobb. He managed his way through, but before I knew it the tears started flowing for me, too. All of a sudden, I open my eyes, Bryce is cracking up laughing, then Elizabeth, yep laughing hysterically and now Kate, oh my practically on the floor. I think they mistaked our uncontrollable sobbing for laughter. Elizabeth even announced to the table that mommy and daddy’s tears were “happy tears”. Brooke and I opened our eyes and smiled at each other. She was so right on! Happy Happy Tears!! For 45 minutes, we the fabulous five ate turkey, toasted tea, laughed tremendously, cried just a tiny, and totally giggled our way through the most super duper Thanksgiving dinner. Laughter truly truly does make for the best medicine.
Finally, at clinic today, somehow the nurses heard about the TPing on the 7th floor last weekend. They were telling us all about it today when Elizabeth told them a thing or two. She said, yes she knew about the TPing and that she was the one who did it. She said, “Do you want to see the pictures?” She had all the clinic nurses gathered looking at photos. She knows how to get attention and she knows how to have a good time. I think I’m going to change her middle name to Hollywood. Elizabeth Hollywood Blair. She is so going there someday, ya know! You see, Elizabeth was named after Brooke’s sister, Christy Elizabeth, who passed away a couple of months before Elizabeth was born. Christy was so Hollywood, too. She would make a room full of people laugh for hours. She was so funny and so full of life, just like Elizabeth is. I know that’s where Elizabeth gets it from. Although Elizabeth’s counts are still not high enough for chemo, she will probably be able to start chemo again next Monday. So on your mark, get set, run cancer run cause Elizabeth Hollywood Blair is acting out in a BIG way. She is full of laughs and giggles so watch out!