Unfortunately, she relapsed and is starting treatment (getting her VAD today). That means both children have relapsed. This time Rene led by about a year and a month and luckily his relapse experience can give their family hope in this terrible, frightening time. Luis and I are emotionally reeling from their news, but not as much as they are, of course. It's just so sad!
I feel a bit bad about it, but I'm going to jump into good news, because there is a lot of it for our family. One of my co-workers from another division happened to be in our office yesterday for a meeting and told me that he had been checking my blog. I'm just so touched when I hear this. I can't believe people still crack it open and keep up, but it's really a good feeling. He reminded me that a lot of people care! So, for all of you fellow public service employees, here's my great news. I have received the gift of stability for Christmas this year. I have just successfully completed a competition for the position of Administrative Assistant in my Branch. I just about lost hair from all of the stress, but I pulled off the interview with a top score (is bragging allowed?) and I am now a permanent, regular employee of the Provincial Government. Ahhhh. **Sigh of relief** (This instead of losing my temporary position as of December 31st! Can you imagine?) The director, manager, and others above them had to work hard to get permission due to the hiring freeze, but the Branch needs an Administrative Assistant, so I'm here to stay.
In other news, we have finally sold the stroller (with help from Sailor Jack consignment store). Play ominous music. Why ominous music? Luis and I have become quite superstitious about selling the stroller. We sold our first stroller, a beloved friend, when Rene was just turning 4. He wasn't using it anymore and so I did what had to be done. Then, right away, Rene was diagnosed with cancer. We needed that thing.
So, we bought another stroller, rushing out with my Dad to pick one out. The new one was light and easy to fold up. We picked it because it had the tallest back of all of the ones available in the Toys R Us nearest BCCH. Rene was four and taller than the average stroller rider. We found one in which he could rest his head. He did sleep in there. I remember one walk with my sister and brother-in-law when he closed the curved shade over his head and went to sleep. That stroller went to radiation, BCCH, and everywhere else that required a lot of walking. When Rene went into remission, we kept the stroller for a while.
Finally, I got tired of it taking up space and listed it on Craig's list. Bam. Rene relapsed.
Once again, I got tired of it taking up space (seeing the vacuum cleaner in the foyer was tiring so I wanted make room in the closet). The listing on Craig's list had not only triggered relapse, it had resulted in ZERO interest. This time I took it to Sailor Jack and they were encouraging. That stroller sat for months. Finally, about a month ago I called to check up on it. It hadn't sold and they told me that it was time to come pick it up. It took me a week to get over there and when I did they told me the stroller had sold the day before!!!! I was excited. Then I thought.... uh oh. Anyways, he's too big to sit comfortably in there anyways. Menacing music, play on.
Rene is still taking oral chemo. This allows him to attend school almost full time (and Luis to work as much). BUT we do have to give him a billion pills in the morning and then some very yucky tasting, vile liquid from H***, which he has to chug, mixed with a small amount of juice, from a plastic cup after numbing his taste buds with a spoonful of frozen, concentrated juice, and chase with copious amounts of water. Luis had been giving him the medicine in the morning while I was at work. He and Rene had developed the successful routine, which involved Luis standing over him until he completed his duties and ran around the living room making gagging noises. In a later round, Luis switched the liquid chemo to the evening and I could, therefore, help out.
Well, so, I'm a nice mom, right? Rene commented to me about how yucky the medicine tasted and how he didn't know how he could do it. Forgetting he'd already done it about 50 times, I decided to "be a good listener" and so I went along with him, listening to his concerns. Luis was not surprised that that night Rene gagged so hard he threw up his medicine, complete with stomach contents all over the plate we set up his frozen juice and medicine on. Still, innocent of my too-soft style, I figured it was a fluke. Yes, I ignored Luis's ever so polite, "It's your fault. He doesn't do that with me. You have to be tough with him." Sometimes good advice is not packaged up in a pretty box with a bow.
Determined not to stoop to "mean" parenting, I cooed over Rene as he sat down to the vile stuff the next night. Bam. All over the plate.
Luis swooped in. Here's the gist of what he said. I was being too easy on Rene. For Rene: he'd been doing it for months, knew how to do it, and could not wimp out now. Luis also let me know that if he held it in his mouth too long it would trigger the gag reflex, so I had to tell him to swallow it right away. Rene received a similar reminder.
So, the next time I helped Rene, I hovered over him and chanted, "chug it, chug it. Get it down. Swallow NOW!"
And so ended Gag Gate.
Luis, you were right.