(pic above, car ride to the Hospital for Lulu’s surgery)
http://chw.wistia.com/medias/1ebjs89ldn (Bell Ringing Full version- Professional Video from Children’s Hospital)
Today was a big day: Lulu went back to school. It’s a strange feeling and it’s still sinking in. I feel on the verge of tears. I’d hoped to feel elated and bouncing off the walls, but I mostly feel … gosh, I can’t even find the words to describe it. I think it will take a while to process the 2.5 years living in Crazy Cancerland to moving back into a new normal.
Lulu’s surgery went well, but was more complicated than predicted. The surgeon called us into THE ROOM” that you never want to go into, which brought back a flood of emotion and memories of her multiple shredded appendix-on-heavy-chemo surgeries. Our zen-master 6-foot tall & beautiful female doc calmly informed us that the port removal was easy, but they had found 2 instead of one hernia, both of which were larger than anticipated and interlaced with omentum (fat the leaks through hernias). Lulu’s recovery proved that point true, as she struggled to move at all the first two days and didn’t stand or walk until the 3rd day. But our Little Tough bounced back quickly after that, reminding us of the incredible healing powers children have.
While at the hospital, I felt so lucky to have seen two nurses that have been a special part of our journey. First Leann — who was there in the darkest times when we were in ICU — a girl I know I would have over for dinner, walks and java on the front porch if we lived closer to each other. She called me while we were in the waiting room, bubbling with excitement to have us on her docket in the recovery room. I showed her the long version of the bell-ringing video (Link included at the top of this entry), and then Becki, another fave nurse, bounded over to give us hugs. I replayed the video for her, Lulu still asleep between us, and she couldn’t stop the tears from continuing to roll down her instantly wet cheeks. It made me count our blessings once more, that we’ve had such amazing care at Children’s Hospital, that so many nurses and doctors care so much for each of their patients, and have really become a part of our lives. That was clear form the turnout at the bell-ringing too, seeing so many caregivers take the time to attend, watching them cast their eyes down as they shed tears of relief and joy for their special patient as the bell rang out.
We realized how powerful this moment must be for them, as well as for us. As many times as we’ve been to that hospital and clinic, I only remember ONE other bell-ringing ceremony. That’s a shame. I’m sure the doctors and nurses don’t experience this powerful full-circle moment enough either, especially those that work on the H.O.T. unit, ICU, or other wings of the hospital. I’m so grateful to have this special video to share with them, and others, to signify this success story and the journey and the hope that it inspires.
As I write this, I think the word that best describes how I’m feeling right now is humbled. — So grateful to be one of the lucky ones, hoping and praying it holds, and never forgetting all the other children we’ve met along the way that we will continue to fight for. Thank you all for being a part of this journey, holding us up when we’ve needed it, walking beside us when we’ve needed a hand to hold, catching us when we’ve fallen. We’ve learned so much about love, the power of a community and how much difference ONE person … or one little girl … can make.
a.l.l. of us