If it's not one thing, it's another...
Well, we've had a busy couple of days. On Friday it was discovered that John's grandma had the shingles. There is a whole lot of debate about the contagion factors, but given Ellie's weakened immune system, not to mention the cancer, not to mention the stress levels effecting our immune systems... It is a fact that shingles can give someone chicken-pox if they've never had it, but Ellie's immune system has been shredded since her outbreak. Her body may not have the antibody to the chickenpox anymore. So John's aunt Belinda and uncle Michael flew in yesterday to move Grandma down to our new house. Michael is setting up things like TV and computer and Belinda will live at the house with Grandma. Needless to say, it's been busy around here.
And this morning I awoke with those beginning tinglings of a cold in the back of my nose! It is just at the very beginning stages, if it's one at all, so I'm staying in my room and doing every form of preventative measure known to man!
Ellie is still in good spirits, but continues to weaken every day. She now stays in bed all day - only getting up to go to the bathroom. Yesterday we carried her to the tub and let her soak. After getting out and brushing her teeth, Ellie was completely exhausted. She is very pale and has unusually full cheeks (a side effect of the steroid). But when I hold her hand and look at it while listening to her sweet voice, I can still tell that it's the same Ellie. It's just a little hard for me to see all of the changes in her face.
Today Ethan has been sad. Even though I was trying to be careful with what I said, I had been on the phone in Ethan's presence a couple of times today. He is so smart and intuitive, that he often picks up on things that are disguised. Loretta has had tremendous wisdom about what is going on with Ethan and what he needs, and she gave me the heads-up that something was brewing with him. I asked him if he was worried about Ellie and he admitted that he was. He said "you know, sometimes a person gets very sick and the doctors can't help them and their family can't help them get better." I said "what happens then?" He said "then they die." I asked if he was afraid that Ellie was going to die and he said "yes." Ethan hung his little head until his chin touched his chest and asked "is Ellie going to die?" I said "she might, buddy." His head popped up and he exclaimed "she might?!" I went on to tell him that Ellie would be in Heaven where she will have no more pain and she would never feel sad again. I told him that we would all be sad because we miss her, but she would be with God and she would also get to be with my dad. I told him that he and Daddy and I would still be a family and that we would be ok. He said (after methodically counting to 20 on all fingers and toes) "In 20 days I'm going to cry really hard. I'm going to be in my bed and I'm gong to cry so hard that you and Daddy and Ellie will hear me from the other room." I assured Ethan that we would come and comfort him. After our talk, Ethan was able to talk freely about it with Loretta. In general Ethan seemed better, but he started being rude to Reni - not wanting her to come in the room or talk to him at all. Then La had a wonderful talk with him about being scared and sad and how easy it is to push people away when we are scared. Ethan immediately pointed out how he had been pushing Reni away and was so relieved to hear La say that she sometimes does the same thing. She reminded Ethan that he is safe and everyone here loves him and will take care of him. Ethan has been much happier since then. La and I laugh sometimes about the fact that together we manage to make one whole mother. It may be sad, but so true!
As I type, I'm looking out the window and it has started to snow! I had forgotten how wonderful it is when snow falls. It has happened a couple of times already since we've been here, but it never fails to take me by surprise. I'm beginning to love snow days as much as rain!
Thank you all for the wonderful comments and emails. We are still seeing the hand of God at work. In many ways we are ragged with stress and emotions, but not to the point of despair. We continue to see God work and move in the smallest of details. I often imagine that it is in direct response to your prayers for us. I told Ellie the other night at bedtime that there were people praying for her while she sleeps because where they are it is daytime during our nights. She was so tickled over that thought. It brought her such peace as she drifted off to sleep. So... thank you. Thank you all for persevering with us to the end.