Friday, October 9, 2015

A Plan For Recovery

The Plan

It's incredibly surreal to think that it was only a week ago that we had this healthy looking kid with a bum leg that we brought down to DeVos to figure out what was going on . . .




 . . . and then a week later we are pumping him full of stuff that we pray will kill this horrible disease.  Wednesday marked our first day of treatment for MacKale.  No wonder why this still seems like a bad dream that we'll wake from at any moment.  But nope!  This is our new reality.  Fortunately, between getting the official diagnosis on Friday and starting chemo yesterday, we were able to head home for a few days.  We all needed to see the little boys.  We needed to be home.  We needed to deal with the shell shock caused by the cancer bomb that was dropped on our world.   We needed to feel normal, if only for a few days or hours.  Luckily, MacKale was able to attend school for a couple of hours Monday and Tuesday, and those days were awesome.  Despite his initial nervousness, when I picked him up, he was laughing and happy.  How could this happy go lucky kid be sick?

But then Wednesday, it was back to reality. We woke early enough to get the little boys off to school before we had to head down to Grand Rapids.  This was really important to me, as I know that they are feeling the stress of not having me at school with them.  I took for granted how fortunate I have been to sneak into the lunch room and give them a squeeze midday or spend a few chaotic moments before and after school chatting it up with them. I know, in my heart that they are in great hands, but it doesn't really keep my momma heart from feeling a bit torn in two.  I know Mike feels it too.  It's a tight rope we are walking, but we're doing it together.

Our appointment with our oncologist on Wednesday outlined our plan of action for the next nine months to year of treatment.  I love this doctor more than I can say.  She totally gets me and our need (ok MY need) to see a plan even if tentative, so that I can find some peace.  Which means Mike and Mac will have peace, because then I won't be a complete and total wreck.  In basic terms, MacKale will go through about 11 or so weeks of chemo treatment, followed by surgery on his leg and then another 4-5 months of chemo.  This is no sprint friends!  This is a marathon.  We are going to need all our strength and the support of our friends and family to make it.  But make it, we will!

Treatment Begins

With a plan in place, we began treatment Wednesday night.  Because the chemo that MacKale is getting this time around can be hard on his kidneys, it was necessary to hydrate him for a good 10 hours before beginning.  This proved to be pretty convenient because by the time the actual chemo began, it was late in the evening and he was able to sleep during most of the time that it was being administered and woke later than he usually does in the morning.  He was pretty miserable for most of the day.  He kept telling me he felt FULL, not necessarily nauseous, just full.  I suspect he just doesn't know what the sensation is really called and that's his best description.  Luckily, they pumped him full of some great anti-nausea meds, and he has thankfully dodged that bullet so far. At one point he woke up after a LONG stretch of sleeping and declared he had just had 'the most awesome nap,' but felt pretty miserable soon after again.  Later in the evening though, we were lucky enough to have his mood turn around.  He perked right up when his two babysitters stop by.  He even felt good enough for a bit of a little Wii tournament.  It was such a blessing to see him smile and laugh.  These girls have my heart let me tell you.  They broke away from their own midterm studies at college to come to 'play' with Mac.  God sends angels when we need them.  These sweet girls are proof of it.

Thank you Jenna and Erica.  

Some Peace

There is no doubt that this journey is going to be a trying one.  It is amazing how quickly things can seem to start to fall apart, how your life can seem to be spinning out of control and you can't seem to catch up with it.  At some point last week, Mike said to me that we needed to somehow get the news of MacKale out to our friends and family.  People were wanting to know what was going on.  I knew we needed to do something, but I just couldn't bring myself to write the words and didn't want him to see my anguish while I wrote it.  But then, I just did it.  I posted it on my teacher blog, because, quite selfishly, I wanted and needed prayers for my boys. Prayers where ever I could get them, from everyone and anyone.  And, thankfully, I got them.

I can tell you ,without a doubt, that God has been working overtime listening to prayers for my sweet boy and my family.  For the first time in a week, I was finally feeling more peace than I thought I would ever begin to feel again.  That was due entirely from the outpouring of prayers from family throughout the world.  Yes, I say they are all family, because if you have taken the time to consider MacKale in your prayers, you will always be family to us.  It is a precious, precious gift.
The road will be hard, but I still know with all certainty that God is good and God is bigger than you and I.  

We are truly blessed.  My friend Annie posted this on her blog, The Moffatt Girls, a couple of years ago.  At the time, I printed it off and kept is on my bathroom mirror so I would see it everyday.   It's been there for a couple of years, but was an especially gentle reminder for me this week as we prepared for the start of this journey.  

Please continue to pray for us, for healing for MacKale and for 'strength.'






41 comments:

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  2. I LOVE you sweet friend! You're one amazing mom and MacKale is one tough boy!!!

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  3. Love you all Marsha and are saying prayers everyday! Who would have thought that the strong little toddler in his diaper running through the cold well water with my grand kids at you folks house those short years ago would now be fighting the fight of his life. God is with him and in my heart I agree with Brian. We will be raising a glass of the good stuff and thanking God!

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  4. We all love you so much and appreciate the updates. We will take this journey with you and be there for you, every step of the way. MacKale and the whole family will be in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

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    1. Thank you Lori. We certainly appreciate them.
      M

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  5. We are here for you, Mike, McKale and your whole family. Thank you for the update. God is good I will keep on praying!

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  6. I am so glad that you have posted this! I have had so many questions for you, but didn't want to bother you....I know you have a strong family network and you know you have all of us out around the country praying and rooting for you all, especially little Mac. God is good and you've seen proof of that already in this battle! Love, thoughts, and prayers for you ALL THE TIME, xoxoxo, Krissy

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    1. Kiss those boys Krissy. I love you tons friend.
      M

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  7. Marsha,
    Through everything that I have been doing, I make frequent stops and pray for Machale and your family. I hope that you can gain more strength from our prayers. And of course, that Machale can endure his treatments as best he can. Maybe you feel some relief after writing your thoughts down. It could be a great way to deal with and process new information. It's also historical.....in 20 years when Machale is a healthy adult, he may have forgotten some of these details. It will help him to see how far he has come and the path he was on. I will keep praying for all of you and the medical team too! Hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks Patty. I think it will be good. In fact, MacKale has expressed an interest in updating friends and family himself through the facebook page. It may just be a good outlet for all of us. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers friend.
      Marsha

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  8. Thank you for keeping us updated! I have been thinking of you and MacKale and praying for him since I read your blog post the other day. I'm with you - it's always good to have a plan! I know that God will continue to be with your family and will strengthen you for this long fight. I'll continue to pray and I'm sending lots of virtual hugs! Jennifer

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    1. Thanks for wanting to hear the updates Jennifer. We have a long road ahead of us. Months and months and months. Right now everything is new, but we hope that everyone will keep praying for us as time goes on. We definitely will need their support.
      Marsha

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  9. Sending prayers to you MacKale all the way from Canada.

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  10. Been thinking about you & your family so much! I've been praying hard for you my sweet friend!

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    1. Thank you Mel. I am so thankful for my friends and their prayers right now.
      Love ya.
      Marsha

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  11. Hi Marsha, I am Shirley's neighbor, Christine. I know we don't know each other but, I have been privileged to get to know your boys while they visit with Shirley. It's been so enjoyable to watch them peddle their bikes through our yards and down the driveways. They are always so polite and chatty with me. Please know that I will continue to hold your family in my thoughts and prayers. God is near, we are never alone. Big hugs to all of you.

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    1. Thank you for all your prayers Christine.
      Marsha

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  12. My kids and I have been praying for your family every time we see the color orange! Mike told my mom that it was Mac's favorite color! Kohen has shared this with some friends at school as well. Through the years your family has been such an inspiration to me! You do whatever it takes for those sweet boys and your closeness shows! Mac is such a wonderful young man and he's a conquerer!!! God is bigger!!! He's showing Mac that the battlefield isn't always easy but that He is able!! And that your family is equipped with all they need for victory!! Faith and a strong network of fellow warriors(in prayer). Xoxo So much love being poured out your way!!! -the Holly clan <3

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    1. Thanks for you kind words Jessica and your prayers. We are so fortunate to have so many praying for Mackale.
      Marsha

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  13. Wii! I love Wii! AND people like to play me because I ALWAYS lose! Like all. the. time!

    Thank you for creating a place to keep us up-to-date. You and your sweet family are on my mind and in my heart 24/7.

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    1. Wii love you Deedee. You are special angel and so dear to me. Thank you for everything friend.
      Love ya
      Marsha

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  15. We will continue to pray for your family!! Hold those boys tight! God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you so much. I will hold those boys tight.
      M

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  16. Yes, Marsha! Prayers are surrounding you and your family! Thanks for sharing Machale's journey with us! I'm sure that this blog will minister to so many people! Even though my children did not have cancer at such a young age, my brother did. At the age of 55, those are memories that will forever be etched in my heart. He survived.....and he is close to 50. But, I will never forget those difficult days! Knowing that, I am fervently praying for you daily!
    You are one of my FAVORITE teacher bloggers and I absolutely LOVE your philosophy on teaching. Being fairly new to kindergarten (going into my 3rd year), your blog posts and products have inspired me to be and do the best that I can in order to make my kinder cubs the best they can be.
    Hang in there!!
    God bless you and may His face shine upon you and all of your family as you make it through this time!

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your story. I often wonder how my little boys will fair in this journey. When I'm without them I miss them desperately, but feel the need to be with MacKale the same way. It's a tightrope.

      Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Thank you for continuing to keep us in your thoughts. You know this journey is a tough one, so I assume you know we will need those prayers for many months. Thanks you for that.
      Marsha

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  17. Thank you for creating a place so that we can keep up with what is going on with MacKale's progress and treatments. I'm sure it will be great for all of you to have a place to write down what you are feeling and having an outlet. Prayers are being sent up for you all. I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength is one of my very favorite bible verses. It is on a post it note on my computer and I read it often and am reminded that Christ is there and holds my hand when I need him most. Hugs my friend!

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  18. Continuing to keep you all in my prayers Marsha. You really summed it up when you said this is a marathon....but I know that God will be there beside you all. Thank you for keeping us updated. I hope that writing about Mackale's journey is cathartic for you and that we are helping to lift you all up when you need it. Hugs.

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    1. Thank you Karyn. It is a bit cathartic for me. Some how, this makes it easier for me so that I'm not a complete mess the rest of the time. I'm delighted that people are willing to read about MacKale and include them in their prayers. Hugs right back at you friend.
      Marsha

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  19. My daughter made Matty a poster that said "I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me." She made it with colored markers, used Ellison machine mini bears and put it on bright 9 by 12 construction paper. It went with us to every hospital stay and was the first thing we put on the wall. Keep the faith...Sally in CA

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    1. Oh my, that's a sweet story Sally. Thanks for sharing it with me. I love that verse too. Thanks for your continued prayers.
      M

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  20. Thanks for sharing Marsha. That verse is one of my favourites too.

    I'm glad to know you have so much support actually there with you, and I feel honoured to be part of the Kinder family sending prayers for MacKale. Jeanine in British Columbia

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    1. Thank you Jeanine. My kinder friends have been amazing prayer warriors.
      Marsha

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  21. That is a beautiful verse....all things are possible. I also like the quote, With God all things will be right in the end. If it is not right, it is not the end. Life's journeys are hard, but all things are possible. Prayers for all! Thanks for sharing your journey! I love you Marsha and have so much respect for you too.

    Terri Izatt

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    1. I love that quote Terri. Thank you so much for sharing it. It's going in my planner.
      Love you too friend.
      Marsha

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