Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Healing Power of GREEN

Post chemo days can get mighty gray.  The cisplatin that MacKale has gotten now twice is so incredibly difficult for his body to bounce back from.  One of the docs called the time after this chemo, the 'cisplatin blues.'  It feels more like the cisplatin black and grays to me.  There are brief moments of a reprieve when he gets a text or note from a friend, a new picture of someone in a Team MacKale t-shirt or a card in the mail.  But for the most part,  MacKale gets very weak, withdrawn and has little opinion about anything other than food, and that opinion is that he doesn't want to eat.  'Do you want to play a game, MacKale?'  'I don't care.'  'Do you want to watch a movie?' 'I don't care.'  'Do you want to work on some homework?' 'I don't care.'  There's a common thread of 'not caring,' which to me translates as giving up.  I hate it.  It terrifies me.  I shakes me to my core and sends me into my own cisplatin blues and has me clinging to my faith with all the strength I can muster.

This week was another post chemo cisplatin blue week.  Each time we take this chemo, it hits MacKale like a train and makes bouncing back harder.  We got home from treatment on Saturday, but by Thursday afternoon, I was speeding back down to Grand Rapids, because his levels had dropped again.  These unplanned trips only eat away at the little light that is keeping him from turning completely off during these post chemo days.  And it's not easy on the rest of either.  Unplanned trips mean unexpected departures from home before the boys get out of school, which means stress for them, worry and concern over their brother, plus time away from mom.  They cry because they want us to all be together which means dad gets left to pick up the pieces.   So the cisplatin blues were a bit contagious this week.  We're all a little off color.  We all are a little 'not quite right' when we're not together.

But then Saturday comes, and no matter how blue or grey or black our moods have been  . . . MacKale wakes up GREEN!  Spartan GREEN.  This week was no exception.  Mike packed up the little boys first thing in the morning, headed south and were in our room by 8:30am.



Rub a dub dub . . . three boys in a bed playing Monopoly by 9:00am.  Sometimes just having your brothers to pick at and love on is the best medicine ever.  But put the added fact that the Spartans were playing OSU at 3:30pm and you have a day that could help us get through the greyest of weeks.  I seriously do not know what I will do when college football season is over.  I know that Mac will watch a little pro ball, but college ball is his first love.  I can only hope that it won't be too much time in between before golf starts up and the Phil Mickelson is play well.   Or maybe, since he won't be skiing this year, he'll turn his attention to watching basketball.  I just know something has GOT to fill that void when it happens.

Just the anticipation of this week's game turned MacKale around on Saturday morning.  Nurses and docs came in and started getting MacKale's predictions for the games being played on Saturday.  Believe me he has an opinion on all of them.  Would Connor Cook play or not?  Could the Spartans pull it off against OSU without him if he really didn't play?  If they do win, what do you think their new ranking will be?  MacKale, in his ever optimistic view of his Spartans knew that they could  . . . and would win.  All this pre-game banter actually got him so pumped that he ate breakfast and a bit of lunch.  Seriously, can't the Spartans play football EVERYDAY?  It would make this momma's stress level so much more manageable.

And so we played and napped and ate until the game started . . . but then . . . a package arrived.

Now I've told you that I truly believe that God has placed angels on this earth especially for our family.  Angels who anticipate our needs before we know them, who anticipate what will make our lives easier, angels who think about MacKale and what would might make being at the hospital easier . . . put a smile on his face . . .make him forget cancer.  I can not even begin to tell you all the angels that we have encountered in the last 2 months.  Some family members, some friends, some colleagues, community members, kid, adults, strangers and sometimes people who just want to remain anonymous.   One of these days, I promise, I'm going to write a post and see if I can possibly list them all.  I know I'll never get all of them, but I'm going to try.  But please understand, it's not about the STUFF and the THINGS.  I don't want you to think that, because if you know Mike and I, you know that accepting help is something that we don't do easily.  But I can tell you this, the  prayers, hugs and kindness demonstrated by all these angels have amazed us and sustained us.  How did we get so lucky?  Why are we so blessed?

Some kind angels who know MacKale's love of his Spartans, check in with him every week after the game.  They send him texts and pictures of them cheering on the Spartans.  They call to congratulate him when they win (or call to agree with the 'rotten call' if they lose).   He's even scored some new Spartan gear, blankets, a couple of hats and his 5th grade teacher even got the Spartan baseball team to autograph a bat for him.


It is SO cool and put an incredible smile on MacKale's face.

And then this week, as we anticipated the start of the game all cramped into our 9th floor room at DeVos, that package arrived for MacKale.  His hemophilia treatment center in Traverse City, the people who have helped managed his hemophilia and care for him since the beginning, knew that he would be watching the game and wanted him to have something a little special.  It kind of went like this . . .




In case you missed that . . . his hat said 'To MacKale . . .' and it was signed by
Coach Mark Dantonio
#18 Connor Cook
#16 Aaron Burbridge
#89 Shilique Calhoun
and Traverse City's  #30 Riley Bullough



These players aren't my sons, but if they were, I would be mighty proud of them.  They made a very sick little boy, incredibly happy.  Again, how did we get so blessed to have people in our lives who would go out of their way to find ways to make MacKale forget about cancer, if only for a few brief moments?  I can NOT tell you how proud he is to be sporting a hat . . . that says 'To MacKale' and signed by his Spartans.



MacKale wore that hat with PRIDE Saturday and his Spartans won!!! I'm not sure what medicinal good a Spartan hat and win does for a cancer patient typically, but a Spartan win this week helped MacKale consume a hotdog, jello and take all of his meds.  It had him screaming at me from his room while I showered this morning . . . 'MOM... woohoo I gained .1kg.'  It helps, slowly but surely, see levels start to move upward, it got him out of bed and doing his exercises and it paints a permanent GREEN over the top of the cisplatin blues.


 If you ever doubt that an act of kindness can make a difference to another person, MacKale is the proof that it does.

Thanks you all for your continued prayers for MacKale's healing and recovery.  We are ALL truly blessed by having you all behind us.


16 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious! That is a mighty powerful message from the Spartans. I was going to send Mackale's messages on the MSU....but they must already be getting them. I'm very proud of them, too. When I pray for MacKale, I also pray for you. I ask God to give you strength. I don't know what you're going through, but I do know as a mom how it feels to watch your child hurt. It is agonizing. I'm with you in spirit and always in my prayers. Hugs to all of you!
    Patty

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    1. Yes Patty! MSU is the real deal. So proud to be a fan!
      Marsha

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  2. From one mommy to another... Lots of prayers going your way!! I am believing for a complete healing!!

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    1. I do too Tammy. We pray for healing and plan for recovery. God is good even when it doesn't seem like it.
      Marsha

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  3. I LOVE THIS!! I joke about bleeding green, but it truly is a tremendous pride in a school, a sports program, and most of all, that once you are a Spartan you are part of the Spartan Family for life! (And no, I didn't go there, but my parents met and married while students there, several aunts and uncles, my husband Rick, my brother and his wife, and now my oldest Alex is a senior at MSU, and my daughter Kristina is heading there as a freshman next year). We love Michigan State, and the fact that someone got that hat with signatures from some of those key players AND the coach - PRICELESS!!!

    I don't think I could take the stress of them playing every day (seriously Mac, do these games always have to come down to the last few seconds?), but hopefully they'll keep winning and take it all the way this year! I'm so glad that he seems to be perking up a little, and it makes me happy that the Spartans may have helped a little.

    Take care - sending healing thoughts and prayers your way,
    Kathi

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    1. Thanks Kathi. Your continued prayers are a precious gift.
      Marsha

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  4. Your clip made me cry. His joy was beautiful. Praying for you all. PK Harrison ❤️

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    1. It IS a blessing to see his happy face. Thanks for your continued prayers PK.
      Marsha

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  5. I don't know you or your family personally but I just want to say I see people sharing your posts on fb and I open them and read them. Your son and your family are extreamly strong! I'm not a reader at all but I could sit here and read these blogs over and over it's truely touching! My thoughts and prayers are with you all thru Themis difficult time ❤️ - Kelsie. K

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    1. Once you pray for MacKale, you are part of our family whether you think you know me or not. Thank you thank you thank you.
      Marsha

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  6. The tears run down my face!! Love you all to pieces. STATE IS THE BEST, but win blue and gold this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love WALLY!!!!!!!

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    1. Luckily they both won! So everyone is happy, but OSU.
      Marsha

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  7. I was soo excited for When the Spartans beat OSU. I'm thinking they won, just for MacKale. Praying for you all.

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    1. Thanks so much for the continued prayers.
      M

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  8. Your sweet boy sure does love sports! And, how wonderful that so many angels are bestowing him with gifts that help take his mind off of his illness. It really warms my heart. As always, your family is on my mind, in my thoughts, and in my prayers. Thanks for this latest update!

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  9. Could you provide an address to send cards, please? Maybe if you kept a "current address" note on the sidebar of the blog since it probably changes. I bet I'm not the only one who would like to give MacKale a little reprieve from all the "yuck."
    Terri

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