My amazing school family created a GoFundMe account for our family when I received my diagnosis in November. I am so incredibly touched by their generosity, and I love that this has started a snowball of other good deeds. For me and for others. Kindness matters!
First and foremost…our story has been shared SO many times since we were on Good Day. And yes, cookies have continued to be sold. That precious boy isn’t ever going to be able to leave the kitchen…but it has made his heart so happy.
I am so thankful that our story is continuing to be shared. I pray that someone will be blessed by it and the kindness will continue to be spread. It is going to be aired tomorrow morning, at 5:15 central time on ABC 7 in New York. Now we just need to make it to the west coast. 🙂 I’ll post the link as soon as it’s available.
Well. We’re two days into Round 5. So far, so good. There’s not much to report…which in this case, is a good thing. It just doesn’t make for a very exciting blog post.
We got checked in at 6:30 like we usually do and got put into my room pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, the chemo got started quite a bit later than it usually does. We’re not sure where the mix-up happened, but the pharmacy didn’t have the Rituxan until 4, when normally it starts around 1. That finished in about 3 hours…but the next batch of chemo (the one that runs 24 hours), wasn’t ready until almost 10. So, needless to say, it may be Saturday morning until I get to go home. We shall see.
Dr. Stone did mention yesterday morning that there’s a good chance I will need to do another blood transfusion after this round…probably sooner than later once I’m finished. I will say, that transfusion made me feel LOVELY. No.More.Headaches. It was glorious.
The best part of this round so far, I’ve been able to give my nurses/techs their gifts I made them. I plan on doing a post and sharing what I love about each of them, after I get to give all of them their gifts.
I’ve had a few visitors so far and it sure has been good for my heart. My sweet cookie boy brought up some cookies for the nurses to buy. It was neat because a lot of the nurses recognized him from the segment on TV…he’s a little movie star.
We’ve also set another record this round…it’s almost Wednesday and Hudson isn’t sick! (Knocking on wood as I
speak type.) He made it through a full day of daycare and I didn’t get a call saying he was sick…it’s a miracle. Praise the Lord for a healthy baby boy!
Here’s the timeline for the next few weeks.
-Monday, February 27: Go in for the lumbar puncture/methotrexate and have my blood drawn to check my counts. Then bedrest for 24 hours.
-Friday, March 3: PET scan at 8:45. No results to the following week…praying for a fast weekend.
-Tuesday, March 7: We will meet with the Bone Marrow doctor, Dr. Matthews, and discuss the results of the PET scan. At that point, he will determine if we need to continue with a 6th round, or if we can stop at 5. I’m kind of torn with this…wait, what?! I know you think I’m crazy…but hear me out. Part of me wants to have one more round because according to the last PET scan, it’s working. If it’s working, then one more round means it will kill it even more. Plus, I’d get to see all of my nurses again. (Pathetic, I know. But y’all they are amazing. You would want to come see them too.) On the other hand, I’m ready for no more chemo because it makes me feel like a whole lot of bad words. Really bad words.
We’re hoping that on the 7th we will be able to get more details about the bone marrow transplant. We know I’m having one, we just don’t know ANY details about it and I’m not liking that. I want to know more. So hopefully we will get some sort of timeline and plan of action. If we don’t, well…we don’t. But it sure would be nice.
-Friday, March 10: We meet with my oncologist, Dr. Stone, to discuss the PET scan as well as whatever Dr. Matthews decides.
In other news, there is a family that I have been trying to get in touch with for several years. I had the little boy my first year teaching…8 years ago. I taught 4th grade and just loved this little boy to pieces. He was a DOLL. (Sorry Jonathan, I know that’s probably not a compliment to be called a doll now that you’re a Junior in high school…but in 4th grade, you were a doll.) Jonathan Stillwell. That boy left a huge mark on my heart. I stayed in touch with he and his mom the next year, but then he went to middle school so I saw him less but still talked to mom through email every few months. His little brother was in Kinder at my school, so I still got to see them from time to time and boy did I love those times. I will never forget when he was in my class and Danny and I went to his football game. His football team was named “Truth”. And you want to know the truth? The truth is, I knew I would never, ever forget this kid.
He struggled in 4th grade. Not socially. He had friends, played sports, etc. But when it came to self-confidence…he had none. He didn’t believe he had what it took to be successful in school. And as a teacher, to know your 4th grade student feels like that, it’s enough to break your heart. There were many tears that year…both from him and from me (some things never change). I prayed and prayed that year that he would see what I saw in him. I didn’t know if it would happen that year, but I prayed it would eventually.
Anyways…over the years, I’ve tried finding Jonathan and his mom. Through email, Facebook, school websites, etc. Now if you ask my friend Taylor Hotchkiss, I’m a rather good detective. I can normally find some good, juicy information. But with this, I kept coming up empty. And I hated it. I didn’t know if I would ever get back in touch with them.
And then God happened. Our story aired on Good Day on Thursday morning. Thursday night, I got an email. Who was it from? Jonothan freaking Stillwell. My heart almost exploded, and then, I started yelling. Yep, yelling. Danny had just gone to bed…and then I start yelling. I was in shock. And then I started read the email out loud. The subject was “Praying for you”. I’m not going to share what he wrote, but I was in tears by the end of it. (I know, I know, y’all give me a break. I blame the chemo.)
I absolutely could not believe that he was emailing me. I know I said I wouldn’t tell what he wrote, but I have to share just a line from beginning. “You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you completely.” Crazy. This boy is down-right crazy. Little did he know, not only did I remember him…I missed him more then he could ever know. I replied…and cried. Jonathan said he saw me on the news that morning. What a blessing it was that he just so happened to be watching Fox 4 at 7:20. A lot of things had to line up for that to happen…I think it was a God thing. There He is again…always lookin’ out.
So since then, we have emailed back and forth a few times and his mom and I have been texting. And guess what…I get to see that precious, skinny, big smiled boy on Thursday. I absolutely cannot contain my excitement. That skinny little boy is now a Junior in high school…and he’s 6’1, playing basketball. He may be grown now, but I will never forget him in fourth grade. I hope that by now he knows what a difference he made in my life.
Here are some pictures from last week, this past weekend and early this week.
I got to spend some time up at school toward the end of the week. I didn’t leave the office with fear of getting sick, but I got to see so many little bitties through the office windows. And y’all, those sweet babies made me feel like a celebrity. Most of them had seen the Fox 4 segment, so they thought it was a big deal when I was in the office. Oh bless their hearts. Like I say every time, being there is good for my soul.
And my babies, for good measure…
And for the latest #TeamAshley pictures…keep them coming!
And in the mean time, just remember…Kindness matters. Spread some kindness anywhere you can. It will make a difference. Be a Kiptin.