I tend to be a perfectionist (shock!), but more often than not, this hurts me. Because, if I cannot do something perfectly, I don't do it at all. I very often do not even begin.
So, in the context of this conversation... I have so many things that I have wanted to share. But I don't know how to say them perfectly. I feel that however I say them will not give accurate weight to what they mean to me, or to our family. What has ended up happening is that they have not been shared at all.
Instead of continuing to do nothing, I'm going to do something. I am going to share a few stories about some of the good that has happened to our family as a result of this terrible cancer. The good of this awful situation needs to be known. Because it IS there.
* Countless meals have been prepared and given to our family.
* A stranger cleaned our entire home and never charged us.
* A donation site was set up by my brother almost immediately after Ellie's diagnosis, and numerous people, people we don't even know, have donated money to our family to pay for hospital bills.
* Speaking of that, a dear friend of Casey's, whom we have never met, did more than just donate money. As a photographer, she held mini sessions and her proceeds plus donations were sent to our family.
* Our pediatrician worked with our family to see our other daughters, even when our insurance situation was a nightmare.
* Our pharmacist did the same, working with us to afford Ellie's medication, and personally helping us find her oral chemo when they couldn't make it.
* A dear friend gifted us Shipt, a grocery delivery service. This has been a huge relief, again and again.
* For all of April and May, every day that Eva was in school (two days a week), her teacher brought Eva a lunch, snack and drink. All so I had just one less thing to have to think about. Now that is being creative and doing what you can to help. I will never forget that.
* Family, friends and strangers have offered us love and support in the form of cards, texts, kind words, babysitting...the list goes on. At times we may feel alone, but we KNOW that we are not.
(The next couple of things are a little more wordy. But there are pictures!)
* When searching for hair bows for the girls for their birthday party, the complete stranger from Etsy donated the girls bows and headbands, plus extra! I had to explain that Ellie could not have a clip bow, but rather needed a headband due to her no hair situation. From that point on, she did everything she could to make sure that part of their birthday was special. Her girls are Wild Kratts fans too!
* Our family was able to see Olympic gymnasts perform at a recent tour visit, all thanks to the Children's Cancer Center. When Ashley, from the CCC, called me that Thursday evening, asking me if we wanted the tickets, I cried. After composing myself, I said yes and explained that this was something I wanted to do when tour was first announced. (We love the Olympics!) I looked into tickets then, but then quickly dismissed the idea, reconciling to myself that it would never happen. But, we were able to go! And all three of them enjoyed every minute of it. To make the experience better, Ellie's counts were strong, so for that time, we didn't need to worry about germs too much.
|When Ellie wasn't trying to climb over the seats, she was clapping.|
|This was the best picture we could get of all of us.|
* The families in Eva and Nora's classes gave our family enough money to buy a brand new vacuum cleaner. Seriously, you have no idea how simple, yet amazing, this was. As some of you may know, we moved into a very old, yet new to us home early this year. We were able to do a lot of renovations to it before Ellie's diagnosis, but still have much left to do. (This is why you may see things changing in the background of pictures.) After the move, we realized our vacuum didn't work. Well, it did, but not on carpet. It wasn't a huge deal to us, as only the bedrooms have carpet, so it wasn't important enough to replace. After Ellie got sick, we knew we had to get a new one...but never did. This is so embarrassing to admit, but it's the truth. Finally, I aired my grievances over our vacuum situation to my friend Megan, a fellow school mom. Within days, enough money had been sent to us to buy a very needed, very nice vacuum. Yeah, I totally ugly cried that day.
|Right before another ugly cry in the car.|
These were tears of happiness though!
* Here's a cool one....
A teacher at the girls' school was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Once you have experienced cancer, your entire perception changes. To all cancers. I immediately knew the best way that I could help her in that moment was by gifting her Shipt. I loved it, and it made my life so much easier. I figured that even if she only used it one time, it would be worth it. Immediately, the doubt and self pity entered my head. "I don't need to give to her. We need things right now too. People should be giving to us." Wow, that's embarrassing. Seeing that in print, I feel ashamed. But, in that moment, that's where I was at. I am happy to say that I got over myself, cast those thoughts out of my head, and sent her the gift of Shipt. I'm not even kidding you, less than 2 hours later when I got the mail, there was a card from a friend with cash in it. The EXACT amount of what I had just spent earlier that afternoon. God is good! Love you Kaffie.
It should be said that I am probably forgetting something or someone. Additionally, there is no way that I can possibly name every single person that has given our family a happy, loving or bright moment throughout this process. To anyone out there that has helped our family so far, we thank you. From the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for making this process a little more hopeful.
In no way will I do this justice. It won't be perfect, but I will try anyway...
To our parents, there is no possible way that we could have made it this far without ALL of you. For all of the countless things you have done for our family, we thank you. The ways that you have helped us...I honestly do not even know where to start. We love you more each day, and our girls are richly blessed to have you in their lives.
If you are still reading, please continue to pray.
Pray for Ellie's complete and permanent healing, and for no long term or short term side effects from her medications.
Pray for Mike and I, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.
Pray for comfort and understanding for Eva and Nora.
Finally, here's a little something to make you smile and (hopefully) laugh. This is what happens when your sister and cousin put hair chalk on your hair...and you have no hair.