Day One Hundred Seventy-One: February 23, 2010

Dear loving Friends ~

The last time you heard from us was just prior to Reid’s fourth chemo round (out of five total). I confess, the will to write to you these past couple months waned as Reid’s focus and physical experience narrowed down to the basic, yet very complex and serious reality of surviving chemo.
Our Christmas season was a time of tremendous gratitude and more playfulness than I remember since the kids were very young (glow in the dark frisbees, rubber band shooters and stomp rockets, oh my!), while we simultaneously learned the more intimate, painful and far less socially-acceptable-to-discuss details of life with cancer.

Suffice to say, Reid weathered storms of horrendous nosebleeds that would awe Muhammad Ali, has done some deep sleeping that would make Rip Van Winkel look like an insomniac, regularly ran fevers that would inspire Gabriel Fahrenheit, received enough units of whole blood to qualify for an Edward Cullen award, and with the exception of bemoaning the nearly terminal, supremely boring days of being trapped in the hospital for treatment, should now have special privileges to use Superman’s best cape.

Now that Reid is on the “other side” of chemo, we’re preparing for new information and hopefully some positive and forward-motion life changes. A new bone marrow biopsy will be taken soon, and a follow up consult has been scheduled with the medical team at OHSU. While we could attempt to speculate about everything related to this leukemia, we try not to. As we have learned from the very first day: this is a step by step process – not to be guessed at – not to make assumptions about – not to compare to anyone else’s – but simply, to be aware of and attempt to remain as present as possible with in order to learn, cope and live fully.

And in and around the unknowns, Reid is – as I write this – on campus at Southern scheduling himself into some spring quarter classes. Gram and Grampa gave him a one month membership at the YMCA today – to help him get those long legs strong again, and we’re gearing up some integrative healthcare to help support his system in alternative ways. For me – the mama – Reid is one of my greatest teachers. In the practice of remaining positive, he rarely falters in his focus on being upbeat and is particularly adept at looking right past cancer toward a long and healthy life.

I’ll keep you in the loop as it widens and there is news to share. I enjoy hearing from you, by the way.
The love and support of our community has been and continues to be  a source of amazing strength and blessing to our little family. “Thank you” isn’t enough…so I send you my deep and abiding love and wishes that all will be well for you and all whom you hold dearly.

Yours very truly, Martha

Three important postscripts and a personal note:

PS #1. The bed that was loaned to us for Reid was called back to its original home. We are seeking – ASAP – a clean, comfortable, affordable double (full-sized) bed and hopefully some sort of frame. If you have a lead -or better yet, a BED, please let me know.

PS #2. In April or May, Reid would like to move out on his own – relaunch! If any of you have or know of someone who has an studio apartment within walking distance of SOU for my determined and very respectful son (yes, I’m biased), please let us know. He has a small disability stipend and is eager to try out being independent. References can be drummed up by the handful!

PS #3. The LIVESTRONG foundation is, in a word: AMAZING-BRILLIANTLY EDUCATIONAL-AND TOTALLY COMMITTED to raising awareness about and taking action against cancer. Please click this link to the world’s largest dedication book and sign the page for Reid as someone who inspires you to fight cancer. (And forward it to your friends!) LIVESTRONG is using this book to press for urgent action on the global cancer crisis.

Personal Note: In January, I committed to keeping a live journal – otherwise known as a blog – through my studio website. It explores many topics and styles of creativity, including a some more personal experiences I’ve had as the mother of a child with cancer. While I choose not to get too deeply into the nitty gritty of Reid’s situation in these updates or on his community support website, my blog is less (though admittedly, still) guarded. If you’re curious – brave – or both, check out these – or other posts:  Please Drain Tub, Everything Essential, What NOT To Say To Someone With Cancer, or  Tales That Defy Words.

About Martha Phelps Studio ~ creative on purpose

...a meandering journal of a changing life and the unexpected graces it brings. Earlier posts may provide some history, but this series of writings aren't likely to follow a straight line as I explore topics such as raising kids, making choices, self discovery, the impact of change on a family and how to (hopefully) live with balance and purpose. www.marthaphelps.com
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