Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Friday, January 07, 2005


Steven and Doug holding the fruits of the last month's labor.

The problem with sending out Epiphany cards is that nobody makes them, at least you can't buy them in bulk at the local Hallmark store, so Christmas cards will have to do.

The twelve days of Christmas have come and gone, Epiphany was yesterday, so I guess its time to take down our tree. We're making up for no tree last year I guess.

Epiphany 2003 marked the day Steven started his chemotherapy at St. Jude. It was also Sean's first day of first grade in Memphis.

We had arrived in Memphis the week before and were staying at the Marriott. We were there for New Year's Eve and the Liberty Bowl. It was a weird dichotomy to be sure, to be staying in a fancy hotel downtown where most of the guests are out-of-towners there to party and attend the game but some, like us, are there with our cancer patient child while they go through all matter of medical procedures in an attempt to save their life.

Poor Sean, he was scared. A new city, a new culture, a new life away from his friends in a two-bedroom HEPA-filtered apartment with no bike and no place to ride one.

Sean's school required him to wear a uniform. The principal told me it was fine if he didn't have one during the first week, but Sean didn't want to start school with any more strikes against him than necessary, he was already a California kid without all that southern culture arriving in the middle of the year.

I called the uniform company on December 30, the day after we arrived in Memphis. The store was closed that week and the woman on the phone admonished me for not paying attention to the notices they'd sent out to parents at the private schools of their upcoming closures.

I explained that we were from California and that Steven was having surgery the next day to harvest his bone marrow. Upon hearing this, the woman offered to deliver the uniforms to me at St. Jude, and they were waiting for me at the front desk after Steven's bone marrow harvest, along with a sweet note and her home phone number.

Steven was admitted to the hospital the evening before his chemotherapy on January 5th, Twelfth Night. I spent the night with Steven and Doug stayed with Sean at Target House.

Steven wanted me with him, and Sean wanted me to take him to school, so I tried to do both. Doug came to the hospital at 7 am with Sean in his brand new uniform and I drove him to school.

Sean wanted me to stay for a bit, so I did, but I was anxious to get back to the hospital in time for the start of the infusion of his chemotherapy drugs. It was a weird feeling, the day before he started radiation and the day before he started chemotherapy, I felt like we were about to ruin him for good. I cried as I drove to the hospital, wiping away the tears when I drove into the parking garage so I could greet Steven with a smile.

This year on Epiphany, the kids walked to school. In the evening, Steven and I attended a play put on by our church, "Three Men and a Baby". One of the wise men was dressed as Elvis, one as a country western singer, and one as a jazz singer. It was funny and Steven did a lot of laughing.

Steven and Doug are heading out to the Anza Borrego Desert this weekend with the Trailblazers (the YMCA group for 4-6 grade boys and their dads) to fire off the rockets they've been slaving over for the last month. Considering the weather we've been having in southern California lately, we're praying their opportunity to blow a finger off while lighting a rocket engine isn't rained out.

- Kathleen

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