Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Over the last few days my brother's family from Kansas was visiting. Tara and I were so very happy that they made the effort to come out. Our kids particularly enjoyed their cousins, as they provide such fun playmates. Together they create such wonderful memories for all of us. Their departure this morning left us to a home town Thanksgiving, after which we'll settle into what we hope will be a long stretch of routine.

Henry was very relaxed and happy during their stay. He's feeling so much better. The treatment for his swelling after leaving the hospital recently was simply fluid restriction, but steadily over the last week he has lost the weight that came on so quickly. He's not been allowed to drink more than 16 ounces of fluid daily but has been urinating far more. It's strange to watch. At his heaviest he weighed a little over 60 pounds. He's now down to just below 48. He's looking so much more normal, no longer drawing stares from people when we're out. The puffiness around his eyes has diminished significantly with the help of a wedge we placed under the head of his mattress to keep gravity working for him instead of against.

At the same time, we've been slowly reducing his steroids, his appetite has been steady. Tara and I have the distinct feeling - and we don't mind - that he's really enjoying eating again. That's a pleasure we're just not about to deny him.

Henry cannot begin his next round of chemotherapy until his platelets begin recovering. We chose this situation to make our first use of Hospice services. Perhaps I'm being unreasonable, but sitting holding Henry, listening to him scream, while an unfamiliar nurse digs for a viable vein in his hand, is just not something I can handle very well. I guess I'm of the mind that his short life should have as little discomfort as possible. So I gave them 60 seconds and then politely asked them to pull it out, realizing that now tomorrow we'll make the trek to Baltimore to have a 45 second procedure. The nurses there are so artful, expert and complete with the way they handle these delicate situations with the kids. It will be familiar, it will be routine and it will take most of the day. But I'd rather keep him comfortable.

Recently I've seemed to notice a maturity and calm about Henry. He's very trusting of Tara and I. He no longer fusses much at inconvenience or changes of plan. He's grown to enjoy coloring, painting, and games that before he wouldn't touch. He seems laid back and happy, laughing far more than either Tara or I can remember. This combination is at once, immensely comforting and fulfilling and devastating. We're beginning to see him grow into his next phase of life, a confident, curious, interesting, talented and smart little boy. After years of babying, tantrums, little sleep - then chemotherapy, procedures, radiation and the hospital - we're able to develop a more mature relationship with him. He's polite and articulate. He's a pure pleasure to be around.

Sometimes things you say as a parent come back to get you. I'm fond of reminding my children that it's important to be grateful for what they have, instead of worrying about what they don't. This Thanksgiving, I'm content and grateful that we're all here to enjoy one another.


Anonymous said...

Amen. I've been wearing my "Life is Fragile, Love is Not" bracelet for more than a year. It is a reminder to maintain perspective and count blessings. Wishing the Scheck family a very Happy Thanksgiving. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
-- Rob K. & family
-- Pittsburgh

Anonymous said...

Our best to you the Scheck family, you are right on in having the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Being grateful for being together sharing every moment you have with each other. Sometimes we forget just how having that time to enjoy will bring comfort at the end of the day. You will all be remembered at our Thanksgiving table when we share our thought and prayers. May God bless you on this special day.

GinaMarie said...

Henry looks SO MUCH better! Im so glad he is doing so well and is so happy and full of laughing. Glad the visit with your brother and his family was so nice.
Have a Blessed, Happy Thanksgiving,
Gina Marie and boys

Ami Czorapinski said...

Have a wonderful, happy and very blessed Thanksgiving!

rlbates said...

Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Have a wonerful Thanksgiving and know you are in so may hearts and prayers. Pat

Anonymous said...

I hope that the Scheck family has a wonderful Thanksgiving. You all will be in my family's thoughts and prayers on this very special Holiday.

Tanya Farris & Family

Jen said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving...I'm glad that Henry is feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving Blessings are sent your way. Thank you for reminding all of us about remembering what we have. We are thankful for sharing your life.
Henry looks good!!
Linda and Val

Anonymous said...

Have a joyous Thanksgiving!

Nancy S.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to to Scheck Family:

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reminding us how precious each day with our loved ones is. Your generosity of spirit and love is an inspiration and for that I am thankful to have met you (if only on the web)and send you happy, peaceful thoughts and prayers during this holiday season.

John Detore said...

My thoughts and prayers are with Henry and your family

Anonymous said...

This Thanksgiving holiday, I am also thankful for getting to know your family. Sharing your family story is an inspiration to all who read it. Thank You!

Keeping you all in thoughts and prayers.

Shelly Tribett

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving!
Hugs and Kisses,
Aunt Reba and Susan

ms.t said...

Just wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! I too have been wearing my white wrist band since his diagnosis and I am so thankful that little Henry is feeling so good and happy. You all deserve this!

Happy Thanksgiving.


Anonymous said...

Bryan, Henry and your family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Your blog is truly a loving work of art. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, glad to hear that Henry has a healthy appetite. Enjoy the day and you and your family are always in our thoughts and prayers!

~Wendy and Andy Peacock~

The Hebbs said...

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Keep those thumbs up, Henry! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to the Schecks-enjoy those leftovers.
the krause house

Anonymous said...

This is so nice to read, Bryan. Thank you for writing it. How nice that your family came to visit. Lots of love to you all. Cousin Fran

Anonymous said...

Dear Scheck family,
I hope that you had a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. I love the updates and how every parent including me can relate to everything you are feeling and saying. Hope that you guys ate lots of goodies!! Love,
Gina,Craig,Carinna and Corey