Wow! What a big post I have ahead of me. Bear with us – the news is worth it!
We’ve been in such a difficult place over the last few months it’s been impossible to write but we are glad to be moving forward and happy to be updating you.
It’s also been a massive few months!
If you recall first we were told his tumour was growing and we braced to lose Bede.
Then we went to Sydney.
Then we came back and hoped for whatever was best for Bede. Well what a beautiful wish that was. I am so happy and privileged to say the tumour had not grown! The previous scan results were incorrect. The cancer was not winning.
The real magic, the delicious stuff, the hope inspiring soul shaking, world altering stuff happened in between those two scans in Sydney. It’s a long story but one we need to tell you and I can’t find a way to condense it.
In September we made our way to Sydney to see some doctors at that stage with the news Bede’s tumour had grown.
In between appointments we drove down to Melbourne to see my beautiful extended family and introduce them to Bede for the first and possibly last time.
Bede wasn’t himself but was wrapped up in the kind of love, generosity, easy familiarity, friendship and self deprecating humour my family does so well. I have barely had a chance to breathe since being back let alone express my deep gratitude to my whole extended family for such a warm welcome.
In fact we almost skipped seeing the professor in Sydney that PMH had referred us to as we were having too much soul nourishing fun with the gang. To be honest we were convinced that being PMH’s guy that he would blindly back them up and say all the same things. We went anyway.
He defintitely did not say all the same things!
HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS PEOPLE!!!!!
He said he does not believe Bede’s tumour is terminal.
I’ll let that hope filled glorious sentence sink in for a moment.
He is arguably the best peadiatric neuro oncologist in Australia and he said he does not believe Bede’s tumour is terminal. He said he has seen this before and the patients did not die.
My gosh we have never been so blown away. We sat there in that office like stunned mullets.
When the professor said I do not believe this tumour is terminal I asked him to repeat the sentence as though he was speaking another language. This has never even been a possibility for Bede and then all of a sudden it is. It was a mammoth moment.
We always knew the type of tumour Bede has can, hypothetically, reach burn out. Our doctors in Perth had always made very clear that the way Bede’s tumour behaved he would die before he reached an age when that could happen.
Well not according to the professor – he says we’re already there. That the tumour has ‘run out of petrol’. That’s why the tumour kept shrinking 6 months after chemo. That’s why it’s still stable. That’s why while the PMH doctors predicted we’d only ever achieve 20% shrinkage we have now achieved 80%!
He said he didn’t believe the last scan really did indicate growth (turns out he was right!) and that the tumour is no longer behaving aggressively. He said if this was his patient he would start focusing on nutrition, hormones, OT etc and leaving Bede as minimally disabled as possible. He said he would not let them send us home to die again.
There has been a lot to come to terms with including the worst case possibility that Bede lives but is severely disabled and what that means for all of us. There has been a lot to process. That processing has been grounded in faith, love and sharing the news with just a few of our closest friends.
The best case scenario is glorious. Bede will continue to develop and although delayed by all of this he will in his own time reach all his milestones and grow to have a fulfilling life.
As his parent’s and his advocates we have to hold this opinion along side the second opinions we have received from the UK and the US both of which say Bede’s cancer is still terminal and that that won’t change. From the beginning we have said if you gave Bede 1% he would be the kid that made it. I think he definitely has that 1% now and we move forward with reckless hopeful abandon.
I can’t really explain it though. There is fear. Fear we will lose Bede, our shining light. Fear that an unfillable hole will be left in our hearts and family and lives. But Bede teaches and exemplifies bravery for us all. It was sometime ago that I secretly stopped believing this cancer would take him. Fear of sounding like a mother in denial stopped me from articulating it but the belief Bede was hanging around at least a little longer than expected planted like a seed in my heart and mind last November and that seed has just continued to grow.
In the last 24 hours 3 people have cried tears of joy upon seeing Bede. It’s a brash statement but I really believe he is, day by day, becoming the good news story I always believed he could.
All this news made heading into ICU and potentially losing him to pneumonia that targets low immune systems all the more difficult. So thank you for your love, your prayers and your hope.
I want to once again thank you all. Each of you are amazing. You have not given into apathy. You have not become desensitized to the ups and downs of this journey. You have not turned your backs. You have given our son a platform to shine. To be known to the world. To have his life seen and noted. You have fortified us with your prayers and positivity and hope. I once again write this with tears of gratitude and a renewed belief that miracles happen. This year Bede is our Christmas miracle. Thank you for sharing in the joy of him.
Ill say it 100 times the miracle bede has had and continues to need is all of you. Please keep helping us deliver this miracle.
I sincerely hope going forward this blog documents Bede’s triumph, his rich light filled defiance and his beautifully lived life rather than his death. Either way I now have so much comfort that whatever lies ahead Bede will do it his way and that’s just perfect, a miracle in itself.
For now Bede giggles. He is happy and he is whole.
His light bubbles up from deep with in him as he gasps for air between belly laughs losing himself in his joy.
His trademark light is undimmable, he is radiant, all out dazzling. Our Christmas star.
He stretches, he climbs, he explores and you can see him grow.
He is cheeky and his sense of humour is bold.
There is still that foundation of peace, a deep peaceful contentedness that sees him through difficult times but now his cheeky smile, his eagerness and his growth just take your breath away. Where before there was a calm stillness now there is energetic exploration.
Our little boy is growing up. What a flipping delight that is!
He looks like a boy at the starting line. Ready to take on life and embrace every opportunity to live it. Roy and I are 100% committed to providing him with every love filled adventure he could hope for.
Bede may be small but he and his joy are mighty. He’s not done yet.
Note: For now Bede’s still in hospital. We’ve managed to get on top of his lung issues and he is off oxygen. He is needing one of his drugs (a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies but due to the tumour not in Bede’s) every 6 hours via injection. Once we have this sorted out, a tall order, we will get to take Bede home. I’ve lost track of time. I think this admission has been nearly 2 months. SO far it is starting to give us answers though which is good. We are hoping to have Bede home and in good shape to enjoy christmas with his family.