Our christmas star.

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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.

waiting to see the doctors

patiently waiting to see the doctors.

 

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.

 

NSW drive

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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.

 

uncle vin

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Bec I can promise you Bede only eats the people he loves the most!

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jess, kate and bede

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Gus loved Acland street even more than I did as a little girl!

 

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!!!!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Hold this space

We have so much to share with you all. As soon as we have had enough time to sit with all the different pieces news and process them ourselves, as a family, I promise you we will.
As soon as I feel like I can adequately convey the light and shade of it all I will.

In the meantime I wouldn’t get too invested in any of the third hand whisperings that are doing the rounds and I can’t  let them rush us.

We have some more big positive posts coming up and we can’t wait to share them with you.

For now here is Bede.

imageHis agitation has passed. He can’t tolerate any feed at the moment and has been losing weight. He ended up needing a general anaesthetic just to get a drip in so we could hydrate him and yet he does not falter.

Bede is irrepressible, unstoppable.
He is nearly crawling and always laughing.

He is growing and developing.

He is hope.
He is light.
He is shining.
Busy embracing life and rolling around after his brother or the dog. He is enjoying himself.
I can’t help but smile as I type this just thinking of him at the moment is such a delight. He is so happy and cheeky and fun.

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Thank you for your patience, for standing with us. Thank you for your love.

We are both so grateful

I promise the updates will come soon.

 

Issy and Roy

Bede’s tumour is growing.

As I write this it’s late. Roy’s been doing the heavy lifting with nights lately but tonight I am alone. Waiting to give the midnight meds and hoping he drifts off soon.
We have been buying time. Buying time to process our reality, buying time to let Gus sort out everything he has going on at school, buying time while we figure out what we want to do.

But there is no time to be bought and I am sick and tired of half sentences, half answers. Not lying but not disclosing. Holding our secret close when we all know a problem shared is a problem lightened.

Three weeks ago we posted about Bede’s MRI and received the results pretty quickly. Since then we have wrapped ourselves up in the love and comfort of our closest friends and family.
We have had twice weekly meetings with Bede’s primary doctor.

We have tried to keep on swimming while the difficult wave filled nights have threatened to drown us in exhaustion and in our own thoughts.

Bede’s tumour is growing.
The cancer is overcoming the chemotherapy and the tumour is breathing new life, focused on robbing Bede of his. For now, both astoundingly and predictably, it fails.

Bede is here living and laughing, lighting and loving and it looks a little something like this…

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He lights the way and I am so happy to just bathe in that shine and follow his lead. His inner joy, his uncompromising happiness and resilient love glisten through the troubles like jewels.

 

We also have two trips to Sydney coming up to see different doctors. We have people in the US and the UK looking at Bede’s scans. Surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists. We are having renewed discussions with our team of doctors in Perth.

We hope to go forward with balanced judgment with an aim to prolong sweet life for Bede but never at his own expense. As our little miracle man keeps on keeping on.

Your prayers, your hope, your love are always humbly received.
I know I have said it before but the miracle Bede has had and continues to need is all of you. We hope you will continue to buoy him with your good will.
If love, hope, prayers, faith, positivity and joy don’t shrink this tumour it won’t be for lack of trying. Please continue to get behind Bede.

The tumour is growing.
Bede is small, Bede is mighty and we are so very thankful.

Dear Gus, thank you for your nurturing cooling shade.

For some reason whenever I see this photo I imagine the two of you at a festival in 18 years time.

For some reason whenever I see this photo I imagine the two of you at a festival in 18 years time.

Dear Gus,

I am writing this now because I imagine one day you will go looking for this blog and you will survey a small but defining part of your family’s history through it’s words.

The fabric of our family is woven with love and friendship. In so many ways we all chose each other and what we would become to one another.

When you look back at this time I hope you remember it with the fierce love that has come to define it but I know you may not. I know that teenagers can have angst. I know that hindsight can create imagined regret, manufactured guilt and should that happen for you I don’t want my words to seem retrospectively comforting for the sake of comfort.

I am writing this to you today so you can undoubtedly know the truth. The truth of this moment as it was lived; repeatedly.

You have been the best brother we could have ever imagined for our Bede and when we tell you that you always remind us that he is the best brother you could have ever asked for. You tell him how awesome he is everyday.

You wrap him in love and hope and pure unmitigated acceptance. You fill his days with laughter, sincere chats, playfulness and you educate us all on how to settle him. You tell me about how your hearts talk to each other.

When Bede is crying in the mornings I put him into your bed and even if you are cranky at being woken up for school you never show it. You snuggle into him. He snuggles in to you and he smiles. You bounce him in the crook of your arm.
You are Bede’s safe place. You are his happy place. He has a gentle ease with you. You couldn’t possibly be more than you are to him because to him you are everything.

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I want you to know at 7 years old you were scared to tell me you were hoping Bede would die. You couldn’t bare to see him suffer, you weren’t sure how much longer we could go on. It was a particularly difficult time in Bede’s treatment and you were not alone in those thoughts.

In that moment my heart broke that my beautiful Gussy that I had held so tenderly for so many years had to grapple with compassionately hoping his brother would die, a concept far to adult for my little boy. But as my heart broke my pride for you put all the pieces back together. I was in awe of your love, your empathy, your depth of reflection. Never feel guilt for this you have loved him purely and unselfishly.

I am not sure if you have ever felt a moment’s resentment for your brother. If you have you haven’t shown it and he has certainly never known it. You make allowances and cancel plans with a happy and understanding coolness.

There has never been a moment you haven’t hoped for what was best for your brother.

I remember you telling me that you didn’t see a down side to Bede not getting better and I said “well darling I explained to you the down side is that Bede will die”. Your reply has become one of our classic family tales. You said

“well that is all about us mum and this is actually about Bede. If he dies he will go to heaven and be with Molly Gran and Poppa and if he lives he gets to stay here and know our love”

You have given your brother the greatest gift in the world. You have made cancer irrelevant. When he is with you you are his big brother, he is your baby bro and he gets to be all he was meant to be and all that he is. He gets to play.

The medical team aren’t sure how good Bede’s eye sight is right now but when you walk into a room he seeks you out. He is drawn to you. He loves you happily, tenderly, with the awe of a little brother and soaks up whatever you are happy to teach him.

He uses his little arms to pull your face into his own and hug and kiss you. He gets to be a playful little boy with you and as I type this you are both lying on the living room floor laughing.

Your light fills every crevice. Bede’s light is no accident it is clearly a familial trait amongst brothers. You have led by example.

Your matter of factness, your groundedness and your ability to simultaneously hold defiant faith fuelled hope and the grim reality at the same time is truly humbling. Most adults I have encountered cannot do that.

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People have told me and one day they may tell you that this has been the making of you. Do not listen to them son. How wrong they are.
You were born the most compassionate, loving, tender, affectionate, empathetic, clever, dry, funny, joyful, thoughtful little boy. This has not made you, or defined you. You have always been your own incredible person.

It can only be an act by the grace of God that Bede got to have you, he got to grow with you in your nurturing, cooling shade.

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How much love can a bear bare.

I have grown up with you. Being your mother grew me. I so often wish I could spare you from the pain ahead, from the sorrow. I wish I could protect you but in some round about way I hope our positivity, our love and the happiness we find in one another will help us all.

If I could offer future you any comfort it would be that you make him happiest. He is at home with you. He has truly lived because he got to have you.
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This post is to future you but if I had to think about present you I’d say:

I know that sometimes I am hard on you but I want you to continue to grow into the remarkable young man you are set to become and part of that is respect and discipline.

I know that sometimes I am soft on you and I spoil you but I want you to continue to grow into the remarkable young man you are set to become and part of that is embracing you gently with tender easiness and protecting from the bruises.

If I had to make present you a promise I’d say:
I will continue to try to live up to the gift of being your mother (and I promise to beat you in every water fight this summer).

You were my first love. You are my whole world. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Your wit, intelligence, faith, affection and hope sustain our family. You are our anchor. Your Daddy and I love you so very much Gussy. You are doing brilliantly.

Thank you darling.

Understated Magnificence

I am not sure if I have been doing Bede justice. If I have been able to find the right words. Though I suspect I could search for a lifetime and there would be no words glorious enough to befit him.

You know the blog is a funny beast in some ways. Early on I would pour my heart in to it, my child was laying next to me dying, the emotion was close for the recall. At times I have felt tethered. I have recruited so many of you to back Bede and I so desperately want to bring him to the world and hold him up as a shining example and say this is beauty and joy and light. Sometimes it is hard to write and I have found myself making myself write  to honour the support you have given him. Tonight I really want to write.

I want to say that right now he is rolling back and the forth on the floor grizzling but my goodness he is oozing heartbreaking, life altering, world shaking beauty.

Sometimes his eyes are subdued but they are pools of love and hope and wisdom and all the secrets of life that he has been so generously sharing with the people that will pause long enough to gaze into them.

Sometimes his voice gives life to his discontent but the shades of light and love dance within every inflection.

His fingers reach out and grasp me and his daddy, purposefully and with hurried conviction but he is gentle and thoughtful in his purpose.

When he wakes he smiles. His laugh is round and whole and sincere it shakes his core and then it tickles mine.

His head is close to bald but that lets the gentle afternoon light glide across it a little more easily.

He looks within himself as the sunsets and finds a non medicated peace. It’s not synthetic, it’s not prescribed, I have not raised him to have it, it can not be given. His peace wells bountifully from deep within him and if you’d like a piece of his peace he’ll freely, happily, lovingly give it to you.

His light fluctuates it is true but it is beautiful light and it always has depth. When he is defiantly glowing, persistently shining and all out dazzling it is captivating.

There is some how earth within him. He is grounded and has substance and light and weight and hope. They meld together within him and he overflows with the goodness of life. He is beautiful, he is truth.

He is understated magnificence. Who even knew that existed? Understated magnificence.
And yes there will be grief but that is for me and you and his daddy and his brother and all those who have known him or of him or who have been privileged to love him through real time or cyber waves. There is no grief for him.

He has lived. He brought it.
If we choose not to measure life in longevity but by life lived Bede has out done us all. He has found joy and adventure and experience and life in the big things and the tiny things. He has calmly, minimisingly, walked through horrors and let them go.
He has been ever present in every moment. I’m sure you could not say the same.

He has brought it.

So yes there will be grief but it is not his. Yes I posted a post where you could find grief but that is not ours. For Bede is here. What a gift.

A life altering, world shaking, course defining, light embodying, secret telling, profound soul is here. What a joy!

I think the reason I started to feel tethered to the blog and started posting less was because I doubted myself. I started seeing everyone calling Bede heartbreaking. If that is what you think then, and I say this with all my kindness, my heart breaks for you.

He is beautiful and though his life may be fleeting it is impressive, it is joyful, it is the greatest gift I never even knew I was worthy of until he raised me up and made me worthy.

Through all this bigness, big words, big heart, big impact – he is tiny, he is gentle, he is precious. Unwaveringly true.

None of this is cause to call our lives heart breaking. It is not cause for sad face emoticons to be given out like they are going out of fashion. It is not cause for pity. If I am honest, and I fear I may sound abrupt, if that is your take, I pity you.

I am sorry that his light isn’t falling on your face, I am sorry his profoundness isn’t having the opportunity to raise you up, I am sorry you haven’t experienced his healing tenderness. Lean in a little closer, smile a little more broadly, love a little more recklessly, rejoice a little more daringly and you will feel it to. His shine is generous and I know it is not just confined to his family.

Yes I posted earlier today. It was a call to arms of love and happiness and faith and blind hope.  Bede is here, dancing his way through life. He has a had a bad couple of days but he is dealing with it with smiles.
Tonight Bede’s love envelops me. His strength fortifies me. His light dazzles me. His tenderness heals me. His persistence encourages me.

I urge you to get behind the boy who will give you whatever you are open to taking from him. Get behind him with positivity.

Tonight the roses are in full bloom, the breeze is in and there is magic in the air. The world is more beautiful, more light, more wonderful because he is in it.
His is a life worth celebrating.

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(I posted a shorter post earlier today. To check it out and find out why we need your positivity leading up to the 8th of Jan click here.)

Growing.

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I am not sure what to say or do or how to act. I am sitting here, as what must surely be one of the most blessed and privileged women in the world because I get Bede. I come with humility and humbleness and hope that you will as you have so many times before, get behind Bede.

Bede’s birthday was not our best.  If it were any other day we would have taken him into the hospital.

We kept him home not for the photos or the party but just to spare him being needled and examined and scanned on his birthday.
We have been averaging a couple of hours sleep a night for the last 5 nights or so because Bede is irritated. He has been crying a bit, vomiting a lot and grizzling all the time. It was difficult to get food or fluids down his tube without making him distressed.
We were monitoring him at home but knowing within our selves that the tumour was growing.

We took him into the hospital and I knew.
We waited for the scan and it felt like that instinctive feeling you get when danger is coming and I knew.
We got called into the doctors office and now they knew.
Now it was real.
We told Gus and all he had to say was “Come on!”

The scan was just a CT scan which is not overly accurate to compare to the more detailed MRI but it looks like it is growing, it looks like we have regained the 20% we lost. Combined with Bede’s symptoms that is really not great.
The doctors resumed the drug that makes Bede’s face swell up and upped a lot of his other doses to try and make him more comfortable.

Bede is still regularly laughing at us, smiling with us, loving kisses, enjoying playing his piano and is his usual tender self. But there is also distress where before there was none.

His skin is silk, I never want to forget that feeling.
When he sleeps or when he is unsettled his fingers tip toe across the bed looking for me, he grasps me for a moment and then lets go. Happy to have his space but reassured that I am close.
His laugh remains rambunctious and resilient. His magic is soft and gentle and hopeful. His light uncompromising, continuing to lead the way.
He is weakened but he is not diminished.
He is whole.

Everything I wrote in the blog on new years day remains true. He is still evolving and developing and growing.

Every time I look for heart ache there is none. My beautiful, soulful, loving boy is here and I am thankful.

On the 8th of January we have his MRI. That will tell us definitively just how bad a position we are in.

My words can not do justice to Bede in this moment and any words I do have feel like they are all about me and how much I love him and this is about Bede.
Bede is strength and beauty and substance and light and leadership and hope. He is gentle, tender, unrelenting strength and love. He is goodness.

My words fail me, but my deep love for him implores me to write today. To ask you, the people with all the hope and love and prayers and positivity that have bestowed Bede with so many miracles, to please get behind him. Focus your happiness, hope, positivity, prayers, love, whatever you’ve got on Bede. We want as much happy time as we can get to afford him a life filled with as much, wonder, marvel, joy, relaxation, love and exploration as we can. We are not greedy, we know this wonderful life will come to an end, but for now we want more. More for us and Gus but even more importantly more for him.  I truly believe your loving and hopeful support has achieved that for him before.

I have said it before and I will say it as many times as I need to…. I promise you he is so very worth it.

As the tumour grows and effects his ability to have food or rest he manages to retain his peace.
As the chaos of cancer begins to grumble and swirl he is grounded and he smiles and laughs.
As the irritation flits in and out he loves tenderly.
We love him deeply, a love that is only paralleled by our pride.

This resilience, beauty, peace and happiness is his defining truth.
He is small but he is mighty. He is uncompromisingly Bede.

(follow up post here)

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Bright blessed days and dark sacred nights.

This will be one of my longest blogs. A lot has happened in a short period of time and I am too tired to make this post beautiful, too tired to make it appealing, too tired to cull the boring bits. This is what it is. Bede’s truth.

The last week started with an ambulance ride and ended with so many of us praying. Here’s what happened.

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After arriving at the hospital on Monday Bede started to deteriorate on Tuesday night and we started to worry that we were losing Bede.

He was fighting a winnable battle but he was exhausted and he was coming from behind. He was more tired than we had ever seen him and just breathing was hard work. For the first time ever he was finding it difficult to shine through and that was devastating.

I sent a message to our family and friends recruiting love and positivity but even as I sent it I knew one part wasn’t true. “there must be more to come”. I realised he had filled us up, his light has shone bright and he has been more than enough for our family. That scared me even more. Perhaps it was time.

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My gut told me it was line ball and we were in trouble. The doctors agreed it wasn’t good and we may lose him. Bede fought valiantly but I was losing my boy.

Come Wednesday afternoon I asked for a moment alone with Bede. I whispered in his ear that I loved him. I sat by his cot holding his hand and told him the truth. I told him he is magnificent and that he had exceeded all expectation. I told him he had made me happier and given me more than I could have ever asked or hoped for. I told him he had done enough now and if he was tired and if he wanted to go that was ok, he could. He had given us more than I could have ever hoped and if he chose to stay around for a while it could be our turn to give back to him but whatever he chose was ok.

He was exhausted.

ICU came and gave him more supportive measures. My incredible husband Roy describes it as “he was standing on the edge of the cliff but not looking down”. We were maxed out. Any more support meant we would have to be transferred off the ward to ICU; he would need to be anaesthetized and ventilated. We needed to consider what our wishes were for Bede. Our primary doctor one of Bede’s biggest advocates said that should the time come we ventilate. For now we fight and that made sense because he was still fighting to. She acknowledged we were in a bad place but told me she still had faith in him. We both decided it was time to get Gus in to see Bede just in case. Gus brought unconditional healing love into the room and sat by Bede as I held him and Gus read to him for a while. Then overnight what has become almost the ordinary happened. Bede put his head down and one foot in front of the other and he worked. Slowly but surely he reclaimed himself. He shined again.

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We had about  24 hours of peace. Bede remained maxed out but we suspected he was able to progress and were just giving him a chance to rest. Then it all turned again.

Bede’s body writhed and thrashed uncontrollably. He screamed in distress.

We kept pumping him full of an array of IV drugs to try and stop it but nothing worked. ICU came down and spoke to us about the possibility of anaesthetizing him and ventilating him until hopefully this episode passed. We were now losing him again but in a completely different way.

The on call consultant who knows Bede well talked to me on the phone at 4am. He said it was time to stop the drugs, they weren’t working. There was nothing we could do to make him comfortable. It was time for us to just hold him through it. That was the hardest thing I have ever done and late that sleepless night I wrote this:

I have always said Bede’s resistance to cancer was much like a peaceful protest, his gentle strength forging the way.
Tonight it’s all out war. It is violent. He is in the trenches. He is fighting a messy, dirty battle and he is doing it with grit and determination.

It almost reminds me of a shark feeding frenzy. The waters obscured by the movement, frantic, fast. His limbs are flailing his back arching, he’s cycling through uncontrollable movement and agitation before managing to ground himself for just a moment before the next round. It is unrelenting.
I’ve never liked the word fighter for Bede, I’ve always found it too abrasive for his gentle soul but tonight he is fighting for his peace, for his light, for his life. Refusing to be taken easily, refusing to leave his big brother just yet, refusing to be robbed of what he has rightfully earnt – some time off treatment by the beach enjoying life.

It was pretty accepted that Bede wasn’t aware of us at that point but I refused to believe I couldn’t reach my baby on some level. I spent the night trying to pour love into him so in the midst of his despair he wouldn’t feel alone. It took every ounce of my being to smile as I sung “this little light of mine” my voice shook and my mouth trembled but I smiled and I sung and I tried to fill him with positivity and love and so did his daddy. I think we all found out just how hard we can fight that night.

imageEven in the depths of his despair, as he thrashed and wailed, he paused. He became Bede. He looked at me and he smiled, his light shining brilliantly, dazzling until seconds later he succumbed again. He took a moment to remind us just how hard he can fight, to remind us it takes a bit more than this kind of horror to keep him down. As he thrashed his light was dimmed but unassailable he glowed. His gentle loving soul fortifying us reminding us to be peaceful be patient.

On Friday morning after 12 brutal hours neurology saw us. It wasn’t seizures. He was aware of us he just couldn’t show us that. The movements were coming from a different part of the brain and were not sure why it’s happening. Finally early yesterday afternoon we got it under control. A lot of those measures have a sedative effect so he is catching up on his rest.

Now he sleeps. His vital signs, his heart rate, his oxygen, his respiratory rate are all good. We have managed to do a miniscule reduction in the support from ICU, it is a reduction nonetheless and soon we will start him on a tiny feed of 5 mls an hour. It will be the first time his body has had food since early Monday morning.

Today he gently tip toed his fingers across my own, he smiled gently but purposefully. He is resilient.

Last night Bede’s aunt came and played the guitar and serenaded him. Her chords permeated his upset and he relaxed. She played all his favourite songs and created a few new favourites. She helped me help him resist drifting back into despair and helped us give him some sweetness.

If we didn’t know already over the last few days we have found out what our son is made of.

Bede is weakened but he is not diminished, his strength incontestable, his light indelible. His soul glistens with hope and love and beauty and light and joy. He is a blessing in its purest form.

The fight is hard but he is soft. He is tender and he is warm. The fight is robust and he is delicate.

Although it is not perfectly apt it reminds me of a quote that I came across some time ago.

 Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

So yes the fight is hard, the cancer is dark and Bede is soft and glowing and tender and I feel like that is just what he needs to be. It is not fair and it is not right and this did not “happen for a reason”. It stinks but if there were ever a baby up to the challenge you better believe it is Bede. His soft beautiful love, his gentle soul, his resilient tenderness and his purposeful persistence have him in with a fighting chance and for this fight I’m backing Bede. Cancer ain’t seen nothing yet.

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I want to add a thanks to all the nurses who have surrounded him and us with genuine care this admission and who have prayed for him. Who have made us feel like Bede matters and is valued even in this environment that he is more than just a number on the ward that he is cared for. I want to thank everyone who has sent him love and positivity this past week. From virtual strangers to our nearest and dearest thank you. Your love strengthens him and us and enables him to work his magic.

Bede has been remarkable.

If he chooses to go it is ok. He has done enough and I have tried to be enough. Mothering him has been a privilege. I have tried to empower him to make his mark through this blog and through all of you. If he chooses to stay that would be a dream but if he chooses to go I hope you will help me to wrap him up in love and tenderness and light and joy and soulful kindness. In the meantime, while we wait, I hope you will help me fortify him with love and positivity as his light has so often fortified me for the fight.

As I nuzzle my head against his own I am at home in the world and I count my blessings.

(I did a photo post earlier today showing some of the last 6 weeks including our happier times and times of growth and joy. you can check it out here)

Half way through and the triumph is his.

It has been an incredibly difficult few weeks, some of our worst in fact but in this moment Bede is defiant and triumphant. He shines, purposefully and hopefully.

Bede’s happy soul and his inherent light are irrepressible. He bubbles and the delight he is taking in the world is contagious and full. He is cheerful.  His coos are high and happy. He laughs freely now. A breathy chirpy chuckle. His happiness comes with a new found ease and he draws us all in. We are taken and my god we are happy.

I am working on a post to update you on the last few weeks but it is difficult. A lot has happened and it has been taxing. I don’t think it is too dramatic to say we could have lost him and yet here he is now displaying his joy and resilience in all their glory. Bede is triumphant.

I just wanted to make sure I took this moment to mark Bede being halfway through his treatment. To that aim I’m posting the slideshow I referenced in my last post.

Here is Bede, putting one foot in front of the other and quietly, diligently, purposefully, happily, joyfully kicking cancer’s ass. Here is Bede bringing light and love and wonder to all those around him.  Here is Bede facing a rare brain cancer and doing it with grace. Here is Bede, take note he won’t be here long and he is magnificent.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for seeing our beautiful Bede.

Thank you for wrapping him up in your love.

Thank you for empowering him to be known to the world by sharing his story.

My gratitude to you all runs deep.

If you want the music make sure you turn on the sound.
Please don’t forget to follow the blog so next time we need a mini miracle we can call on your positivity to help carry him through. There should be a little grey box at the bottom of your computer screen that says ‘follow’, its that easy,
Is.

Oh Happy Day!

My cup is full. I am brimming with joy and happiness and thankfulness. A smile irrepressibly spreads from one corner of my mouth to the next. Life is grand and beautiful and saturated with colour and light.

Bede turned 6 months old on the 2nd and we celebrated. We celebrated with balloons and colours and cake and love.6 month cake

 6 months with mum 6 month with daddy

Time is a funny, elastic thing. If you asked me if I have had long with G who is 7 years I would say not at all, he is still a baby. But this week when I think of Bede I feel like 6 months is a long time. It feels like a miracle. I have truly loved and fully lived each of those days and fully immersed myself in the experience of Bede’s life. Being Bede’s mum has been all encompassing. I have held him for hours every day and made sure he has felt loved and nurtured and safe. My love for him is embossed on every cell of my being.

6 month old Bede isn’t too much different to the one month old Bede. He is calm, resolute, substantial, joyful, curious and happy. He shines. He seeps beauty and grace and oh so much light. even when he can not phsyically mould his mouth into a smile you can see the light and happiness pouring from his eyes. The main difference is now we know just how much he is capable of. He is capable of more than simply enduring. He is capable of growing and evolving through the most daunting and trying circumstances.

Bede has really taught me a lot about unconditional happiness. I mean it when I say there are times when he can not physically smile but he is happy. His happiness is not pre determined by his conditions, it is not ruled by externalities. He cultivates it from deep within. Like a kaleidoscope his happiness is the reflection of so many things , his family, his toys, a world to explore even if it can not be as vast as yours or mine, his curiosity, his disposition. At times I find myself walking down a corridor on the children’s cancer ward smiling and I feel what Bede feels, unconditional happiness that is not dependant on my environment or material things or anything and I know Bede has taught me a lot.

Bede was so sleepy but so happy to be in the fresh air, tasting ice cream and experiencing his parent's joy at having him outside

Bede was so sleepy but so happy to be in the fresh air, tasting ice cream and experiencing his parent’s joy at having him outside.

Other than Bede’s 6 month celebration there has been a lot of other bits of happiness floating around. Last weekend we got home for about 8 hours. The ward also had a BBQ and Bede wore a party hat. We broke all the rules and snuck some ice cream into his mouth.
He has started mouthing at things a lot and we are so excited to start feeding him food soon. I have never taken food granted and can not wait to share with Bede the adventure of taste, such an essential party of experiencing this world of ours.

Roy is obviously so proud of his little baby boy as he watches Bede commandeer his rusk. He seems excited and hopeful and happy and just really really proud.

The truth of course is there is always a balance. This post sounds boldly happy and things are but at the same time there are still moments, quiet moments, even sad moments. There is always a choice to be had. There are moments where you think that 6 months old means we’re already a quarter of the way through Bede’s life expectancy. We choose to focus on the moments where we just feel blessed to have had him this long.

At the moment he is bold and curious and an explorer. Most of all he is adored and rightly so. Well actually in this moment by the time this blog finally goes to air he will probably be asleep and we MAY have even got home! Fingers crossed. Love to you all.
6month sleep insta

Triumph & Trauma

I have just realised that we have all been so wrapped up in the beautiful moments this last week all our photos are of us sleeping.

I have just realised that we have all been so wrapped up in the beautiful moments this last week all our photos are of us sleeping.

I try to keep this blog about who Bede is and how he is doing rather than just boring everyone with the details or even, sometimes the despair, of what is happening. Sometimes though, I think the details are important at least for the purpose of letting our families know and certainly as a testament to Bede’s strength and the pride we feel for him.

In the last 3 weeks Bede has had

  • Severe pain
  • Respiratory issues
  • Needed oxygen on and off for the whole 3 weeks
  • Heart rate issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Constant Morphine and Ketamine infusions
  • A blood infection
  • 4 kinds of IV antibiotics
  • His permanent line come out
  • The lining of his small bowel breaking down
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Tumour growth
  • 5 blood transfusions due to the chemo depleting his blood cells.
  • CTs
  • The skin around his bottom breaking down and bleeding
  • Cannulas and collapsed veins from blood tests
  • The hardcore chemo
  • Surgery to insert his new permanent line, this time an infuser port
  • MRI under general anaesthetic
  • And has been weaned off a lot of drugs

In fact the majority of these things unfurled in the first 2 weeks following the new chemo. Each day has been a new challenge and each day we have tried our best as a family to meet it. Day by day. I think rambling off that list is important because it really demonstrates just how remarkable our little Bede is. Through it all Bede remains calmly and firmly himself. I marvel that through all this trauma he has not only managed to continue smiling and shining but he has also managed to grow so much. We are incredibly proud of him.

We had an MRI on Friday which, incredibly, showed the new chemo has stabilised his cancer. Quite a feat really considering the tumour was growing so aggressively, it MAY have even shrunk it marginally.

This week we managed to stretch his IV lines all the way to the big bed and we slept together. Just like old times. Wrapping each other up in our sweet love.

This week we managed to stretch his IV lines all the way to the big bed and we slept together. Just like old times. Wrapping each other up in our sweet love.

We have had some positively wonderful times with bede. Uplifting times. Beautiful affirming days.
One day in particular was incredible, we had an infant massage session, a music therapy session and a guided play session. He was so incredibly enlivened and engaged. He has definitely re earned his nickname smiley.

Bede has grown within his own mind so much.
 He has a favourite page of a touch and feel book and reaches out to stroke the animal. He plays kissing games and smiles asking for more.

He freely gives away his joy by smiling indiscriminately. He smiles at everyone now, those jewels are no longer just for his Mumma and that makes me beam. His smiles are beautiful and luminescent, they of course shine so bright. His smiles make everyone else smile and the Bede effect is clear.

He has even managed to fulfill the secret hope I had for before the next chemo started. He is back to laughing.

I think what has brought Roy and I the most joy has been watching Bede discover, develop and explore his sense of playfulness. That purely childlike quality that is in its essence so far removed from his cancer and all that that entails brings a happy balance to his awe inspiring substance. His gentle determinedness remains resolute. In addition to that determinedness he now pauses and basks in the moment, seemingly bathing in his own light. Strengthened by happiness and curiosity.

We have now started the second round of the hard core chemo. We haven’t been home in four weeks. We are hoping to get home for a couple of days this cycle. I think it would so much good for Bede, it would reenergise Roy and I and would do the world of good for Gus.

I know its been far too long between posts by the state of all my inboxes. This has been such an incredibly intense and equally triumphant and traumatic time it has been difficult to update. Each time I tried I was overwhelmed by where to begin. I worry that I no longer have the emotional wherewithal to do justice to Bede with my words but I will continue to try so long as you all continue to pray for him and care for him and are sending him light and love and positivity.

Thank you.