He’s done it!

We’ve done it! He’s done it!

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We got the formal results of the MRI and the tumour has shrunk a total of 50% over the course of treatment.

 Let me make that gloriously clear… The tumour has not regrown. 

This post has been a little delayed.  Thank you for your patience and unwavering support.

I would have loved to shout the news from the mountain tops the day we found out but instead we sat in our doctor’s office, in shock, sedating Bede, holding him while he screamed, perplexed and trying to figure out what was happening. Over the last 2 weeks we have been averaging about an hours broken sleep a night. Attempting to keep Bede comfortable has been an all consuming challenge and no one could get to the bottom of what was wrong.

We  finally found a nasty urine infection, a bacterial gut infection and gastro. … the perils of having a suppressed immune system.
Now he is improving. He is smiling more freely and laughing again. His chuckle fills the room.

I am now able to take a moment and bathe in his beautiful light, wrap myself in his warmth and rejoice in his triumph. The news, finally, gently settles and I delight. It hasn’t grown!

With love, positivity, hope, prayers, blind faith and determination… It hasn’t grown! He’s done it again. Multiple doctors looked at that CT. Neurologists, neuro surgeon, radiologists and oncologists. It looked bigger to everyone but it’s not. Bede has done it again.

I do not feel relief. I feel pride. A deep, soul nourishing pride. A pride that is only paralleled by my gratitude to each of you. I am sure I have said it before and it remains true-  the miracle Bede has needed and continues to need is each of you.

Make no mistake, your love, hope, positivity, prayers, vibes, thoughts have carried him through as though on the wings of angels.
I am humbled. I am humbled that you have not only taken a moment out of your day to send Bede some love but that you have held him in your thoughts and minds and collective consciousness. That you have wrapped him up in kindness and hope and protective love.

Make no mistake, the love you send Bede helps him in a very real and tangible way.

Our family has big decisions ahead of us. Ones that involve life and death, pain and joy, hurt and time. There is a balancing act ahead. I have faith that whatever is meant for Bede, he will continue to lead us and light the way.

Tonight Gus says that if everyone is confident in Bede, we might just get through. I told him the tumour has not grown and he said “well that’s a delight to hear.”  Yes beautiful boy it is!

Bede’s light is soothing. His essence is transitional and strong and gentle.
He is bruised but he is recovering. He is determined and he is joy.
He snuggles.
He will laugh as long as you are happy to laugh along side him and is finding humour and happiness in the most peculiar things.

Roy and I are feeling so blessed to have our family together under one roof again tonight.

He’s flipping done it!

I can’t think of a better note to leave you on than this video we took earlier today. This video lets bede speak for himself. Bede has decided that going to sleep is hysterically funny. He is such a happy boy.

Thank you.

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)

A quick catch up.

It has been a while since I posted. I know this for a fact because  I have been receiving messages all day telling me so.

Bede is strong, vocal, funny and shining bright. He is careful, he is an explorer, he is teething and his soul is as magical as ever.
When he speaks people listen and his eyes command your attention.

I’m hoping to write a proper update for you tonight but for now this is Flash back Friday for all of our new followers these are the links to some past posts that show some of  where we have been. …

Smile Bede Is

My Gosh we adore him

Choices

 

Don’t forget to check the ‘A Baby of Substance’ and ‘About’ links at the top of the page and please don’t forget to follow the blog.

Your love and prayers and support continue to humble and strengthen us.

I spoke at a fundraising event for Bede and our family last night. The whole event and the lead up to it have felt like a warm embrace filled with friendship and love for our family.  I have attached a copy of my words for those of you who I know had been hoping to make it but in the end could not. It was a wonderful night.

Hi everyone. Thank you for being here tonight and thank you for listening to what I have to say.

I’ll give you a really quick bit of background, because as some of you know I fear the details of our journey are boring I also know some of you are here learning about Bede for the first time tonight.

About 5 weeks after Bede was born, 5 exhaustedly joyful weeks I knew something was wrong. It took 2 hospitals and another 11 weeks of relentless advocating to get the scans that finally brought us a diagnosis. Bede had an advanced brain tumour and it was certainly cancerous because it had spread throughout his brain stem and spine. His kind of cancer is rare and fatal. We get given different numbers depending on which doctor we speak to some say there are only 6 reported cases of this in the world. Some will just say it is very rare. After the biopsy and the pathology returned we pushed for a life expectancy. The doctors were reluctant to give us one because they don’t have a crystal ball but eventually, they told us, Bede had 2 years. One of intense chemo and hopefully one year of quality life at home with his family.

A lot of you who now our family know that we have tried to stay positive and happy through this experience. 
We don’t see much point in grieving while Bede is here. We will have a lifetime for Grief once he is gone. For now we make the choice to delight in every moment.

I want to be real tonight. I want you to know why your support means so much to us and what it has helped us through

I want to take this opportunity tonight to catch you up, to tell y ou about some of the realities  that I don’t blog about and hopefully help you understand why we’ve been so absent and not as present in our gratitude to you all as we would have liked.

I chose the photos that you have seen in the slideshow tonight. They are extremely illustrative of Bede’s journey. They are not the professional photos, they’re not all beautiful but they are true.  I suppose the only photos that are missing are the graphic and slightly upsetting ones that show just how skinny and ill bede became before his diagnosis.
I’d like to tell you about some of the photos you did see.

There is the photo of Bede outside.  fresh air in his lungs

I fought hard for that moment. He had had a long admission and was about to head into brain surgery less than 24 hours after diagnosis. If he was going to die the mother in me wanted him to have fresh air in his lungs and to have felt the sunshine on his face.

There were so many ‘last’ photos. The moments we were told this is very likely it. You may be losing him now in this moment. Desperate to document his last moments we would snap away. Crying, holding him and willing our love to comfort him.

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The photos of Bede and Gus when we had to decide with our doctor do we let him go for his play date or call him in to see his dying brother one last time.

You saw the moment that my acceptance of Bede’s fate and my deep faith that whatever was best for Bede is what would  eventuate crumble as I begged for just one more moment, I wasn’t ready to never again feel that the coolness of his soft cheeks, the weight of his body on mine or the beauty of our souls entwined. Just one more moment I begged. I’m not ready yet, I’m not ready.

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I chose this photo to have (on the screen) behind me tonight because while it doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect Bede’s external beauty it does speak volumes about my son.

This is my son.

Days earlier we thought the cancer was claiming him. He was on ICU level IV morphine not normally administered on the ward and at double doses. He was on IV ketamine and one on one nursing. He had spent days screaming in pain as the cancer grew. You might be able to see at the bottom of this picture the oxygen he was needing to stay alive, he was on high doses of steroids as he is now. The steroids left his face so swollen expressions were difficult.

This is him smiling in spite of it all.

Getting ready to make his come back.

This is typical Bede. This is my son.

You also saw intimate kisses goodbye as we stood on the precipice yet again of our greatest fear, moments of sheer despair. But it is in those moments where we need to make a choice. To surrender to despair and horror and brutal grief or to embrace positivity and to make sure as many moments as possible of Bede’s life are filled with love and joy and songs like incy wincy spider.

The support so many of you have given us from high school friends sincerely reaching out through facebook, to school mums cooking us dinner and keeping us nourished, to the friends who have stayed in contact and kept up traditions like the occasional Sunday afternoon drink and the people who have continued to treat us just the same as they always did.  Your support in a real and tangible way has helped us choose incy wincy spider and playing and love.

So many of you tell us we are inspirational, and a lot of you know that doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all. It is your support that has enabled our strength and our positivity. It is your love and prayers and the practical ways so many of you have reached out that has fortified us and allowed us to be the best parents we can possibly be to Bede.

Of course in the photos tonight you also saw the smiles.

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The unadulterated joy. The victories. The inherent strength. The moments that have doubled the size of our hearts. The moments we got to have him at home in his context with his family and his community. His first solid feed. His first get away down south.

The photos mark his growth and his resilient spirit. A spirit that fortifies us for the fight. You saw his light, his grin and his enduring ability to bring beauty and joy to all those around him. I hope you also saw a happy and grateful family.
Bede is strength.

I want to take a moment to talk about Bede. Sometimes I get nervous that if I repeat the same thing too many times I dilute the message but my dear friend Carolyn, reminded me that people like to be reminded of just how incredible Bede is so here goes.

Bede is determined, he is strong, he is solid and he is true. In the words of his medical team he is persistant. They say kids bounce back well Bede doesn’t. For all the deep pits we have been in he has never bounced. Instead he takes a moment, he gathers himself, he consolidates his postion and then purposefully moves forward. Putting one foot in front of the other he gets on with the business of life. There are no spectacles, no grand moments he quietly and unassumingly dominates cancer. He is often called a fighter but it is not an angry fight it’s more like a peaceful protest. This illness that looms large may have the power to steal his life but it sure as hell will never steal his light. He faces brain cancer head on and he does it with a grace I could never have imagined.

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His indelible truth remains, his light shines bright. I know I say that often but it feels like such an apt way to describe Bede. Sometimes he softly and defiantly glows, sometimes he all out shines but he always has this beautiful happy light about him. He radiates love and warmth and something great but indescribable. He is profound.

He is tough as nails and soft as a feather.

He is courageous and triumphant, gentle and soft and his little warm hands that he tip toes across my own feel like the worlds largest blessing.

Right now in this moment he is triumphant.  He is doing better than anyone could have ever expected. He is eating solids, sitting up, babbling smiling. He plays, he takes turns, he is careful. He is an explorer. Where before Bede’s old soul was so prominent and overwhelming now his gentle persistent personality shines through and I really like the person I see.

In regards to that life expectancy we’re now told all bets are off. The truth remains that Bede could die suddenly and painlessly at any moment and while the cancer will most certainly eventually take him no one is prepared to give it a time frame. No one is prepared to underestimate Bede and his will. He is doing better than any other child that has presented with this cancer. For example while all the other babies presented at 4 months already completely blind we found out yesterday that Bede retains at least some sight.

I want to say thank you so much for your love and prayers. There have been so many times things could have gone so much worse than they did. Before the biopsy the doctors gave us weeks. So many prayed with us, sent love to Bede or just concentrated your positive energies on him. You gave him whatever you had and I earnestly believe the miracle Bede has had and the he still needs is all of you.

I’d so love for everyone here tonight to head over to the blog and at the bottom of the page in a grey box is the word follow. Click on it and subscribe and the next time we need a miracle we can call on you as part of team Bede. We so desperately want for him to be known and to be afforded his opportunity to make his mark on the world.

I really want to thank my beautiful friends who have helped organize tonight. I found the kindness difficult to accept initially but it has felt like one huge hug for our whole family. I also want to thank everyone who supported us and them by contributing to tonight and I know there are many of you.

I want to thank all of you for helping alleviate my fear that my incredible son would go unknown to the world.

I want to thank our whole school community for your support and love and prayers and I especially want to thank the year 2 mums for the meals, the fuel vouchers and for at times literally putting clothes on my back.

I want to thank everyone for coming tonight, for your support and love and for letting me tell you all the other side of the story. That might not sound as positive and as happy but is true and real.

I assure you the brutality of the journey doesn’t diminish they joy of parenting Bede. Everyday we feel a deep happiness and privilege to be the parents of two such amazing boys and a deep gratitude for all of you.

Please please please check out the blog.

Bede, maybe  small but he is mighty. Thank you.

Watching the front roll through.

We were readmitted yesterday.

Bede's first ambulance ride.

Bede’s first ambulance ride.

Bede’s little soul is agitated. Wearied but not yet worn. He has been working hard, He has spent the night and most of the day sleeping on my chest. I can feel his little chest rising and falling against my own. Breathing is hard work. Huff puff huff puff huff puff.

His plump, warm, soft hands resting on my throat feel like the greatest gift, His warmth blankets me. His determinedness fortifies me. His gentlenesss soothes me. His peace envelops me.

But that is all about me, this blog is not meant to be a testament to a mother’s love for her son. This blog bears witness to the most remarkable little human I have ever come across.

Bede is grounded. His light glows. Bede is tender and he is true. His strength is gentle but uncompromising.

I’m sure I have said it before but he reminds me of a ship. Forging forward, undeterred.

Waiting and watching the weather.

Waiting and watching.

In my last blog I likened chemo to sitting at the coast watching a front roll in. I grew up directly across the road from the open ocean. I would watch the clouds gather and know the storm and the gales are about to hit. The windows will rattle and the house will shake, you’ll lose power, the storm will batter you.

Now here we are in the thick of it. The storm has hit. Bede’s little body is being battered by a bacterial blood infection, he is septic. The doctor said today the kind of bacteria and infection he has is really as bad as it gets.  He is shaken but he is undeterred and so as his mum I’m really not scared. Bede has bunkered down and is enduring the front, like our old house he has a solid foundation, Team Bede. The collaboration of so much love, expertise, friendship, prayer, science, hope, faith, grit, with the most amazing leader and Bede really does lead the way.

We have caught the infection early. He is responding to the antibiotics.

I am in awe. I think one of the most remarkable attributes a person can have is the ability to just keep on keeping on. In the face of all adversity to put one foot in front of the other and battle on. My precious son completely embodies that ability and I am truly in awe of it.

Note: This entry was written last night. Bede is still a sick little baby but he is responding incredibly well to the antibiotics. Most of his blood counts are recovering very well and that includes his neutrophils which represent his immune system. Bede is not out of the woods yet but he’s finding his way.

 

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.

Sharing The Win

We have been here at the hospital for two weeks now.

ward

Today Bede had surgery. Last week Bede’s permanent line fell out so today it was replaced with an infuser port. He came through this surgery much better than his last.

coming out of surgery

He is continuing to slowly wake up from the drug induced fog. Perhaps a little slower than I anticipated in my last post but today is our best day yet. That is pretty incredible given he has just had surgery and all that he has been through over the last few weeks.

He is more awake and enjoying playing with his soft bunny.

As I write this Bede’s Dad is whispering to him how proud he is of him. The lights are dimmed. Soothing music is playing. The love that radiates from Bede fortifies us all. Through it all the soft and gentle beauty that is essentially Bede is unmoving. Who he is glimmers through the fog.

Hope for a better day swells within me and I am thankful for all your love. Be reassured that he is doing amazingly well.

How well he has come through this surgery definitely counts as a win.

Bede’s back!

smiles for bede copy jpeg

I have tried hard to write a blog explaining all that has happened but there is no point intellectualizing it. It’s been a very difficult week.

I am awash with exhausted relief. Glorious exhausted relief. Far too awash to do justice to the calm joy that wells deep within me. Most of all I am thankful. His soul is here with his Mumma, entwined for another day. His weight and light and beauty and substance mingle with every fibre of my being.

Let me tell you something about Bede, all superfluities aside he is just plain awe inspiring and incredible.

Bede is here. As has become typical his little body rose up to meet the challenges it was faced with. He some how determinedly and resolutely put one foot in front of the other and got on with the business of living, balancing grit with beauty and light. He was in the deepest pit, one that none of us could see a way out of and he has step by step climbed his way out.

He is tired, as we all are, but he is slowly rousing from the fog that the large amounts of narcotics visited upon him.  I have said it before Bede doesn’t simply bounce back as you so often hear some children do. He is consolidating his position and then slowly and purposefully moving forward.

looking up to mumma.

I’m not sure exactly how or even the exact moment we turned a corner but we did, he did. When we were still in the midst of the fog just after the pain had passed but when Bede was heavily sedated he chose his moments and then shone through. He opened his eyes and was engaged. He could not physically bring his lips to a smile but every other part of his face lit up as he looked up at his family. The little eyebrow that twitches before a grin was insuppressible and his eyes sparkled.

Now slowly, bit-by-bit he wakes. He is not a 100% yet but he is in there. Today when it was just Bede and I snuggled in together the smallest smile skipped across his face…. Bede’s back!

The last week has been overwhelming for a whole number of reasons aside from the acuity of Bede’s illness, most of them distractions, and we are all physically and emotionally exhausted.

All is not solved, we are where we were before this latest scare but that is still so much better than we were last Sunday. We are waiting to see how effective this chemo is to know how much time we are afforded. We are slowly weaning back the oxygen and pain killers. Bede lives to fight  and love and light another day.

Tonight I bathe in sweet relief. I am wrapped in his warmth. His love is all encompassing and more grounded than ever. I remain madly and deeply in love with Roy and lightened and uplifted by Gus’ joyfulness. I am so incredibly deeply thankful. We have faced our darkest moments and once again Bede lit the way.

I am so especially thankful to Bede’s primary doctor for the care and time she has given not only Bede but also Roy and I that helped us find our way through. She did more than treat him physically, she kept hope when ours erred. We are blessed to have her on Team Bede.

Most of all I am thankful to all of you. Make no mistake your love and prayers and care are real and tangible and helpful and solid and amazing. I truly believe they are carrying him through. The miracle Bede needs is all of you. We were there, teetering on the edge of the cliff and I believe you pulled us back.

This blog doesn’t sound as celebratory as it should be, my exhaustion pervades. Feel free to cheer, dance in the streets, grin ear to ear for me. Bede did it again.

As magnificent as ever.

NEEDING LOVE POSITIVITY AND PRAYERS FOR BEDE.

I had planned to put an update up yesterday explaining to you all about the new chemo and how it works. Nothing ever goes quite to plan.

I said in my last post that Bede was becoming tired. Since then his pain has gradually been increasing and we’ve been increasing the measures to deal with that pain. It has been difficult trying to manage that pain at home. Once we got to the hospital and started the new chemo it continued to intensify. We eventually saw the anaesthetist who put him on continuous morphine yesterday evening.

Our first trip to the hospital with concerns for his pain was the day after his baptism. They did a CT then. We did another CT last night. In the 5 days between the two scans the tumour has gown a centimetre in a couple of different directions. That might not sound like much but that’s massive growth in only 5 days. It is causing him all this pain.

When we were discussing this new chemo with the doctors they spoke about another little girl they had treated previously. she had a similar affliction and although she spent a lions share of a year at the hospital she then got 12 months at home, chemo free, enjoying her life and her family before she died. The concern I expressed to the doctors then was that I sensed Bede’s death was much closer than anyone realised.
The way this tumour has grown has reinforced that feeling within me.

I am devastated not because I feel Bede’s death may be close, although of course that saddens us all, but because we have had this 24 hrs of pain.

His little soul is worn. He is scattered. I think it was in the very first text I sent out letting you, our most loved people, know the diagnosis that I said one way or another we would carry him through this. So this is what that feels like.

I used to secretly dislike it when people said he was a fighter. Although I liked that people were backing him, no precious soul this young should have to know the harshness of fight. His only job should be to enjoy the world. But tonight I see him fight. Knuckle down, one foot in front of the other, fight. It’s not a fair fight but as usual he takes it on with courage and a purposeful grace.

Life hurts. If I move he cries.

He is fighting. It is hard work but under that remains Bede. His beautiful soul still here. Steadfast in its warmth and beauty. Uncompromising in the face of pain and discomfort his essence wraps us up.

On his chest is his monkey from his Uncle Vin and Aunty Maree. It plays let it be. He is snuggled into my breast and the pain in his neck is relieved and supported by the crook of my arm. He is uncompromisingly Bede. He is beautiful. He is grounded. He has weight and soul and light. He is not freely smiling but he glows. His gentle, peaceful strength remains, resolute. His light lifts us up. He is my son. My kiddo. My love.

I am praying this chemo works. Not because I’m greedy and am grabbing for time that isn’t mine. I’ve already been blessed beyond belief just to meet Bede let alone the privilege of mothering him. I am praying the chemo works because I would like a different death for him. I would like to afford him some of the peace and light he has so generously given to the world.

I have thought a lot about this post over the last couple of hours. With so many people reading now I don’t want his light replaced with sadness in anyone’s minds. I have to have faith that even times of darkness his light shines so bright, too brightly to be replaced and more importantly I have to honour Bede’s truth and his life experience and this is it. He is not in a good place. He whimpers.

Although this moment in time is difficult his light shines on adamantly.

As his mum I come to you as always with fierce determinedness, but also a new desperation, to give him the best life and death I can. I owe him so much.
I truly believe that all the love and prayers and positivity he has received from you have wrapped him up and carried him, unbruised, through this whole experience. I humbly ask you now please send him some more. he needs it. Hoping for his best outcome.

So as a dear friend and my soul sister so eloquently put it
Whether you believe in faith, science or humanity please send some love, prayers and positivity Bede’s way. I promise you he is magnificent and beyond worth it.