Inspiration!

Delaney had quite the busy day before she was diagnosed with leukemia almost two weeks ago.  Three different doctor’s visits, too many blood draws, and a bunch of people poking her, were no match for Delaney’s silly self.  She had to go potty at one of our stops, so I took her into one of those family restrooms.  She went potty and then it was my turn (TMI, I know).  While going, I heard a very loud, “Really Dad, green underpants?!?!?”  Of course my immediate reply was, “Shhhhhh” which only made her turn it into loud “Mr. Green Underpants” song between giggles.  We exited the bathroom and she immediately told strangers that were walking by, “He is wearing green underpants!” That teasing continued over the next few days in the hospital and was only added to when I stretched while yawning, “Mr. Green Underpants with sweaty armpits!”  Which is obviously a lot more hysterical to a silly little six year old fighting cancer.

Never mind my perspiration (way to go from TMI, to WAY too much TMI!), as this post is about inspiration.  Apparently, our little silly goose is already inspiring lots of people.  Our family continues to be amazed and overwhelmed with all the love shared so I wanted to share just some of the support and inspiration we’ve felt over the past two weeks.  Please know that already it would be impossible for me to share ALL of it and I would get a million emails that said “Yo Tolstoy, can you make your posts shorter?” if I tried.  So even though just a very small fraction of things will be shared here, please know that they are ALL very much appreciated.  Oh, by the way, remember when this was the Worst. Blog. EVER because I talked about the Delaney song and the Ironman song, and then didn’t even put the songs in the post?  I THINK (really hope) I fixed that here.  So before I get started, here is Delaney Talks to Statues by Jimmy Buffett (you might recall that this was the song that sealed the deal on her name).

—Anyway, there have been so many tidbits, that I don’t know where to start, so I’ll begin with the most recent.  Her least favorite medicine is called Troche (my wife will be so proud if I actually got that correct).  She has to suck on it for 20 minutes while it dissolves in her mouth so after she pops it in her mouth, we’ll start the timer for her.  She then immediately runs over to her pen and paper to write, “Time?” Inevitably, the first one comes about 10 seconds in so we have to reply, “Only 19 minutes and 50 seconds left.” We then repeat that about every 20 seconds unless we can come up with some good distractions.  Well, last night, we had some pretty darn entertaining distractions.  Stacey had a couple of  friends drop by with a bottle of wine to do a quick sanity check on her and they all got into it.  Take every bad dance episode of the Gong Show and we had it going on at our house last night.  Between Delaney’s sister Emily, and our two friends, we had: the robot, the worm, the sprinkler, the lawnmower, and a bunch of other crazy moves that all of a sudden made me feel a lot better about my own skills on the dance floor.  More importantly, these ladies checking their pride and just getting silly, turned Delaney’s dreaded Troche experience, into a but gusting good time.

—Some of the sweetest things that stand out to me come from people that may have never even met Delaney or even ANY of our family.    I think I already shared on here about the boy that baked cookies to raise money for her.   What I think I shared on Facebook but not on here, is that a few days later he came back.  Apparently, just like the first time where he just had the idea and did all the work all by himself,  he did it again.  A few days later, he returned with even more money.

Another example that would fall into this category of people that I don’t think have ever had the pleasure of meeting Delaney but still doing extraordinary things, happened just yesterday.  In our mailbox was a letter from a very nice local hotel.  The General Manager heard about Delaney and wanted to drop us a line.  She too is a parent and even has her very own daughter named Delaney. Unfortunately, she also had her own journey with cancer when her Mom was diagnosed.  She too, felt the love and support of many and wanted to share with us so she sent us six gift certificates that can be used to stay at her hotel.  In her words, she sent six because cancer affects the whole family: One can be used for an out of town guest, there is one that maybe Stacey and I could use for some alone time (va va voom!), another maybe Emily could use when home from college, one for when Delaney is feeling better and wants a sleepover and a swim in their pool, another for when Ashley needs a staycation, and with the last one she simply pointed out that before we know it, Mackenzie will be a teenager… ’nuff said!

— One more quick one along the lines of people that have never met Delaney and realistically never will.  This is from my good friend Maria who is in China (Coincidentally, Maria, just grossed out Delaney’s entire kindergarten class before any of this happened.  They were doing a project about how that time of year was spent in other cultures and Maria shared how they eat fun things like fried bats and scorpions over there).  Anyway, here is the unedited email she sent me:

Quick note of love. My Chinese ayi (who makes $450 a month) just brought me an envelope with equivalent to $150 for Delaney. That is a full quarter of her salary! She is so awesome. She said in Chinese, “That little girl in the pictures is worth more money than I could ever give.” She lives paycheck by paycheck and sends half of her salary every month to her father who is in hospice care. I’m sorry, I didn’t take the money from her and said that we can do something special together to send. She said, “If they run out of money than you have to let me help them.” Wow. What an impact Delaney has on this world.

—Many stories of people braving their own pain and troubles with the resounding theme of, “If Delaney can do it, I can do it.”

—The generosity of so many family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents from school, the Kiwanis, a sorority at Emily’s college, strangers, friends of friends, friends of ours from grade school, high school, college, friends on Facebook, and future friends that we haven’t even met yet!  We’ve received dinners, cards, gift certificates, prayers (apparently walking into a bar isn’t the only thing a Priest, a Rabbi, and a Pastor have in common, because they have all also led prayer sessions for Delaney), emails, texts, comments, money, blankets, posters, stuffed animals, mustaches, toys, cows, Broncos apparel, more mustaches, hats, movies, gifts,  and even a (free) bundt cake!  I don’t know how we’ll ever be able to express our gratitude for all this love and incredible generosity.

I’m not sure if the Delaney Song is done playing yet, but here is the Iron Man song.  With Delaney having the port in her chest and Iron Man having the electromagnet in his, she gets that comparison a lot.  I quickly tried to refresh my memory on why Iron Man had it in his chest, and here was the part I really liked as it will also apply to Delaney too: “Eventually, he gets the medical condition fixed and the device removed.”  The song gets associated because it inspired me through my first ironman (an endurance event that has nothing to do with the super hero). However, because this will be a much longer endurance event, and this post is titled “inspiration”, I’m sharing it with you here (aren’t you glad I didn’t go with “Perspiration” so you don’t have to watch Richard Simmons sweat to the oldies?)

—Even a lot of the comments on this blog.  The comments about Delaney being the hero to so many of you, the parents of her classmates sharing how they just can’t wait to play with her again, and the fact that the prayers being lifted up for her have literally spanned the globe.  So many of you have shared how she has already affected your own lives in so many positive ways, and that is just awesome that even in terrible things like cancer, there is still so much good.

—This isn’t really inspirational, so much as it is a life lesson that I want to share so you hopefully don’t have to learn it the way I did: There have been people (unfortunately plural), who based off my first impression when meeting them before this (non) adventure, that maybe I didn’t think too highly of.  I am really ashamed to admit that some of those people have been some of the nicest people through this whole ordeal.   Going forward, I am going to attempt to give people the benefit of the doubt as it really is true, you never know what people are going through.

—-Today’s St. Baldrick’s event: Through the generous donations of so many people, “Delaney’s Jedi Knights” raised over $2,000 for this fantastic charity.  At 11 AM today, we will be attending the fun where I know some friends of ours (including new ones), will be shaving their heads in Delaney’s honor and to promote cancer awareness.  I don’t know that any of my family will be doing any shaving yet, as we are leaving that up to Delaney.  However, I am thinking that I am not going to let my nine year old Ashley shave her head, as right now I really want her to keep HER identity (I am mentioning this here so friends that see this hopefully will not ask her if she is shaving her head).

—–Finally, Delaney’s own generosity. With all the gifts that Delaney received, she received one that was maybe a little too girly for her.  So she took the pink princess set, added candy from her overflowing collection, and wanted to give it to that little girl Luca (and her sister Kaia) that she met in the hospital.  We took a large bag filled with toys and candy with us to Delaney’s chemo appointment on Friday, but they were already discharged.  It wasn’t too tough finding another little, suddenly very excited, girl to give it to.  There was Delaney going in to basically get poison injected into her own body, and she was thinking about how she can brighten the day of others.

Getting all Jiggy with it

       So I am noticing that at 3 in the morning, there aren’t a ton of options.  I can pray or I can blog, so I usually do both.  Anyhoo, I am not sure if I mentioned, but a friend had the entire third grade class at her school (which isn’t even Delaney’s school by the way) make Delaney get well cards.  It was really cute because every card had a mustache somewhere on it and their little handwritten notes were so sweet they could break your heart.  I noticed that one repeated theme that kept coming up was her name (“I like your name, why did you name yourself Delaney?”).

      I haven’t thought about her name in a long time, but I thought I would share our brief story behind it.  My wife and I came across in it and really liked it, so it became one of our finalists (along with Jackson, Sam, and a million other boy names I never got to use).  Someone asked if we had ever heard the old Jimmy Buffett song with “Delaney” in it?  Sure, we love margaritas… oh wait… not THAT Jimmy Buffett song!  “It is one of the best Daddy/Daughter songs ever, you’ve GOT to listen to it!”  So we did, and it went from one of our finalists, to THE name for the daughter growing in my wife’s belly.

      Looking at it the lyrics now something immediately jumps out at me as it relates to our (non) adventure with leukemia.  She is taking a LOT of medicine.  In fact yesterday when we told the doctor her mouth was bugging her, he looked at it and said, “I’m guessing she just isn’t used to taking 17 pills a day.”  She HATES that part of her treatment. Inject some chemo in her port and she is fine.  Make her take a bunch of pills, liquids, and rinses, and she’s going to put up a fight (one of the Child Life Specialists told us that trying to get kids to take their medicine is very often the most frustrating things for parents of kids with leukemia). 

      “She speaks a language of her own that I cannot discover,” sings old Jimmy Buffett and he was absolutely right.  When it comes to taking her medicine, Delaney has literally created her own language. “Poof-a-do-doo,” she’ll say with almost tears in her eyes. “Come on baby, it’ll help you get better,” we plead.  “Poof-a-do-doo” is what we’ll get back.  Anyway, it really is a beautiful song so I thought I would share it with all of you (sorry, but I THINK you’ll actually have to be on a computer to hear it but who knows because those smart phones are pretty darn smart these days).

       Here are some more of the lyric’s and then I’ll just (attempt to) attach the song:

Delaney draws me pictures she finger paints the sand

we chase the dogs and hop like frogs, then I do my bad handstand.

She’s growing up too fast for me and asking lots of questions

Some I know the answers to and some I’m looking for suggestions.

Father, daughter…

 

   

   While I am ATTEMPTING to get fancy and do a post with music, I figured I may as well share one other song.  It came on the radio the radio the other day and it had me thinking.  It was the song that got me through my first Ironman and I realized that this is going to be the longest endurance event we’ll ever face.  It is called “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman and here are some of its lyrics:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death your perfect love is casting out fear. And even when I am caught in the middle of the storms of this life I won’t turn back I know you are near.

—-Quick D update: She is in great spirits, but the meds are starting to definitely take their toll.  She wants to run around and play with her friends and sisters, but she is just a lot more run down these days.  As you already saw we brought her home from the hospital yesterday to cards, posters, presents and well wishes from what felt anyone that has ever met her.  There have been SO MANY acts of kindness that I am really trying to NOT single out any one thing as to not leave anyone or thing out.  However,  I’ve got to break my own rule just because I thought it was just so darn sweet.  A sixth grade boy that has probably never even met Delaney baked cookies, and went door to door selling them to raise money for her.  When we got home there was an envelope with the money he raised in it that said, “to Delaney from Jackson (and then he referenced the friends of his that do know Delaney). Along with the envelope was a baggie with a couple of the best homemade chocolate chip cookies ever! Like I mentioned on a Facebook post last night turn on the news and you will hear almost nothing but all the evil in this world.  In spite of that, all we are feeling is love and support for our little stinker.

 

 

OKAY: I know the music didn’t upload but I wanted to get you the rest of the update. I couldn’t figure it out but feel like I could actually sleep, so I’m just going to send this out anyway. All together now: Worst. Blog. EVER.
PS: My insomnia was good for something. I figured out how Delaney’s sisters could be contributors on this blog. It is unfortunately their (non) adventure too and this is almost kind of therapeutic so consider yourself warned. As a reminder, we won’t know or be offended if you click the unsubscribe button. Well, Ashley might deck you, but the rest of us are perfectly cool with it. Honestly! 🙂