I recommend grabbing a cup of java or nice tall glass of iced tea as this entry is a long one, but well worth the read!
Compassionate Employer and Fundraising Success
Thanks to Main Street Bank for hosting the amazing, and very successful, fundraiser at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in historic Herndon, Virginia. Chris has been a Main Street Bank employee for almost 4 years now. His coworkers feel like an extended family and have done so much for Aiden. Main Street Bank has a corporate culture that is enriched with love, kindness and respect. Most importantly, though, traditional family values seem to fill the heart of this community bank.
When Chris and I were in the PICU with Aiden, the day after getting his cancer diagnosis, we realized that we had to notify our employers of the situation. When Chris called the bank, there was only concern for us and, of course, little Aiden. Timelines, leave balances and workload reassignments were not discussed. He never felt as if his company was detached from the issue at hand or that he had to worry about his position. He was treated like a person, not a name on an employee roster. Chris was told to take as much time as he needed and not worry about anything else. Main Street Bank understood that we were caught in a fog of anguish, worry and helplessness. They also realized that financially we needed a sense of security.
Such truly selfless words and actions are what set businesses apart. We are blessed to have Main Street Bank in our lives and are truly appreciative for all that they have done and continue to do for our little boy.
A New Place To Call Home (Or Should We Say “Home Again”)
In December 2008, Chris and I moved into a new home. A beautiful residence, backing up to a picturesque pond in Stone Ridge (Aldie), Virginia. We spent much of the preceding summer and autumn watching our house take shape. It was an exhilarating process; our dreams were coming true right before our eyes. With a new home crossed of our list, we realized that we were ready to begin the next chapter and start a family.
Unfortunately, now that we are officially down to one salary and possess an ever-growing pile of medical bills, we made the very difficult decision to move. Chris, Aiden and I are currently living with my parents in Centreville. We are still in the process of moving in our belongings; any free time we can find, we spend at our old place packing and cleaning. If all goes well, we hope to put our house up for rent in the next few days.
Moving is arduous; stressful at the very least. Chris and I are making a deliberate attempt to reduce the stress in our lives, which is why we are beyond grateful for the genuine kindness of Bayshore Transportation. Bayshore Transportation, located in Woodbridge, Virginia, has offered to package, move and store our furniture and belongings for two years (if needed) at no cost. We are still in awe of their sincere compassion during this very difficult time in our lives.
Aiden is already settled in his new home. If there was even a question of indulgence before, there is definitely no uncertainty now; Aiden is beyond spoiled and loving every minute of it. Chris and I welcome the attention too. Having extra hands around has allowed each of us a little time to rest.
Being back at my childhood home equates comfort, which is more than welcomed right now. At least the walls in my old room are no longer adorned with posters and decorative notes from friends. It is true; family is what makes a home, not the other way around.
Great Neighbors, Great Food, and Great Fundraising
Lisa and Dan Barrick moved into their Stone Ridge home just before we moved into ours located right next door. They have been amazing neighbors all along, but now they have taken their neighborly kindness to a whole new level. On Thursday, June 24th and Sunday, June 27th they held two fundraisers. The first event at the Chili’s restaurant in Dulles, Virginia boasted a huge turnout. The restaurant even admitted they did not anticipate such a showing but were kind enough to donate 20 percent from the meal sales of all Aiden supporters. The second event held at the Moe’s in South Riding, Virginia was very successful and many people showed up to offer their support for Aiden. In addition to a 10 percent contribution from all sales that night, Moe’s management donated a catering certificated which was raffled that evening.
Lisa and Dan are expecting their first child in about seven weeks. I know from personal experience just how tiring, yet exciting this stretch of time can be. I am not sure where they found the energy and stamina to host two such amazing events, but Chris, Aiden and I are so very grateful for their support and cannot wait for baby Barrick to make his debut this summer.
View pictures from these events on Aiden's Prayer Circle Facebook Page!!
FACEBOOK: Aiden’s Prayer Circle (please join!)
A Week Full of Treatments and Response to Therapy Evaluation
The week of June 21st was a busy one for my sweet boy. He received his Vincristine and Irinotecan treatments on Monday. Tuesday through Friday he received Irinotecan alone. He has had the treatments mentioned above before, which happened to precede the two severe vomiting episodes mentioned in earlier posts. Aiden’s tummy was definitely uneasy during treatment and is still not completely back to normal now, but we can happily report that things have been relatively calm related to Irinotecan. On Thursday, June 24th, however, Aiden did require a blood transfusion. All week his hemoglobin counts had been inching slowly downwards. Blood transfusions are very common during chemotherapy. His chemotherapy treatments attack and kill both bad and good cells as, like cancer cells, they replicate quickly; red blood cells fall into this category and are therefore targeted by the medicine.
During his transfusion, I could already see a difference. The color quickly began to come back to his face. When we left the clinic, he was alert and babbling happily to himself. Seeing his big brown eyes light up, offers such relief. My little man is such a fighter.
This past Monday, June 28th, Aiden once again visited Inova Fairfax Hospital. He was not there to be treated, though; he was scheduled for imaging. Aiden’s first evaluation to assess his response to therapy had arrived. A flood of irrational emotions quickly began to emerge. Chris and I felt anxious, excited, confident and uncertain all at the very same time.
Aiden faced his MRI and CT studies like the trooper that he is and did not even require sedation for the CT. The CT was almost instantaneous, while the MRI took a very long time. Aiden was a bit upset in recovery, which was not surprising since he went without nourishment for so long in preparation for the studies. On the ride home we experienced a little trouble; Aiden got quite sick. As our dehydration fears began to surface, we forced ourselves to focus on the issue at hand. We cleaned up Aiden, rushed him home for a bath, administered anti-nausea medication and (thirty minutes later) let the little guy enjoy a nice long meal.
Yesterday, Aiden received his Vincristine treatment at the clinic, but first we met with Dr. Chang for his scheduled appointment. Dr. Chang told us that Aiden is, in fact, responding well to therapy. The tumor in his diaphragm is shrinking!!!! Chris, Aiden, and I (plus the rest of our combined families) are beyond elated. I do not think there is a word to describe just how extremely happy we are for Aiden. This is the news we have been longing to hear and now we are reenergized for the long road still in front of us. In two and a half weeks we begin a new treatment regimen, which will eventually involve radiation. For now, though, we have a couple weeks off, which, once his counts are back up, we plan to thoroughly enjoy.
Though the road ahead of us will undoubtedly contain many twists and turns, we will continue to stay the path. We know that our journey has not been and will not be an easy one, but experiencing pain has helped us appreciate pleasure. Chris and I do not consider ourselves unlucky; we are so blessed to have Aiden, each other, our families and our friends. We have been given the remarkable opportunity to truly appreciate life. A simple notion that is so easily taken for granted.
As always, thank you for your support. Your prayers are working!
Visit from Uncle Steve and Aunt April :)