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Dear 2013: you are fired

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thursday my husband and I were only 45 minutes from his family in Connecticut, just crossing the TappanZee Bridge on our way through New York when we received a call from the father of our godchildren, Eric. Their 5-year-old daughter, Becca, who had been sick with strep during their vacation on the Jersey Shore, was being life-flighted to Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP).

With a brain tumor.

Five. Years. Old.

My heart was in my throat, my eyes were filled with tears. My mind could not even process that this precious, darling, spunky and stubborn little imp was in mortal danger. We asked what we could do. Eric was so stunned and desperate that he couldn't answer the question. So I asked, "Where do you need us to be?"

The answer was, with the other kids, who are 9- and 2-years-old. So that Eric and Kat could get to Philadelphia as soon as possible. We immediately turned right and headed for the Jersey Shore, calling Ferrett's family to explain why we weren't able to come to the funeral--and to their credit, they were all supportive of caring for these children.

We got to Jersey late Thursday night, and Friday morning we packed the kids up and headed up to CHOP. The toddler didn't understand what was happening, but big sister understood and was frightened.

We spent the rest of the weekend at the hospital, while Becca went through two major brain surgeries, the first to relieve her intercranial pressure, the second to remove the tumor.

The good news is that they believe they got almost all the tumor. The bad news is that the type of tumor that it is may be really, terribly, aggressively bad. We are praying that there is a chance it will be a less aggressive type that LOOKS like the bad type, but we won't know for sure until the pathology report, which we won't get until tomorrow or Friday at the earliest.

After the weekend and the surgeries, Kat and Eric decided to send the other kids back to the Shore with their aunt for the rest of their vacation. Their regular sitter offered to join them there. They will be there until Sunday, when they will return to town so that the oldest daughter can start school.

We have no idea when Becca and her parents will be able to return home.

The parents have asked me to take point on organizing childcare and meals for the coming month and maybe more. We will be spending a lot of time at their home. I'm hoping the puppy and the kids get along.

We had to drive back on Monday, and it was the hardest drive ever. We were leaving behind people who really still needed us, and we were missing Jimmy's funeral, too.

Then we got a call to tell us that DH's grandmother had died that morning. His dad knew, but he wasn't telling any of the rest of the family before Jimmy's funeral.

We mostly drove in silence. We couldn't find anything to say.

Becca had another brain surgery yesterday to create a permanent drain for her cranial fluid because the first surgery didn't work. She feels better, is eating, and will be moving from ICU to the neurological oncology floor. But all the good news is overshadowed by the black cloud of that pathology report.

I'm home, and I'm getting done the work that I absolutely have to complete. But I can't concentrate on much.
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