Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The WISH!!!

It's been a while since the last update but as many of you know, Josh's cancer has returned with a vengeance. Whe he had his last lot of scans, the docs were not really convinced that we were looking at a full-blown relapse but one look at the next lot of scans did. In the six weeks between scans the shadow had gone from being a little bit in one vertebra to the whole spine, skull, arms, legs and ribs and "extensive bone marrow involvement". We just couldn't believe that it was real. I mean, how cruel can life be for a little boy to have to suffer incredibly through all those treatments only to have just a few short months to live.
We were advised to go on Josh's Make-A-Wish immediately as it was unlikely he would be well enough again to go. We got the news on the Wednesday and on Friday at 6.55am we were in the air on the first leg of our journey! I cannot say emphatically enough how amazing, caring and helpful the Make-A-Wish team are. Without this dream holiday to enjoy, I am not sure how we could have coped in the week after "the News". We were given an incredible apartment that was bigger than our house (no kidding) in a full on luxury hotel! Total bliss, the kids LOVEd the heated indoor pool and it was great for Josh's pain management, and Aaron loved the ourdoor beach waterslide.
On the Monday we went to Movie World where Josh played on the bumper cars for hours, met all the Looney Toons (his favourites) and had the meeting specially organised for him with Daffy Duck! Movie world took some lovely pictures for us and gave us voucers for lunch, icecreams and gave the kids each some presents. They really went all out to make sure we had a great day and that we didn't have to pay for a thing!
Tuesday was Sea World and the amazing news we were having a dolphin pat! That was just incredible with Josh constantly exclaiming about Scooter ("our" dolphin) "she is so cute and beautiful!" They had a water fight and a big cuddle. Later the little ones had worn themselves out on the rides and exhibits - or so we thought!!! They had a great splash around in the fountain to top off the day.
Josh's pain was worsening but we pushed on and decided to go to Wet and Wild on the way up to Brisbane on Wednesday. Josh got very cold and was in a lot of pain so we made a detour to the Royal Children's Hospital on the way to the apartment. After a good few hours there in the ED, we set off in search of our accommodation. After a couple of hours of trying to work out carparking, how to get in as there was noone in reception and it was closed we finally got up to the apartment where Josh passed out to sleep for a couple of hours after a hefty dose of Oxycodone (oral morphine). Aaron and I headed to the 24/7 shop downstairs to grab whatever we could find in the way of tea.
Te next day (Thursday) was the best of the whole trip with the visit to Australia Zoo to complete Josh's most cherished wish of getting up close and personal with an elephant! We were assigned a beautiful guide called Linda who photographed the whole day so we were free to enjoy it with the kids and also got us to the front of the queue with the Meet the Animals sessions where we patted and held a koala, constrictor snake (my favourite, he was beautiful), iguana and I got my bird fix with a Wedge Tail Eagle. We also patted a wombat and alligator as they were being walked around the zoo and sat in Terri and Bindi's VIP box for the animal exhibition and even got our own mention in the act! Josh's pain was still there but when it came time to see the elephants after lunch (which, along with everything we experienced that day,was donated by Australia Zoo), he suddenly forgot the pain and really came alive. The three elephants;Siam, Sabu and Bimbo were just lovely and so gentle! Josh fed them some veggies and had a little pat and his face just lit up! He didn't take his eyes off them for a second.
As you can see, we had such a great time on the Wish that it was almost too hard to come back to reality! But on Friday a thoroughly worn out family made their way to the airport (no thanks to the GPS which decided to pack it in as soon as we got in the car that morning!!!) and JUST made the flight! On the way back home we had a shocking trip. Josh fell asleep as soon as we took off and after two hours was sweating profusely and suddenly woke up dry retching and crying. After having some panadol and a drink, he passed out and could not be woken. He was still sweating and his pulse was irregular. The flight staff were amazing, taking Anika for walks, giving her colourinbg in to do and when Josh got really sick organising an ambulance pickup and alerting the next flight that we would not be on it. The girls did painting with Aaron and Anika and actually offered to take them to their motel so we could both go with Josh. The pilot sped up and we arrived 20mins ahead of time and then collected our bags and helped Peter get them into a taxi! I can't believe how wonderful they were, even giving us a huge bag of chocolates, chips and crackers to take with us. Thank you so much to Virgin Blue, especially Captain Chris, Allie and Rebecca, you are amazing!
Of course as soon as Josh got into the ambulance, he sat up and said "hi everyone, how are you going?" and proceded to ear bend the ambos abotu Poppy's remote controlled car until he got to the hospital!!! I must have seemed like such a hypochondriac mum, he could have at least pretended to look sick!!!! Noone can really explain what went wrong and he seemes to improve completely with no further episodes so it will remail one of those unsolved mysteries.
As we went straight from the airport to the hospital, there was no going home as we had though as the 3B team wanted Josh to stay where they could keep an eye on him. Peter and the othert two flew home the next morning much to Josh's horror and we settled into life in Unit 6 at RMH. Had a quiet night and Sunday evening Mum drove Anika back up to be with us as Josh missed her insanely.
Port went in on Monday arvo and it was a truly horrible day for me as it just brought it all back to me how we are starting again at this horrible battle ahead without the same hope we had to fuel us last time. Thank God for Ranita (Josh's beloved OT and future wife) who came from a funeral to see us after the surgery. Just having someone there when you really need it is so comforting. As it was so late for surgery, chemo started very early Tuesday morning and ran all week quite uneventfully with blood given on Wednesday and platelets on Saturday. Only one spew and plenty of icecreams to make it all better! His Port was quite sore but went in fine and looks good as far as placement and access goes. Josh made a new friend called Sebastian who also had a port put in (on Tuesday though) and they spent the week playing Mario Baseball and climbing into each others beds to watch movies and play. It was nice to see Josh interacting with other kids for once rather than being in Isolation! All week, Ranita called in to do medical play and check up on us which Josh absolutely loved.
So we got the OK to come home on Sunday so after many visits to Megazone and Starlight Express Room (you guys are lifesavers) through the week we came back on Sunday afternoon and are heading to Albany Hospital for a fun-filled day on Thursday probably getting blood and platelets!
I think that's enough for now, big hi to Fee and Immie who are once again waiting at Hotel PMH and to my darling Ree who sent me to most beautiful message just when I needed it the most (the timing was just perfect). Photos soon...
Love, Hannah

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