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The value of our freedom!

(October 2004)

Dearest Brooke,

Chemo round two was characterized by one overwhelming reality…your sweet, precious days of carefree childhood have changed. After 35 days of being attached to an IV pole, you were frustrated.

The nurses decided to give you a break one evening and disconnect you from your IV pole. With your newfound freedom, we ventured across the street to McDonald’s. You loved it. You laughed and skipped and jumped. Joy bubbled up from your spirit and a big smile exuded from your face.

When it was time to return to your room and re-connect your lines, however, you had an emotional melt-down. You cried uncontrollably and pulled the blankets over your head. Granny and I just looked at each other, our hearts breaking. Finally, through tears, you said through a frail, defeated voice, “Mommy? Come here, please.”

I went to you quickly and sat beside you on the bed. You crawled in my lap and started running your fingers through my hair. You said, “Do you remember that time on the river…when we were riding in those black tubes.”

You were talking about our trip to the Frio River a few months back.

“Yes,” I said, “remember how your cousin Danny saved our lives. We were going so fast, me and you, down that rapid, and we were about to crash into that giant tree, and Danny rescued us. And you, Taylor and Tyler were snorkeling. Looking for coins. And the water was so so cold!"

You nodded your head and wiped the tears from your face. A small smile came to the surface. You grabbed your favorite pink blankie and began noodling it between your fingers. Calmly, you laid your head against my chest. I kept talking about our trip and rocking you until you fell asleep.

In this moment, I realized the extraordinary value of our freedom! My sweet Brooke, you just wanted to be free…to be able to walk out of your hospital room and do fun, kid things. You wanted to think about something whimsical and adventurous. To remove yourself from your present reality of iv lines, medicine, chemo, spinal taps, x-rays, and on and on. You simply wanted to be a kid!

For the next week, you continued to struggle emotionally. But, your family responded. It became our new mission to make the hospital as fun as possible. Your Aunt Zelle came to the rescue! One evening, she barged through the doors with bags and bags of stuff. You were intrigued by her mystery bags. The two of you commenced to decorating your IV pole like a lady. Complete with a styrofoam mannequin head, a wig, a sombrero hat, and a long colorful skirt. You loved her! Aunt Zelle even taught you a song. “You get the line, and I’ll get the pole, and we’ll go fishing at the crawdad hole, baby!” You laughed and laughed.

Finally, a release. You would unplug your “iv-lady” from the wall, wrap the cord around your arm and take her for a walk down the halls of the cancer unit…all by yourself. You were feeling more independent and more in control of your “new” world.

A few days later, Aunt Zelle again busted through our doors. On her shoulder was a Pink-Barbie-3-Wheel Bike! Just for you. And to help with all the pink, Aunt Zelle attached Spiderman stickers all over your new ride.

Now, you unplugged your iv-lady, hopped on your new bike, and off you went. This time with all of us in tow. Chasing after you…pushing your iv-lady as fast as possible as you rounded each corner on two wheels. You laughed hysterically!

A new world began for you. Our hospital room was not just a hospital room, it was transformed into a dark dungeon, a princess castle, a school room, a dance floor, but mostly, a battleground where the handsome Prince(Granny) rescued the beautiful princess(you, of course) and your lovely sister, Happia (Nanny) from the fierce Monster(Granny)!

“I’m just a little bit sick - that’s what I like to say

As we pack and leave for the hospital again today.

I cry a little because I like it here. My sister is funny. She makes me laugh.

We love and hug and make each moment last.

We play Momma and baby and she calls me honey

We dance and play dress up. She makes my days sunny.

I’m just a little bit sick - that’s what my nurses say

As they prepare my IV pole and Chemo for each day.

It’s hard when you’re three to have a pole by your side

You can’t hardly run, jump, dance, or hide.

But I try my best, with all my might to be a kid, to have some fun

I unplug my pole and I’m on my bike

I laugh and laugh cuz I’m out-of-sight.

My Grandma’s yell for me as they run down the hall

And nurses run too in response to their call.

I’m just a little bit sick so it’s just a small task

To take medicine and mouthwash and wear my face mask.

If the world were free of germs, I wouldn’t have to wear

This crazy little mask that gets tangled in my hairs

And my hair, it will grow back and I want it to be Red

Spiderman likes it best that is what he says.

I’m just a little bit sick that’s what my Mom and Dad like to say

With Faith in their eyes and God’s Grace for the day.”
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:12-13 ???????? 
- Brooke's Mom