We visited CHKD today for Jackson’s stem cell anniversary. I had a pretty nasty headache when I went to bed last night, so getting up this morning was a little rough. Ev has court first thing every Tuesday morning, so I got both the kids ready and we were out the door early. Jackson wanted to go to the hospital – “just the two of us” – so we dropped Abby off at Ms. Amanda’s and headed to Norfolk. After a quick pull through at Dunkin’ Donuts, we made our way to the hospital.
Jackson is so used to me by now that he knows how much I love pictures. He let me take all kinds of pictures today, bless him, but he drew the line at putting his Jackson’s Entourage shirt on the statue outside the hospital. Goody two shoes.
First we went to the Hem/Onc clinic and they led us straight back. We saw Patty, who is Jackson’s nurse now, and Hannah, who used to take care of Jackson when his primary nurse wasn’t there. We also managed to see Dr. Lowe, who was very surprised to see us. He is always thrilled to see Jackson. There were new and curious faces that peeked up when they heard us talking. I’m sure seeing a Neuroblastoma kid at five years out from treatment, and there to bring them donuts, doesn’t happen all too often.
Next we went upstairs to the 8th floor where Jackson spent the majority of his time inpatient. Like I said, it’s been five years now, so there aren’t as many faces we remember. But we did see four people we knew and they could not believe how big Jackson was. It was so funny, because they peppered him with questions nonstop. How old are you? What grade are you going in? How do you like being a brother? Jackson told them he was six and a half, but most people think he’s eight because he’s so tall. He told them stories about his puppy and school. As you can tell, he loved the undivided attention. I think they were all just as proud to see him healthy and handsome as we are.
Tonight we went for a quick, last minute dinner at a Mexican restaurant (Jackson’s been talking about queso for weeks!) and then to grab a cupcake at Ethereal Cupcakes. Jackson’s been pushing for a new toy and to stay up late watching a movie since we got home, but I’m beat from our morning adventure, working and then celebrating some more. And honestly, I think he’s trying to see how far Mommy will let him go with this “thankful” stuff. He’s a smart cookie.
It’s been a sweet day, but a day for reflection and thanks. Those memories from treatment are locked in a certain part of my heart, and when I relive them, it makes for a tiring day for me. It’s all a jumble of tears, worry, IV lines, throw up and living on no sleep. We celebrate so many of Jackson’s treatment milestones because it’s important to continue to be grateful. He’s come so far…and we have too.
I remain thankful.