Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bittersweet Day

Yesterday was the first day of school for Matt and Will. Despite Matt having had his Broviac placed the day before, he adamantly insisted that he wanted to go to school. He did very well the night before and wasn't complaining of any pain, so I relented. William started first grade - he was so cute in his new jeans and sneakers and glasses! I need to post some pictures... Anyhow, I took both boys to school so I could meet with their teachers for a second before school. First we went to Matt's class and I think I panicked the teacher a little bit when I had to briefly explain what to do in case Matt's Broviac gets a hole or breaks (there will be a LOT of blood since it's in a main artery, and you have to quickly put gauze over the hole and clamp it). It is not very likely that anything will happen, but everyone who cares for him needs to know what to do in an emergency - and I'm convinced that recess would be a prime time for such an emergency! She seems like a wonderful teacher. She is known for having a strict schedule and expecting a lot from the kids. I feel bad that Matt won't be able to fully take advantage of her style this year - I think she is a great match for him! We then all walked down to Will's classroom. His teacher is so sweet! She was just delightful with all the 6 year olds and I think she will also be an excellent fit for Will. Kindergarten starts Monday, so it will be a few days before we do the 1/2 day K 1/2 day 1st grade thing with him. He was so excited to come home and announce, "I LOVE first grade, I got THREE recesses!" :-) I left Will in his class and Matt and I walked back down to his class. I was really worried when he couldn't remember his teacher's name or where his classroom was! I can't begin to explain how debilitating short-term memory loss can be. It also has its funny moments, but leaving him at school to fend for himself was not one of them! I explained to the teacher about the memory loss, but you have to be with him for a few minutes before you really understand. But, I got him settled at his desk and LEFT! I called the school after lunch but his class wasn't back from recess yet. So, I decided to run down to the school to peek at him. I was worried that even if I spoke to him on the phone, he might not tell me if he was too tired to stay at school. I needed to physically see how he was doing. He was doing great! I'm not sure how much he remembered about his day, but he really wanted to stay the rest of the day. Yesterday evening was difficult. Matt was extremely tired - which exaggerates his memory symptoms. As I was cleaning out his backpack and checking his folders, I just lost it. I have been holding it together pretty well the past few days, but looking at all the 'normal' fourth grader stuff that has always been so easy for him but will likely be impossible this year, was just too much to take in. School has always been Matt's strength. Now, to have it be a challenge on this level is extremely difficult to adjust to. I think I could deal with and get used to him having brain cancer (although that is hard and awful, as well), but worrying that I've lost the boy I know to this disease, even though he isn't 'gone' is very painful. I just pray that my spunky, smart, '9 year old boy in a 40 year old man's body' will somehow be given back to me. I know it isn't as important as treating the tumors, but if there might be some prayers sent that his memory can improve - or that I can know of things to do to help him in this way, I would be so grateful! Love to you all, Alli


Karen and Lew said...

Would something like a pocket tape recorder help Matt when he can't remember? You could video tape him letting Will play with the GameBoy and then play it back to him when he can't remember. That might get a little cumbersome. Even if you feel like Matt's not getting as much out of school as he used to, I bet he loves doing something "normal." :)

Katie said...

I pray for you Allison. I wish I could offer more comfort, or do something physical for you. I am sending a little box down today. I hope it gets to you by Monday.

I don't know why, but I was under the impression that Matt was going to be tutored at home this year.

Deborah said...

I was so glad to hear about your blog and to get the (almost) daily updates on Matthew and the rest of the family. We miss you guys so much but we're glad you're close to family at this time. I just wanted to let you know that we think about you often and pray for you and your family always.

Matthew's strong and I'm sure he'll respond well to the treatments. I'm sure it's hard but don't forget to take care of yourself and the baby while you're busy taking care of everyone else.

Congratulations on the pregnancy, by the way. I'm sorry we have your crib now; I wish we could get it back to you. I'm sure Nate and Drew don't remember us but if you wanted to tell them hi and let them know our baby is one that would be great. I miss their mischievous smiles so much. If they want to see pictures we have a blog I don't know but it might add a little bit of normalcy.

We'll continue to keep you all in our prayers. Please let us know if there's anything else we can do.

Nic, Deborah, and Tate Crossette (that's "Nursery" to Nate and Drew).

Darla said...

Thanks again for allowing us to learn what is going on from day to day. I admire your strength so much. Your ability to find humor during such difficult times is inspiring. We love you and are praying for your familiy non-stop. Shayla broke her arm during PE in the first hour of the first day back to school- a minor thing to deal with when put in perspective. Hang in there. Darla