What we are learning as we go through this process...
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
A heads up on this section. My lovely wife (a.k.a. the enforcer) has told me that I am beginning to sound like Pastor Rob so please be prepared for a little sermon from the Preacher Man. The preacher man said... That is an inside joke with the Nats Bus Trip crowd.
I will be updating this page about every 3 - 5 days depending on when I have a thought. I am not quite as bright as Kyle so I don't have enough thoughts to update this page every day.
SUNDAY, MAY 8th
TUESDAY, March 1st
POWER OF PEOPLE
As you can see, I haven't had a lot of thoughts in a while. Just kidding. I have actually had a lot of thoughts but just didn't really have the time to transfer them here.
When you get put into a situation like this, your world changes very quickly.Younow have a child with cancer. It is obviously something that nobody wants to dealwith it but we really don't have much of a choice. We have to deal with it andwe have to be strong for all of our children. That isn't always easy but it is a necessity.
We could not have made it this far without all of you. I will admit that I am not comfortable at all receiving gifts, good deeds or help. I much prefer to be the one who is trying to help. That is almost selfish of me in a way. I can tell you that I have learned to accept help and gifts over the past few months. I do feel terribly guilty that Kieran and I really haven't had the time to thank everyone who has done so much for our family.
This takes me to the Power of People. When everyone is working together towards a common goal so much good comes out of it. All of you have made such a difference in our lives. You have made dinners, watched our kids, sent Kyle gifts, messages and much more.
As I have sees and felt the goodness in everyone I have recognized that I can do more to make a difference. I can help organize the Power of the People to help others.
We are starting the process of potentially putting together a foundation/fundraising project to help othernewly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients. There are roughly180 newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients in the D.C. metropolitan area each year. A majority of patients go through the same type of things that Kyle is going through in terms of months of isolation, boredom and loneliness.
Some of the initial thoughts behind this would be to do accomplish the following objectives:
-Give each newly diagnosed patientaIPad/ Galaxy Tab. This would allow them to play games, read books and get educational tools. It also would allow the parents to upload / download protocols and stay on top of their child's treatment. The IPod touch gift from the Render's has made everything so much easier for Kyle (hospital, clinic, home...).
- Hold a Summer All Sports Camp for pediatric cancer patients in Fairfax County. We would utilize a volunteer base of HS and College students so that they could get a benefit of inner-acting with these very special children. It would be an amazing experience for everyone involved.
- Create an avenue for assistance so that others have the ability to create a web-site similar to Kyle's Kamp. Local HS and College students who are interested in this field would volunteer to assist the family in building the web-site to disseminate information and receive messages. This has been critical for us.
- Organize visits from local athletes and celebrities to the Hospitals and Clinics. You should have seen the entire ward light up for a week when coach Riggleman visited the Hospital when Kyle was diagnosed. It truly made a difference and there is nobody right now helping Child Life organize visits (Nats, Skins, Wizards, Mystics, Caps, G-town, GW and other local celebrities).
We wouldn't need a tremendous amount of resources to make the items above a reality. My thoughts are to raise funds through the following avenues:
1) Pick-up a Teammate Program- A familywould become a buddy of a newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patient. Their contribution (roughly $250) would pay for that child's IPad/Galaxy Tab (discounted prices). They would then have a connectionwith that child/familyto help, visit or simply send messages if they chose to. We would need roughly 180 families a year to make this happen.
2) Work with local leagues in Fairfax County to raise funds for this foundation. The goal would be for each league to raise $5 per player.
3) Hold a Dinner Banquet with Silent Auction to raise funds for this program/foundation. Could potentially be in conjunction with the Home Plate Club Banquet.
I have also had people like Matt Dercole with Always Fun Casinos offer a Casino Night fundraiser.
As of right now, these are all just thoughts and ideas in my head and now on this web-site. I have done a lot of research on-line andI have asked a lot of questions to Child Life, Doctors, Nurses and PA's in the Clinic and the Hospital. Their input has helped shape a lot of these ideas.
FRIDAY, December 24
The Hahne's are very excited about Christmas! The only downer is that there is only two more days of Christmas music on the radio. You can never have enough Christmas music...
Kyle's illness has made us appreciate the meaning of Christmas even more than ever. We all get caught up in the modern day materialistic version every now and then but something like a serious illness with a child changes perspective very quickly.
It is all about the simple joys of the Christmas season:
- HOPE and FAITH!
- Picking out the Christmas Tree and decorating it
- Spending quality time with close friends and family
- Listening to Christmas music
- Driving around and seeing Christmas lights
- The joy of giving!
- Hearing the story about Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.
- Seeing the joy in your children's eyes on Christmas morning.
- Plus all of your own individual Holiday traditions...
The spirit of giving that we have seen over the past 2 1/2 months has been overwhelming to our family. We are so appreciative of all of our friends and family.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!
MONDAY, December 6
MORE THOUGHTS FROM KYLE
These are thoughts and interactionsfrom Kyle over the past couple of weeks. This is how I would envision him expressing himself.
* * *
My dad asks me a bunch of silly questions so that he can put my thoughts on my Kyle's Kampsite. I do think that the web-site is pretty cool and I especially like the messages that people send me. I read them almost every single day.
I have been pretty busy lately. I am not going to school or playing sports right now but I do have a lot to do. Some of the things that I do are:
- Get homebound instruction from Mrs. Wells
- Take my oral med's 2 - 3x a day
- Go to the clinic a couple of times per week for my treatments
- Play a lot of UNO and other card games
- Play some Wii when I can
I went to the Hospital over Thanksgiving for 4 - 5 days because my temperature was high for some reason. I don't know why but they made me take even more medicine to try and help bring it down. It is actually okay to go to the Hospital for a day or two because I get to control the TV remote and play Wii on my own. After that, I get bored and want to come home to see my family and friends. It was nice to see Katie and Jenn again at the Hospital. They are so nice!
I got a new game called BLINK and I really like it. It is a little bit like UNO but it is much faster. I have been playing it a lot. I do a little dance after I win but don't tell anyone else because it is embarassing. I also got a new movie called Santa Paws. It is about Santa and dogs and it is cool!
We picked out our Christmas tree on Saturday. It is big but not quite as big as we usually get. My Mom, Dad, Robert and I all agreed on this tree but Maddie didn't like it at first. Now she does like it. We haven't had a chance to decorate it yet but I hope that we can do that soon. We also need to decorate the outside of our house but it has been too cold lately.
I can't wait for Christmas. My dad is helping me go on-line to pick out presents for my family. I really like giving presents on Christmas. I also like everything else about Christmas. Things like seeing light displays, going to the Miracle of Lights, Christmas music, the tree and spending time with my family. It is my favorite Holiday. I am not asking for that much this Christmas. I do hope that I get better soon so that I can back to school and play sports.
I know thatone of the most important things I have to do to get better is to take my medicine. I always take it because I know I have to, but it is really hard sometimes. Some of the medicines taste really bad and it seems like I have to take them all of the time.
I only have 2 more days of the thing called radiation. I have to lay really still with a mask on while they take pictures of my head. It is not that bad and I like the Cardinals sticker chart that the nurses made for me. I have put up 6 stickers thus far and have 2 to go.
I really miss seeing my friends more often. My parents do let me watch a little more TV than they used to. I am going to try and watch alittle bit of the Jets vs. Patriots game today. I am rooting for the Jets even though I like Tom Brady.
WEDNESDAY, November 24
I felt it was appropriate to focus on giving thanks during Thanksgiving week.
Wehave so much to be thankful for:
- Wonderful parents
- Siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles...
- Our outstanding friends who have been so supportive.
- 3 beautiful children (Robert, Maddie, Kyle)
- A tough child in Kyle who keeps us all strong through his constant smile and positive attitude.
- A good team of caregivers for Kyle (Doctors, Nurses, Child Life, Techs...)
- Being a part of a wonderful community (Cub Run, Sully Station, FCPS, Baseball, Swimming...)
- The fact that Kyle's treatment has gone so well thus far
-For all of our troops and veterans who have fought for our freedom
- To have neighbors like the Hahn's, Smith's, Stulga's, Chapman's who took the time to organize and run such a wonderful event for Kyle.
- To work for employers who have shown the utmost flexibility in FCPS and Sports Plus
I am also fortunate to have such a wonderful wife who has stayed strong and continues to be the perfect mother.
Icould go on and on... We are just so fortunate with all of the blessings that we have in our lives and thank God for everything that he has blessed us with. I am more thankful this year than any other time in my life.
THURSDAY, November 18
Ielected to use today'sthoughts to tell Kyle's story over the pastseveral monthsas I would envision him telling it. I asked Kyle some questions and will be using his thoughts here...
I wanted to start out by talking about my summer. Summer was fun as always but I did miss school and my classmates a little bit. I did have fun going to see the Render's and the Huling's in the OBX. We go to the Render's beach house every summer in Duck and I love the beach and the sound. We catch crabs, go swimming, go tubing and much more. We even set out crab pots this year and caught crabs that we had for dinner later in the week. I love the Render's beach house! I even got to go to Blake's beach house also.
We also went to Busch Gardens this summer and made a trip to our family Wintergreen house. I love going to Wintergreen and I love riding the Loch Ness monster. Our family also went up to Philadelphia to visit my Aunt Mary and Uncle Rich along with Delaney and Brady. That was fun!
I was excited to get back to school this fall and loved my new teacher (Mrs. Allender) and my new class. I also played fall baseball with Coach Martin and the Knights. We are very good and most of us have played together for a few seasons. I like to play Pitcher, 1B and Catcher.
One day in early October, my dad told me that I couldn't go to school that day and that we needed to go see the Doctor. I was upset because I felt fine and wanted to go to school and play baseball. I didn't understand why they wouldn't let me go to school?
I ended up going to the Doctor that day and then they told me that I needed to go to the Hospital because I had something called Leukemia. I was very scared and nervous at the thought of going to the Hospital and I didn't even get to say goodbye to my dog Hank. I didn't really know what to expect at the Hospital but I felt better when my Mom and Dad told me that one of them would be with me every second I was in the Hospital. They also told me about the cool things that would be in my Hospital room. Things like my own T.V., Wii, DVD player and a bed that I could move up and down.
When my dad and I got to the Hospital I was still very nervous but I did think that it was neat that I could control the TV remotewithout my brother and sister telling me to change the channel. I met a lot of strangers at the Hospital but they were all very nice. I didn't really understand why they were all coming in to see me so often and taking my temperature and hooking me up to something that squeezed my arm really tight. They also had to give me shots andgave me medicines that made me sleepy.
The first couple of days were not all that fun because the medicines made me more sick. I even asked my Mom and Dad why they took me to the Hospital because I was fine before I got there but then the Hospital made me sick. They explained it to me and that helped me understand what Leukemia was and that I needed to take the medicines to get rid of the bad guys. Katie also helped me with that. She is so COOL!
I received a lot of great things while I was in the Hospital. I even had a visit from the Nationals Manager. His name was Coach Riggleman. He was very nice and he even invited me to come to a game this spring early so that I could come down to the locker room and his office and help him make the line-up for that day's game.
After a while, I began to feel more comfortable at the Hospital. I even learned how to pee in a big cup that looked like a pitcher. That was pretty cool because I didn't even need to get out of bed to pee. That was important because I had to go about every 30 minutes because of some thing called an IV that was stuck in my arm.
It seemed like I was in the Hospital a really long time and even though everyone was really nice, I started to get a little homesick and wanted to go home. Finally, after I had been asking for several days they let me go home. I got home on a Friday evening and the thing I wanted to do most was have dinner with my family.
I have now been home since October 23rd. It is nice being home but I do get bored. Some things that I miss are:
- My friends
- Playing baseball
- Playing basketball. I was going to play this winter but now I have to wait.
- Going outside more...
- Eating at Moe's or McDonald's
- Running errands with my Mom
- Playing catch with my Dad
I do know that I just need to stay tough and get better so that I can do those things again soon. Part of getting better is taking my medicines. They are really yucky but I know I have to take them to get rid of the bad guys.
I go to Dr. Lawlor's officeonce or twice a weekand they give me some medicine that makes me sleep for a while. When I wake-up I feel a little funny and it makes my Dad's head look really big. I then go to another room and sit in a recliner and play Wii while they give more medicines. I do like Dr. Lawlor's office because they have a lot of cool stuff including a lot of aquarium's.
I can't wait until Thanksgiving and Christmas. My dad says that the Christmas music starts tomorrow on the radio. We listen to Christmas music every day until Christmas. I am also hoping that I feel good enough to make a trip to Wintergreen after Christmas. We usually go up with my friends and/or family. I like to see all of the fake snow and ski. I won't be able to ski this year but I hope that I can when I get better.
It is not very fun being sick but everyone has been so nice. I have gotten a lot of cool cards and a lot of great presents. Everyone has been so nice. Ihave a lot of great friends. Itry to keep a positive attitude every day and stay strong so I can beat these bad guys. They say that I am doing a great job so far!
MONDAY, November 15-
As many of you know, I have a little "Clark Griswold" in me when it comes to the Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas...). It has rubbed off on Kyle, Maddie and Robert as well. They are already asking when I am going to put up the Christmas decorations. They also want to know when the Thanksgiving and Christmas cartoons are coming on (Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Santa, Grinch...).
The highlight of the season for our family is the very first day that 97.1 WASH FM plays Christmas music. It starts this Friday (11/19). I know thereare a lot people who either can't stand Christmas music or think that it starts way too early. Not this family. We can't get enough.
It doesn't really matter if you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah (Kwanzaa...). The Holiday season is all about religion and family. It brings usall together. I have never understood the "Grinches" in the world who hate thistime of the year. I can understand disliking the traffic and the craziness at theshopping mall's but howcan you not like spending time with your family, celebrating with friends atHoliday parties and everything else that the season brings.
It getsme back to thinking about how much we can all learn from the kids. When youlook deep enough, you begin to recognize thata child's love of the Holiday season is much more than just receivingpresents.
It is about:
- Spendingexclusive time withboth immediate and other family members
- The traditions that come along with the Holiday season (think about your family traditions)
- Listening to the Holiday music
- Watching the Holiday cartoons
- Seeing the Holiday lights
- Smelling the scent of a Frazer Fir Christmas Tree
- Decorating the tree
- Baking cookies
- Hanging the daily item on the Advent Calendar
- Decorating the house
As most of you know,we celebrate Christmas through the Christian faith. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah or something else, you have your own traditions that make this season so special.
Seeing Kyle getting so excited about the upcoming Holiday season makes it all of the more special for me. It reminds me to celebrate the season as if I was6 years old again.
THURSDAY, November 11-
I will be utilizing a fictitous name (Henry) in this story but this is a true story with an amazing young boy who we spent some time with while Kylewas in the Hospital.
As most of you know we spent about 17 days in the Hospital when Kyle was initially diagnosed. We met so many incrediblepatients and familieswhile we were in the Hospital and many of them were further down the road than we were and offered great advise.
One particular patient really touched my lifein a positive way. His name was "Henry". He was about 9 years old and was admitted to the Hospitalroughly 10 days after Kyle so our stays overlapped by roughly a week. Henry was a couple doors down from us in the Pediatric Oncology ward. Henry got my attention right away because of his outgoing personality and his happy go lucky attitude. He also was the first patient to surpass Kyle on the lap board. Henry would take lap after lap after lap. He was like the Energizer bunny.
I don't really know what type of disease Henry had or how far along in his journey he was but I was just so amazedwith what a great young boy he was. The most amazing part of Henry's story was that for the entire week while he was in the Hospital he did not have one single visitor. No parents, family members or friends spent one single minute with Henry. He was on his own.
I took to Henry fairly quickly and both Kyle and Idid our besttrying to keep up with him on the lap count. You should have seen Henry's face the day that Jim Riggleman (Nat's Manager) came. It lit up like the National Christmas Tree.
The day before he left I offered Henry a remote control car that Kyle had earned at the Hospital and it was like he had just won the lottery. He was so thankful and was telling everyone on the ward about the new car we had given him along with some other small stuff.
Again, I didn't know exactly what Henry's situation was but does that really matter on any level? He was a 9 year old at the Hospital facing some type of serious disease by himself for over a week. Not once did I hear Henry complain. He wasn't jealous about what other gifts that any of the other patients had. He never said anything about being by himself and he didn't even say anything bad about the Hospital food.
He appreciated the little gifts that we gave him. He appreciated the incredible care that he received from the Hospital staff.
As I look back on it, he seemed to have this innate ability to simply look at thepositive things in life.Don't we all wish that we could try a little bit harder to be like Henry?
SUNDAY, November 8-
FATHER GUNNING QUOTE
I thought I would keep today's message fairly simple. I am quoting Father Gunning on this one. See Parents Section for background on Father Gunning.
"God writes straight with crooked lines."
"Because he knows where the detours are."
WEDNESDAY, November 4-
Definition- quality of being brave; the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without becoming overcome by fear...
I can tell you the most courageous person that I know is my mother. It never really hit me how courageous she was until she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer about 2 1/2 years ago. Once I witnessed just how courageous she was in her battle, I began to think back to all of the times that she has demonstrated strength and courage in her life.
My mother went through as much as you could possibly imagine in her battle with Pancreatic Cancer. This includes several stays in the Hospital, surgery and a bout where she fought of a life threatening infection that spread through her blood stream.
One of thethings that gave me strength during her difficult battle was her demonstration of courage.Our entirefamilyfed off of her strength.
My mother continues to win her battle and we all couldn't be more proud of her. Her courage has obviously passed on to her Grandson Kyle. My Mom and Dad have been watching Kyle a couple of days per week while Kieran and I are at work and I can't help but see the connection between her and Kyle. It is very special!
I am so thankful for the Courage that both my mother and son have demonstrated in their battles with cancer. I am a big wimp so without their courage I would be totally lost.
SUNDAY, November 1-
RELIGION and OUR FAITH
Over the years, I have often thought about why people tend to gravitate so strongly towards their Faith and Religion in a time of loss or need. The answer is obvious and fairly simple if we just spend a minute thinking about it.
We all tend to pray a lot more and attend church services more regularly when going through a difficult time. A recent health diagnoses like Kyle received or even a recent death of a family or close friend could trigger this reaction. If the answer is so simple as to why we become more focused on Faith and Religion in our time of need, then why don't we all stay more focused on it all of the time?
I am fairly sure that many of us are guilty of this. I know that my Faith has always remained very strong but I haven'tmade the full commitmentto attend services every Sunday like I should. I know that attending services on a more consistent basis will help both me and my family grow our Faith. This is simply another life lesson that I can add to the list from Kyle's diagnoses.
This brings me to a scripture from Romans5:2-5. A parent from my team sent this to us last week and it really hit home for both Kieran and I.
"We rejoice in the HOPE of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; preseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out love into our hearts by theHoly Spirit, whom he has given us..."
FRIDAY, October 29-
The Day Everything Changed
October 6th was the day of Kyle's diagnoses and the day our lives changed forever! This is the day that our lives became black and white (I got that from a friend of mine). I don't need to focus on the obvious devastation that this caused us and our entire family.
I do want to focus on the blessings that have come into our lives over the past 23 days. The blessings are even bigger than all of the support that we have received from friends and family.
It hasforced me to focus on what really matters in life and that has been so refreshing for me! I don't worry about petty little things anymore. It makes me think:
- Does it really matter what others think or say about you?
- Whatare the most importantthings in my life?
- How life and our time is so precious.Every second should be cherised.
- Spend time with people who you want to spend time with.
- Chooseactivities that enhances your life or others.
- Why waste time on petty squables? Why not repair those relationships with friends or family members.
- Do I really care if anyone may think that this section of the site is a little goofy?
Everything is just so much more clear now. There is no grey area and that feeling really frees up your mind and spirit!
TUESDAY, October 26-
Definition- To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment.
As we travel throughthe next phase of ournew journey, hope becomes a huge part of our every day thoughts. When we received Kyle's diagnosis on October 6th and then spent 2 1/2 weeks in the Hospital it was simply a day by day existence. We continue to focus on taking things day by day but also think about what the future brings.
I still have to catch myself daily thinking that this is all just a bad dream. Once I recognize that this is our new reality my thoughts go directly to staying positive and making sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to get Kyle better.
Kyle's treatment will continue for the next 3 1/2 years and we continue to hope and pray that everything goes well through the different phases of treatment.
It makes me wonder, without Hope, what do we have? It gets back to negativity and a pessimistic attitude. Those types of thoughts are thoughts that Kieran and I must dispose of quickly. Our Hope through the Faith that we have is critical to our sanity and the strength that we must show to Kyle as we all fight this together.
Our Hope to see Kyle get better will happen with the help of our faith, our family and our friends. Isn't that what Hope is all about?
SATURDAY, October 23-
THE LITTLE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT!
This issomething that I preach to the baseball teams that I coach. We have adifferent approach and spend a great deal of time ondoingwhat most people consider the"little things" well.
The"little things"I am talking about here are all of those support based gifts that people have given us in our time of need. When I refer to gifts,I don't mean physical presents. Hereis a very small sample of some of the little things people have done thathave been huge for Kyle and us.
- Five young boys having the guts to shave their heads in honor of Kyle (Jordan, Hank,Cole, Jay and Hayden). Youwill never knowhow much that meant to him...
- The Render's essentially doing everything for Robert and Maddie during the past 3 weeks
- Neighbors and friends walking and feeding Hank (dog).
- Nancy and Tara organizing our entire house. The Hollen's and the Gepford's hiring a cleaning company to clean our house thoroughly to get rid of any potential germs.
- Heather organizing meals and more...
- Our parents and siblings have been amazing!
- Fred setting up the Messaging Page that Kyle loves.
- Cindy stocking our Hospital room with things that we needed on the second day we were there. We really needed that visit and the comfort items that you brought to us were just perfect.
- Denis Buckley having the CSU Baseball team pray for Kyle after practices. Also brought gifts...
- John Keim settting up so much with the Redskins and more...
- Washington Nationals franchise have stepped up ina big way.
- Chris A. getting the Great 8 to sign a Hockey Stick for Kyle.
- Bev decorating our house for Halloween.
- Bill ordering us foam dispensers and anti-bacterial foam for our house without us asking.
- Charlotte saving the day the other night at the Hospital using her professional techniques as a nurse.
- Mrs. Allender, Mrs. Coakley, Mrs. Andersonand Mrs. Rodriquez being so supportive from Cub Run ES.
- Lombo's talk with me.
- The Baseball Community coming out in full force.
- The Teacher coming out in full force.
- All of the people who have sent gifts...
- All of the people who have or will make meals...
- All of the people who have sent messages...
- All of the people who have visited...
- All of the people who have called...
- All of the people who have sent cards...
I am sorry if I forgot some of the specific people and little things here but as you can imagine, the past 3 weeks of our lives have been a little bit of a blur.
You don't know how much just something so little has meantto Kyle and our family during this time.
Kyle has several more years of fighting this battle but we are so thankfulthat so manyofyou are willing todo those "little things' forus. We do know that we are not in this alone and that is so BIG!
THURSDAY, October 21-
OPTIMISM / STAYING POSITIVE
I am very grateful that Kieran and I have been able to stay optimistic throughout this process. A positive attitude has been crucial and we couldn't have kept that outlook without the help of all of our friends and family.
I can't imagine what thiscurrent experiencewould be like with a negative attitude or pessimistic outlook on life. There are a lot of negatives that we could focus on if we made the choice to go in that direction. That list could fill this web-site but would that help anyone? Would it make us feel better or worse to complain and be negative? The answer is simple.
People feed off of each other when they see a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook. Unfortunately, pessimism and negativity is something that also can spread from person to person quickly. I don't just mean for something like Kyle's battle, I am talking about life in general.
The moreI interact with positive andoptimistic people the more I tend to have that positive outlook on life. Think about who those optimistic/positive peopleare in your life.We are all so blessed to have those type of people in our lives and we should spend as much time as possible with them.
We will continue to remain optimistic and positive through this battle with Kyle. Our little buddy gives us the strength to do that. Another big piece to that is our faith and the incredible network of friends and family that have stepped up for us in such a big way!
"We accomplish many more things if we don't think of them as impossible."
TUESDAY, October 19-
I recognize that my Thoughts of the Day are a little bit goofy. I just wanted to let you all know that I am not oblivious to that fact.
SEEING THE GOOD IN EVERYONE!
It truly is inspringhow much a young child can teach us. In today's thoughts, I want to focus on a child's ability to see the good in everyone. We were all obviouslyat this stage earlier in our lives as well.We just seem to let some of these really good qualities drift away during certain times in our lives. Aswe have spent the past two weeks in the Hospital with Kyle, I justbecome more and more amazed with what he continues to teach us...
As we get oldersome of ustend to focus on or always start with a person's negative traits when we meet them. It is almost as if every single person we meetneeds to pass "the test". A series of questions that we may ask ourselves regarding that particular person in general.
You just don't see that from children. A child sees the good in everyone. They don't focus on a person's negative traits. They don't think about what a person's motives may be. They don't care about appearance, wealth, where people are from or anything else. They see the good in everyone and don't focus on anything else.
For most of us, we just simply need a refresher course on staying positive and seeing the good in everyone. I know there has been times in my life where I have lost my way with this. I do consider myself a positive person and just need a simple reminder every now and then to recognize how special each individual person is. If Kyle can do it, I certainly should be able to follow in his footsteps!
MONDAY, October 18-
Patience is something else that I now look at a little bit different than I did two weeks ago.Here is the definition of patience:
Patience- capacity for waiting: the ability to endure waiting, delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset.
Idon't think patience has ever been a particular strength of mine. The challenges to remain patient used to involve remaining calm whenmy kids didn't listen or when one of my baseball players didn't give 100% effort or remained focused. I now recognize that there is a much higher level of patience necessary to truly become a patient person.
- a young child allowing Nurses and Doctors to constantly prod and poke at them all day and night without getting annoyed.
- a 6 year old who has spent the past 2 weeks in the Hospitalreceiving chemo, steroids and many other med's but is still willing to stay here so that he can get better.
For us, Kieran and I have had to learn to remain patient for things like:
- forcing your 6 year old to take oral med's after he has vomited multiple times because he needed those med's in his systemimmediately
- helping hold your sick son down while they insert a tube up his nose.
- having to make a fast decision on your young child's course of treatment when you found out a couple of hours earlier that he had Luekemia.
The staff here must go through training on how to remain patient. How in the world could you even begin to work in this field (pediatric oncology) if you didn't know how to be patient with both thekids and their parents. I truly now recognize what it takes to be patient. I just hope that some of it may rub off on me in some small way.
SATURDAY, October 16-
I have always tried to be someone who is involved in with the local community in some very small way. I can tell you that I cannever seem to keep up with giving as much as I receive back but I will continue to try moving forward.
Over these past couple of weeks, I have found that our local community is incredible.This is from Centreville to McLean and beyond. It includes the teaching community, the baseball community and our local neigborhood. I think sometimes people feel that you can't find that sense of community in a place like Northern VA. They are so wrong!
Community isn't just felt in small towns across America. It thrives in areas like our's as well.
What is community to me? Community is-
- The Westfield HS Homecoming Parade coming down our street on a beautiful fall evening with thousands of local people celebrating.
- A group of people who volunteer their time to help others in need. For us it has been the hundreds of people who have come to us to help over the past couple of weeks.
- A Saturday afternoon at a local ballpark watching kids have fun playing America's pastime (McLean LL Complex, Vienna LL Complex, Cub Run ES...).
- People coming together to do what is best for the group or area as a whole and not what is best for their individual interests alone.
There are so many wonderful people in our area who are volunteering their time with the PTA, the Boosters, their local Youth League, at School, for non-profit groups and more... This is what community is all about in my eyes. Take a look around you and you will feel that same sense of community. Sometimes we just have to look a little bit harder than we want to...
FRIDAY, October 15-
ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS
Our10 year old daughter Maddie would be a perfect example of this. She has the ability to ask more questions in a 5 minute span than anyone I have ever met. This can obviously drive us up a wall at times but we usually are still able to let her know that all questions are good.
Kids can be very inquisitive and Kyle has been no exception here at the Hospital. When I coach/instruct in baseball, I always try to ask the kids questions vs. telling them what they need to do when giving instruction. The goal with that method is to force them to process information. The best coach they should ever have is themselves.
The best way to learn something is to actually experience it. The second best way is through asking questions. I know I don't ask enough questions because I may be embarssed that I don't know something. I am not very bright as it is so you would think I would be smart enough to ask more questions to gain knowledge.
Maybe I am starting to learn something here because after being here for 8 days, I am starting to ask a lot more questions to the Doctors, Nurses and staff members here. My inspiration was through Kyle's battle and seeing how many questions he asks.He doesn't likeit when he doesn't understand something so he is smartenough to ask questions.Hopefully I may now see the light and follow his lead a little bit more...
WEDNESDAY, October 13- SMILE :)
There is nothing that brightens our day more than a Kyle Smile. That smile and those dimples can make us happy at any given moment. As Isee what kind of effect that smile has on us Ibegan to think about why kids smile so much.They probablysmile sooften because they are stress free and truly happy.
In thinking about the joy that Kyle's smile brings to us (especially during these times) I ask myself why don't I smile more? A smile can be infectious and truly makes other people happy.
You have heard me go on and on aboutKyle's Child Life Specialists (Holly and Katie) and his wonderful Nurses. In thinking about why they are so wonderful, I began to realize that every time they walk into Kyle's room, they are smiling. That sets the tone for the entire visit for both Kyle and us.
If you start to think about the top professionals in the customer service industry, you begin to realize that they all know how to remain patient, recognize customers needs and they allunderstnad the importance of a simple smile.
I don't smile enough and I hope that this experience will change that in some small way.
TUESDAY, October 12- WHAT A 6 YR. OLD CAN TEACH US?
Let me start off by saying a lot more than I would have thought... I thought I would take today's lesson and put it into bullet form.
A 6 year old can teach us...
- How to love unconditionally. Their unconditional love of their family and close friends is remarkable.
- How to remain optimistic and positive. They don't focus on the negatives. They haven't been exposed to life quite like us adults, so they haven't allowed that negativity to creep in. Thismakes me ask why can't more adults be optimistic and positive? Maybe it is easier for some people to focus on the negatives. Why take the easy route?
- How to enjoy life. Life should be fun and don't let the craziness of it all bog us down and keep us from enjoying the time we do have.
- Not to judge people. They treat everyone the same. They don't care what your background is or anything else.
Most of all, a 6 year old can teach us to...
- Be honest! We all know how brutally honest a young child can be. It can be quite embarssing for a parent at times but it is refreshing on so many levels.
MONDAY, October 11- A GOOD ATTITUDE IS INFECTIOUS
You always hear that"attitude is everything". I can tell you that the positive attitude that the staff here at Fairfax Hospital has displayed has meant everything to us. They aren't just giving Kyle wonderful care, they are going the extra mile with their attitude and how they treat us. This can't always be easy for them as there are a lot of stressful times working in Pediatric Oncology. As many of you know, dealing with Kieran and I isn't always a cup of coffee either. We now think we are somewhat educated in this fieldwhich makes us all of the moredangerous.
This positive attitude from the entire staff has rubbed off on us in many ways and helpeduspass that same attitude and outlookon to others. The staff's friendly, courteous and positive attitude truly is amazing.
This may seem odd, but I feel like I have become a little bit better person since Kyle was diagnosed and we checked into the Hospital. A big part of that is seeing how these expert staff members perform their work with such a positive attitude. They truly are professionals.
- The staff members mustkeep that same positive attitude no matter if they are having a bad day or not.
- They have to keep that positive attitude even if some worrisome over-bearing dad like me bugs them all of the time.
- They must keep that positive attitude during the most difficult procedures.
- They have to keep that positive attitude while treating kids who are very sick.
I begin to ask myself, "Why can't I keep that type of positive attitude ALL OF THE TIME?" Not just when I am in a good mood or when I really need to be positive. Why don't I just simply strive to have a good attitude all of the time!
SUNDAY, October 10- DOING THINGS FOR OTHERS
"A life is measured by the positiveimpact it has on other's lives." JACKIE ROBINSON
I was given this quote back when I was a teenager and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a quote that Ihave thought about a lotover the past 30+ years. It obviously meant a little more to me because Jackie Robinson was not only an American Hero but he was a baseball player.
I have thought a lot about this again in the past few days as I have seen hundreds of friends and family members step up to do everything and anything for our family. I can't even begin to tell you how much this has meant to Kieran and I. As you can imagine there has been some really tough times over the past few days and what has gotten us through it is our faith in God and the overwhelming support that we have received from family and friends.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who has sent us supportive e-mail's, picked up our other kids, fed us meals, called, visited, given us cards/gifts and more... I would love to list all of these people but I know that I would forget someone...
SATURDAY, October 9- APPRECIATION
Appreciate everything you have because you never know how your life can change in an instant!
This may seem like the last thing that we may think about at a time like this but we can tell you that one of the first things that comes to our minds is appreciating all of the wonderful gifts we have in our lives.
- that every second that we spend with Kyle is precious (we will havemany more years to appreciate that). We can tell you each and every time that he smiled yesterday and why. Getting a Kyle Smile over the past 24 hours has been huge for all of us.
- Robert, Maddie and the remainder of our family.
- that we have such great friends who will drop anything to take care of any need that we may have.
- the hundreds of e-mail's and calls that we have received in the past 48 hours and the 1,500 visitors to Kyle's Kampsite on the first day alone.
- our parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins and the great love and support system that they provide.
- that we tend to overlook all of the little things that are right in front of us to appreciate (kids, parents,family, friends,smiles, hugs, I love you's...). We get to caught up in the hustle bustle of every day life and forget just how much there is to be thankful for.
- the dozens of teachers who volunteered their own days of leave for Kieran (unfortunately we found out that leave can no longer be shared with others).
- the baseball community that has come out in full force.
- the doctors, nurses, social workers and staff at the Hospital and the fine work that they do.