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Bead for Bravery

February 17, 2009

Bravery—an example of extreme courage.
Courage—the ability to face difficulty or pain without being overcome by fear.

Since the beginning of this entire process Isa has chosen Papa to stay with her. From the first night at Riley to last Friday he’s been her strength. He has carried her to and from appointments, to the bathroom, in and out of the car, all around. He has held her while they draw blood. He has fiddled with the mediocre DVD player so she can watch movies while she waits for the Vincristine, chemo. He shaved his head to show her that he was on her team. Last Friday, I got a bravery bead for Isa, because she had two procedures, a bone marrow aspiration and a spinal tap. But I think two beads would have been more appropriate, hers and his.

My husband has a low tolerance for blood, especially his own, I presume. Yet, each week he is the one who holds Isa down.

Yes, holds her down.

Each of the aforementioned procedures requires her to lie on her belly, after they have injected her, through her port, with a concoction of morphine. The medical community calls it “Conscious Sedation.” Not to mention, that this type of sedation requires the patient to be “NPO,” or, nothing by mouth, NO FOOD or DRINK, until finished.

What it looks like is a three-year-old child wailing about how she can’t move, how she is stuck, and just shrieking because, well they are sticking a three-inch needle into her hipbone. I know this, because during the initial bone marrow aspiration I pinned her down. The doctor or nurse practitioner stands to Isa’s left, with a nurse on Isa’s right, and the Parent at the head. Isa raises her head and thrashes about while all three immobilize her, and one has a needle remember? The lab person is standing nearby with about 15 or so glass slides to accept the marrow as it comes out. They then “read” them, by looking for what types of cells exist in the marrow. For example, red blood cells, the leukemia cells and so forth.

The adjacent recovery room is where we wait for the results, her sedation to wear away, and all the while listening to the next little child “getting poked.” Adding to the stress this week, Isa demanded a “burrito.” Nothing would satisfy her. Even after not eating since 1:00 in the morning. She only wanted a burrito, and she made sure everyone knew it. BURRITO! No Chocolate milk! Burrito! No nuggets, burrito!

Papa may not be able to get a bead, but at least he will know, I think he’s brave.

9 Comments leave one →
    February 24, 2009 11:50 am

    Beautiful…you portrayed just a beautiful picture of a family filled with love, love, and more love. Thank you for that post! Thinking of you all~

  2. February 23, 2009 8:40 am

    Rock on Papa. I’m gonna make you some monster butt pants.

  3. Lhoeing permalink
    February 20, 2009 10:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this tender side of Greg. I have not forgotten you and am keeping you and your little family in my prayers.

  4. February 19, 2009 3:12 pm

    I’m not one to bother with a reply to a post but that was excellent!

  5. Natascha permalink
    February 18, 2009 1:04 pm

    You and your daughter are so very lucky to have such a ‘strong’ man in your life. When she looks back on this ordeal, she will remember how her father went through this with her. I admire your strength to write all this down for us and for his strength to ‘do’ the tough stuff. You are right – Papa Beads are so deserved….. Espeically for Greg.

  6. Ashley Hanson Schutte permalink
    February 18, 2009 9:57 am

    Oh, Phoebe…while I have only met him once and only know him as ‘Papa’ through your eyes; the picture you have painted of a Father’s love and courage is so heartwarming. My prayers and heart go out to all of you during this time. I, too, vote for Papa Beads by the dozens!

  7. Jo Ash permalink
    February 17, 2009 9:53 pm

    Yes, I agree. It is really tough to be brave when you have to watch your child suffer through these tests. I think God has given G the strength he needs to do this. We praise God for giving G and Isa courage.


  8. February 17, 2009 5:03 pm

    In a world where so many ‘fathers’ are anything but, its heart warming hearing how much he supports Isa and everyone else.

    In this song I can see him talking to Isa and take the burden as his own, while talking to you and hearing your angst and trying to reassure you.

    [audio src="" /]

    Dedicated to your very brave husband.

    • October 19, 2009 8:33 pm

      Just revisted this post and listened to the song again. Love how your brain works ChessMess.

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