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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Super Grover and Mighty Man Adam

Aloha my magic quilt peeps. I am so excited (and touched) today because Stan and Lila, the first recipients of the first magic quilt, sent fabric to Springrose to include in the second magic quilt.

Doesn't it just give you chicken skin?

The blue fabric represents their four sons and the striped fabric is cut from one of Stan's shirts. Stan turned 6o years old last week. Read this short and simple, but sweet post about how Lila celebrated with him.

I'm also extremely excited (and extremely touched) by our next contribution. It's from Janna of Mighty Man Adam and Susan, from Susan's Scribble. I met Susan through Melanie J. at the LDS Storymaker's Conference last May. We sat by each other at dinner and instantly connected because she's a darling, and, if I'm not mistaken, she is a soon-to-be-published-author.

Meet Adam, Susan's nephew:

Susan wrote a post about him entitled Mighty Man Adam. I asked her if I could share the story with my magic quilt peeps and she immediately said YES and then asked her sister-in-law, Janna about donating some fabric for our 2nd magic quilt. I received the following email from Janna yesterday:

I'm touched by what you are doing. It was these acts of kindness that really helped us not feel so alone. The fact that you are creating a gift with meaning is really something special. I'm excited to be apart of it. I told Adam that we had to send part of (one of the three) his blanket and I asked him to choose which one it would be. I told him we are going to send it to a lady who is going to use it to make a nice, warm blanket for sick kiddos or grown-ups. He is really excited to send it to you!

Here's some of the story. Adam was Dx'd with Leukemia in March 2008. I won't go in to much detail simply because Susan covered it very well. We were in treatment for 5 1/2 months, having received five rounds of chemotherapy. Because of the nature of his illness, Adam was not able to go home right after he received his chemo. He could not get shots that would help him regenerate white blood cells (other kids were able to do that and them go home within a few days) because his cancer was his white blood cells. Anyway, we were there for what seemed like forever. Finally, we were discharged for good in September 2008 and sent home with a follow-up plan. When we left, I knew we had not seen the last of the leukemia and he was most likely going to relapse. At first, I tried to dismiss it as paranoia, but the feeling never went away. So when he developed a fever with no other symptoms in June of 2009, I immediately took him to the doc for a CBC. They called me that night with a white blood cell count of 57,000. I knew he had relapsed.

Between the first and second cycles of treatment, I took Adam to Target one day to find a blanket of his own. He had been bugging his older brother a lot by stealing his all the time. As we were walking through the bedding aisle, Adam pointed to the red fuzzy blanket and said, "Super Grover covers" (he was just barely two). I guess it looked like the cape that Super Grover wears and he liked that. So we bought it. When he relapsed and we were back in the hospital, I quickly learned that one blanket was not enough. He would throw up on it or get it messy when changing his diaper, etc. So I went back to target and bought two more red ones and a green one. Every time my husband and I would switch places, I would bring in the clean ones, and would take the dirty ones home when I left. During the second course of treatment, Adam was never without his "Super Grover covers". They went everywhere with him–to surgery, to the cafeteria, to the playroom... Next to myself, these blankets were his one consolation.

I decided to send you a part of one as our contribution. Hopefully, it will be what you need. I am also including a picture of Adam with his "Super Grover covers" at the beginning of the second course of treatment. I thought this one was appropriate because it shows the blanket "in action", so to speak.


I am also including Susan's Story below. Mahalo Susan and Janna. And much love and aloha to Adam.

When my brother and sister-in-law brought Adam down to the farm for the first time, when he was tiny and brand new, I remember thinking what an adorable baby he was. He had a dimple and was so goodnatured. I wanted to hold him lots, and I did. As he grew he was still enchanting and darling. But then things changed. He wasn't so good natured anymore--he cried and whined and kept them up at night, and I think his mom wondered what had happened to her angel. Months passed and it got worse. And worse. And worse and worse. The weekend before their world was flipped upside down, my whole family was down at the farm. I can't remember much about the weekend. I don't even know why we were there. I only remember that Adam was miserable. His mom said he wouldn't walk, and he'd been that way for a few weeks. She or my brother had to carry him everywhere. He didn't want any of us to hold him, only her. And he was washed out, lethargic and running a low grade fever. Something was definitely wrong. His mom had been taking him to specialists for months, trying to figure this thing out, but no one could.

I think my sister-in-law decided she'd had enough, and she took matters into her own hands. Something had been nagging at her for so long, but she was feeling helpless, I think. So she turned to the internet. One by one she googled his symptoms (brilliant girl) and slowly her nagging turned to panic. Every search had one scenario in common. Leukemia. And then she knew.

She calls my brother on the phone to tell him. Adam is flown by helicopter to the hospital.

I'm sitting at home, making dinner and the phone rings. It's brother Number Three. Usually he's so cheery when he calls and sings out one of his usual greetings like "Hey, Suzie Boozie." But this time he was solemn. He cuts right to the point. "They found out what's wrong with Adam. He has leukemia."

A big gasp and then "No," escapes my lungs. And then I'm crying because I know. I know what's coming. Fear. Fear like they've never experienced. This is not the first time I've seen cancer first hand. The last time, it took my brother in law who wasn't yet thirty, leaving my sister in law widowed with three kids. Number 3 tells me that Brother Number 1 met them at the hospital (I've never been so glad they live kind of close) and he said they were not doing well. I can picture them crumbling, terrified. I'll be honest--I wonder what they'll do if Adam doesn't make it, and then I shove that thought out of my head. I can't even think it. I know how much they love him, because I'm a mom, and I can't stand to even think what that would be like for them. I can't stand to think of my brother and his wife sobbing in that hospital while I stand there and cook for my three healthy kids. And I'm too far away to help them. And I hope they know how much I love them. It's not fair.

I gather my kids and my husband and I tell them the news. My kids prayed everyday for their cousin-probably five times a day. When we visited Adam a few months back my second son is asked to give the blessing on the food. He's only six so his prayers are pretty much the same every time. He has a list he's ticking off in his head. Please help Dad to graduate. Help mom to get her book published. Help us to be a forever family. And in this case, please bless the food. He opens his mouth to say one last thing and I hold my breath. Please don't let Adam die. My son doesn't even blink. He doesn't realize he just said that in front of Adam and his family. My eyes fly open and flash to my sister in law. Her eyes are glistening and she thanks Cole. She is touched. I exhale.

Back to the story.

Adam went through chemo. His older brother was tested as a bone marrow donor, and we all prayed he would be a match since he had the best chance. He wasn't a match. We all volunteered to be tested and my sister in law said we could, but the chances of any of us being a match were very slim. They move into the Ronald McDonald house next to the hospital (with a four year old in tow) for six months, switching off to be with Adam every couple of days. Can you even imagine what it would be like to not leave the hospital for more than a handful of days in that entire time? But then it's finally over and they return home. But the fear doesn't leave and less than a year later, the leukemia returns.

I believe I was making dinner again when I got that call. My mom called that time. She was steady as always, not crying, because she almost never cries in public. All her crying is done in private. But not me. I burst into tears. This time all my kids are out riding bikes in the neighborhood, except for my baby who's somewhere near my feet.

We get off the phone and I'm wondering why I don't feel a crazy amount of panic. Leukemia returning for the second time is a terrible scenario. I squat down and my head falls to my hands. Addy crawls into my lap and I hug her, and then I pray long and hard and fervently. I'm comforted knowing the rest of my family has to be on their knees at that same moment.

I go back to finish dinner and somewhere between serving and eating, I get the craziest good feeling inside. He's going to be okay! And not just okay. He's going to live. He's going to make it! I just knew it. Somehow this kid was going to beat this thing. So I call my sis-in-law and I say, "I hope this doesn't make you mad (you know, since I don't like to tell people I just got revelation for them. I don't make a practice of that kind of thing and can't stand it when other people do that to me) but I have this really good feeling that he's going to be okay." I don't know what I thought--that maybe she would collapse with relief, as if my words were gospel truth. But that's not what happened. I could hear her choking up and she says, "Well, I wish I had that feeling but I don't. Right now I'm just really, really mad at Heavenly Father." And can you blame her? Not only was this child sick and let's face it, dying, but they had also recently found out that their oldest son had Aspergers, a form of high functioning Autism. I can only imagine how picked on she was feeling. I mean that--I could only imagine. I couldn't possibly begin to understand. But I knew the Savior could, and I was praying she'd let Him help her.

Adam starts chemo and they are back at the routine. The doctor has told my brother and sis-in-law that there is no possibility that they could be matches for Adam for the bone marrow transplant he needs to have, but on a whim they decide to be tested anyway.

Here's the Miracle.

His mom is a 100% perfect match in every single way. I can't get into all the ways that this is just complete and total craziness, but it is. The doctor said is was higher odds than winning the Super ball lottery. Maybe they can comment below and explain the coolness of it because I don't think I can get you to grasp just what a miracle that is. Basically, this had to have been worked out generations ago, for my brother and the girl he was going to marry someday to have just the right genetics that she would be this match.

A light bulb goes off in my brain, and I know that that feeling I had was because of this. It was Heavenly Father showing us that his hand is in everything, and over everyone. How can I ever question that He is there? He is watching. He loves us so much and cares for us so much.

Just minutes ago, I found out that Adam got his one year bone marrow aspiration results back, and guess what? His bone marrow is 100% donor cells and 0% cancer. One year was the time limit the doctor gave for him to be considered cured. I'm sure Brother and Sister-in-law are afraid to let the word 'cured' squeak out of their lips lest they jinx him, and I don't blame them. But I'm hoping you'll join with me the next time you kneel down to pray and just send Him a little thank you for this blessing.

I didn't tell you this to make you think that I believe my family deserves some special miracle when others haven't received such a blessing. We are just normal people who make mistakes, just like everyone else. People die from cancer, heart disease, car accidents and thousands of other things every single day. I'm also aware that some trials are worse than death. And that some just plain hurt. Dealing with addictions of any kind, or not being able to get pregnant when you so desperately want a baby, or getting pregnant but then losing that baby or a thousand other ways that our hearts ache for our plans unraveled. I'm very aware of that, and I ache for my friends and family when these things happen. We've had some of our own pains. I only shared this with you because sometimes it's hard to see past all the hurt and sorrow and trials and exhaustion that can accompany this trial we call Life. And when we feel our lowest I hope we can all remember that He is there. He has a plan. Sometimes His plan intertwines with our own wishes, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes someone else can stick their foot out and trip up that plan, and wreck something that was supposed to be beautiful and perfect. But sometimes. Sometimes, He gives us a little glimmer of His power and His love and we are reminded that there is more to all of this than what we can see right now.

It may not feel like it sometimes, but God really is over All.

Adam, you are a Mighty, Mighty Man. And you will forever be my hero.


Annette Lyon said...

This post touches me in particular because Jenna and I went to high school together. I had no idea that her SIL was at the conference in April. I've followed bits and pieces of Adam's story as Jenna has posted it on FB and their blog, but somehow I missed that another son had Asperger's. I don't blame her one bit for being angry at God. And I hope with everything I have that Adam is indeed . . . well, I don't dare say the C word. But you know what I mean.

Momza said...

well shoot. it's hard to type thru tears.
I haven't come over here before today, and did so at your prompting this morning.
Wow. You go right to the heart.
I've got work to do. Point me in the right direction, sister.