Posted: June 20, 2016
By Guest Blogger, Benjamin Braden
We had an appointment with the doc today to discuss options moving forward regarding Avery’s fight against cancer. Despite her 14th round of chemo, her cancer doesn’t seem to be affected much by it. Perhaps I can update you in a later post about all of that but before I do, I want to talk about love.
Avery has a port and she HATES getting it accessed. I hate having to hold her legs so she doesn’t kick the nurses and I hate the fact that my wife has to hold her arms so she also doesn’t hit the nurses while they are attempting to access her. She screams until she can hardly breathe. She cries until she can hardly cry. Sometimes another nurse has to assist us in holding her down because she is doing everything in the power of her little body to stop us from “poking” her. Anytime I’ve had to witness this, which isn’t as often as my wife has, part of my soul is ripped from my body. It’s really hard being a father whose job it is to protect his baby and not be able to do anything to stop her from going through that. It’s really hard being a father whose job it is to protect his baby and actually have to participate in that. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. This week, she’s getting chemo every day but only had to be accessed on Monday as one of the drugs she is receiving is not available orally. However, the one she has to get every other day can be given orally. As you can probably imagine as it is chemo, it tastes absolutely horrible. She also hates that, and if anybody reading this has ever had to give a 3 year old medicine who doesn’t want to take said medicine, it can be a nightmare for all involved. Well, here were her options today…take the medicine or get accessed. She didn’t want to do either. She fought, she hit, she screamed, she tried to bite. I had to hold her. Her mom had to hold her. We had to act like we were going to access her just so she knew it was either that, or “simply” take the medicine and we can go home.
She was angry.
She was sad.
She tried to convince us that she would “take it Saturday”. I had to beg her. I had to tell her I’m sorry. Still she demanded “take it Saturday”! Finally, while I was holding her and she thought the nurse was about to access her, she took the medicine. Her tears dried up and all was forgiven.
ALL WAS FORGIVEN.
She gets to go home today! So far, she’s handled this cycle like a champ. What do you expect? She’s #AJBStrong #owlsforavery
She began to twirl around the room. She asked for a starburst. She ran down the hallway as if nothing happened just minutes earlier. I was doing my best to not break down in tears right there in the middle of the doctors office.
She simply doesn’t hold it against us and I don’t know why. We have been conditioned to hold grudges against those who have harmed us. As far as I’m concerned, and maybe you have to be in the room and experience what we experience to understand, we harmed her today. We’ve “harmed” her many times before. While everybody reading this will get that what we have to do is for her own good, she’s 3 and can’t comprehend that. She’s never held it against us. As an adult, if we are hurt by another, we may never forgive that person for doing that to us. We may never speak to that person again.
I got a kiss goodbye as I left her to go back to work.
I got an “I love you daddy” as I walked away.
I HAVE to find the silver lining in all of this otherwise I’m not sure I could continue. What lesson can I learn from her in all of this? I’m not sure but it will certainly be something I will contemplate for as long as it takes to figure it out. Maybe I never will. But, I do know this. She doesn’t hold it against us and I can at least be thankful for that.
Benjamin Braden, and his wife Cathy are the parents of Avery who was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer when she was two years old. She’s spent the past year fighting against this cancer with chemotherapy. Avery loves owls, and sees them as a figure of hope and support. Every time her story is shared, it is tagged #OwlsForAvery so that her parents can read her words of encouragement from people all over the world.
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