Update from Keith: February 8th, 2008

For the first time since before Christmas, Taylor sniffled. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard, It means she is able to get air in through her nose, past her tumor. That was unthinkable only last week. Life is good tonight.

I started thinking about the progress that Taylor has actually made since we first got here (tonight is night 18). Being here every day, we miss the small things. If we were here only once a week (as if), her progress would seem much more momentous than the tiny steps that we see every day. Thus, it escapes us that she really is getting demonstrably better.

Since we first arrived, Taylor has stopped throwing up blood (although she is far from having stopped throwing up), she has stopped having constant (or even any) bloody noses, and she is now able to squeze the slightest bit of air through her nasal passages. All of these things are evidence that her therapy is working; the poison the doctors pump into her body is killing the even deadlier substance in her head.

Taylor has mostly been a treat today. She woke up a little grumpy for her radiation appointment early this morning. For whatever resaon, the hospital could not locate a wheelchair (!) to bring her down to radiation oncology. So, I improvised by carrying her downstairs. Both Daddy and Taylor love that method. I think I'll do it every time they let me. Taylor insisted on it when it was time to come back up to her room.

She apparently slept away the day until awakening at 3:30 and going to the playroom with Nana and Grandpa. She seemed very conversational when I arrived (although still sometimes grumpy; querying Grandpa at one point, "Don't you even think?") and we went to the playroom when it opened again at 6. She even ate 1 Chicken McNugget and 3 apple slices.

Tonight, she and I have had a great time. We cuddled on her bed while watching Zack and Cody and part of the movie, Chicken Little. At 11:10 PM we secured the nurse's permission to go downstairs to the McDonald's in the hopsital that is always open. I ordered a strawberry milkshake; she chose Vanilla. She said "Hi" to the passersby we encountered creeping through the hospital halls. I even felt sorry for the other parents walking by on their way to the Emergency Room with what loked to be sick kids. For once, mine seemed to be the best-off. It was a beautiful illusion (and one I have wholeheartedly immersed myself in).

When we returned to her room, we watched Return of the Jedi and sipped milkshakes. Dad and daughter at the movies.

I know cancer means steps back for each leap gained.. I know that lows always follow the highs. But tonight seems the highest of highs. The lows seem a universe away.

I am reminded of Churchill's words following El Alamein: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." I'm not even sure we are at the end of the beginning, yet, but I do know that we are on our way. That is more than enough for now.


Nadine Wilck said...

Dear Keith,

Nadine Wilck here. My husband Tom and I are friends of your parents.

We've been following Taylor's progress, and we're praying for her full recovery.

As a parent and grandparent (we have a 12-year-old granddaughter) I can't even imagine what you all are going through. But I do know that you are getting the best care possible for Taylor. That, and the collective prayers and help of your many friends and family members, will give Taylor the strength to make it through all this, and (as your mom said) create the miracle we all expect.

Please tell Taylor we're pulling for her, and give our love to your mom, dad and Kris.