I used to do a lot of motivational speaking at big conventions. I talked about the road to success and what it took. One of the points I made was surrounding yourself with good people. If you want to be successful, this is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. The last few weeks, I realized what an incredible gift it is to have those amazing people in your life.
I’ll give you an update on Parker in just a bit, but his illness caused a chain of events that made me stop and think about what was important. I’ve been working myself into the ground to pay off bills and a multitude of school loans. I’d sort of closed myself off and hadn’t seen my friends much because I work ALL the time. Seven days a week 12-18 hours a day. ALL THE TIME. My friends, while they worry about my health, get it. We chat when we can, and there’s a lot texting and tweets.
But when I needed them, my friends were there. Britta and Kern Coleman came up the first full day Parker was in the hospital. They brought me and Liz (who I will write an ode to in just a bit) Diet Mountain Dew. I’d driven 14 hours to get to my kid and I needed to be there for him. I needed that Dew more than anything else. My brain had left the building. And Britta didn’t ask, she said, “Kern and I are coming up. What can I bring you?” Britta is someone who knows just how fiercely protective I am of my kiddos, she gets it. And I needed her smiley face and her jokes. That girl always makes me smile. And Kern, you make the best seafood gumbo I’ve ever eaten. Hands down. You to need to write a cookbook. For real. Curtis came up later that night and made Parker laugh so hard he couldn’t breathe. :)
The next day my friends Jenny Martin and Rosemary Clement Moore surprised us with a visit. They came at a moment where things were looking very, very bad. I’d just finished a crying stint in the public bathrooms down the hall so my kid wouldn’t see. I was exhausted, beat up and worried I was going to lose him. (Geez I’m crying now remember how scared I was.) They brought protein bars, which Parker had just said he wanted and bottles of water with money for the vending machines wrapped around them. Another lovely gift since I’d arrived with NO cash in my wallet. And the ATM downstairs didn’t work. But it wasn’t the gifts, it was that they joked around and made Parker smile. And he knew that they were there just as much for him as they were for me, and that made him happy. Rosemary has experienced more loss than anyone person should have to, and she knew exactly what to say and what I was going through. I’m so blessed to have she and Jenny in my circle.
The day we found out his counts had dropped again, my friend Gina Maxwell sent a box with a funny gorilla and an angel in it. “What? Do your friends think I’m 12?” Parker joked, but he hugged that gorilla hard. And then there was a very funny conversation that the gorilla was probably his spirit animal because they both had hairy asses. I know TMI. :)
Every day people on Twitter and Facebook, people I don’t know that well, were asking about Parker and praying for him. I love those people. I really do. Every tweet or Facebook message made me feel like someone out there cared. That they got it. I had a couple of emails where people shared their personal stories. Stories that helped us make wiser decisions about Parker’s care. You guys sent us funny pictures and some scary videos that made us laugh. I love you guys. I truly, truly do.
There was one person who was fighting for Parker as hard as I was. My friend Liz Pelletier. I was at her house working on a book project when the call came in. She wanted to fly me home, but my car was in Colorado at her house. I ran downstairs to pack and she followed me down. “I’m going with you.” Me: “No. I’ll be fine.” Liz: “Uh huh, sure. But I’m still going with you.” About two hours into the 14 hour trip home I turned to her and said, “I’m not sure I could have done this without you.” :) She was kind and didn’t say, “I told you so.” At the hospital she demanded the lab results. She called everyone she knew, even a higher up at the CDC to get more info on what was going on with Parker. We joked that she was getting her hematology degree on Google. But she knew before the doctors what was going on with Parker. It was still scary as hell, but it helped that I knew she was in my corner. Even after she had to go home (and she didn’t want to) I had to send her the daily lab results.
That same week, Liz had made major announcements about her company, Entangled Publishing. All good, but it was a mad house. She was taking call after call, and dealing with the madness. She works harder than I do, and that’s saying something. But she shut it all down to help me. I will never forget what she’s done for me. Ever. She is quite frankly one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met. She’s tough on the outside, but a big ‘ol teddy bear on the inside. And anyone who gives her trouble, I’m putting you on notice. I’m her friend, and I will do anything for her, including, hiding the bodies. ;) Just sayin’. And Parker loves her just as much as I do and will be there to help with said bodies. :)
I’m lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people. And anyone who says social media friends aren’t real, well, they’re full of crap. Never have I experienced, and actually felt, such love from so many. I thank you all. Truly, from the bottom of my heart.
I love you all. Or as I, the native Texan likes to say, I love y’all. :)
This is my valentine to you. You are awesome. You are loved. Each and every one of you.
Parker received some good news today. His counts went up enough that they are postponing surgery for now. He’s taking MASSIVE amounts of steroids and we’re going to see how he’s doing next Tuesday. If the counts continue to go up… Well, we can only hope. His counts have gone up before and back down. So we are cautiously optimistic at this time. :)