Wednesday, April 24, 2013

D-day, three years Later.

Well, we are getting close to D-day. D-day meaning Cashy's diagnosis day May 3rd, 2010, one of the worst days of our lives. The day that changed our lives, but not for the worst. I will say it changed our lives for the better, as uneasy as that may sound.

May 3rd, 2010 will be another day amongst the many other memorable and unforgettable days we will never forget. As long as we live, we will always be haunted by the meaning of that day. That day brings back a mirage of emotions, a feeling of hopelessness, helplessness, mere confusion and utter disbelief.

How could my ever so perfect 22 month old (22 months at the time) baby boy, whom we prayed and planned on entering into this world. The baby I fought so hard to keep pregnant with after the roller coaster of a pregnancy I had. The perfect little monkey baby I birthed, the sweet little tiny bundle of joy daddy did skin to skin with, within hours of him being born. How could our semi perfect illusion of what "life" should be, be turned around in the blink of an eye.

Little did we know what we thought, or I thought, was a perfect life, it was far from that. We were living the dream but in a completely wrong type of way. Our lifestyle was un-healthy; we were living by the "book" of what you think life is supposed to be. The nice new house, the new cars, the ATV's, the camper, the new furniture and now the new baby that we had "planned." Everybody wants these things, right? But are they what really makes you happy? No happiness comes from your heart; it doesn't come from that new car smell in your brand new SUV. It comes from deep within your soul. What does truly make you happy?

I’m not one to usually admit things when I'm wrong. I am the type who tries to make excuses or reasons as to why I did that wrong or why I didn't do it this way. But I have no excuse for the way we used to live. I look back and realize I truly wasn't happy with myself. Everything I ever wanted was right at the tips of my fingers but what did it truly bring me? I was nearly 50 pounds overweight, depressed and in a deep deep "funk" as you would call it. I drank 60oz of diet coke a day, and never exercised. All before the diagnosis of cancer wreaked havoc on our lives. I used to be a soccer star, I made goals and would run circles around girls. I had three full ride scholarships to college for soccer (I know, I know, why didn't I take one of them, I wouldn't have student loans..yeah, yeah, yeah...two words Mike Hyde, lol). How did I get so far off of track?

Before the diagnosis I was doing everything wrong when it came to feeding and nourishing my family. I in a way blame myself for Cashy developing cancer. I believe the food and milk I was feeding my family caused Cashy to get cancer, along with many environmental factors. Before diagnosis I recall warming up Cashy's (plastic) bottles of cow’s milk (ugh) in the microwave. It's utterly shameful to even talk about. Why would I warm up a plastic bottle of cow’s milk in that ever so deadly microwave? It's terrible. We don't have a microwave now (we haven't had one for over a year and a half now, don't miss it one bit), let alone drink cow’s milk. Strictly coconut or almond milk for us now. I cooked meals from boxed dinners like hamburger helper (talk about MSG and natural flavor overload), I let them eat Doritos and Fruity Pebbles, and fruit snacks. I haven't bought anything like that in a long long time now.

So when I say I'm thankful for cancer in a way for changing my life in many good ways as well as the many bad ways, it's because it has bettered me as a person, a mother, a friend (even though some of you probably get sick and tired of all my rambling and conspiracy theories).

When Cash was diagnosed the second time is when we really changed our way of eating as a family. We decided to go vegan for Cashy. We did the juicing protocols, vegan, and no gluten. Man, at first that was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. In the beginning I felt like I was starving us. What do we eat? What do the kids snack on? Cashy loves his egg burritos, how do I mimic that? Day three I think I freaked out and cried and cried. I had to research new meal ideas, had strange spices and different textures of foods I've never even seen before. Quinoa? What the heck is that stuff!? Now I use Quinoa on almost every meal. It's super high in protein and very yummy. The kids absolutely love it. It makes wonderful veggies patties, veggie stir fries, and there are so many ways to use Quinoa, it's amazing.

So with the three year mark coming up I found the article I wrote for the, Treating Yourself magazine featuring a nine page spread of Cashy’s story. This was the VERY first piece of writing I had ever done…Very first. You can see where I obviously was a beginner at this writing thing when reading it, but it talks about the D-Day, and the surgery, chemotherapy and septic shock that Cashy went through. Sorry, but this article is super long!!!

On May 3rd, 2010 after 10 weeks of weekly trips to the pediatrician’s office, we were told once again that our beautiful son Cash just had a simple case of Mononucleosis and to let him rest and give him Tylenol and Ibuprofen for his reoccurring fevers. He was sleeping 18 hours a day and vomiting in the morning and at night, and in the last week his left eye started drifting and drooping. This had gone on too long, it felt like our son was dying in our arms and there was nothing we could do about it.

After taking Cashy to his pediatrician and being told the same thing again, we left the pediatricians office and we met my mom for a quick bite to eat. Cash had taken a bite of some macaroni and cheese and instantly threw up. I heard someone in the restaurant say under their breath, "That baby is sick!" I told my mom that I was going to leave and take him to the emergency room at Community Medical Center (Where I work as a Registered Nurse). I said to my mom, ironically, "Well, I don't think it’s a brain tumor or anything." Little did we know we'd be hearing the words no parent would ever want to hear.

Cash and I arrived at the Emergency room and we were quickly seen by the triage nurse who was extremely concerned with Cash's lethargy, and weakness. I told her that he's been like this for 2 months now, and his doctor keeps telling us the same thing, it’s MONO. I told her it’s time for a second opinion.

We were taken back to a room where we were seen by the doctor right away. Even the doctor was a little skeptical on my need to come to the ER. She told me that my pediatrician was a great doctor and that we should trust her. I told her that we just needed a second opinion and that this has gone on too long. Reluctantly she says, "Well, I'm going to order a CT scan of his brain then." I said, "Ok, let’s do it." Not thinking the worse at this time.

After the scan, the radiology tech (which happened to be my mom's neighbor) told us that the scan looked good and nothing was abnormal. We felt relieved.

We continued to wait in this small room and now all of our family has arrived (both grandma’s, and Grandpa Jim), when finally, after a light knock on the door the doctor appeared. While taking slow, deliberate steps she entered the room. Her face was serious, but her eyes were full of compassion and regret.

Our 22-month old son was lying across my lap like a wet, limp rag. His energy was gone and his light was fading. He was no longer the playful, spirited child he had once been. All she said was, "I'm so sorry, I'm so so sorry." We were like “WHAT?” Then she said it again, "I'm so sorry, your son has a 4.5 centimeter mass in his brain."

Time stopped at that exact moment. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn't cry, I couldn't even talk. I was blown away, and scared to death for our sweet baby boy. As the doctor left the room, we sat in silence. Our lives were on the verge of chaos and there were no words. We were in shock and barely able to process what had just been revealed. We looked at Cash, he had no idea the magnitude of this discovery, but we knew he would soon suffer its consequences.

"Your child has a mass in his brain." That sequence of words changed everything. We were utterly terrified. That was one of the worst days of our lives. It felt like a death sentence. Two long hours later, Cash and I were life flighted on a fixed wing plane to Salt Lake City, UT heading to Primary Children’s Hospital. This was THE scariest airplane ride I’ve ever been on. There was extreme turbulence and I wasn’t able to sit next to Cash. Cashy was at the front of the plane and I had to sit in back.

There were so many emotions running through my head. I felt so alone, and scared.
Why did this happen to our baby, why Cashy? Why Us? That’s all I could think about.

Cash and I arrived at the Salt Lake City airport two hours later. We were driven by ambulance to Primary Children’s Hospital and taken to the Emergency room where we were greeted by Mike’s family, his uncles, his aunt and cousin. Thank God they were there, I needed somebody.

Mike and our six year old son Colten drove down in record timing. I can only imagine what was running through Mike's head while driving the 8 long hours to Salt Lake City. I wish he had been with us on the plane, but due to weight limitations only one parent could go.

We were later transferred to the Neuro-trauma Unit, where they would decide the next plan of action. We were told that this could be a few different types of cancers, due to positioning of the tumor, (In the back of my mind for some reason I thought possibly it could be benign, just wishful thinking I guess), but they wouldn’t know for sure as to what type of treatment protocol we would need to take until they did a craniotomy and biopsy of the tumor.

His tumor was wrapped around his optic nerves and intertwined with his hypothalamus and his pituitary gland. So removing the tumor was going to be a risky job; risks for blindness, paralysis, and even death from blood loss.

May 5th, 2010 was the longest day of our lives, waiting and waiting for updates from the doctors while our little Cashy was being operated on. 4 hours later the brain surgeon pulled us into a small waiting room and told us that they were only able to remove approximately 10% of the tumor due to its location and how it was wrapped around vital blood vessels and his optic nerves, and that his tumor was part of the blue cell tumor group, but we wouldn’t know more until pathology had a chance to look at it. Only 10 %, not the news we were hoping for.

We had to wait 6 days to find out if the tumor was even cancer and what type it was. That Monday evening after anxiously awaiting the oncologist’s news, we were taken to another small room where we were told the tumor was in fact cancer and its name was PNET, primitive neuro-ectodermal tumor, it was extremely aggressive and malignant. Those words should never ever be used in the same sentence with child and brain. We were devastated.

We were told Cashy would need to undergo three rounds of standard chemotherapy, and then three rounds of high dose chemotherapy with 3 stem cell transplants, and possibly radiation and another surgery.

After the surgery Cash was completely blind for 6 weeks. He was so scared, he wouldn’t even let Mike or I get out of the bed to take a shower, go to the bathroom or even eat, and we would have to sneak out of the room so he wouldn’t know we left. He would pat on the bed with his arm for Mike and me to lie down beside him.

His speech and language skills took a major downward spiral two months prior to his diagnosis. It broke my heart seeing him laying in the hospital bed, blind, a bloody scar on his head with stitches, and fear of the unknown.

As I would walk through the halls of this huge hospital, I would selfishly look at other little boys Cashy’s age and ask myself and God, why Cash? Why not one of these children, why our baby, I never got an answer.

Cash started his first round of chemotherapy on May 21st, 2010 after having a Central line and a G-tube placed a few days earlier.

He had his first doses of the drugs and did ok until nine o’clock that night when Cashy had a major seizure where he coded and needed resuscitation.
The seizure was from extremely low sodium levels in his blood. He was left in full posturing (where his arms and legs were sticking out straight and stiff and his back was arched, the most awful thing to see your child go through). That lasted 10 hours in the PICU.

They took Cash for a MRI scan of the brain and found that his tumor had grown past the biopsy and larger to 4.7cm, in just a week and a half. Terrible news.

Cash finished up round 1 of chemotherapy in the PICU, we were then transferred back to the oncology floor until we were able to head home for a week break. Cash finished up round two of chemotherapy with a bacterial infection in his blood, transferring us to PICU again, but just for 2 days until his infection cleared up. Another code blue episode later, from a little overdose of Fentanyl and versed from his central line removal (the source of the bacterial infection).

Cash Celebrated his 2nd birthday in the hospital, still blind, but happy and there was a little glimpse of that boy we once knew and which we yearned so deeply to see again. Over time, Cashy's complex treatment schedule became our new norm.

We cherished each day and celebrated the small victories. We took nothing for granted, which included the support and love we received from so many. There is nothing good about cancer. However, it does have the uncanny ability to bring people together-people whose paths, under normal circumstances, would never have crossed. Of course, our family and friends were on the front line offering assistance, but it was the kindness from strangers-those who would later become friends-that moved us even more. Growing up we were told it is better to give than to receive, but I have learned there is a time and place for both. Those giving walked away with the same big smile and hearts full of joy as they had granted us.

After Cashy’s third round of chemotherapy, he had a MRI scan to see what was going on in that brain of his. By the grace of God Cashy regained his vision slowly, it was simply a miracle. We thought our boy was going to be blind forever. Cash had his MRI on a Friday and we had to wait until Monday to get the results. We had our camper parked out in the parking lot so Mike and I could take breaks and get some rest once in a while (rest, yeah right, what’s that??).

So that morning Mike was sleeping in camper after a long exhausting night up with Cashy; vomiting, diaper changes, IV’s beeping, nurses walking in and out, and Cashy crying for water. I was in the room with Cashy when the oncologist came into the room to deliver the news of the MRI, I can’t quite remember the words she said, but overall she told me that Cashy’s 4.7cm mass that took over his brain was completely gone, but he had little remnants of cancer cells at the base of the skull where the tumor was eroding the skull, but the mass was completely gone!!

I hugged the doctor and told all the nurses, it was seriously the best news we’ve had during this whole journey. So I hurried and called Mike, but he didn’t answer, So I had one of the nurses sit with Cashy and I ran down to the camper to deliver the good news. The large mass was miraculously gone but the remaining cancer reminded us that we still had a long road ahead of us for a complete recovery.

We were elated, excited, overjoyed, every positive word you can think of, that was us! We were on cloud nine, calling everyone and everybody we knew!! Cash then started his high dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants on August 18th, 2010. The first round went very well, besides the vomiting. Cashy was out of hospital in 12 days after receiving high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant! We couldn’t go home to Montana though; we had to stay local in case something was to happen.

His second round of high dose chemotherapy went alright with a few minor ups and downs, extreme nausea and vomiting, chills, peeling of the skin and diaper area (leaving a severe diaper rash), and fluid on the lungs requiring him to need oxygen support. The doctors explained to us whatever is happening on the outside of his body, it was also happening on the inside of his body…which wasn’t good.

He was then placed on TPN and Lipids as his main source of nutrition due to the inability to keep down his tube feedings. During this second round of high dose chemo, Cash was so incredibly sick and weak; Mike and I finally had enough of watching Cashy suffer and took matters into our own hands. Cash had received his medical marijuana card a few months earlier, so Mike went about learning the safest way possible to make Cannabis Oil for Cashy, and proceeded to make a batch.

After a few doses of the Cannabis Oil, our son transformed. He was able to take bites of food (which he hadn’t done in over 40 days), he was able to sit up and play, laugh, and enjoy a quality of life that he wasn’t getting from the pharmaceutical drugs they were administered to him as a “nausea cocktail.” We were so thrilled with his progress; we continued to give him the cannabis oil through his G-tube. He went from throwing up 10 times a day to maybe 2 or 3. It was a miracle drug.

The person that kept Mike and I going strong and kept us from going into a slump of depression from the circumstances, was our six year old son Colten John. He is an amazing little boy full of energy and spunk and never skips a beat. He was our rock, our most solid thing we had to keep us alive and striving for Cashy’s healing.

Cash went into his third and final stem cell transplant with high dose chemo eating, walking with a little assistance, laughing, his nausea was controlled and he wasn’t in pain. He got through the last round of two days of medications and every 8 hour had baths, (to wash off the chemo that can seep through the pores and burn the skin). Then on Day 9 post stem cell transplant, Cashy developed a bacterial infection in his blood while still immune-compromised (extremely dangerous). Cashy immediately became very sick, struggling to breath and was transferred to the PICU.

The next morning Cash became even sicker and was really having difficulty breathing so doctors opted to place him on a ventilator to support his lungs. After another code blue episode and watching them struggle to incubate him, He blew up like a balloon with all of the fluids they were giving him to try and increase his blood pressure. Nothing was working, and his condition was worsening. At one point, Cash had 13 IV pumps flowing medication into his body to keep him alive. He had 4 code blue episodes, which required full resuscitation. He had chest tubes draining fluid from both lungs, he had arterial lines, he had double lumen pics lines on each arm, and singular IV's in his wrists and feet. Foley catheters draining his bladder. Nitrous oxide flowing to help with the pulmonary hypertension.

After he was on the vent for two weeks they told us that he developed a rare condition as a side effect of the stem cell transplant, it was called Diffuse Alveolar Hemorrhage (severe bleeding in the lungs).

He was then placed on an oscillator (after another code blue episode, and the bleeding was worsening). The doctor came to us with terrible news that she thought Cashy’s tumor has spread to his brainstem; she called this micro-invasion of the tumor. We were scared to death, they said if that was the case there was nothing they could do and the only way to find out was to do a MRI.

They took Cashy for his MRI after coding again and needed CPR through the whole scan, they came back to tell us the news that there was no micro-invasion of the tumor and the CANCER was completely gone, but that Cashy had suffered a minor stroke.

Relieved that the cancer was gone, we still had this huge obstacle to overcome; the collapsed bleeding lungs.

Things were getting bad really fast. The doctors told us it was very unlikely that he would make it, and they asked us about 6 times if we wanted to continue resuscitation efforts in the event of another code blue. We told them to continue to do everything they can until all efforts are lost. We brought in a Catholic priest that day and Cashy was baptized with all our family around for support. It was a very emotional service. After everything little Cashy and our family went through, how could God let us lose him now?? It wasn’t fair; I had my first actual “breakdown” that day. I’m usually a very strong person who doesn’t display emotion easily.

But there was no hiding my emotions now, my baby was dying. For 6 weeks we watched the rollercoaster of a monitor screen of his vital signs 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. No TV ever played, just Michael Franti and Bob Marley on the IPod, it kept us semi sane. His blood pressure would go up, his heart rate would go down, his blood pressure would go down, they would give him Epinephrine for it to go back up. It was a vigorous process of ups and downs. Cash had two nurses at all times. He was a busy patient. Those nurses are amazing. After four weeks on the oscillator the doctors told us he was at a “plateau of sickness,” and that if there is any hope of him surviving we would have to wean him off of the oscillator and put him back on the regular ventilator.

This was a stressful process that even the doctors were skeptical to try. They told us Cashy would probably need a trachtube placed and he would most likely be on the ventilator for months due to the extent of lung damage he had.

Well after 5 days, yes 5 days, Cash was extubated (breathing tube removed) and he was breathing on his own with a small amount of oxygen. How did this happen??? It was a miracle. And that’s exactly what the doctors said, he was our Christmas miracle! Our goal was to be out of PICU and back to the oncology floor by Christmas 2010, but Cashy was out of hospital and back at great grandma’s house by December 17th!!!

Once again a miracle!! Cash spent Christmas with our family in Salt Lake City. The best Christmas present any parent could ever receive. We were finally able to leave Salt Lake City after Cashy’s 100 day post bone marrow transplant workup and MRI scans of brain and spine, then head back home to Missoula, Montana on January 31th, 2011 after 10 long months in a strange city. Cashy continues to be cancer free, and we count our blessings every day for the second chance we get with our amazing son Cash, “The boy of Steel.”

It felt bittersweet, like it was almost too good to be true, BUT it was true! To finally be able to bring our baby home to his room and toys, and to sleep in our own bed after 10 months of hospital chair beds, and the camper was beyond amazing. We would have never chosen to be a part of this journey with childhood cancer, but it was chosen for us and our sweet baby boy Cashy. The battle is never gone, never unnoticed, or completely absent from our thoughts, and obviously never lacking from our prayers. Sometimes it is the simple things that serve as the greatest encouragement during this fight.

At times it's hard to look back over the past year. And yet there are days I find extreme comfort looking back and seeing God's faithfulness amidst our own nightmare.

If cancer has ever touched your life or the life of someone you know. I don’t have to tell you how devastating it is. There are no words to describe watching cancer and chemotherapy take its effect on someone you love. Cashy survived septic shock, stroke, pulmonary hemorrhage, pulmonary hypertension, all side effects of the chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants he had received.

We were told after his 4th cardiac arrest episode he would have brain damage, organ failure and that he would ultimately die. However, he did not die, and it was because of the cannabinoid therapeutics that he was receiving and their known antioxidant and neuro-protectant capabilities. Many say cannabis has anti-tumor effects and could possibly be the cure to cancer.

We were very fortunate to have the support of friends and family through Cashy’s incredible journey and would not have been able to battle cancer with Cashy without all of the financial and emotional support we received. Along the way we came across families that were not so fortunate and we were able to help them because we had so much support. That’s when we decided to start the Cash Hyde Foundation to continue fighting pediatric cancer and assisting families in need.

The fact is, in one way or another, cancer may affect us all. That’s why it is up to all of us to play a part in fighting cancer during our lifetime. Cashy’s journey has given us all the opportunity to unite, with the same common goal, helping children fight cancer.

Well there it is, my first piece of writing I had ever done, and it was published. Now looking at if I would have totally gone about it a different way, but hey for my first writing, it wasn't too bad.

Well I must get going, I hope you all enjoyed this post. It's a long one.

I want to thank those who wrote response comments to my post the other day. It helps. It helps a lot. Sometimes just knowing that someone is listening, or reading, it really helps a great deal. I can feel the love and positive thoughts and I look forward to many more comments.

I want all of you to know that I appreciate you.

I think it is important to note that my experiences and my PTSD (I've diagnosed myself, lol) are unique to me. However, I do want to mention that life after the death of a child to pediatric cancer is still very much a part of pediatric cancer. It is a reality. It does not go away when your child dies. It’s not just fighting for a diagnosis, getting a diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and countless hours crying and countless hours of emergency calls to the doctor, as well as countless hours of hospital stays and staying awake making sure your child is doing ok. Oh, did I mention the countless hours worrying where money is going to come from to pay for gas, food and a mortgage (over 60% of families diagnosed with pediatric cancer file bankruptcy).

There are so many facets to this that only a parent/caregiver of a child with pediatric cancer can know them all. I hope none of you ever have to know.

Cashy, I hope you are warm, safe and happy. I miss you so much. My heart longs for your touch and to hear your sweet voice. I love you buddy. I'm long overdue for a dream of you my sweet boy. Please come to me soon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Brave little Soul by John Alessi

I came across this poem and absolutely fell in love with it, so I had to share it with everyone who helped Cashy on his Journey, from friends, family, to perfect strangers.  Cashy has touched the lives of many in his short journey on this earth.    We couldn't thank you all enough for your support and love you have shown our family and our hero Cashy.  One Love!

The Brave Little Soul
By: John Alessi

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone." The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied. "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!" God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you". God and the brave soul shared a smile, and then embraced.

In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed." Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys, some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

....The silence without you is deafening.

There are names given to people left behind after a death. A wife who loses her husband is called a widow. A husband who loses his wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But there’s no word for a parent who loses a child. We all experience loss during our lifetime, no one is spared. The loss you can reasonably anticipate, like the death of an aged grand parent, though heart-breaking, is at least within the realm of what most of us would consider to be the natural order of life. A parents’ or grandparents death severs a life-long connection to the person who first gave you unconditional love, the person who created a refuge where innocence could unfold into wisdom, the person who gave you legs to stand on and wings to fly. But parents die before their children, Right? You always knew it would be so.

It is said that when a parent dies you lose your past, but when a child dies, you lose your future. I think this is especially true when a baby or young child passes. With the death of a child, the grieving is more for the future they have lost, rather than for your own. The absence of Cashy's physical presence in our lives is palpable. But on occasion I am fortunate enough to sense him nearby, only a breath away. In trying to understand why life that is so lovingly given to each of us, it is at times so cruelly taken away. I often asked questions that cannot be answered, at least not answered in this lifetime. When I stop asking for a minute and start listening, I have began to see. It’s not about finding answers, it’s about having faith, faith in the Divine, the afterlife, belief in the One love. Faith comes first, then understanding and hope follow. Even so, nearly a half a year later, we still struggle to accept that Cashys not resting in bed in the other room or in his spot on the couch, or in his car seat in the back of the car, he won’t be there. Cashy's not hear to share his sillyness, his wisdom, his enthusiasm, his energy or his light. Or is he?

My resolve is to take a leap of faith, believing without benefit of proof and learning to see with my soul and listen with my heart. So, I talk to Cashy and he hears, I smile at Cashys pictures and he sees, I believe in Cashy and he knows.
Here's a nice quote I found on "faith."

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed.” - Voltaire

Will I ever feel or be normal again? I don't even know what normal is anymore. Our lives have been such chaos since may 2010, I don't know what's coming or going. What is normal for a family who's lost a child to cancer? Well Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly. Normal is having the TV or pandora radio on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening. Normal is staring at every boy who looks like he is Cashy's age, And then thinking of the age he would be now and how he would look before cancer and now at nearly 5 years old. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in your life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in your heart. Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of your "normal."

Normal is each holiday coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your childs's memory and how to survive those days. And trying to find the balloon or matchbox car that fit's the occasion. Merry Christmas? Well, Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special Cashy loved. Thinking of how he would of loved it, but how he is not here to enjoy it. Normal is having some people afraid to mention Cashy, which is often the case. Nobody seems to want to hit the topic, so I do it to break the ice. Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives after the drama and the sadness, but WE continue to grieve our loss forever. Normal is days, weeks, months after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. Nothing compares. NOTHING. Not even your cat that died of cancer. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare.

Normal is realizing you do cry everyday. Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two children or three children, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that Cashy is dead. And yet when you say you have two living children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed the dead child.

Normal is learning to lie to everyone you meet and telling them you are fine. You lie because it makes others uncomfortable if you cry. You've learned it's easier to lie to them then to tell them the truth that you still feel empty and it's probably never going to get any better -- ever. Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal."

So really what is normal? I don't know anymore. Nothing seems normal without Cashy.

I layed away in bed yesterday while trying to take a little nap before work. The most amazing thing happened. I was laying on my side breast feeding sissy and holding her hand. At that exact moment, my hand holding her little delicate hand felt like Cashy's hand in mine. I closed my eyes tightly and gasped, "Cashy," and I held on tightly to her hand. It felt just like his little hand did, I had these overwhelming feelings shoot through me and tears just rolled down my eyes. I really felt his presence and it was so special. Goosebumps rolled up and down my body and I tightened my grip on sissy's hand. I knew at that moment it was Cashy, letting me feel his warmth and his everlasting presence in the spiritual world. This made me smile and cry at the same time. Oh how I miss our snuggles and cuddles and his silly demeanor and goofiness.

Cashy keep your daddy safe on his trip this weekend. I know you will be with him wherever he goes. I hope your happy and safe. I miss you more than you'll ever know. To infinity and beyond buddy, to infinity and beyond.
Love, your momma.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"omg, my cat died of cancer too!"


Wow, it's been a very busy past couple weeks since I've last written. We took a much needed trip to Salt Lake City.
This was our first trip (besides when we went down to bury you) as a family without you physically with us. How awful of a feeling it is to be going to the place where we took you every 3 months for check-ups and MRI's. We lived there in our camp trailer outside the hospital for 10 months, now we’re traveling without your sweet face. Everything just seemed so wrong without your presence, your silly giggle, your rambunctious monkey self in the back seat (usually not in your car seat because you would just refuse sometimes, which we felt was alright for a bit because hell if your destiny was to wreck and die in a car accident, well as morbid as it is, at least it wouldn't be the cancer killing you. I always kept my seat belt off if you did, mom you’re probably shaking your head) doing the Cashy fist pump to all the awesome songs you loved so much.

We arrived in SLC pretty late as we didn't leave town until 2pm because I had to work the night before. I think I slept 2 1/2 hours. Ugh. I got a double shot pumpkin spice latte on the way out of town and was wired the whole way!

The first thing we did the next day was to go and visit your grave site. I never thought ever, even in your last few weeks of life, I never thought I would have to visit your grave. I honestly never thought we would lose you. We never once talked about a funeral, never once talked about if we would bury you or cremate you. We were just so positive that you would beat that nasty tumor. We had HOPE, we believed. We honestly did. If you don't have hope and belief in your heart, well what's life worth living then? You taught me that Cashy. You taught me so much in life. You taught me how to live. You taught me how to stay positive, how to not hold a grudge, how to forgive, how to trust in GOD, you taught me how to hang on to every ounce of faith and hope. I miss you buddy. Daddy misses you too.
So when we arrived at your grave, I instantly felt shaky and weak in the knees. Your grave was completely bare as the cemetery grounds keeper had taken and cleaned up your grave. Nothing was there besides your name stand. I instantly was upset. Nobody had come to visit you on Easter. Everyone was under the weather and not feeling well. This broke my heart. If you were buried in Missoula I would be there every day visiting you. It probably would be unhealthy, lol. Daddy said if you were in Missoula he would probably have his tipi set up at your grave and he would most likely never leave. Haha.

As I'm sure you know Daddy ordered a Tipi and it’s now set up in our new backyard. Well he's taken it down and set it up three times now as he has to have it just perfect. It's beautiful though. Colty and Sierra already had a sleep over and a campfire in it. Your daddy is a big kid at heart.

So back to SLC. We left your gravesite, I didn't cry until we got back into the car and had a rush of overwhelming emotion. I hate the face that you’re down there in the cold ground, 12 feet down. It does make me feel better to know that you have your monkey jammies and your blankies with you. I hope you’re playing with your Taggie. You were so cute how we would always have to find the tag on your blankies so you could rub it between your fingers and on your cheeks. You called it your "Taggie". I was so fast at finding the tag for you, I'd just turn the blankie and run my fingers along it, bam I'd find it and you'd be happy as a clam. Man I miss snuggling up with you and your blankies. You would always love snuggling with "mommy's blankie" too. I can picture and hear you saying it now, "MOMMIES BLANKIE." God, sometimes I just watch your videos so I can hear your sweet voice. I have this one video, it's more of an audio shot because you hated the flash on the camera so I was just recording what you were saying. You were saying "no pictures, no pictures, no pictures." You hated pictures those last couple months. You reminded me of Great Grandpa Buck on how you hated pictures. He hated them so much he'd twist your fingers if you tried to get one. I hope Grandma Gladys and Grandpa Buck are up there taking care of you. You only got to meet Grandma once before she passed away and Grandpa Buck a few times. I know they were with you on your whole journey and I know they kept you safe as long as they could.

So we left the grave site and immediately went to get stuff to decorate your grave. I bought you some cars, some play-dough and some awesome Cars stickers, all your favorite things. There were so many emotions running through me when I went into Target to get you these things. I cried each time I found the things you loved. I hadn't bought cars, play-dough or stickers since before you passed. It was so hard, but also felt so good to be able to buy little boy toys for you. I just wish more than anything you were here to play with them. Instead they just sit above your grave, until they become discolored and wet from the rain, then the grounds keeper will take it and throw it away again. We got you an awesome sign with your picture and the ‘Cancer Militia’ logo. It's a weather proof sign, so it should last awhile. Your headstone is actually being cut this week!!! We can't wait to get back and have it set up and looking beautiful. I think it will make it a lot easier to visit next time.

Saturday the foundation threw a car wash to help raise funds for the SLC chapter so they can order bracelets. The Salt Lake chapter is in the process of building a healing center where parents from the oncology floor up at Primary can come and do yoga, get a massage or acupuncture, relax and just chill in a serene environment. A place where they can forget about their worries and cares for a couple hours. We're all very excited about this. Cashy's Healing Center! One day we aspire to build an actual healing center where children and their families with cancer can come and stay and be treated with cannabis oil, fresh organic juicing, organic meals high in alkaline, Gerson therapy, Alkalized water, physical therapy, cannabis therapy, mineral soaking.... Everything from nursing care to spiritual healing. One day Cash, One day! I know you will make this dream of ours come true in your honor. Anyways back on track, the car wash (although it was freezing cold and we only did it for 4 hours) it raised nearly $700! We were thrilled! We had people holding signs up saying "honk if you hate cancer". We definitely got tons of honks and tons of random donations from people’s car windows as they were driving by and stopping at the light, it was awesome!
Sunday we had a family birthday party for baby Sissy at the Bada Bing. Lots of family came for just throwing it together at the last minute. Thanks everyone who came!!! Can you believe your Sissy is one years old already???!!! Makes me sad to think that you've been gone 5 months already, she has changed so much in those 5 months. You would be so proud of her. Well, I know you are so proud of her. You were the best big brother to her. You always loved giving her kisses and holding her. Now she's a wild one and doesn't sit still for more than a few seconds.

We headed home Monday morning, making a stop at Lava Hot Springs where we soaked it up in a mineral hot springs. Ahh it was so nice and as we soaked a hawk kept circling high up above us. We knew it was you with us. You always loved soaking in hot tubs. It was good to know you were there with us on our way home, Making sure we made it home safe and sound.

Tuesday was Sissy's actually 1st birthday. We had a small party for her with just the family. I didn't feel like throwing a big party, my heart was in it, but I knew it would be so hard so I just kept it low key and had grandparents and a few friends. Sissy was so cute in her dress and hair bow. Sometimes when I look at her I see you, I see you in her blue eyes, in her chubby cheeks and definitely in her little flat butt, I see you. She reminds me so much of you it's almost like God gave us her so we wouldn't be torn into a million pieces on the outside or the inside. My outside is presentable, but if you saw my insides, their definitely in such disarray that you'd think one could die from a heart broken into a million pieces. Is it possible? Death from a broken heart? If it is, I'd probably already be dead. The only reason my heart is even beating right now is because of my two sweet babies left on this earth, and my ever so broken hearted husband, Your Daddy. Daddy and I have had our differences throughout the years, but right now at this exact moment our love is so strong, bold, and connected through an energy that only you Cashy, could have left us with. Last night we held each other close and cried ourselves to sleep thinking of your sweet voice, your innocent smile and how you should be nestled in between us like you had been since birth.

Daddy was the one who started with the tears last night, every night one of us is feeling your absence and it sparks the chain reaction of the immense feeling of loss we have without you.
Sissy is 1 year old. I still can't believe it. We never planned for your sister, she was a huge surprise. I HAD an IUD in place that somehow went MIA, never to be found. I swear who does that happen to...? If there’s a will there’s a way. Right? Again that damn psychic. Cashy, you were actually our only "planned" child. We actually planned for you and tried a whole 4 weeks and bam, we were pregnant! One would say we are some fertile myrtles. But you were given to us for a reason, to better ourselves, to better our future, and to change the world buddy. Which you’re doing, a little bit at a time.

I remember the day Sissy was born like it was yesterday. My water broke as I stood up from the toilet after peeing. Literally a giant gush of fluid, like they portray in the movies. Gush, gush, gush. You were propped up on the couch watching the Mickey Mouse Club house. I hurried and called Daddy but he didn't answer. I thought crap, I called again, still no answer. So I called my mom and texted daddy that my water broke! I hurried and took a shower and of course did my hair so I would look semi presentable. I wasn't contracting too badly yet so I figured I had some time. Finally daddy arrived and he got you ready and we loaded in the van after I changed the 6th soaked towel from my underwear, it just kept gushing and gushing. I swear it kept coming and coming. (I know TMI). So as we drove down the hill you were in the back in your car seat and daddy decided to do a little filming. We arrived at the hospital and all of a sudden I had extreme amounts of pressure. I thought, oh crap the baby is coming now. I stood up and here we go again, a giant gush of fluid again. Ugh, it wasn't the head coming, just more fluid. Literally a giant gush came down and splashed the ground and now my shoes and pants were completely soaked. Cashy you were so reluctant to even pull up to the hospital, you thought we were bringing you in for another poke or another procedure. Poor little bugger. I promised you we weren't though. We arrived and were put in our room, my nurse, Alissa checked me and I was 4cm. So I walked some laps, sat on the exercise ball, and now the contractions were kicking in and starting to hurt. I got in the shower to hopefully get things moving even faster, I let the hot water run on my belly for what seemed like an hour. After I got out of that shower, those contractions were hurting soooooo dang bad. All I wanted was to have someone rubbing my back while I sat on the ball and rocked side to side. Now at 4:30 pm I was hurting big time, but I really didn't want an epidural. For some reason I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it without. Well at 5:17pm I pushed out a 6 pound baby girl (which was a surprise) without any pain medication and not even an IV in my wrist. I was so proud of myself as was Mike. Pushing a baby out of your vagina without pain medication really takes the words "ring of fire" to a whole new level of meaning. Your daddy videoed the whole birth and was so excited that I did it without any drugs that he had to show all of his friends. Ugh, thanks for that Mike! Like I wanted all of your buddies to have a shot of my vagina at its ultimate worst. I'm pretty sure some of them will never have babies because of that. Oh well I guess…their loss! What's done is done. Hahaha. The next day we brought out little sweet bundle of joy, surprise from God, home. We were so blessed, three babies, and a cancer free Cashy. Could life get any better than this?? Not at that moment.
The first thing we did when we brought Sissy home from the hospital was that you insisted we put her in your car bed with you. Man you were so proud of your baby sister. You were the best big brother ever smothering her in kisses and hugs.
I long for the days of sleeping with you and her, one of my babies in each arm. I would have to switch you and Sissy to different places so I could breast feed her on both sides. You didn't mind though, you just loved cuddling with momma and Sissy.

You don't know the sting your absence has left us. It's like treading water, you keep treading and treading and trying to keep your head afloat, stay afloat, keep afloat. Some days I want to sink and never tread again. I want to sink to the bottom where nobody can find me, slowly letting the bubbles of my breath float to the top, bubble by bubble, till I'm out of breath. Till there's nothing left.
People keep saying, "Oh the pain gets easier as time goes on." That's a crock of shit. I feel like the further we get from the day you passed the harder it is. Today marks 5 months almost a half a year. Where did the time go? How can it have been 5 months, how have I even lived 5 months without you? It's not even possible. Even though I took thousands of pictures of you, I'm so mad at myself God for not taking more, for not taking more's all I have now, memories, pictures, videos, and of course your things tucked away in a box to save forever. Forever is so permanent, and you’re forever gone, we can't get you back no matter how many times I run your scenario over and over in my head. I should have done this, I should have done some of that. What IF I had tried harder, what IF I would have found him this supplement or that herb or vitamin? What IF I hadn't had to work all that time, could I have changed the course? Could I have altered the path of your destiny?

Sometimes I swear I'm driving myself certifiably insane. I keep over analyzing your baby sis. Sometimes I swear she has a brain tumor. I know, I know it's absurd. But sometimes I watch her eyes, I feel like they move weird. Sometimes I look at how she's always falling over and bonking her head. I'm just literally a freak that worries about everything. Will that cause cancer? I'm constantly learning about new healthy ways of living and I know this will help keep my kids safe from a lot of the dangers out there. But you can't chance fate.

I feel like I've lost a lot of friends along this journey of losing a child, yet I have also gained many new friends, and some old friends have re-surfaced as well. The truth is some people are only there for you during the drama, during the worst times, but where are the people when you really need lifting, when you need a smile on your face, when you need to laugh or cry, when you need that support. I feel like sometimes it's just Daddy and I alone in this grief of losing a child. Nobody understands OUR pain. Nobody understands what it was like to have such an awesome kid like you pass away from the most awful deadly thing possible. Nobody besides daddy and I had a Cashy like you. You’re the one and only Cashy, nobody can replace you or stand in your shoes. You’re a one of a kind dude, Cash. It's nice to get that random text from a friend, wondering how you are, how you’re dealing with losing such a special boy, wondering how you’re even getting out of bed of even dressed for the day, or even just a quick text to say, love you friend. I truly appreciate those and I smile big when I get those (you know who you are). I appreciate the little things like that. But I also do understand that life is continuing to go on around us even though at this moment it seems to be standing still. Standing still in a sea of loneliness and grief. A baron empty deep sea where the only thing around is a giant wave to swallow you whole, along with the pain and emptiness in your heart.

On a more positive note, on Thursday we held a reggae concert/fundraiser at the Top Hat starring Pato Banton and the Now Generation. Wow was it amazing!!! Nearly 600 people packed into the Top Hat for a reggae concert of a lifetime! It was so much fun getting people together for a good cause and to spread Cashy's story. At one point, and I really bless this girl’s heart because she was so sincere. I went into the bathroom and this girl came out of the stall and I gave her a Cashy wrist band, she asked what it was for and I told her the reason she was at the bar in the first place, Cashy’s story, (she didn't know why she was there, just a free concert) so I told her that my son died of brain cancer and we were throwing a fundraiser. She looked at me with (well a half drunk/half whole heartedly head tilt to the side look) and goes "OMG, my cat died of cancer," I was like "uhh, well my kid died." Awkward moment there. Some people. I told Mike and he says to me, "everybody has dealt with loss babe." That made me smile when he said that, because it’s so true. But the event was so great! The owner of the Top Hat even paid the band more money to keep playing because everyone was having such a good time. If you didn't make it to the concert, well, you missed out on an epic concert! All of daddy's hard work to put this together in the last two weeks had really paid off. I’m so proud of you babe!
The k you to all our sponsors and to everyone who came and helped out. Amanda, nick, Sara and benji and Helen for helping out and running the booth during the show! We truly appreciate it guys! Love you all! I can't wait to see where the foundation will go this year with all your help!
Colty has been adapting to his dirt bike and he's been riding it up Pattee Canyon on the dirt roads. He's really been doing great with it. Although it makes me sooooo nervous! He's a little stud muffin though. Mike’s buddy Dan took him to the moto-cross store and bought him all new gear to wear. Boots, riding pants and shirt and gloves. Dano sure knows how to spoil a kiddo. But Colty deserves it. He's been through more than any 8 year old kid ever has and I'm proud of him.
Well sweet child of mine, I must go. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond and to the depths of my lonely Cashyless soul. I love you sweet boy. Please come to me in a dream (preferably one you’re alive in, please), it's been way too long and I miss seeing your chubby cheeks and your pink lips.

Your momma forever.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Like you knew it was your last kiss.

Cashy, you have been on my mind ALOT lately, well you’re on my mind every minute of the day but lately it seems like every second. You’re there in everything I do, everything your brother and sister do, everything I see, everything I hear. You’re there, around me, reminding me of how empty my heart is without you.

The songs I hear on Pandora or the radio, I think of you, even the new songs that have come out since you passed, I always think, "man, Cashy would love this song." Or I see a little boy with Car shoes on or shirt with a monkey on it, I think of your sweet face and how unfair it is that my little boy isn't here to wear those shoes or to wear that shirt. God knows you loved your shirts with monkeys on them. You went through a little phase where you would only wear the Paul Frank monkey shirts. Preferably your orange one. You loved monkeys. Probably because you were one, hahaha.
When I see little babies that look like little monkeys (as in they have dark hair all over) I think of you. You were so cute as a newborn. You had hairy ears, hairy eye brows, sideburns, and even dark hair on your arms, and you had jet black hair. You were a month early and you had a lot of problems while in my belly. I was rear ended by an old man with his license plate reading "rondo." His name was Ron and he was 81, but a stone cold asshole. I was 27 weeks pregnant and I had just left Target with your brother, we were heading towards the stop light on Mullen and Broadway. There was a lot of construction going on so I stopped at the flashing red light because there were cars coming and there was no way I could get out, I was inching my way out when Rondo came along and smashed into me. He comes up to my window screaming at me, "Why the hell did you stop?", I'm like excuse me it was a red light and I'm yielding to turn. Then he continued to call me fat and that he didn't know I was pregnant. Jerk. Yeah, I was fat, but whatever.
So there began my next ten weeks, of massages (which I wasn't complaining about), chiropractor visits, doctor visits and bed rest. Ugh, it was a long ten weeks but we made it. When you were born you had the cord around your neck and body twice, there was an abruption on my placenta, a super thin cord, but you came out screaming and a whole 5 pounds 5 ounces. We were so thrilled you were healthy and the cutest little monkey baby ever, and my good friend Chelsey got to be my nurse and help deliver you, (thank God we didn't give her a heart attack, with the way your strip looked throughout labor, every contraction was a deep deep heart deceleration, thank God I didn't have to have a c-section).

I had been so nervous while pregnant about being able to love another baby as much as I loved your big brother. Everyone always would tell me that your heart makes room for more love and affection, compassion, and pure joy when another baby comes along. It just happens. The second you were born my heart swelled with love and I knew immediately that you were special and that you would change our lives for the better! And boy did you do that. When you were about a week old, I clearly distinctively remember holding you and looking at you and thinking, man for some awful reason I had a feeling you weren't going to be here forever. Like at that very moment I had this overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom that something bad was going to happen to you. I quickly shrugged it off thinking it was my crazy hormones raging, but the feeling, it always lingered. Now I know why.

A couple weeks ago I had THE most horrible dream about you. Ugh, it hurts my heart to even talk about it. But I will because it’s therapeutic.

So I was in this half sleep/half awake state while daddy got up with brother to get him off to school, daddy let me sleep in because I had to work that night. So in this horrid dream we were all walking/strolling downtown like we were at a Saturday farmer’s market. I was pushing you in your jogging stroller (the one you loved so much, "Cashy’s troller", you called it), and daddy had Sissy in front of the pack and Colten was running along touching everything. We were minding our own business, having a great family outing. I stopped strolling and went in front of the stroller to pick you up and give you a kiss, you were kicked back with your leg over your knee and your arms were tucked back behind your head, a famous Cashy lounging position. I instantly realized you were dead, I touched your feet and they were so cold and your skin was peeling. You were stiff as a board, yet frozen in your kicked back position. I tried to play cool but as I looked around, everyone was staring and whispering and pointing at you. They were like, "geez these people are pushing around their dead kid." I immediately woke up, crying huge years and Mike walks in seeing me crying and was like, "what is wrong?" I told him the dream and he just gave me a big hug. This dream has really stuck with me and has left me even more broken hearted. Stupid tricks the mind of a grieving mother can play. I hate you Brain! P.S., please let me sleep. I am a terrible terrible sleeper. I NEED sleep sooooo bad. Even when I'm home on the nights I'm off work, I sleep terrible, I ease up every hour or so. I have done this even before cancer, although it’s twenty times worse now. Sometimes I think hmmm, maybe an Ambien prescription wouldn't be half bad. Lol.

Some amazing and very heartwarming things have happened lately and I know it's at the hands of you. You’re changing the world Cashy, and that's all I can say right now about it. You’re changing the world buddy.

We've been out keeping busy and having a lot of good times lately, I know you've been with us the whole time as well. I like to keep busy, that way I don't get sucked in the sad deep deep dark hole of being emotional and moping around. If I keep busy, I can stay positive. If I'm idle for even a minute, I turn into an emotional ball of blubberyness about how you’re not here to enjoy the things that we are enjoying. It's not fair.

Colty and Mike went Steelhead fishing last weekend with Aunt Michele and Uncle Craig, they had an awesome time! They caught a bunch of natives and unfortunately had to put them back, but Colty was super excited to catch such a big fish!!!

Colty and I went to Silver Mountain Resort with Brooke, Casey and Skye Pearl this last Friday night, we did the indoor water park, cooked a big birthday dinner for Casey and stayed in this amazing condo. It was a great time, Daddy and sis would of come, but they were both sick. Your poor sis has had three double ear infections in less than 7 weeks. Ugh. She had to get a strong antibiotic shot in both legs over three days, six total shots. Poor Sissy, I had to literally hold her down while they injected the shots all three times. It broke my heart, made me queasy and brought back a whole bunch of terrible memories of me having to hold you down for the million different procedures you had throughout the years. I'm so sorry for that, we thought it was the best thing for you at the time, ugh, as hard as that is to say.

Easter, another painful holiday without you that we can just add to the list. I was negative about Easter, I pretty much think Easter is a lame holiday. So Colten had insisted on staying the night at Mike’s parent’s house (yes, he likes the neighborhood girls), Colten got a brand new dirt bike last week so I figured a stupid Easter toy from China would be ok skip this year. My mom and Mike’s parents got him something anyway. So the bad and terrible Mom that I am, I didn't get either kid an Easter basket. I just wasn't in the mood for it, hell there should be three not just two. So there were none. Colten seemed ok with it. Although he kept texting me from Julie's phone Sunday morning if I had found where the Easter bunny left his basket. Oops. I told him the Easter bunny said “since he got a 600 dollar dirt bike last week that it counted as an Easter present.” Sorry buddy. Lol. Someday soon I’ll be better at all of this, right now I'm a little lost in this world of grief and emotion that I would just rather not do any of it.

So while Colten was at Mike’s parents, Mike, Sissy, Casey and I went on a big hike up the mountain in front of our house. We hiked for almost 3 hours. It was supposed to be just a little walk, but turned into quite the jaunt. I had to work so I didn't even get a nap in. I sure did struggle come 5am at work though, but it was all worth it.

Thanks for a lovely dinner Jim and Julie, we appreciate you guys cooking us up a yummy meal!

Your sweet Sissy is turning one soon!!! Next week on the 9th. I can't believe it's already been a year since she was born, and almost 5 months since you've been gone. You would be so proud of your baby sister, she is such a sweet, gentle baby. A year ago I would never have thought that you would be gone for almost 5 months by the time she turned one. So I was giving her a bath Saturday night and was thinking how much you would have loved to take a bath with her. You would have taught her how to swim on her belly like you always did. I sure miss giving you baths. You loved baths when you were tumor free. You would get in the tub and start making the water flow back and forth as you pretended to swim and you would call for momma to look at you swimming like a big boy. When you had the tumor you hated bathes, and we had to rip your clothes off and throw you in. Sometimes you would quickly switch your demeanor and all of a sudden remember, "oh yeah, I love baths!" I wish I could still give you a bath, I even loved getting in the bath with you as you often demanded.

I will never forget the last bath I gave you. You had been gone for about 10 minutes when we decided we should clean you up and get you ready. I held you by the neck like I bathe the limp newborn babies, I washed you gently, I washed your hair, I wiped your boogers, which I pretended to put the booger back, because that's what you would say every time we wiped your nose, "put it back!!!" Daddy saw me wipe your nose and he said it, it kinda broke the silence and we all laughed with tears in our eyes. No one should ever know how it feels to literally bathe your baby for the last time. Good thing we bathed you then because the cops came shortly after and ruined our whole grieving process as they hung around “the unassisted death.” It still upsets me when I think about that. His death was not unassisted, I am a registered nurse and Mike and I were his primary caregivers. My mom is a registered nurse as well, there is no way you can say it was an unassisted death. He was assisted, we held him while he took his last breath. I have never seen a nurse hold someone while they take their last breath. My mom called out time of death, it was very professional and I'm glad we didn't have extra strangers in our house. Also don't you think if the cops had to come and investigate that they would of at least examined and of even looked at Cash when they arrived. Not one time did they come up and check his pulse or anything. They didn't even look at him until they had been there for 40 minutes or so. Then they made me take out medical records and show them that indeed he had cancer. Then the most horrifying thing was they made me take him back to my bedroom and undress him as they took pictures of his naked lifeless body, they even lifted up his eye lids. My sweet boy who fought a long and hard disease that would make grown men cry like babies, was now being disrespected just like that, it ripped my already broken and empty heart. Then they asked me what the marks on his cheeks were in accusatory tone, like I had burned him with a cigarette or something. Ugh, I'm done talking about that, it literally makes my skin crawl. We hope to have set precedence and maybe something like that won’t happen to another family who chooses to use a natural approach, not death by a slow pharmaceutical poisoning.

Cashy, I'm glad and thankful you went the way you did. You didn't lay in a morphine coma for weeks like all the other children who die daily of cancer. You were up walking, talking and eating Cheerios the day you died. I'm so thankful you didn't pass in the night with us beside you. If I would have woken up to find you dead, I don't know what would have happened. I’d probably be locked up at Warm Springs. I'm thankful everyday for those last moments with you, the giant kiss on my lips you gave me before you passed, I'll never forget how dry those big lips were. You were so stubborn about putting on Chap-Stick, but you just reached up and kissed me, like you knew it was your last kiss. I'm thankful I got it. That was the last coherent thing you did. Daddy got to hold you as you passed and I got your last big kiss, thank you for that. Oh man I miss you. It definitely doesn't get easier. Each day I think I get numb to the pain.

The other night at work I walked in a patients room to find her sound asleep with the movie Cars playing in the background. Man I wasn't ready for that. That was your all time favorite movie. The second I saw it playing, all sorts of emotions came pouring out of me and I instantly had to run out with tears in my eyes. Thank God she was asleep. She would have thought I was crazy! Lol.

Colty has been enjoying his new school, he loves his new teacher and seems to be happy with the switch. He came home from school the other day upset because a older kid had pushed him down and told him (I hate even repeating this) that his brother deserved to die, I want to peel that kids eye lids off just for even saying that. If I ever see him out and about he will get my two cents! So I had to go to the principal’s office and talked to him about it. He said he was going I take care of it. Rotten little asshole kids, I swear. I hate bullies!!! If you were ever a bully (and I can think of a few from my past) you should be ashamed of yourself and look up those people you bullied and seriously give them a sincere apology for hurting them. When a bully picks on you it sticks with you forever. I remember when I was in the 6th grade this big giant fat kid came up to me and called me "Cowie Moocarthy" (my maiden name is McCarthy) I wasn't even fat or chubby. But it stuck with me forever. So for your good deed of the week, look up someone you bullied and tell them how deeply sorry you were for that. It will make their day and I guarantee they haven't forgotten what you did to them!

So every night I work I get asked that dreaded question, "So, how many kids do you have?" I swear at least two of my patients will ask me that a night. It’s rather depressing always having to tell people your son died of brain cancer. I need to come up with a better response, because when I say my middle son passed away from brain cancer it makes an awkward silence and makes me nervous. I don't think people know what to say. They are in the height of their glory with their new baby and this nurse comes in talking of her dead kid, well not a very feel good moment right there. Oh well, I will talk about you even when I'm 80 years old and senile! I'll probably be one of those crazy old ladies in a nursing home carrying a baby doll around looking and yelling for her son. I can see it now. I had one PTS mother last week as I walked into the room go, "are you Cashy Hyde's mom?" Lol, I laughed, yep that's me! My PT told me when her mom left she said she felt like she was hanging with a celebrity. That literally made me laugh! Thanks Cashy for the smile!

Well Cashy I must call it a night. I hope you know how much I love and miss you.

This Thursday we are coming to Salt Lake to see you. It's been way too long. I only wish your headstone was ready to see. Next time. I look forward to sitting and talking to you buddy. But I know even though I'm not there now, you’re around me, you hear me, you see me, you feel me. I know you are with us. Protect us on our drive sweet boy. I can't wait to visit. I hope you’re happy and playing and having a great time with all your friends up there. Juju, Kiwi, Dawson, Ronan....I know you’re up there playing with all the cool kids! Keep em’ out of trouble!! ;) love you to infinity and beyond buddy. Miss you my little monkey man.


Cashy fans, I added a photo of food marketing translation, so when you’re shopping you’ll know to avoid these phrases on your food.

Know that anything in a box is bad, it usually has preservatives, and anything that say natural flavor is also known as MSG. Educate yourselves to better yourselves and your family!

This is where cancer comes from so if you’re educated on what garbage not to buy, we'll you’re on your way to healthier and better living! ;)