friends, thanks so much for all of your love and support.yesterday diego’s biopsy results revealed that he has a wilms tumor, a rare but highly treatable childhood cancer. it is stage 3, which means that the doctors were not able to remove the tumor safely in surgery. they will treat with 6 weeks of chemo and then go in to remove the again, follow with radiation and more chemotherapy. studies state that even at stage 3, the survival rate is 90% after 4 years. additional scans have revealed that the cancer has not spread. so, under the circumstances we are happy with the diagnosis. but, we will have a tough road ahead. please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. thanks to everyone local who has offered support. we will need it, just give us some time to process this news. additionally, please keep it positive especially when speaking with your kids about diego. we do not want fear or sadness to be part of the equation. diego will be rocking a new buzz cut soon to transition to being hair free. after treatment, it will grow back. if you would like more detailed updates i will put you on a list or give you a link to his blog. hugs, ~maja
It’s nearly nine o’clock on a Sunday night in the Pediatrics Ward of Kaiser Oakland hospital and listening to the vintage folk sounds of Nick Drake while Diego sleeps. We have some really tough times ahead.I’m seated right at the window watching the cars go by at Broadway and MacArthur waiting for my work files to do a backup. I still have deadlines, and I’m worried my computer will die. Life seems suspended, but it has to go on. I can’t say I was fully prepared for this– but a health scare last fall made me dig deep to consider how I would handle every parent’s nightmare. A zen-ike epiphany came to me during that time is serving me well tonight– Essentially that we never really know how long we have with our loved ones, so we should cherish every moment as a gift. Because this kind of love, especially the love between a parent and child is like no other. I love being a mother. I’ve always had perhaps too much love to give, and have found my capacity to love more of a liability. As a mother I truly, truly understand its power to heal and help my children grow. And now I understand that my love is a gift to all those willing to accept it, but especially my children. In the weeks leading up to his diagnosis, Diego asked me to lay down at bedtime we looked into each other’s eyes. He couldn’t get close enough to me. I was his solace, his comfort, his safe house. I thought he might have anxiety over the move, but clearly could have been something else. Those moments made me think of the end of the Kubrik/Speilberg film AI/Artificial Intelligence, the final scene the mother was brought back to life just for a day so she could bathe and care for the boy-droid to fulfill him. It was actually a very beautiful and tender moment in the film. I do dread that this thought might somehow a premonition of what is to come, that Diego’s life will be so short, but it gives me perspective. I’m cherishing every moment I have with him now in this hospital. I am here to comfort him and love him with every cell of my being. And hopefully the power of my love will help heal him. But, if not, what an incredible gift we have had just to know each other for this short time. Somehow, all these things give me strength. My love is one of the most powerful forces at work, my gift to him. I do feel that he will pull through, and we will all become richer for the experience. My gut tells me this. My love for him has empowered me and given me strength I did not know I had. I feel strong, and ready to do battle with this disease. Tomorrow is Diego’s surgery. They will remove the tumor and his kidney, and later this week we will get results from the biopsy. They will be putting a line in for chemotherapy. It seems we are rooting for a “good”, treatable cancer over a “bad” untreatable one. There is no benign option here. Here we go….
Sunset from Kaiser Oakland Hospital Room 1006
The best thing about Diego’s hospital stay at Kaiser is the view. San Francsico and Oakland skylines, the bay and 2 bridges, and best of all– the construction site for the new hospital across the street!
A few snapshots from a really great day I had with the boys out on the ferry in early April. Just a visual reminder for me of our goal, to get back to those happy times.