Craig’s 5th Birthday…

in Hospital & on Chemotherapy

Psalm 21:6 “Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.”

Unending blessings indeed! God has been so good to our family and especially our son Craig, even in the midst of Chemotherapy and hospitalisations.  Spending Craig’s 5th Birthday in hospital on Chemo therapy – I definitely didn’t think I’d ever utter those words, five years ago when he was born, four years ago when he was pushing his little walker on his first birthday or even last year on his fourth birthday when he celebrated his birthday for the first time at school with all his new friends.

While on chemo he is usually very moody, this includes tantrums, silent treatment, a food strike and more… this week however, knowing his scheduled chemo and hospital stay would coincide with Craig’s 5th birthday, we prayed he would have a good week. Prayed and trusted God that he’d at the very least have a good day on his birthday and that he’d eat, something, anything, while in hospital. The admission day and day one of chemo started well, he played with playdough and decorated some bunny biscuits with icing, sprinkles and the tiniest marshmallows I’ve ever seen, he even ate well and therefore didn’t need the feeding tube inserted. I thought, good shot, enjoy the probably only good day since the side effects of the chemo hasn’t kicked in just yet. I prepared myself for it to go down from there as per usual, but still had faith that maybe just maybe he’d have another good day. Day two brought on more smiles and laughs, watching cartoon series on my phone and low and behold he continued eating, and snacking all day! What a blessing I thought, this is the best! With day three upon us and half way through his treatment, I kept on encouraging him to eat, promising that if he kept it up they wouldn’t put that nasty tube up his nose and down into his stomach, this kept him motivated to eat regularly and the doctors were happy to forego the tube if it continued. Day four came, it’s his birthday! I can’t believe my guy is 5 whole years old! I had baked cupcakes the night before, we decided to keep Caleb home from school and Jonathan arranged to go in to the office a little later which allowed me to go get some birthday spoils to take along to the hospital, and the added surprise of big brother Caleb joining for a visit was bound to put a smile on the birthday boy’s face! We got some balloons and Caleb got him a birthday card, and of course I had about 30 Goofy cupcakes in tow too. Because it was Craig’s birthday the nursing staff gave us special permission to have his brothers visit in the ward, it was such a treat on its own we were thrilled! Usually children under the age of 14 are not allowed to visit the patients for they are high risk for germs. Caleb stayed about an hour and then he and Jonathan left (Jonathan went to work but dropped Caleb off at home with my mom, on the way), we had arranged with my mom to come for an early and extended visit bringing Caleb and Joel along at around 3pm and to stay for the day till after evening visiting hours when all the rest of the family would come and Craig would be allowed to go out to visit in the visiting area outside the ward. If, however Joel got restless then mom would leave with him and return again with Jonathan later the evening.

Errol and Arlene came to visit around 1pm and even though it’s usually not allowed (as visiting hours are from 3pm-4pm and 7pm-8pm) because it was his birthday, the staff allowed it, which Craig loved! He even got his Chomp chocolate that he had asked for and a surprise gift too!

A little while later the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association came to sing to him, brought a chocolate cake and a gift, and their photographer came afterward to take a picture of the birthday boy too!

My mom, Caleb and Joel came to visit just after 3pm as arranged, they played with him at his bedside with the cars, trucks and trains, they thoroughly enjoyed it! Thankfully Joel was on his absolute best behaviour (another prayer answered) for his brother’s special sibling visit at the hospital – which was his favourite part of the day! The day was going absolutely perfectly and could only have been because God was in control of everything! From Craig’s good mood, his appetite, the brothers being allowed to visit and Joel’s impressively good behaviour in the ward – I was so dreading having to be told that he’s being too disruptive and asked for him to leave.

And to great day just continued… The evening visiting hour from 7pm to 8pm we were joined by more family and this time, Craig’s chemo has been completed for the day and so he was allowed to take the mobile drip stand with his saline drip out to the visiting area so he could visit with everyone. He thoroughly enjoyed all the attention, and who knew that 3 little balloons on a string and little wrapped stone weight, could be so much fun! Best money spent! Craig’s great aunt had contacted me earlier in the day and wanted to buy him a Paw Patrol plushie, enquiring which one he’d like to have, I asked him which one his favourite character was, expecting him to say Marshal, he instead said it was Skye, I responded “You know Skye is the pink girl one right?” he said “Yes and she’s flies a helicopter and I want to fly a helicopter one day!” I then asked him if he could choose one Paw Patrol toy which would he want and showed him a picture of all of them together, he immediately said, “Skye!” and so Skye is who he got! And that evening in the waiting room when he opened his gift, he was ecstatic! Go figure he’d want the “girl” toy, although I believe that girls and born girls and boys are boys, I also never stopped my boys from playing with dolls which always happens when they’re with girl cousins and friends, we’ve never made them think that pink is only for girls and blue for boys. Girls can be helicopter pilots as much as boys can be pastry chefs or nurses, and if my boy wants a girl character from his favorite TV show because she is a helicopter pilot and that’s what he wants to be, then good for him!

Craig had such an awesome birthday, even while in hospital receiving chemotherapy treatment – and for anyone who has gone through chemo or knows someone who has you’ll know that that, for him to be in such a good mood and eating so well on day four out of a five-day chemo course, is a MIRACLE! Thanks to our heavenly Father for blessing our boy with such a good birthday! We continually praise and thank God for the many blessings and strength especially in this season of our lives, and trust that God will continue to see us through the rest of this journey and onwards.

Psalm 21: 1 – 6

“The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

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