Thank You – An Early Win and Moving into Treatment

Abby and I want to thank all of you for your support.  Every one of your emails, texts, phone calls, hugs and visits this week provided the inspiration we needed to get through a very difficult week. It’s incredibly humbling to receive so many offers of help.  Thank you all and please know that we will take each and every one of you up on it. Although we don’t know exactly what’s in store for us, it is very comforting to know that we can pull from all of you.  Thank you.  As a family we’re finding our resolve and gearing up for this marathon battle.  It’s only made possible knowing that you’re all there. Thank you and please forgive our slowness to respond to your outpouring of kindness as things are happening so quickly in preparation for Abby’s first Chemotherapy treatment today.

Your focused prayers and positive thinking helped this week and we want to share an early win.  As many of you know, our first ask for Abby is that any remaining cancer be localized to the positive margins from her surgery without spreading to other parts of her body.  It’s too early to call this a victory but early indications are that Abby’s bone marrow is clean.  While only cautiously optimistic at this early stage, having cancer-free bones is a great place to start.

Keep your prayers coming. As we move into treatment, we want Abby’s Chemotherapy to be effective against the cancer while being as gentle as possible on her body.  When we have our next CT scan in April, we want to see signs that Abby’s treatments are working and any remaining cancer continues to be localized and shrinking.  Please join us and focus your prayers there.

In addition to prayers, many of you have asked how you can help. We should know a lot more about meals and nutrition, the kids’ routine, in-hospital treatment schedules for visiting, etc. this week.  We will definitely take you up on your offers.  Please be patient.  In the interim, here are some things to be thinking about.

For Abby:  

  • She needs to be strong today as she starts treatment (1 day/night) – send her inspiration today
  • Text or e-mail her a selfie picture of you and your families to wish her well…blow her a kiss, be silly, make an intimidating face and write a message to her cancer telling it to take a hike – Be positive, have fun with it and make her smile!
  • If you’d like to visit today, please call or text me (206) 718-5872. There will be lots of time in the hospital this year and this may not be the best one as it’s her first experience, but I’ll be happy to ask her if she’s up for it. Please don’t be offended if she takes a rain check.

For Jaren and Miri:

  • We are looking for an afterschool nanny (3:30-8:30pm) on weekdays. E-mail me if you know someone with a car that would be a good fit for our family
  • We met with a Child Life Specialist this week and will talk with Jaren and Miri this evening, here are some early notes on what we’re sharing and how you can create a loving environment for them
  • Biggest thing is consistency of routines and discipline – we will document all this to make it easier for many of you who will spend time with them
  • In communicating with the kids, our job is to help them find answers
  • We will use the word “cancer” as opposed to words like “sick” to avoid generalization
  • Explain that every part of our body has a job, and part of her doesn’t work very well right now
  • Cancer is not contagious or something that was caused by anyone (anyone’s fault)
  • Mommy will take medicine to fight cancer, but it can make mommy tired and some parts of her body, like her hair could change.
  • Mommy is still mommy
  • It’s okay to feel scared sometimes
  • Everyone’s cancer is different.  You might reference someone in your family that is a survivor.  This is our goal for Mommy.
  • Be prepared for questions anytime. If you are uncomfortable, good ways to respond could be “What makes you say that?” to address their underlying feelings or simply “I don’t know the answer, but we should find out.”
  • We will share more documents with Jaren and Miri’s teachers – if you want them, e-mail me.

For Justin:

  • Sports (skiing, slower-than-usual bike ride, paddleboard, hikes, tennis or watching them) are a welcome distraction.
  • Music (playing or listening) feels really good right now

Calvo House:

  • While the doctors treat Abby’s cancer, keeping Abby healthy is our top priority
  • Purell hand sanitizer when you come into the house everytime
  • Low immune system diet (similar to pregnancy diet + high iron) – e-mail me if you want specifics
  • If you are sick – or think you are coming down with something – please don’t be offended if we ask to find another time to visit.

Hug your loved ones and take care of yourselves.  We’ll send out another update later this week after treatment.  Thank you for all of your support.

Love and healing,

Justin, Abby, Jaren and Miri

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