Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Camp Chemo Day 1

And, just like that...we're back.

Life at home was nice.
We rode bikes. We played. We hung out.

You know, six weeks ago we came to the hospital for the first time. Six weeks ago, this was a totally foreign place. Everything was new and uncomfortable. Our walls were bare. We had no idea what to expect. We didn't know how to handle things. We didn't know what to do. Sam was a wreck. He hated every minute of it. He hated his pole. He hated walking around. He hated every nurse and doctor and whatever-medical-professional who walked in the door.

And so did I.

Six weeks ago, walking into the synagogue felt like walking into home.
When I went there on felt odd. Strange. Foreign.

Today when we walked into the hospital...I wouldn't say it felt like home, but it felt...comfortable. We knew what to expect. We were prepared. We brought posters and tape and scissors and comfy clothes and snacks. Sam knows everyone around us (except the new residents, but we will figure them out soon enough), and he bounded into the hospital, raring to go. Okay, maybe not raring. But definitely not kicking and screaming. There hasn't been a poke or a pain. It was a little like a homecoming.

Let me backtrack a little....the last few days at home have not been quite as much fun as we'd hoped. Sam ended up with a spinal headache from the lumbar puncture last Friday. Sunday and Monday were mostly spent laying down. We had hoped to visit David at camp, but we didn't. So instead, this morning, we made a little detour and headed up to camp before our hospital admission. One little hour of brotherly love before the incarceration admission.

What's a trip to camp without a ride on a golf cart!?
Worth every extra minute of driving, I tell you.

This is the way it works...we start in the clinic and then we wait....
 And wait...

Until finally....we got our room.
With a view!
Not only does our new room have a lovely view, but it has a better DVD player with a REMOTE (yay) and just a nicer layout.
Yes, that is a picture of Sam above with his new pole, named Skinny. You might recall that he hated the pole last time. Wouldn't go anywhere with it....complained about it all the time...wouldn't name it. This time...acceptance. I wouldn't call it love, but it is unbelievable to me how differently he is handling every single aspect of this experience.

Fish sticks for dinner (shaped like sharks...except for two that were shaped like dolphins, Sam said. He made me photograph the offensively shaped sticks in order to document for a complaint to food service about it. Seriously.)

We were warned that chemo is compounding. That means that the side effects can get worse with round 2. Lucky us. Poor Sammy did not keep all those oddly shaped fish sticks in his tummy for long. But thanks to a little Zofran, all was well again soon. Back to playing with his Hexbugs (how cool are those things - see first picture) and a remote control car.

Waiting for the Zofran to kick in
Sam volunteered to walk around the floor with his pole to he could drive the car. That was an amazing moment for me, since in our first round, he didn't want to go anywhere...I had to beg and plead and cajole. I know it's only day 1, but I am hopeful that at least some aspects of this stay will be easier than the last.

And so begins our second round of chemo...back in the hospital for another month-long stay. The lifeline of texts and emails and letters and packages and prayers and LOVE stretches from all of you to our little room in Wisconsin...and we thank you.

I read a quote today:

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family; whatever you call it, whoever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." ~ Jane Howard (anyone know who she is?)

We need it, and we have it.

Thank you for being our clan, our network, our tribe....our family.


In other news, people have asked to see this:
 Why yes, that IS a letter from the President of the United States. Sam now believes that this makes him famous. Thanks, Mr. President, you sure made a little guy VERY happy.

And in other famous news, welcome to readers of the ThinkGeek blog, who gave us a shout-out on Monday. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful community around the whole world!

Same address, new room number:
Sam Sommer, E571 E582
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 1997
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1997


  1. I'm glad his readmission went smoothly. I was worried it was going to be really hard on him. I have a little something to send, so it will be coming soon! Thinking of the Sommers, as always. :)

  2. A politically correct letter from the president AND ichthyologically incorrect fish sticks -- what a day! And what a trooper Sam is.

    Best thoughts that this round will go smoothly.

  3. Sam, I am really impressed that the President wrote to you!! Wow!! I hope today is a good day. Work hard at staying strong, Superman Sam!

  4. You guys are doing great in a tough situation. Pragmatic, no choice, make the best. G-d willing the chemo will do its job, and he'll regain good health.

  5. I figured I'd wait to send my photo until you had a new room. It's on it's way tomorrow. Did you have to take down all your photos? I'm so glad Sam's spirits are up. And seriously, he is kind if famous. What a great kid.

  6. I'd say the post on ThinkGeek makes him more famous than the letter from Obama does, but they are both quite impressive! Love to you ALL!