We’ve had a whirlwind of fun in our family this week.
First, an exciting (albeit frigid) trip to Toronto to cheer on 13-year-old Campbell and her hockey team as they competed in the International Silver Stick Tournament. We enjoyed the hockey hall of fame, ate poutine, fell in love with Tim Horton’s, visited Niagara Falls, and did each step in the warm embrace of our hockey family. Oh, and we watched hockey. We cheered with every ounce of our soul. As parents, I argue that we experience more stress watching than the girls do playing hockey – although I’m sure they burn more calories. We want so badly for each of them to succeed, to be proud, to win. I swear I have a new heart condition from being a competitive hockey parent. Which is competitive, the hockey or the parent? I’ll let you decide.
The day after our return (Tuesday), Cooper, Velocity and I made the trek to Fort Collins, visiting Colorado State University’s chapter of Canine of Companions, Collar Scholars. Collar Scholars are CSU students who raise and train puppies for Canine Companions. It was Cooper and I’s first time visiting a Collar Scholars meeting, but guess what? Velocity was raised at CSU, so this was a return to her alma mater. She was a rock star, on her best behavior. I shared our journey – Cooper’s rare disease, his surgeries, appointments, infusions, struggles, and why he qualifies for a service dog. Cooper spoke to a room full of college students as if he had been practicing for it for years. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with both the people and the puppies.
I guess we could say it’s Cooper’s first college visit? Check it out:
Wednesday afternoon, Cooper and I visited DJs Slacker and Steve at Alice 105.9, to participate in the Alice Cares for Kids Radiothon benefiting Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Coop and I had met with them previously via Zoom, sharing our entire story. An audio montage was created from the Zoom call. I had the opportunity to listen to the montage prior to Wednesday’s visit, and I’m glad I did. I cried big, gut-wrenching sobs. Every time I share our story, it’s like picking at a scab. Remembering all of the appointments, the heartbreak, the fear and the diagnosis digs deep into the past, into my heart, into my head. Hearing our montage, the scab came off – way before it was healed. (It’ll never heal.) So Wednesday night we visited for the on-air interview. Prior to the interview, they played the montage. I’ll let you listen. It was a really fun and special event.
Montage of our journey:
ps. I’m sorry Cooper said he doesn’t think the Avalanche will win the Cup this year. I just hope we aren’t run out of town for his comments. LOL
So, as you can imagine, I’m a bit drained. The week has had intense emotional swings that have taken a t toll. I occasionally nap during the day. I’m exercising, drinking water and making sure I fuel my body appropriately. I am held tight by those who lift me up, but my soul is tired.
My task is not complete. My task will never be complete. Our journey won’t be hidden, forgotten or swept under the rug as “a bummer”. I share our journey to educate, to teach empathy, to embrace others with a similar path.
The last day of February is Rare Disease Day. I’ll participate in Zoom calls with our legislators and share our story again. I’ll ask for legislation that will help people with rare diseases. We’ll “celebrate” it at Cooper’s school and raise awareness there. I’ll draw energy from the excitement and then crash. And then do it all again (while cheering on Campbell, because I’m her mama too.)