Hi everyone! It has been about 5 months since my last blog post, when I sewed costumes for Jet’s 7th birthday party. That was right about the time when symptoms of Wes’ cancer began. As most of our readers know, in February, my youngest child (at age 15 months) was diagnosed with stage IV, high-risk, neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system. Our lives changed forever. I have a new blog now- the kind you never wanted to have- that chronicles our family’s fight for Wes’ cure. You are welcome to join us on http://www.caringbridge.org. Just log in and search for Wes Chang.
I don’t want to get into the horror, the hardship, the grief, the joy, the crazy emotional rollercoaster that comes with having a child go through cancer. Its something I would not wish on my worst enemy. But somehow, many blesssings have home out of it, and I have a renewed sense of purpose, and new perspective on life’s importances.
To tell you the truth, I have been avoiding this space. Writing my posts on caringbridge (along with living our new normal) takes a lot out of me. Its just so emotional that it exhausts me. Actually, even here in the past, blogging did not come easily for me. I am extremely self-critical and perfectionistic. I sew slowly, and I write slowly. And now, I simply do not have time for any of it. I still crave sewing. I miss it. I yearn for it. But my priorties have shifted, and the sense of satisfaction I get from crafting a wearable garment, is replaced by taking the best care of Wes that I possibly can. Add NURSE to my resume, because I’m pretty sure I’ve earned my degree!
To catch you up to date quickly, Wes has undergone 5 rounds of intense chemotherepy since his diagnosis. He had tumors (or “lesions”) in several places in his head, also in his lungs, and, signature of neuroblastoma, a primary tumor on his right adrenal gland (which sits above the kidney). His bone marrow was also infected by the disease. After just two rounds of chemo, the visible tumors on his head and face were diminishing, and bone marrow biopsy was clean. Wes just underwent scans after round 5, and the only remaining visible disease is the primary tumor (1/3 of its original size)! It will be surgically removed on Wednesday.
His progress has been amazing! His expert oncologist actually used those words. Wes has stayed extremely healthy through this process, and we have been living at home as normal most of this time. I can assure you that this is not the norm for kids with neuroblastoma and other devestating cancers. He is making this look easy. But it is not. The stress, the worry, the time it takes, and the toll it takes on the family dynamic, is extraordinary. Please understand, that if this could happen to our family, it can happen to yours. Please support the research, support the families, the events, the races, the blood drives. I never thought we’d be the recipients of so much kindness and generosity. I never thought we would need to be. We are humbled indeed.
I’d like to thank my sister, and co-blogger, Erin, for all that she has done to help our family. Thank God we live in the same town! She has had to swoop in a ton to help with Jet and Avery, but has also managed all the wonderful friends who have wanted to help. She (and the rest of our extended family) has also dealt with a lot of emotions when learning the devastating news about Wes. Our mom was still in treatment for her own recurred cancer. But, Erin had to be my liaison to the people. All of the calls and emails went through her. I simply could not talk to people. She organized a donation website that just exploded with funds to help us financially. It’s been a long road, and we are only at about the half-way point with Wes’ treatment, but we are in a much better place now with Wes doing so well!. Lucky doesn’t even cover it!
So, this summer has been a nice change of pace. Not having to get up early to send the big kids off to school has been a sweet relief. I found ourselves having a slow week recently, and was able to dust of my sewing machine. An email came from Dana of Made, asking us to test her First Day Dress pattern. How exciting to have an assignment from an industry big-wig that we have worshiped since the beginning of time! Erin and I both jumped at the opportunity!
I chose to sew the simple A-line option for Avery.
Excuse the ‘tude.
And the pool hair.
I chose the 5T size for my solid 4.5 year old, Avery. The fit is perfect!
I took Dana’s suggestion and used a home-dec fabric. How cute are these chickens?? The fabric, called Barnyard Dance Speckel,by P Kaufmann, was at our local U-fab store, which also sells online. It is a lovely weight for this project. Plus, you get 10 extra inches on these bolts. I have plenty for another project! Even with the cotton sheeting I used as a lining, it is super soft and drape-y. Another bonus is that this fabric is stain resistant. It will totally hold up in the fall when we throw on a cardi and some leggings.
Hopefully you saw Erin’s version last week! She made a peplum convert out of me! There are so many adorable options to choose from in Dana’s pattern.
Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like a chance to win a copy of this PDF pattern! Giveaway will close Thursday July 17 at 8:00 pm.
Even if you are not interested in the giveaway, we invite your comments! I know this post is major heavy. Erin and I want to extend our gratitude to our devoted readers, and blogger friends, who always “like” us on instagram and continue to show your support for #hungiegungie and #teamwes. We love you! I hope to not be a stranger for too long!
Lots of love,