Making the Bed

This piece was originally posted by Kristy Westrom on the CaringBridge page for her son, Liam, who was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2018.

I made the bed today. Not just straightening the duvet and throwing the pillows on the bed, but fully and purposefully placing the decorative pillows and throw on the bed. I haven't fully made the bed since before Liam was diagnosed. This might not seem like much, but I'm calling this a milestone.

Liam stayed home from school yesterday. He caught a little cold and was stuffed up on Monday during his infusion and a little bit on Tuesday. Making the call to keep him home when he doesn't feel well is hard, especially since he's missed so much already. His little body is going through so much and I want to make sure he recovers after intense chemo days. We mentioned the cold to his team on Monday, and they assured us that since his ANC is not extremely low, he should recover from this cold normally.

He's amazing, by the way. One of the (many) side effects of his treatment can include cognitive delays. This one gives me so much anxiety. He is so incredibly intelligent. What if he is one of the many kids affected cognitively? What if we start to see his abilities regress? The other night he was asking me and Stan math questions. He wouldn't let me record him saying it, but I'm going to try my best to quote him.

"There are 5 cows. Each of them has 60 spots. If you take 10 spots off of each of them. How many spots would there be?"

His explanation:
"Well, I know if I have 60 5 times, that's 300. If I take 10 away from each cow, that would be 250."

Five. Years. Old. This was all thought out verbally. After his explanation, I cried. And cried. And cried. He's not regressing, he's progressing. It is so hard to encourage him to be mindful of the activities he chooses to do, especially when the TV and iPad are so easy to say yes to. I'm so exhausted every day, but I know the efforts are not being made in vain. I know we still have so many more years of his treatment, but little moments like this give me hope.

Liam doesn't have school the next few days, so we are going to take it easy during this long weekend. I might even make my bed again tomorrow.

Written by Kristy Westrom
Kristy is a former teacher and mom to two children, Liam and Isla. Liam was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in May 2018. Kristy and her husband, Stan, live in Chaska, Minnesota. They look forward to intense treatments slowing down for Liam so they can resume family activities, like going up to the cabin. Read more about Liam’s story here.