Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Camp Sol - The Beginning

The other day as I was cleaning out the notepad on my iPad, I ran across my notes from our very first visit to Camp Sol in 2012. It was almost one year after Caleb died when we went for the very first time. I went back through the blog and realized that I never posted these notes. I find it fitting that I found the notes just before we are ready to head to our fourth year of Camp.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

We're finishing up day 3 of our first bereavement camp at Camp Sol in Meridian, TX. It's been a very emotional, yet fun experience. We've gotten to know many new families on a closer level who are at various stages of the bereavement process -- some as short as 4 months, others more than 10 years.

Like us, these people have all lost at least one child and are reaching out to find ways to cope with the loss. It's a group we never wanted to belong to, yet are honored to be part of. We can share things that most people will never really understand. Thanks to some of the "regulars" at camp, we have some ideas of things to expect from Caden as he continues to grow and learn more about what it means to have lost his brother.

We've been reacquainted with several of the staff from our time at Children's, including our wonderful Child Life Specialist, Jennifer, whom Caden absolutely adores now. I got to speak at length with Dr. Winick, who was the oncologist who initially told us about the seriousness of the tumor. And Caleb's music therapist, Lisa, is here as well. She was surprised to find that we still have the CD she made for Caleb during that last week.

Facebook Post: I'm finally able to breathe somewhat normally again. Been a long and emotional day at camp. Got to spend some great time with one of our oncologists from last year. Didn't mean to make her cry, but it still happened when we gave her one of Caleb's BEFORE pictures. Have made a lot of new friends who understand all too well the road we're currently traveling. So comforting to know we are not alone.

I did have a couple little concerns coming to camp this weekend. First, of course, was my health. I'd been at the Urgent Care center twice last week with a severe case of asthmatic bronchitis and wasn't sure I'd even get to come to camp. Caden has also been a bit "off" this weekend. Constantly hungry, yet not really eating anything and complaining off and on that his stomach hurts. Has never run any fever, still playing normally, so we came.

Early Saturday morning around 2:30 a.m., Caden started coughing and then we heard that sound we don't like to hear -- vomiting. Oh, great. NOT! We get him cleaned up & back to bed. I was awake for the rest of the night worrying that we'd be sent home from camp. When Caden got up, he seemed totally fine. I got to thinking that it was just sinus drainage that caused him to vomit.

We had several activities scheduled through the day. Since it was raining, our fishing activity was changed to an indoor stargazing program. Caden fell asleep during it. Not normal for him to fall asleep at 10am. I chalked it up to his waking during the night & not getting enough sleep. He still wasn't eating like normal. During our afternoon craft session, he fell asleep again. Richard woke him up just before dinner to get him to go to the bathroom. Caden got so upset that he threw up again. Then, he wouldn't eat a cheeseburger (his favorite food) for dinner. So, I decided we needed to have him checked out. We had Dr. Winick take a look at him. When we tried to take his temperature under his arm, he started screaming, kicking, fighting & yelling, "It's not going to happen!" You would have thought we were torturing him. Temp was normal, so we gave him some Tylenol and sent him off to play with Dr. Winick's blessing.

We left camp Sunday at lunch & Caden slept the entire way home. We got home, unpacked and started getting ready to go to Life Team. I put Caden in the tub and went to put something in the bedroom. When I walked back in the bathroom he says, "Mommy, I threw up in the tub." Now I'm really starting to freak out. This is 4 days in a row that he's thrown up at least once. It took all I had in me to keep from taking him to the ER, but he still wasn't running any fever. I barely slept that night. I kept going over all the things that could be wrong & how similar the symptoms were to Caleb just prior to diagnosis. I was totally freaking out.

Monday, March 12, 2012
Facebook Post: In need of some prayers this morning -- Caden has been a bit "off" for the past week or so and some of the things I'm seeing are reminding me of early things we saw before Caleb's diagnosis. I'm trying really hard not to freak out, but not succeeding well. I have him scheduled for a 10am doctor appt this morning. Please pray all is well with Caden's health and that I am able to calm down. Thanks!
I called the pediatrician as soon as they opened and explained what was going on. They got us in that morning. As I walked in the office, I was already crying & so scared of what was going on. I told them I couldn't go through all this again.

When they took us back to the room, I was still crying. Caden's acting fine - no fever, nothing. I explained his symptoms & the nurse says, "Let's check him for strep." So we did. When Dr. Paruolo (best pediatrician in the history of ever!) came in, he confirmed that Caden had strep. Strep is easy to handle & a simple antibiotic. I started crying again, but this time it was happy tears. The relief was palpable.
Facebook Post: I never thought I'd ever be happy to say that my child has strep as much as I am right now. Considering all the things running thru my head, strep is a welcome diagnosis. Thanks for the prayers!!!
Well, after I got home, I realized that he probably had strep the entire weekend we were at Camp. So, I got in contact with the folks from Camp Sol and let them know so if any other kids developed strep, they'd know where it came from.

All in all, our first experience with Camp Sol has been a good one. I think next year we may attend the October camp because this one was so very cold and rainy the entire weekend. And, I bet the camp will look wonderful with fall colors starting.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.

Angel, Richard & Caden

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