Angelica’s Month 20 Update….

I’m downstairs hiding in my bedroom. Well, I guess that it can’t really be considered hiding because more than half of my family knows where I am but for this ONE MOMENT….no one is hanging off of me or asking me to do anything and aside from the muffled bangs and stomps of little feet up on the main floor….it’s fairly quiet.

It’s also freezing cold down here but that’s another story. I’m ever so grateful for that cold in the summer. And seeing as I’d LOVE for it snow and for us to actually have a WINTER…I really shouldn’t complain if my basement bedroom is a little on the chilly side. I think I just need to put on my parka and make myself a pair of fingerless gloves…..sounds good – I’ll get right on it….in all my spare time. HA HA HA!

Things in the Culley house are going well. I have almost ZERO personal time, BUT…..

Things feel peaceful. We are slowly finding our rhythm and after this last chaotic season of life that we’ve been through…..finding that rhythm again is bliss.

I thought that I’d post a quick update about how Angelica’s doing….

Geli is holding steady. I’d say that compared to a normal teenager, physically she is capable of about 40-50% activity wise, strength wise, stamina wise… She is still finding it difficult to walk and is still hobbling around like an old woman a fair amount of the time, but for the most part her spirits are good. She recently attempted to ride her bike and while she made it from our house to the high school, “the hill” up to the stores proved to be too much for her. I’m just thrilled that she’s interested in trying to do “normal” things. We were told that she would start to stabilize and normalize after about 6 months on Maintenance and well….I hope that we are seeing things start to get better and moving towards a more normal life.

Her hair is growing in and it’s so curly….


….we keep dying it blond. I think she looks adorable with it….she sometimes gets frustrated with the curls, but I think it’s just because sometimes they stick out at the ends and she’s never learned how to “do” curly hair because….well…..she’s never had to…or never had the opportunity to…..regardless…she looks so cute and it’s so nice to see her with hair.

She did have a rough moment last week. Jon and I were getting ready for bed one night and Geli came down stairs to talk to us. She was crying and couldn’t sleep. Sleep is one thing that is SO IMPORTANT! And when it’s elusive… makes life that much more difficult. She is taking daily chemo and basically her body is fighting to repair and heal itself non-stop. All her energy is going into healing and so she doesn’t have a lot of extra energy for much of anything else…. Sleep is one time when it requires no energy to heal nd without sleep…she is so depleted, both physically and mentally. Anyway, She came downstairs and she was sobbing and sobbing; and I held her and asked what was bothering her…was she sick, was she in pain….what was the problem. She just kept repeating, “I HATE Cancer! I HATE Cancer! I HATE Cancer!” It’s so heart breaking to watch your child in so much emotional pain. Finally, she explained that she’s lost a year of her life….and she hates that. A whole year….gone! She didn’t get to be a 13 year old with all the fun 13 yr old things. She’s going getting better and is able to breathe a little and is starting to realize what she’s lost. She is going to school now and hears the girls talk about the things they’ve done or the places they’ve been or even the insignificant things….and she missed out and she will never get that back.

We listened to her and let her share. We validated her feelings because…well….she did lose out on a year (more like 18 months) and no…she will never get that back….but….then we reminded her that……..SHE DID GET LIFE. She exchanged one year of her life and in return….she got to live. It’s a pretty high price, but the stakes are pretty high, no? The whole “Healing” thing is such a process. She needs to heal. She needs to grieve. She needs to process. She needs to live and all of it happens at the same time…’s a lot to deal with.

Eventually we got her settled and back in bed with some melatonin….and she drifted off. She is starting to feel better and along with that “healing” you end up with reality hitting you hard. When you are right in the middle of the battle….you can only see directly in front of you and it’s not until you can take a step back and breathe that you realize the things that you’ve lost or missed out on….or the things that you still cannot do. In a way, it’s a good thing, because it means that you are able to start processing things….and then with the limited emotional resources that you have…you must fight and fight some more.

This whole journey feels like such a fight….if you know a family going through an extended illness or a terminal illness or some other long term physical or mental journey…..please be gentle with them. It takes everything that they have to remain upright. And often there is little to no energy for anything else…’s tiring and lonely! Please take the time to encourage ones that you know and to let them know that you love them and that you are standing with them and that you haven’t forgotten about them. I guarantee you that it will mean the WORLD to them.

Angelica heads in to BC Children’s Hospital on Monday for another dose of Chemo along with a dose into her spinal fluid. It requires that she be sedated so please keep her in your prayers. She also starts the monthly round of steroids and those really wreak havoc on her sleep. So pray that she’s able to get rest. She just feels so wrecked while she’s on the steroids. Also, they are sending her for an MRI for her knees to make sure that all the pain in her knees is not from bone death……it can happen to kids on the steroids….and we really don’t want that to be the case.

Thanks again for all your prayers for Angelica and our family. It means so much to us.

Author: Patricia Culley

I'm the ringmaster of my own circus. Just trying to stay one step ahead of the monkeys.

5 thoughts on “Angelica’s Month 20 Update….”

  1. Hey Geli, you are not alone. I been there crying i hate cancer i hate it, i been there feeling like i lost one year of my life, it was a tough battle to go through. Geli you are not alone, i am cancer survivor and i know what it is like, i understand you and identify with what you are feeling. I am so proud of you that you were very honest with your parents about your feelings. there are ups and downs. i am proud of your parents they are doing a great job. it is tough but remember your parents are standing beside you and with you. you are not walking this journey alone. God is with you your family your grandparents on both sides, relatives they are all praying for you and thinking of you. You are so loved and precious. i really hope to see you in 2012. i am prayng for you. you are so special to me. cancer survivor debra

  2. I’m sitting here and can’t find the words to type……… heart understands exactly what you are feeling. I was asked the other day if things were a lot easier now……….no, I said, in a lot of ways it is harder. You hit the nail on the head—-grieving while still in the fight leaves you with nothing for anything else in your life.

    Praying for you always!!!!

  3. Angelica is like my hero.. i mean that. Your whole family is inspiring, how you and Jon get on in life is truly inspiring.

  4. Angelica is dealing with a lot of things that the typical 13 year old wouldn’t have to deal with either, which I imagine is isolating in itself because who else can relate to how she sees the world? Other girls are fretting over fashion styles and giggling about boys and Geli is facing her mortality. I admire her strength. She’s a strong girl, both in body and spirit; she’ll only continue to improve. My heart goes out to her as she mourns the time that she has lost. She’s very lucky to have parents who lend an understanding, listening ear. Sometimes, a girl just needs to cry it out. Glad she got some sleep!

  5. Hi Patti I did reply to this but I guess it was removed ,I know I did not get to sighn off as I guess I wrote to much and it just stopped .I am so sorry for all you are going through ,I pray for you all and love you so much. Grandma

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