Saturday, January 23, 2010

Two years later

Once again it's been a very long time. Happy belated New Year to everybody. We're nearly 2 years from the beginning of our journy. I've re-lived the pain quite enough though, this blog entry is about the incredible strides Kevin's been making. Today, Kevin played in his first organized basketball game since he was in second grade (when he was diagnosed). Although I'm an avid sports fan and participant, I've not pushed Kevin back to organized sports. He's been through an awfull lot, and we all wanted to make sure he was physically and psychologically ready. A few months back Kevin told me he wanted to play basketball again. We signed him up and all was set, Kevin would begin in January. In December Rachel receieved a call that Kevin's team did not have a coach. She recommended they give me a call. I said I'd coach if Kevin and his best friend Kyle could be on the same team together. This way Kevin would know one of the other kids. I called Kyle's dad (also a friend of mine) and he quickly agreed to coach with me. Neither of us have ever coached basketball before, although we both played. It's been quite the responsibility with practice every Thursday and games every Saturday, but it's really brought me joy. It was quite clear during the first practice that Kevin was physically far behind the other kids. He looked like somebody who simply hasn't played organized sports before. What he didn't look like WAS A KID WITH CANCER. He's enjoyed this adventure, and we've stayed after practice to work alone. He's in physical therapy which hopefully will eventually help his strength, endurance and coordination. Kevin last played on an 8 ft basket, in the 4th and 5th grade league it's a 10 foot hoop. The first practice he couldnt' even get the ball to hit the backboard or rim. Now he's improved dramatically and making the occassional shot. We played today and won. Kevin was so happy! He played three 4 minute shifts (each quarter is broken into two four minute periods). Kevin enjoyed playing and I'm certain will continue to improve. A couple of parents know his medical condition, but most don't. This is exactly how Kevin wants it. Gtuy and I had such a great time coaching the first game, and even met at my house more then an hour before the game to go over strategy and line-ups. Kevin didn't even care that he's behind and certainly right now the least athletic on the team......He knows what he's been through, and appreciates what he was able to do. No special treatment, no extra breaks, he ran up and down the court the best he could (often losing the guy he was supposed to guard), but enjoyed every minute of it. We won a close game in the final minute and all the boys were giddy. Kevin, Jake, Kevin and I celebrated at DQ after the game.

On the medical front Dr. Gajjar is out of the country and Kevin's next appointment has been moved to March. They didn't seem concerned, and said if it made us feel comfortable we could get him an MRI at Detroit Children's Hospital. Rachel and I still haven't decided yet, and aren't overally concerned about it at this point. He's been feeling well and improving in almost all areas. He does have some post radiation cognitive delay side effects, which sort of mimic ADD. However his writting has improved greatly, and he's still getting mostly A's on his test. Well it's Saturday night and I have plans. We enjoy reading about our st. Jude friends on their blogs, and both look forward to our next visit.