So, last week, I posted a quick peek of Paul and Holly’s wedding. Such a remarkable family who has had such a hard year which has ended in multiple happy endings. I met Holly when I was a special ed teacher at an elementary school in CFISD. She has such a great attitude and is such a fun person to be around. Unfortunately, her family was hit with the news that Griffin had a lump in his belly. She had her brother (a veterinarian) check it out, and he urged them to get some testing done. Just to give you a run down on what this sweet boy dealt with over the year, I copied a journal entry that was written by his Grammy on the anniversary of Griffin telling his mom about his tummy: (March 31, 2011)
“One year ago this evening, Griffin told his mother that his stomach felt funny…after his Uncle Mike examined it, he discovered a large protrusion in Griffin’s abd area (felt like the liver pushing against the abdominal wall). Dr Mike told Holly to immediately take him to the ER.
At the time, I was sitting with another grandson, Matthew, who was ill and in TCH….Holly, GJT, Pop and Uncle Mike were eating dinner at our house. I was trying to give Mike a break from the hospital.
I shall never forget the call from Holly….”Mom, Mike has found a big bump in Griffin’s belly…we are going to Methodist Willowbrook ER”. I waited at TCH with Matt while they were in the other ER….they saw something…..didn’t know what it was.
John called me and said I needed to get to Methodist Willowbrook.
Mike returned to TCH and I met Holly, Pop and GJT in the ER…Holly was told to take him to his Pediatrician the next day for further tests.
We followed instructions..Went to his pediatrian’s office, the next day and tests revealed a large mass…..We went to TCH ER…..scans revealed there was a very large tumor in the right kidney…..and thus began the long difficult journey that lay ahead for Griffin. When you found out you would be admitted and undergo lots of test and eventually surgery…you asked us to promise you that either Holly, I or Pop would always be with you…we have kept that promise….one of us has always been with you while in the hospital or clinic. We will honor your request until the end of your treatment in May.
The first entries in this journal chronicles the difficult 21 day period before chemo could begin. Surgery, Port Placement, Differing Pathology tests and a very tough change in his diagnosis….. what a roller coaster ride of emotions.
It is still very difficult for us to look back at the beginning…
Griffin you have come a long way….taking all that has been thrown at you with courage and perseverance. This has been so hard on you….and we have suffered with you….cried with you…laughed with you at moments of fun…and have slept near you so we could hear you if you called for us.. We are here for the long run, Grifffin…… You make us proud. We love you, honey.
Father…we thank you for your presence during each moment of this terrible battle….We seek you every day and rest under your wings every night. To God be the glory forever.“
Griffin was diagnosed with Wilm’s /Rhabdomyosarcoma kidney cancer and as of May 2011 has finished all treatment!!!!!
Skip forward a little bit and we begin the story of how Holly reconnected with a childhood friend. Literally into childhood… I am talking way back to Kindergarten. What started out as just a reconnection and discussions and old memories, grew much deeper than that. She found a best friend who went down the long journey of Griffin’s treatments. Some people have to work at happiness and love (well, all of us do to some degree), but with Holly and Paul, love just sort of happened. So, on June 11th they expressed their love to each other in front of a small group of friends and family when they got married in the backyard paradise that Griffin created from the Make a Wish Foundation.You might wonder why a bride would choose to get married with her hair shaved, but when you hear that she made a promise to Griffin to shave her head for as long as his chemo treatments went on, you quickly get a glimpse of the type of person and mother she is.
Holly… you truly are a beautiful person and mother (inside and out), Paul… you truly are a rock and such a perfect match for Holly, Griffin… at the young age you are, you have touched and taught so many people, Pop and Grammy… all of us can only wish that our parents would sacrifice as much as you have to help those that you love.
Congratulations Holly and Paul! I wish you a long and very uneventful life!