Tillery has some special people in her life that deserve a post all their own. They are two of Tillery’s favorite people and two who have given up more than anyone to support our family. Not only have they been supportive, they are actually on the journey with us. I’m talking, of course, of Nana and Poppo.
Nana and Poppo are my parents and they have been with us from the beginning. Nana stayed at our house to help with Luke on the day that we took Tillery in for her first MRI that started us down this path. Nana and Poppo brought Luke to Cincinnati and sat with us in the B3 surgery waiting room while Tillery was in her first major surgery. They have often put their lives and plans on hold to help us in whatever way we needed.
While Tillery and I were in Cincinnati, Nana would go to our house in Tennessee a few days each week to stay with Luke so that Joe could come up and visit us. That allowed Luke to keep consistency with his school schedule and made it possible for him to stay at his house with his things. Keeping his life as normal as possible was something that was very important to us as Tillery’s life was so abnormal. We wanted Luke to be able to keep his innocence and not expose him to all that was happening in Cincinnati.
Joe, Nana, and Poppo were on somewhat of a rotating visitor schedule in Cincinnati. We were rarely alone there for more than a few days before one of them or a few of them came up for a few days. Having them rotate allowed Tillery to get some one-on-one special time with each grandparent and form bonds with them separately as well as together. She loves purses and talking make-up with Nana and having Poppo be silly and tell funny stories.
Even now, Nana comes with us to Knoxville most weeks for chemotherapy appointments. She entertains Tillery in the car and helps out at the hospital. It’s a fun, weekly girls outing and takes our minds off of the real reason for our weekly trip.
Nana and Poppo have each spent the night on the blue plastic couch in the hospital. They have each walked Tillery to the operating room and been there in the PACU when she’s waking up from anesthesia. Nana and Poppo have each had to assist in holding Tillery down during a tortuous procedure like bedside stitches, dressing changes, or port access. They have watched her cry and made her laugh. Most importantly, they were both in the room when our oncology team came in to tell us that Tillery’s tumor was survivable.
Joe and I appreciate the sacrifices made by Nana and Poppo for us and for their grandchildren. We are so grateful for all of their support. The kids are too!