Talking about Wade’s cancer diagnosis is one of the hardest things for me to do. Thinking back to those earliest days in Hamilton is Hell... no one ever expects something like this could ever happen to their child.
One of my coping strategies is to think about my “anchor moments” (moments that I remember positively from those first few weeks of this journey). Almost all of them are linked to the people and services that Ronald McDonald House Charities provided to our family.
We were welcomed with open arms by the staff at RMHC South Central Ontario. They provided us a beautiful room so that our family was able to stay together while Wade was admitted to McMaster. I remember being toured around the home and seeing the beautiful kitchens, dining areas, multiple play rooms, movie theatre, and outdoor play space.
One of my greatest concerns in those first days was being separated from our older son, John, for a long period of time, through the RMHC (and a TON of support from my parents and brothers) they made sure that did not happen. If you were to ask John about his time spent at “the hotel”, you would think he was at an all inclusive resort. He enjoyed going to the play rooms, and renting out the movie theatre for private screenings of his movie of choice that always included fresh popcorn and treats. Every time we have to go back to Mac for appointments, John always asks if we can stay at “the hotel”. Isn’t that quite telling of how wonderful a service they provide - during the darkest days of our lives, John was having the time of his life. I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
During those first few weeks I chose to never sleep there, I stayed on a vinyl pull out chair beside Wade, never a great sleep as I'm sure you can imagine. Adam would come back from RMH first thing in the morning, always with a delicious hot breakfast for me from the house. I've been trying to replicate their oatmeal each day since coming home, I've yet to get it quite right. When Wade would settle for a nap in the afternoon, I would walk over for some much needed respite. They have a wellness room with the most amazing massage chairs, it was the most relaxation I would get in the midst of our madness. I would swing by the kitchen afterwards to grab a tea and a fresh baked cookie before heading to our room for a hot shower and maybe an episode or two of The Office. Life would have been much, much worse without those moments of calm.
RMHC continues to support us each and every week. Wade has had many 7am procedures, so even though we may not be inpatients on those days, they have always offered us a room on the night before just to make the day less stressful for us. Once in the hospital they have RMHC Rooms that offers a comfortable lounge/kitchen area for all visitors to use, free of charge. We make use of those rooms every single time we are at Mac.
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about RMHC, they truly go above and beyond to make life comfortable during very challenging times. We are home for now and will be outpatients at the hospital a few times a week; and although I hope to just remain at home, I know that if things go awry we have a safe place to land.
It's the kind of charity that you hope you never need, but boy, we're so happy it's there for us.
The Butter-Fink Family
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