Allison Alcott is an insurance adjuster and wife of seven years to Steve, a tech operations supervisor-turned-stay-at-home dad. The couple lives in Keller with their two boys: 5-year-old Connor and 2-year-old Cooper, who has Down syndrome. In October, Cooper was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia and is undergoing cancer treatments.
3AM Has my alarm gone off yet? What woke me up? Oh, the dog is barking. I pull myself up and get the dog out of Connor’s room and let her out in the backyard. My internal dialogue is questioning whether to stay awake or get an extra 20 minutes of sleep until my alarm goes off for my Camp Gladiator class — OK, I’ll stay up. No need to change because I slept in my exercise clothes. I do a quick mental run-through of what I have to do today while I clean the dishes from last night’s dinner.
4:55AM Out the door for Camp Gladiator. I am ready for 60 minutes of amazing.
6:30AM Back home and out of the shower. Time to wake up Connor for school. When I leave the room, I hear Connor screaming about his game. Yes, it is 6:30am, and Connor has an iPad in his hand. I have already looked at my phone countless times today. I know we have a device addiction in our family, but we will tackle that another day.
6:40AM Tag-team with Dad to get the kids ready for the day. Sometimes we are a well-oiled machine. Other days, like today, we are … not. No time for kisses or sweet glances between Mommy and Daddy today, and all the funny stories we try to share with each other are interrupted by a kid crying. Steve and Cooper are out the door and off to the cancer clinic. I run back upstairs to make sure I turned my hair straightener off.
7:42AM “Connor, let’s go! You don’t want to be late for school, do you?” Success! We make it before the tardy bell rings at 7:50.
8AM I am sitting in the parking lot of the school, working on my computer. My vehicle is my office — as an insurance adjuster that does vehicle estimates, I go wherever the wrecked car is in my area.
9AM Time to head out to inspect some damaged vehicles. Quick check on Cooper and Daddy via FaceTime: Cooper is being a wild child, and the lumbar puncture requires some local anesthesia, so he hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday. Daddy is at his wits’ end but, as always, has this composed aura about him.
10:45AM Text from Steve: Procedure is over, went well, and they’re now at the infusion center getting Cooper’s fluids and other chemo.
12:45PM Lunchtime in my vehicle. I prep all my meals over the weekends, so I assemble my wrap, buffalo skinny pretzels and fresh fruit. The next 20 minutes are mine.
2:30PM Call from Steve: Cooper is doing well but is cranky and tired and has had it for the day. I give them a pep talk to get them through the next four hours.
3PM My last appointment calls and says they cannot make it. I am near the hospital, so I call Steve up and tell him I can stay with Cooper. On the way, I stop at Raising Cane’s, Cooper’s favorite. It’s the bread that he really likes, so I get three pieces of bread with his tenders. All nutrition basically goes out the window when he isn’t well enough to eat — it’s just about getting something, anything that he will eat.
5PM I sit in the transfusion center. This will be Cooper’s second home and the only place he can play away from our house. Because the chemo attacks his immune system, he is required to be isolated.
6:30PM We wrap up at the transfusion center and head home. I call Steve on the way and talk about this crazy life and transfusion centers and bald heads and sick kids. It’s hard to comprehend that this is our life now.
7PM We’re home. Connor and Daddy already ate dinner. Cooper ate some at clinic, but maybe I can get him to eat just a little more now that we’re home. He has chemo every day this week, so he needs some rest after a quick nighttime snack.
7:45PM Family playtime is short but sweet this evening. Connor and Daddy wrestle around the floor. Cooper roots for both and wants to join in but doesn’t have the energy to move. We wrap up family time when Cooper’s medication timer goes off. He gets about six syringes of different medications multiple times a day. Cooper hates every last one. We have his brother take fake medicine and cheer for him. When it’s Coop’s turn, he immediately starts crying. We wrap him up in a blanket and squirt a little in his mouth until he gets it all. The worst part about cancer, in my opinion, is forcing all this medicine down his throat.
8:05PM Quiet time. Cooper’s asleep, and Connor’s in bed. I go into Connor’s room, and we read a daily devotional and say our nighttime prayers. He will be asleep in two minutes, so I sneak out after kissing his head and telling him he’s my favorite 5-year-old on this planet.
9PM Before bed, I really need to update Cooper’s Facebook page. When Cooper was born, we started a page to update family and friends and recruit prayer warriors for him. When he got the cancer diagnosis, the page sure got a revival. People are so invested in his battle. I like to update everyone and thank them for the support. People have given us so much inspiration and support during this extremely terrible time in our lives. Sharing this journey with them is the only way I can show what their support means and how it contributes to our daily life.
10PM Steve is already asleep, so I wash my face, brush my teeth and get in bed.
10:03PM Did I set my alarms? I grab my phone…