Weeds.  They are pesky plants that grow in places they should not.  They thrive where we want them to perish, and they can overtake beauty anywhere they grow.

Tonight, I looked at my mulch bed.  I’m not a gardener and far from having a green thumb.  Where I once looked and saw mulch, I saw nothing but green.  It was not the desirable green you hope to see in your lawn, though it was certainly lush.  

Instead of enjoying a chapter of my book while I listened to my children play, I got down and dirty.  I felt the dirt dust upon my khaki shorts and coat my hair with topsoil.  Though I was ill-equipped, lacking a hair tie and gloves, I realized that I could not let these growths overpower my lawn another day.

The more I truly looked at the intertwined madness, the further my mind drifted from the weeds.  Instead, I thought about Kelsey’s body and the blood vessels interconnected within her, within all of us.  One tiny root can take hold and wreak havoc.  It is possible in the garden as it is inside us all.

In contrast to my view this evening is the picture-perfect mulch delivery day, full of rich color and that undeniable smell.  I close my eyes and wish it to magically appear in front of my eyes now, highlighting the landscape and the promise of cultivation.  That is, in fact, the promise I hope for every day when I open my eyes, vibrant and full of intense beauty.  The trouble is that one small root planted itself firmly and has since challenged that dream.

In November 2011, a small germination developed inside of my daughter’s right leg.  Its seeds spread where they should not have, quickly and silently.  The hope and promise that comes with every fresh mulch bed is the same promise that every child deserves, that my child deserves.  I stay up so often at night wondering why there are so many weeds growing in our children’s gardens.

Polyarteritis Nodosa and the gene deficiency inside of Kelsey is neither annual, biennial, or perennial.  It has not the pattern nor the predictability of those three common weed varieties.  Though, the intertwined system and fibrous nature that creates terror on the lawn can cause the same fury inside of her.  Without constant care, monitoring, and attention, blood vessels could enlarge or necrotize causing organ damage or another stroke.  It is a seed that fills my mind with worry, and one I try not to spread further than it needs to sprout.

Instead, I try to love deeply, pray often, and hope that our newly formed Foundation will lead to a better way to monitor the weeds in gardens around the world.  For unlike purchasing the most effective herbicide, yanking out the root, or placing weed guard in the perfect position, the best known formula to diminish Kelsey’s weeds is unknown.   

Every Wednesday, she gets her protective injection, much like a preventive spray.  The trigger is much harder to pull and much more difficult to measure.  The life saving drug is dispensed by patient weight.  It is also known to accelerate growth.  How can you accurately maintain and stay proactive with treatment that also stimulates development?  It is a riddle our doctors hope to answer and stay on top of, though, it also leaves much doubt.  It gives too much room for those unwanted plants in areas we do not wish them to grow.  

They seem to take over the lawn completely and eradicate the beauty both inside and outside of my home.  Whether a picturesque Easter Sunday or an otherwise beautiful Monday, the weeds seem to grow with a vengeance.  They extinguish hope and damage more than just the landscape.

In one hour, I only uprooted a small fraction of the weeds.  I did not have the daylight nor the energy to continue.  In just over two years, I know little more about PAN and Kelsey’s gene deficiency than I did on that difficult June evening I learned of the diagnosis.  

Tomorrow, I will take on the lawn.  If only it was as easy to tame Kelsey’s weeds and the fury they could unleash if overlooked.  You know where my mind will drift if you see me out there pulling down the root, wishing I could tear out much more than the lawn nuisance.  

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