I met Paige almost six years ago in a Music Together class with her then baby Buck. Buck was a tiny cutie pie that stole everyone’s heart immediately. A year later I learned through the grapevine that little Buck was fighting Leukemia. My heart instantly sank. Paige had shared with me how hard it was to become pregnant in the first place and that Buck was a miracle baby. As their only child, I could not imagine what they were going through. I started signing up to bring them meals and have kept in touch with her throughout his treatment. Paige is honest, funny and God-loving. Just talking to her makes you feel better. She doesn’t candy coat her feelings and frustrations.
Throughout his treatment, Buck had to be on high doses of steroids. My kids have been on them briefly over the years for the croup and asthma and it turns them into the devil. I cannot imagine having to deal with a kid hopped up on steroids who can’t leave the house or be around other people for fear of getting an infection. Paige has done a beautifully candid job over the years describing their journey on Buck’s Caringbridge site.
I am happy to report that Buck is now in remission and is back at school living life to the fullest. It is my privilege to introduce all of you to Paige, our Smarty Mom of the week.
Paige’s Smarty Mom Stats
Married to: Skipp Ranson
Mom of: Buck (6)
Hometown: Gastonia, NC
Years in Charlotte: 25
Hood: Myers Park
Career: I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have my own outpatient counseling practice and see teenagers and adults part-time. My first career was an interior designer. I had a home accessories retail business and used it as a base for my design work.
What was the first thing that crossed your mind when Buck got diagnosed with Leukemia?
That I had fought with my mom for almost 12 years in her battle with breast cancer, and it took 4 1/2 years and extraordinary means to get pregnant and now I was scared I was going to lose him like I did my mom.
The treatment for his type of cancer seemed endless and brutal. How on earth did you get through? You amaze me.
The same way I got pregnant. I believed so wholeheartedly that I was supposed to be a mom. I had this same will and endurance that God would heal Buck’s little body. I was scared to death. My baby was 18 months old and I hardly knew what it took to be a mom. I was doing the whole thing without my mom. Good girlfriends, and the memory of watching my dad take care of my mom helped me keep my faith strong during the past 4 and 1/2 yrs. I took each day or moment as it came.
Favorite things that got me through the cancer journey: Exercise, Pilates with my trainer, a good run, flywheel, gyrotonics, core barre, cardio funk with Andre, a good red wine, massage, long soaks in the tub, and good girlfriends.
Now that Buck is cancer free what is your wish for him (besides good health)?
My wish for my son is that he has an inner peace about who he is and what he believes, and becomes a leader with a godly, noble character. I pray that the world he has grown up in molds his character in a loving way that he always thinks of others, never selfish, but self nurturing. I wish for him to always know whatever he faces in life that he is a warrior and where his strength comes from.
What has Buck taught you through this journey?
He has taught me to use my voice. An 18-month cannot stand up for himself. Buck helps me find my voice amidst the chaos and stand firm with it. Last year Buck was the honored hero for the Light the Night Campaign to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma. This involved speaking at many corporations about our journey. We raised over $11,600.00. He taught me to give myself grace and put myself first to be a better mom. It is a really tough thing to do to make yourself a priority while your child is fighting for his life. Setting boundaries was key for others and myself. The most important thing he may have taught me was to let go of the control. When Buck relapsed about 3 years ago, it was a slap in the face. I had my timeline of the protocol and how I thought things would flow. That’s not the way life goes. Again, God was driving this boat. I was only a passenger. I did learn to rely heavily on my intuition. It was right most of the time.
What would you tell the parents of child that has just received the scary diagnosis of cancer?
I would tell them to dig their heals into the sand, carve a surfboard out of steel that has plenty of room for both of you cope, wax it down with a boatload of patience and perseverance, cry, scream, have a glass of wine and know that God is the only thing that is getting you over each wave. Mostly I would say lean on each other, share with each other how you feel and ride the waves together. That is the biggest gift that you can give your child. Learn to laugh and enjoy the moments along the way. They may be your only memories.
OK, now for the fun stuff…
Minivan or SUV?
SUV BMW has to have heated seats.
Favorite Date nightspot or Date night in?
Find a nice Oregon pinot in my cellar; take out from Basil, chocolate molten cake, and a good movie nestled by the fireplace.
Favorite Family activity?
Duke basketball games, and time at the Folly Beach House.
If you could trade bodies with any celebrity who would it be and why?
Victoria secret model Alessandra Ambrosio Because I am almost positive she’s not in menopause.
What was your favorite childhood book that you now share with Buck?
Winnie the Pooh
What do you think Buck will be when he grows up?
The best husband and father!!! He has the mind of an engineer, cooking skills like a chemist, and the intuition and heart of gold that will take him to the stars and back.