In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Heart Outside My Body

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

Last night, as I was driving to a 24 hour CVS at 11 p.m. (for a $45 one-day supply of nausea medication, at full price, because the pharmacy where the prescriptions were dropped off closed at 6, and insurance had already been billed...) my head was swirling with worries.

"What if the chemo doesn't work?  What if it works and that DAMN cancer comes back?  What if he has to have his whole eye orbit removed, including his eye?  What if he doesn't make it... " 

"What if" hell. 

I got home and sat down next to my husband (who has strangely taken up drawing cartoon characters for stress relief :) ) and after I started tearing up, he sat there, continuing to draw Dora the Explorer and said, "Why do you do this to yourself?  Andrew is happy today.  He likes the hospital.  He gets attention from EVERYONE.  He's not in pain.  Be happy that he's happy.  Life is too short.  You could get hit by a bus tomorrow."  Quick, easy, blunt, male problem-solving.  But he's right.

I have no control. I never did. But now the reality is so obvious.

I am trying to take each day at a time.  Denial, friends, and distraction work well for that.  But whenever I find myself alone, the worry creeps in and takes over my brain.

I checked my email one last time before bed (because I am obsessive like that) and there in my inbox was a Mother's Day wish from my friend Amy.  It was just what I needed to hear, and it echoed my husband's words.  You've probably read it before, but it is a great one to read over and over again:

  If I Had My Life To Do Over

"I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn! With my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's'; more 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it.. live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what

Instead; let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with, and what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I hope you have a blessed day!"
Perhaps this experience will teach me how to truly take one day at a time; to appreciate each moment of beauty; each precious hug; each conversation with my children.  (Either that or it will make me a crazed, anxious lunatic.)
I have no choice but to sit on this roller coaster and pray for the best ride possible.  I can't stop it; I can't get off; I can't change it's direction.  As difficult and helpless as it feels, I have to give up my illusion of control and live by faith and hope and prayer.  I need to appreciate each day for the gift that it is.  I know that some days that will be very difficult.  God help me.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you!  Enjoy TODAY, and all of it's blessings.


  1. Thank you, Julie. Thanks for the reminders to live life to the fullest. Happy Mother's day to you too.

  2. It's funny how men and women think and process things so differently. But your Hubby has a good point - if Andrew is happy today, it's got to be a good day.
    I hope today is a lovely Mother's Day with your boys!

  3. Oh my goodness Julie. Somehow even though I've peeked at your blog on you capture days, I didn't realize what you're going thru with your son. I'm putting him (and you) on my prayer list NOW. I will pray for him daily; even more than that...he will cross my mind often, I know for sure. Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog, and you are in my prayers!! I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day with your family! XOXO!

  4. I can't imagine how hard it is... you're at the point where it's just doing what you need to do and wait and see. That's the hard part. He's right, no sense in worrying. But that doesn't make it go away, does it? It's part of being a mother, I've decided. HE doesn't have to worry because YOU do. Still, I hope you can find the good stuff inside the bad. Your little guy is surrounded by love and support and all the care he can get, and our prayers. I hope you find the sweetness in mother's day today, too.

  5. Julie, I just accidentally came across your blog and read about the path you are traveling with your son. I too traveled that path with my daughter. I understand the gut wrenching pain you are feeling, and the sheer terror of the unknown. The advice of one of my daughter's Dr's was, "trying to take one day at a time might even be too much at times. Sometimes you may only be able to take one minute or hour at a time, and that is good enough."

    Probably the hardest thing I had to overcome was trusting people I didn't know with the most precious thing in the world to me. I wanted to be in control and that was impossible. So I had to learn to trust the incredible Dr.'s who became such a part of our lives. Our normal became the weekly chemo treatments and the world of pediatric oncology. And somehow our lives continued, with our daughter showing us how to live each day to it's fullest inspite of what was happening.

    You can and will make it through this and so will your son. We did and I never forget for one minute the gift she is, and how incredibly lucky we are to have a team of Dr's who dedicate their lives to curing our beautiful children.

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I wish you strength and peace.

  6. "What if" hell is HELL!!!!!!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. All of them. I pray that you all find peace in your hearts and enjoy every minute of your life.

  7. I'm stopping over from You Capture and wanted to give you a hug and let you know I am praying for your family. My biological grandmother, whom I've never met, it beginning chemo for breast cancer this week and I am worried. I can't even imagine someone as close as my son having to deal with it. Your strength is so incredible.

  8. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day, Julie, despite this scary roller coaster you're on. I've been thinking of you!


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