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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Of Hats and Home

Okay it has been a while since I have posted about hats. 
But we have been appreciating them all the same! 
We have had a lot going on.... 

Thank you so much for the thought and care put into these packages.
We continue to be overwhelmed by your sweetness.

Here are the latest and greatest:



New Jersey


Brisbane, Australia

Nova Scotia

Thank you all so much!

We are SO HAPPY to be home.  
Our house is a disastrous wreck and we are still not fully unpacked. 
We have out-patient chemo every day this week. 
But it is home. 
And home is definitely sweet.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Did you just hear something?  That was me, finally releasing the breath I have been holding for 7 weeks.  I need to buy some wood to carry around with me because I have become so superstitious about writing something down, and then having it bite me in the butt.  So I have waited until now to tell you all of the things that DIDN'T happen in Houston.

Drum Roll please.....

1.  We never spent one night in the hospital.  NOT ONE NIGHT.  Do you know how humanizing that felt?  We did all of the chemo outpatient. It had to be modified due to the radiation, so outpatient was possible for all of it.  My packed duffle bag of bedding stayed in the closet the entire trip.  SEVEN weeks away from the hospital.

2.  Andrew didn't lose his eyelashes.  I know that may seem trivial.  But when your son has lost all of his hair, you hang onto things like eyelashes.  And his are so long and beautiful (if I do say so myself).

Eating a colorful cupcake in celebration of his last radation treatment.

3.  His skin doesn't have an appearance of redness, like a sunburn, which I assumed was a given.

4.  He is not blind.  Always a big positive.

5.  He did not have red irritated eyes.

6.  His lacrimal gland was not destroyed.

7.  His hearing is still great.

8.  We did not have to stay any longer than expected. Nothing delayed us, and there were SO MANY things which could have.

I AM SO THANKFUL!!!  Thank you for the prayers.

Things that DID happen:

1.  Andrew gained weight, about 1/2 a pound.  While his blood is taking more of a beating, he seems to otherwise be coping with the chemo much better than before.  He is happy and able to eat, most of the time.

2.  We had a vacation we would not have had otherwise, albeit extra long and painful.  We had times of fun and exploration.

3.  We met some amazing people.  And especially one amazing nurse.  Thank you C.

Every morning before radiation, Andrew would growl "like a dragon" at all of the treatment staff. 
They bought him a dragon as a going away gift.  So sweet.

4.  Do you know the Radiation Team bought Andrew balloons, cutie patootie clothes, a toy dragon, cars, and a truck to be taken apart and put together with a drill?  AMAZING.  If one has to put up with 6 weeks of radiation, this was the place to do it!!

At the end of the treatment Andrew got to hit a gong.  He hit it over and over and over and over again.  Good thing he couldn't read the sign:

So thank you for your prayers. I so often find that I pray and pray and pray, and then when the thing I prayed for comes true, I chalk it up to natural occurence. Not really fair, is it? There are obviously still many anxieties, and side effects that could rear their UGLY head in the future, but for now, I will be thankful.

If you are near some wood, knock on it hard for me. 

In...and out....In...and out.  My breathing has gotten a little more steady. 

But now I'm going to go sob somewhere.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

You Capture: Get Outside!

Okay, getting outside! in Texas is easier said than done right now.  So hot and humid.  But we did it anyway.

I am packing up and heading back to AZ on Saturday!! (hooray!) so I didn't have time to edit these (very much), but I wanted to participate.

our picnic

the ants' picnic

Hello "little" guy! We found him on John's leg. He is about 3 inches long...

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

John Muir


I can't delete this...ugh. I give up!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waking up

He used to tug at my arm when the other boys were at swim lessons.  He wanted me to play with him.  I wanted to do my own thing. I wished he would just play on the jungle gym and entertain himself.  Makes me sick to my stomach now.

I never liked to sit on the floor and play with him.  I would try, and then get very distracted.  I always felt VERY guilty about that, but somehow, the guilt was never enough motivation to get me to sit down and play for very long.  I didn't know he was good at puzzles, and liked the game "Perfection" and already knew lots of his numbers and letters. 

I learned in the hospital playroom.  With a bandage on his head from his brain surgery, he taught me that he loves to paint.  Attached to chemo poles, he taught me that he loves to play "Breaking the Ice." 

I would bring my older boys to gymnastics and he would climb on me and wanted my attention. Once again, I wished he could play alone, so that I could relax.  I wrote this...

I used to be annoyed at bedtime.  GO TO BED! I'm done! 

Now it gets delayed for all of us.  We sit and play a little, read more books, or watch a little show together. 

I sing Andrew songs in bed again.  I hadn't really done that since he was a litle baby.  We sing "Amazing Grace" and "Sunshine on my Shoulders" and "All Night, All Day."  He sings along and makes song requests.

I used to get so frustrated at little things.  I suppose I still do, but they all seem so much more trivial than they already were.  The other day I was at Target with my two older boys and they were literally running in circles around the clothing racks.  I typically would have been embarrassed and frustrated and angry, and I was still a little of all of those, but at the same time, the thought most present in my mind was that they were enjoying themselves, playing together, and were happy and healthy.

I do not mean to suggest that God would answer my prayers of  "I want to be a better parent" by giving Andrew cancer.  That would be a disgusting, sadistic God. 

But I suppose that if I am honest, cancer has given me new eyes with which to see my boys.  I have a new interest in playing with them.  I now have lots of time (in the hospital) to spend with Andrew playing games, singing, and listening to his two-year-old opinion.  I have a new appreciation for each happy day, each happy hour.

I am just SO sick that he has to go through this horror.  But thankfully,  he is also getting to spend lots of time playing with "mama" and daddy and grandma and grandpa.  He is building lego buildings at the clinic.  He is putting together puzzle after puzzle after puzzle.  He is putting the pieces of "Perfection" into their appropriate places and he has an audience to clap for him when he sends the pieces flying. He is getting SO much more attention than he ever would have gotten. 

He would still be pushed way while I did my own thing, while we watched his brothers at their activities.  He would have a mother who was starting to resent the stress of three boys rather than appreciate the beauty of the days when we are all together.

An awful, horrible disgusting way to wake up.  But at least I am awake now.  I am paying attention.  I am on the floor playing, and cuddling, and talking. 

I hope in part it makes up for the pain and the shots and the mouth treatments.  These past few months have not solely been a year of trauma.  They have also been months where Mama stopped taking her blessings for granted.  Where Mama began to enjoy Snow White puzzles and playing "Ants in Your Pants."  Where Mama stopped pushing them away and started appreciating their company, their play, and their presence.

No more taking time, peace, and three little boys for granted.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A night out

John and I went out to dinner tonight.  I wore a dress and heels.  I think it was the first dress I have worn since April.  As I put it on, I thought, "The last time I wore this, I had no idea of the pain to come..."  I can be quite melodramatic in my own little thought world.

We went out with some friends from John's work who are in Houston for a few nights.  Familiar faces. Wow.  It has been a while.

After stuffing myself on a very-eggy-almost-omelet-creme brulee and decaf coffee (after the main course, salad, and appetizer) we walked out into the humid, post-thunderstorm weather.  And I started crying (silently, but tearfully). A delayed reaction; tears held in for about two hours after the toast given by one of his friends with the first glass of wine.  "To friends... who have been gone too long, but will soon be home."  Simple, sweet, and yet managed to catch me off guard.  I was fighting each tear duct to keep them from leaking.  It doesn't take much these days.  And I was successful until we walked outside and said goodbye.

"Why are you crying? What's wrong?" are questions my husband is getting very used to asking.  I just responded with, "Just the unspoken, "I'm so sorry" attitude of the dinner...."  "Yeah."   He noticed too.

Afterwards, John and I went to Borders bookstore.  I am becoming a connoisseur and constant consumer of journals...needed a new one.  I need lines and a little decoration, but don't want to spend 20 bucks.  John needed the newest Iron Maiden CD.  I also bought Julia Child's autobiography, My Life in France.  I'm excited to get started on it.  (I have four more days in the RTC waiting room with a book and my ipod...if the machine doesn't break down!!)

It was nice to get out and have some time together. 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...almost there.  And then we will be home.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I hate dependent

As if having a toddler with cancer isn't enough, there is so much that goes with it.  Suddenly you are a captive to other (often slowly moving) people, most of whom are focused on their own schedule and could give a damn about yours.

I seriously feel like we became prisoners as soon as Andrew was diagnosed.  I almost feel amazed that I am allowed to walk freely around in the street.  For a while there, it didn't happen.

You become completely dependent.

You are dependent on blood to be delivered, and could end up spending six precious hours of your life waiting for it, while sitting in a boring hospital room with an anemic and irritable child who just wants to go home.

You are dependent on radiation machines which seem to break down at the rate of most copiers.

You are dependent on work schedules and doctor schedules and hospital hours and annoyingly inefficient procedures that seem like they could easily be streamlined, but aren't...

You are dependent.

I hate dependent.

I had a little freak out with the radiation treatment team yesterday (you know, the ones who are so nice?), because the machine stopped working last week and we had to miss a day.  Which meant that either we fit in an extra radiation treatment, or we had to stay in Houston another weekend and a day (THREE EXTRA DAYS).  And when your 6 year old is in Phoenix and has been for 2 weeks,  and when your house is in Phoenix and you have been living in Houston for 6 weeks, YOU WANT TO GO HOME.  You do not want to be told that you have to come an extra Monday for radiation when you WANT TO GO HOME and your precious tickets are scheduled for Saturday.

I had the freak out because they said that they weren't going to be able to fit in the extra treatment (after they had previously almost guaranteed that they would).  I didn't mean to.  But I couldn't help myself.  So I stormed out of there like a toddler who didn't get her candy and immediately proceeded to email and call everyone under the sun so that I could GO HOME.  And it worked. 

But those nice people in the treatment center didn't look so happy to see me today.  I think, to their credit, they were worried about giving him two treatments in one day.  But the doctor approved it, so I am thankful.  I thanked them for "fitting us in" but at least one of them didn't look so generous as to forgive me. So I feel kinda bad.  I don't want to end things on a sour note.  But oh well. I am crossing my fingers that all will go well over the next few days, and that the machine doesn't break down anymore, and that I can GO HOME!

I hate dependent.  I hate it all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Sometimes when I see my blog title and picture, I feel sad.  This is not what I intended for my blog to be.  I did not intend for it to be a serious, depressing, sad blog about cancer.  Didn't.

I wanted it to be happy, and light, and clever (I tried), or at least slightly humorous.  But I guess things don't always go the way we want them to, do they?

So I want to thank all of you who continue to read this, for being sweet and kind and supportive.  Thanks for reading, and for commenting, and for making me feel a little less alone in this sadness. 

take care.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reflection and Rambling

Thank you friends!  This week we received hats from Missouri and another one from Australia!  I just received a few packages that were originally sent to my AZ address, so I will post pics of those later.  Thank you all for your kindness!

 And Grandma had one made with the name of his favorite song :).

Five weeks down, Two to go.

Houston hasn't been so bad.  It's not home, but it has been a good change of pace.  I have had built-in babysitters, my mom and mother-in-law, and we have had lots of activities to distract us.  It has been difficult to be so far from friends, but it has been easier to just focus on getting this done, instead of having to worry about the responsibilities of home.

The radiation treatment center, while daunting with it's danger/caution signs and huge machines, has strangely been a nice haven for some alone time and reflection.  The people working there are beautiful.  Soothing music plays over the loudspeakers.  Other mothers and fathers come and chat with each other. 

I don't chat.  I bring my ipod and a book and sit still for an hour by myself.  Amazing.  I am totally craving time to myself and have a hard time finding it, so this provides the avenue.  I have been reading autobiographies of various people,  famous for their suffering.  I guess my purpose in reading is to see how they coped, to see how God fit into their struggle, to eavesdrop on their thought processes, to see what got them through.  I find that the music in my ipod calms down my thoughts, keeps me distracted from daydreaming and worry, and allows me to focus on my book.  I have finally been able to read again.

I feel like I am about to write a book report, but I suppose that is where I am at right now.   I have been in a cognitive place lately (except when I find myself randomly sobbing at dinner tables) probably an escape from the overwhelming emotional place where I have spent the last four months.  My brain seems to be attempting the pathetic feat of trying to figure this if it were a complicated rubiks cube, and somehow, if I solve it, my pain will be less.  Ha.   Still thinking about pain, and suffering, and God. 

From the autobiographies I have been reading, the question of God seems to be the place people go when they are in pain.  They either reject God, or embrace God, or push him away for a time, but there is always a decision to be made.   He always enters the picture to some degree.

I started out with C. S. Lewis' A Grief Observed.  A bachelor for most of his life, he finally found the love of his life, when he was middle-aged.  A short while later she died of cancer, devastating him and causing him to question everything he had previously believed about God.  God did not answer his desperate prayers that his wife be healed.  He was a very rational, thoughtful man, and much of this journal describes his attempts to figure out his pain--to figure out God.  One of the quotes that resonated with me:

"Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God.  The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.  The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like.  Deceive yourself no longer."

It is hard to wrestle with.  Who is this God who loves us, yet allows babies to get cancer and children to be raped? Who is He?  Using human logic to understand God is frustrating and unfulfilling.  There has to be more.

Second on the agenda was Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike, My Journey Back to Life.  I was curious about his cancer struggle, and learned a bit about his life, his childhood, his relationships, and his attitude.  His chemo schedule, while making him extraordinarily nauseated, seems to have been pretty wimpy compared to Andrew's chemo schedule.  His was only 4 rounds, every three weeks.  Andrew's is 14 rounds, every other week. sigh.  It was interesting to read about his relationship with God (or admitted lack thereof), and to see how cancer changed his perspective on life, and how he would live it.  One of his comments:

 "I hoped hard.  I wished hard.  But I didn't pray....If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, "You know what? You're right.  Fine." 

Yet he wears a cross around his neck during every race. 
He also wrote:  The day I was diagnosed with cancer was the day I started to live.”   His thoughts reminded me not to keep looking ahead to the day when chemo is done.    When Andrew's chemo cycles are over, the anxiety will be even greater... Carpe Diem.
The third book was Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado, one of the men who survived the airplane crash in the Andes in 1972.  He lived 72 days in the ice and cold, lost his mother and sister, ate the flesh of his dead friends in order to stay alive, and hiked 45 miles through treacherous, frozen mountains in torn up rugby shoes before he found help and found a way to rescue the rest of the survivors. 

I have been awe of this man since I saw the movie Alive.  How does someone survive such horror, summon up such bravery, and keep moving?  I found it interesting, that although he claimed to regularly, and consistently hear a "clear voice of reason" that seemed to come from outside himself, which led him, and guided him, and kept his feet moving, and his hope alive, he did not attribute the voice to God.  He struggled with the logic or apparent illogic of God.  Why should God step in after the accident to help?  Why not prevent the horror in the first place?  Why would it be God's plan to  rescue 16 of them, while allowing 29 of them to die horrific deaths?  This seemed to be his main struggle.  And they are questions similar to the ones I struggle with every day.  It made more sense to him to believe that all of life is random chaos, what happens, happens.  Despite the title of the book, he decided that his love for his family, not God, allowed for them to be rescued. 
I am currently reading Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place.  She has always been one of my heroes.  An amazing woman from an amazing family who sacrificed her comfort, her home, and risked her life many times to save the lives of many many Jews.  One of the quotes from her book:

"Father held the baby close, his white beard brushing its cheek, looking into the little face with eyes as blue and innocent as the baby's..."You say we could lose our lives for this child.  I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family."

And so it happened.  They were thrown into Nazi work camps for hiding and rescuing Jews.  Her father and sister did lose their lives.  Corrie survived and went on to tell their story. It is a beautiful account of how they fervently believed that God guided every step of their journey.  Wherever they went, their main goal was to be the love of God on earth.  She and her sister Betsie prayed for the Nazi prison guards, even as they were being starved and tortured by them. 

Her story, above all of the others, stands out to me as amazing.  She seemed to expect the suffering, and the pain, and the evil.  She did not seem to expect that God would spare her and her family.  She prayed for strength, and mercy, and love.  She prayed that she would be used by God to provide others with comfort.  Even in the midst of the Nazi prison camp she did not seem to doubt the goodness of God, or His love for her.  An amazing account.

So, my rubiks cube is all still a mess, my figuring and reasoning haven't helped much, but my reading has helped me come to a few conclusions:

The ways of God are impossible to understand with human logic. It just makes you go round and round in frustrating circles.  There has to be faith and trust and love.

I need to live each day with as much happiness and joy and love as possible.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

We may miss the guidance of God, if we don't expect to hear it.

We are here on earth not to avoid pain and suffering, but to be the comfort and the blessing, and the mercy that others so desperately need.  We are here to be the light in this often dark and painful world.

Easier said than done. 
I'm not sure if it makes my pain any easier. 
I will still randomly cry at dinner tables.
But it provides me with a mindset, a way to attempt to cope.

Next on my agenda...Helen Keller's autobiography.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You Capture: Everyday things

Everyday things....

While in Houston, one of our almost "everyday things" to do is take a walk in the park across the street.  Maybe this is a bit of a stretch on the theme, but my "everyday" is currently not so "everyday"!

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are… Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect Tomorrow. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.

- Mary Jean Iron


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm no MacGyver, but neither were the firemen...

Last night, Aaron left Houston to go home for first grade on Monday. He was completely excited and even made a countdown calendar, crossing off each day until school starts.  I on the other hand, am still sad.  This is obviously not how I wanted to spend Aaron's first day of first grade-- far, far away in a radiation treatment center.  I truly need a clone.  Thankfully, John was able to go with him.  Aaron will stay with my parents for three weeks while we finish up here.  I will miss him.  I miss John, and he is only going to be gone until Tuesday. 

Anyway, after John's mom and I returned home from the airport and put the kids to bed, I went back to check on Andrew and couldn't get into the bedroom.  It was locked.  I'm not sure how.  Did I do it?  Had Andrew locked it?  I don't know, but it was locked.  And in my frantic search above these foreign bedroom doors, I discovered there was NO key.

John's mom and I immediately went to work, bending paperclips, untwisting hangers, taking apart my hair barrettes, trying to find anything that would unlock the tiny little mechanism inside the doorknob.  We were pathetic MacGyvers...none of our attempts helped at all....and all of my apartment emergency numbers, and my cell phone, were locked in the room with Andrew.  No one was answering the phone at the apartment complex.  No neighbors were home...and honestly I was cautious to try too many of their doors, it was 10 pm on Saturday night.

John's mom was trying to keep Andrew from crying by passing him pieces of cereal under the door (actually quite humorous...we could hear the cries interrupted by crunching). She was also passing  him pictures of the door knob, complete with arrows, trying to show him what to turn...this was also fairly humorous...but it wasn't working!

In comes the Fire Department. We were desperate.  I felt stupid to call them, but Andrew was getting more and more upset and we couldn't get the door open!  I was hoping they might have a "not-such-an-emergency vehicle" know the one they send when they rescue cats from trees...but not so.  Here comes the HUGE firetruck, lights flashing, siren squealing--  for me, and my little son locked in a bedroom.  Three big men hop out with a HUGE AXE.  I was thinking a tiny screw driver might be best...

And they tried the same tricks...untwisting hangers, searching through swiss army knife gadgets...none of them worked.  I feared we were getting closer and closer to that HUGE Axe being used and imagining the HUGE repair bill that would follow.

So the Firemen tried talking to him.  "Please open the door Andrew."  "I can't" he said.  After many attempts at bolstering his confidence, and telling him how big he was, and how he "could do it."  He was told WHO was on the other side of the door.   He was told that if he opened the door, he could see firemen and have some candy.  And somewhere, from the depth of his being, he summoned the ability to turn the knob,  open the door, and spare us all from THAT AXE. :)  Hooray for Andrew! 

But alas, that was not the end to my evening.  I finished off the night at 1:30 am with a panicked search through my computer for photo files that I inadvertantly deleted. Thankfully they hadn't made it any further than the recycling bin, but for a while there, my heart was racing.

What a crazy night!!  And all I wanted to do was sit and relax with a good book.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Capture: Summer


Sweet hand,
 enclosed in mine,
leading me
somewhere new
or just because


Ice cream
and water
and multi-colored tongues
and smiles

but cautiously
embracing new things
not-too-hot tire swings
that go round
not up
not down

Discovering new heroes,
longing for new adventures
opening new eyes
and minds
and books

Middle brothers growing
into big ones,
learning to protect
and love

Red trains chugging ever-so-slowly
 to relieve tired Mommies
 from heat
and the tired shoulders
that come
from piggy back rides
and forgotten strollers

Reveling in the joy
 of each
childful moment
of each sweet smile
of each sweet hand
of each sweet love


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thy Will Be Done

There is this continuous and ongoing conversation in my head.  In the Christian circles in which I "run," people are always saying that "we will feel God's comfort, that God is here amidst the pain," and I kind of wonder what that means.  Really? The pain seems pretty intense.  Why didn't God just keep the cancer away in the first place?  I prayed that "God would protect my children in ways that I could not"...and this was the response.

In some ways I suppose my seeking God's comfort is similar to the story of the guy waiting on the rooftop for God to save him from the flood.  I am expecting some kind of supernatural euphoric feeling to come down from heaven and take away my hurt.  The guy on the roof turns down the ride from the helicopter, he turns down the ride from the boat, and tells them he is waiting for God to save him.  I suppose we "feel His comfort" first and foremost through the people who comfort us.  Perhaps while God has stepped back from the physical world in many ways, and allows it to run its chaotic course, he still works through his people.  Through kind nurses, and friends, and blogging friends who leave kind comments, and go out of their way to send hats and carepackages even when they hardly know me.  There God is.

I pray and I pray desperately.  One of my most precious beings is on the line.    I question God.  I feel forsaken and abandoned.  Sometimes I am tempted to feel that He is laughing at me.  He saw the pride I had in my precious child, he saw my happiness and my joy, and he decided to smash it.  A "jealous God" indeed. 

I keep hearing this voice: "God has betrayed you. You are cursed.  You have been forsaken.  God chose Andrew out of 250,000,000 to have this kind of cancer in this part of his body--you have been targeted. Curse God.  Forget him.  He is a lie." As I look around the radiation treatment center I understand the title of that movie, "Children of a Lesser God." What kind of loving, powerful God allows horror to befall his tiniest children?  I wish I understood.

Sometimes it feel as if Superman were standing next to me as my child is being crushed by a car.  Instead of helping, he stands there watching and saying, "Do you love me best? I am planning to turn your tragedy into my glory. I'm gonna wait another hour to make sure you realize how much you need me, and then you need to call a bunch of people around you to pray for your son, and beg me to help. As soon as you get lots of people praying and begging, then I may consider helping you. May. Can you sing me a few praise songs while you sit there? I like singing."

That is what this feels like at times.

That is where I am tempted to go.  And obviously, sometimes I do. But I am fighting.  I am deciding to believe that those thoughts are put there to destroy my connection with God.  So I rebut them.  Like in Sunday school...Get behind me Satan. Maybe that sounds corny, but I really feel like there is a battle for my soul going on.
I have to put those lies away. I have to keep believing that regardless of whether or not God allows Andrew to heal, God is pained by Andrew's pain. He is pained by my pain. He is not purposely torturing him for some mysterious unknown reason. Andrew has cancer because this is not heaven yet. Horrific things happen. God does not enjoy watching it, but for some reason does not prevent it.

My pain is making me aware of the deep selfishness,  envy, and coldness, deep in my soul.  Do I care that much about other people? or do I just care about me?  Do I help others when they are in pain? When they are in trouble?  Not near enough. 

I find myself angry that this has become my life and other people are on the beach celebrating their summer freedom.  I am angry that other little children walk around with pink little cheeks touching dirty floors and my son is pale and sickly because his blood cells are being demolished, and everywhere he goes he is smeared with hand sanitizer.  But envy gets me nowhere.  Envy gets me miserable.  Everyone has pain.  Everyone has tragedy.  Get behind me Satan.

So I find myself not knowing how to pray. My pleas for his healing are so desperate. Sometimes I just pray The Lord's Prayer because I don't know what else to say. "Thy will be done." That is the hard part. The scariest part.

I pray that God will use me to make the best of this situation.  That God will help me to make lemonade out of these DAMN lemons.  What separates the amazing from the bitter and lonely?  Their attitude and actions in adversity.  What do the amazing do with their pain?  They make the world a better place.  They show the love to others.  They smile through the rain.

It is not easy. I try to claw my way to the "bright side" and as soon as I do, it feels like someone or something is at the top of the hill, ready to kick me off with a big military boot. I fall back and land hard. Sometimes I feel like Satan listens to my every word, and turns all of my fears into reality.

So I'm trying to enjoy each day.  Praying for tomorrow. Having fun as often as possible and begging praying pleading that God will heal Andrew and keep him from any future consequences of all of these toxic treatments.  I pray that he will use me as he needs me, and guard my heart from the selfish, evil, angry, resentful, bitter (I could go on and on) feelings that I feel.  I pray that regardless of the outcome, I will continue to strive to be loving, goodhearted and kind.

Dear God, Use me as you will.  Lead me. Guide me. Walk with me and comfort my baby.  Protect him from the side-effects of radiation.  Protect his heart and kidneys from the poisons in his body.  Protect his blood from future leukemias.  Protect his body from future cancer. Thank you that he is still eating. Thank you for keeping much of his joy intact.  Thank you for the support of family and friends. Thank you for all that you have provided to make this journey as easy as possible. Thy will be done.


The Alamo, Ice Cream, and Vomit, Oh My

Three weeks down, four to go.

First things First:  More thank you's for the newest additions to Andrew's hat collection!!  These packages are truly brightening our weeks.  Thank you all so much.

Ontario, Canada:



and Australia!!

and Grandma found this cute one to go with one of Andrew's favorite songs:
"Leaving on a Jet Plane Don't know when I'll be back again Oh Babe I Hate to Go." Yes, that is the whole title, didn't you know?  That is how Andrew says it, each time. 

He has eclectic taste, what can I say?  John Denver, Judas Priest and John Newton (of "Amazing Grace" fame).

We made it through six days of chemo and radiation.  Phew.  Six days of being attached to tubes, which were attached to a backpack, which made him continuously pee a nasty smelling chemical from his body.  So lovely to be done with that, once again.

So we celebrated with a trip to San Antonio, TX. About a three hour drive from Houston.  Visited "The Alamo" and of course had to buy "coonskin" hats.  Andrew refused to wear his.  Perhaps he has a future volunteer aspirations with PETA.

Aaron looks a little too comfortable with that popgun, don't you think?

And on the very hot, sticky, yet fun, ride down the river of the San Antonio Riverwalk, Sammy made sure to check if everything on the boat was appropriately glued or nailed down.  Of course, he found a few things that were not, and played with them throughout the entire trip...take this large piece of metal for instance...

Here we all are at The Alamo.  The boys sang "Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier" the entire time. 

And we ate Ice Cream.  Lots of it. 

And just in case you were wondering...

If you throw up immediately after eating a double scoop of bright blue, yellow, and red ice cream, your vomit (which will inevitably land on your brother's leg and drip down onto his socks before landing in a huge puddle in front of the store entry way) will be bright purple. A lesson in color mixing

Here is one more look at those lovely teeth.  Scary aren't they? 

Have a wonderful Tuesday.  Eat some ice cream.  Just not too much.