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.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hell has cooled off

I have spent a lot of time praying.  I have spent a lot of time wondering.  I have spent a lot of time wondering about praying.  Does it do anything?  Does it help? 

I have prayed desperately in the past for things-- big things.  Some went my way.  Some did not.  I know that God does not answer every request that comes his way.  Then we would be the ones with the power and he would be a captive genie.  But it is so hard to accept that he may not answer the really big ones the way we want Him to...that he may not answer the ones that crush us, the way we want Him to.  How can he *love* us and allow us suffer so much?   I don't know.  I don't understand.

But I keep praying.  I think intrinsically the process works to ease my anxiety.  It helps me to release the pain.  It forces me to contemplate myself and my God.  Who am I?  Who is He?  All of this has forced me to reconsider. 

I look around.

Things are better.

I was in such hell for so long there.  Really.  Such hell. 

And I still don't know how this life will go.  But I suppose no one does.

But for now, I am thankful:

Andrew has adjusted to the chemo--he hasn't taken any pain medication in at least 2 months.  He rarely needs nausea medication.  He laughs and smiles and eats chocolate muffins while getting chemo. 

He is slowly, but surely, gaining weight.  NOT losing it.  He has accepted his "tubes."

I have been relieved of Ursula and her cold, removed, calloused, uncaring (I could go on) ways...I have been relieved of the whole unpleasant, cold atmosphere in which Ursula reigned.  (Can I have a big Hooray Hallelujah Fist-bump high-five AMEN?!!!)

I have been relieved of the hospital rooms occupied by multiple families and multiple tragedies and multiple beeping lights and multiple children crying.  HELL I tell you.

When I told MD Anderson doctors/nurses that Andrew was receiving three preventative mouth treatments a day, they all looked at me in shock.  REALLY? they all said.  And I said REALLY!!!!! you don't make your patients do that!?  I have been torturing my baby for NO REASON?  They only do mouth treatments when there is a problem.  What a novel idea.   SO I STOPPED THEM.  If MD Anderson thinks it is ridiculous then I will go with them.  NO MORE AWFUL DISGUSTING MOUTH TREATMENTS FOR MY BABY.  If he gets sores, we will go back.  But for now...NO MORE!

No more vomiting from forcing down liquid antibiotics.  Now we crush the pills in chocolate ice cream.  Why did I have to figure that out for myself???

Radiation is over.  No short term side effects to report.  Praying for the long term.

I haven't stayed a night in the hospital in over 8 weeks.  I can hardly believe it.  Only two more scheduled stays.  I hope that is all it will be.  But even if not...the room is private.  And quiet. 

I spent three hours today in a quiet clinic (with a nice nurse who has made much of this possible, thank you so much T), and then went home to my sweet boys, did homework, ate dinner, and put them to bed. I love normalcy!!  Andrew is attached to tubes, but we can handle it!

There is recent news about Andrew's type of cancer and possible scientific breakthroughs that could lead to better treatments. Maybe a future cure? One can hope.

I am almost afraid to say all of these things for some superstitious fear of the future.  But nothing can change the past.  And the past two months have been BETTER. 

So maybe there is something to prayer.  I don't fully trust God.   I admit it.  I have been distant from him for a while.  But the thought occurred to me that perhaps he might woo me to his side with good stuff rather than making me run to him out of that possible?  I'm wondering if maybe His hand has been more involved in all of this "good stuff" than I give him credit?  Maybe He heard my cries of misery and has placed in my life people who have helped make it better?  Maybe?

Regardless.  There is no denying that it is better.

So thank you, friends, for the prayers.

I have room to breathe. 

I feel cared for. 

Hell has cooled least a little bit.


  1. Julie, this is the post I have been waiting for. Praise God! I have been praying for your family for months, that you will continue to trust God when it's SO hard. Easy for me to say; must be so hard to walk through. I'm so thankful for this victory for your sweet boy.
    I remember e-meeting you before all this happened. You were doing photo challenges, carefree...then BAM. With one post everything changed. I'm praying you can return to that normalcy.

  2. Here's to better and normal and low-key. I'm wishing you a lot more of all of that in the weeks and months ahead!

  3. Room to breathe is all anyone needs when you are battling this monster. You are such a strong and amazing woman and Andrew is a warrior! I continue to hold you all near and dear to my heart. xxoo

  4. Normal is good. Boring is good. I hope lots of normal boring stuff come your way. ;)

    It sounds like there is so much to learn for the families and parents of kids dealing with cancer. You sound like you could be an advocate! But, where was your advocate when you needed one? It's too bad you had to take everything the doctor said to do... when it turns out some of it wasn't necessary. Hopefully nothing will be as drastic now.

    Still sending prayers and good thoughts your way. :)

  5. Julie, no one fully trusts God, but He's okay with our doubt. We are all works in progress, right?

    I think God did not cause this suffering to come to your guys, but that He can arrange good to come out of it.

    I believe that God has heard your pleas -- even when you didn't think you were praying. I believe God has been working to make things better and that things will continue to improve... I'm believing this for you, Andrew and the whole family. (((hugs)))

  6. What a touching post! I can only imagine what you have gone through and what you are going through. I've known several young families who had children diagnosed with cancer and I've also seen the difference in the ones who know the Lord and trust Him to see them through. Never forget that He knows we are human, we are frail, we do not always understand his permissive will and He does hear the groanings of our heart when we just simply cannot or do not know how to pray. May He envelope you with His peace, comfort and love as you continue on this journey.

  7. I'm so glad you got away from ursula. That's just crazy.
    I am EXTRA glad that things are better.

  8. I admire you so very much, with all that you and your wonderful little boy have been through together with the rest of your family, for seeing all the positives and not the negatives in your life and being thankful for them. That is all down to you, for being strong and looking optimistically at life. You and no one else. I am not sure I could be so very strong in your shoes.

  9. So, so glad for your room to breathe....


Your thoughts...