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, December 14, 2010

Day #2 "Celebration:" Sepsis and the ICU

Sunday, the day after my "amazing day" post, was a terrifying day. 

I woke myself up early (about 4 a.m.)
 with a dream that shocked my eyes open. 
My family and I were riding in my Dad's motor boat on a lake. 
Suddenly, we came to a HUGE wave. 
The boat tipped up, to an angle greater than 90 degrees,
 and flipped upside down on top of us. 
My panicked thought before I woke up, was,
 "ANDREW!" He can't swim!
 I must rescue Andrew."

Later that night I was in the ICU, fearing he might die.

Sunday started out nice enough. 
 We went to church, ate some lunch,
 and John and I went to Cardinals/Broncos game with some friends. 
We had free seats
(why else would anyone go to THAT game?).
 I was looking forward to some relaxing adult time.

We made it through the first half. 
Then, thankfully, I checked my phone. 
 It was SO LOUD in the stadium that I did not hear my phone ring. 
Four times. 
 It was the babysitter, getting more and more panicked. 
 Andrew was at home shaking, with a fever of 102.5.

We immediately left the game, raced home, put Andrew in the car,
and raced to the hospital. 
When we first got there (around 6 p.m.), he actually seemed okay. 
His fever was lower, his blood pressure was normal.   

 However, around 8: 45, things quickly turned. 
 His blood pressure started going down. 
His heart was racing. 
His breathing was labored. 
His fever climbed to 103.7.

We later discovered he had sepsis.
Bacteria from his gut had leaked into his blood stream.
 I have feared this from the beginning of treatment.
The possibility of sepsis is the reason we have rushed to the ER every time his temperature gets over 101.
(The chemo destroys his white blood cells
and makes him both susceptible to infections,
and unable to fight them off.)

Around 9:30 p.m., we were moved to the ICU.  
His blood pressure continued to drop for several hours.
 I lay next to him in his hospital bed,
holding an oxygen mask over his nose,
moving it frequently to keep up with his roving head. 
Whenever I relaxed, or dozed off, even for a short period,
his oxygen absorption reading went down
and an alarm would sound. 

Every 15 minutes a machine would automatically take his blood pressure. 
A sound would signal the cuff's activation,
and with each processing beep, I would hold my breath and pray. 
For a very long time, until 4 am, his blood pressure seemed on a downward trend.
  Lower and lower. 
 "Scary" does not begin to define it.

Around 4 am, after ten hours of fluids and antibiotics,
his blood pressure stabilized,
his fever was gone,
and all of the other "vitals" were back to normal. 
Thankfully, the antibiotics were doing the trick. 

Thankfully, right now he is sitting here next to me at the hospital, 
decorating a  gingerbread house and frosting a cookie. 

He will continue to get antibiotics for 14 days.
Through Christmas.
But thankfully, the doctors have worked it out
so that after one more day (or two) in the hospital,
I will be able to give him the medicine at home.

Just when I tried to relax.
It almost seems like punishment for relaxing and celebrating.
I let my guard down.

Saturday night
for the first time since April 17
(the day we discovered the tumor)
I dared to pray
"Dear God,
I am cautiously giving Andrew to you again.
Your arms are bigger.
You love him more.
Your arms reach places that I cannot.
I put him in your protection."

And then this happened.

I don't know what to think about prayer anymore.

But then again,
Andrew is smiling.
Chemo is done.
Antibiotics can be given at home.
Christmas is coming.
I am thankful.


  1. oh Julie - praying the roller coaster will END!

  2. Oh, my God, Julie. I am so thankful that things turned around. No child deserves that kind of pain, no mother that burden. BIG hugs to you, friend. Please take care of yourself, as I know you're taking care of Andrew.

  3. oh my gosh.
    I am so glad that he is smiling. I am glad that Chemo is done. I am glad that Christmas can be at home. I am glad that the hospital has gingerbread houses. I am glad you checked your phone.
    Wowzers. I hope you get a nap and a cookie. And some peace. Lots of peace.

  4. I saw some of the posts that you had up on facebook, but didn't say anything because I really just didn't know what to say. But I was and am thinking of both of you and hoping again that this is an anomaly not the norm. I'm glad that they were able to get everything under control and that he is happy and smiling again. Both of you... feel better soon.

  5. Wow, what a roller coaster for you as his mother . . . and for him too. Blessings during this holiday season! And can I encourage you to dare to keep on praying? My heart goes out to you all.

  6. I hate that the celebration of the end of treatment had to end this way.

    My first thought when I saw your first FB post was that I had jinxed things. I TOLD you I would be toasting you on Saturday night and I even went out to byy the fruity sparkling wine that I like (I have really refined tastes - ha), but then I wasn't feeling well and the wine stayed in the fridge. I thought - if I had only toasted you like I said I would it might have sealed the deal and everything would have been fine. (I have really delusional ideas about my ability to control the universe apparently.)

    I'm thankful that Andrew is frosting a cookie and that chemo is done and that you will all be home together for Christmas.

    And when Andrew is discharged I am totally opening that wine. I might even drink the whole bottle, just to be sure everything works out perfectly.


  7. What a scare... holy cow. I'm so sorry :( So glad that he's ok.

  8. Oh, no, no, no! I'm so sorry that you and Andrew find yourselves back in the hospital again. I can't imagine how terrifying that night must have been and am just glad that the rest of his antibiotics can be given at home.

    As always, I admire your courage, your strength, and your honesty. You are an amazing mother, Julie. xo

  9. I can't believe it... That dream seems like it was foreshadowing the trouble to come.

    Andrew decorating a gingerbread house -- what a lovely image after all you went through...

    Praying still. I hope you can attempt to relax and enjoy your Christmas! I'm so glad you'll be home for the holidays. (((Hugs)))

  10. What do I even say...thinking of you and how difficult these highs and lows must be for all of you. Praying for things to stabilize for you to enjoy a Merry Christmas and New Year. Oh and I'll fly out and help you with the holiday decor any time. ;) We're FREEZING out here! MWAH!

  11. Hugs! Hugs! Hugs!

    Yes, scary doesn't even begin to describe what that feeling sounded like. My heart goes out to you. You are in my prayers!

  12. Big hugs to you ~ thinking of you and I am very hopeful that Christmas at your home will be a joyous celebration of family, love and life. I hope that Andrew continues to recover today so that he can be homeward bound this weekend!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    I came across this song from another blog called "Cherish This Baby" and I thought of you. You have been on a very difficult roller coaster for months. Most of us will never fully understand what you and your precious little boy have been through. My hope is that this song will give you some peace of mind. Always praying for Andrew and for you.


  15. I've been staring at the comment box for a while now. I have no idea what to say. I can't believe the flipping ride you're on! I wish I could take some of the burden off your shoulders. Big hugs to you and Andrew! Sounds like you have a really good babysitter too (when you can laugh about sort of reminded me of the Incredibles when the babysitter kept leaving messages :/ ) I hope you have a wonderful so totally deserve it!!

  16. My heart is racing and I am keeping you all in my thoughts and hoping that this was the last of these type of moments you will have. Smooth sailing from here on out! XXOO

  17. May the new year hold CALM joys for you all!! So sorry that you had to endure yet another heart wrenching adventure, but so thankful that he is chemo free and feeling much better today :)

  18. I don't know where I've been or how I missed this! This is the first time I heard the whole story. You've been on my mind a lot this month (Christmas angels) and I've been sending out lots of good thoughts and prayers.

  19. I cannot even imagine what you have been through and what you continue to go through. All I can say is that your perspective is glorious, and enviable and that little boy? He is lucky to have you as his mother. I adore your last line, simple and not so, "I am thankful."

    Well, I am thankful to have stumbled here, to your wonderful space, thanks to the lovely Kristen @ Motherese. Merry Christmas and best of luck to you and yours.


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