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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Once again

I have a positive, upbeat post coming. Really, I do!! All New Yearsy and hatsy.  Actually, it is already written and waiting for me to push "publish."  But I need to purge before binging.

I wrote this this morning, from the waiting room:

I just left Andrew with an anesthesiologist and walked down the hall while I heard him screaming, "Mommy!  Mommy!! where are you Mommy!"  As if the rest of today wasn't hard enough. 

Now I am waiting.   A whole line of tests scheduled within three hours. MRI. Bone scan.  CT scan.  I always feel like I can handle things until I actually have to handle them. 

I just left the prep room.  The irony of the innocent toys seemed in stark contrast to the serious task at hand.  I listened to a toy Ernie sing "Rubber Ducky, you're the one" while contemplating the possibility that cancer could still exist in my baby.  I used to sit and watch "Sesame Street" on the comfort of my parents' orange shag carpet; not a care in my 3-year-old world.  And yet, here is Andrew, clinging to me while I once again lift his shirt, hold his hands, and brace him while the nurses access his port.  And then I had to hand him over to a stranger in a white coat. Torture.

Once again, I feel like someone is playing a sick perverted joke on me. I was planning to sit here and relax.  I was going to read my book and listen to music, but uh uh.  I can't concentrate.  Have to write.  Have to get this OUT.

My good friend's third husband died of cancer three days before Christmas.  Which is awful enough on it's own, but this is the second time for her.  Her second husband died of cancer as well.  She is only 41.  It just strikes me, once again, how powerless we all are.  It doesn't seem to matter how many prayers go out.  It doesn't matter how horrific the consequences or the means.  It doesn't matter how devastating it will be to those left behind.  Death happens. 

It feels very much like God has abandoned us in the physical realm.  And I suppose, in many ways, he has.  And that terrifies me.  Because I want to believe that God would use his power to heal Andrew.  I want to believe that my prayers will help.  I want to believe that the prayers of others will be heard.  But then I watch my friend suffer, once again.  Everyone prayed and prayed.  We all gasped, "Can this be happening to her again?"  We prayed to God for mercy.  And yet, death. 

We are so powerless, and I hate the feeling.  I know it has always been true, but I have never felt it so intensely.  We all live at the mercy of God.

It is hard to surrender to that.  It is hard to trust, when you know that you may not get the answer to prayer that you want.  Especially when you are surrounded by death, pain, tragedy, and unanswered prayers.

I am still putting on an outer coat of trusting God.  I am still trying to let it sink into my soul, so that I can feel it.  But right now, I can tell it is only on the surface.  It is only cognitive.  It is only a belief, and a faith, not a deep down, depth-of-my-soul feeling.  Inside I am still raging at the torture we humans are expected to endure. I am still raging about what has happened to Andrew.

God can move mountains.  He can calm storms.  He lets little children suffer from cancer.  And women lose their third husbands, despite fervent prayers.  It is hard to reconcile.

The part in the movie, "Superman" where he and Lois Lane are flying together comes to mind when I think about my relationship with God.  She starts out clinging to him, terrified that she will fall. She realizes she is completely dependent.  Later she grows comfortable, and holds on to just his hand, then to his fingertips, and then finally, she gets cocky and lets go, thinking she can fly on her own.  She falls headlong to the earth, and he dives down to retrieve her.

 I guess I have been in all of those positions.  I wish right now, that I could cling to Him, close my eyes, and let him do the flying.  But I am SO ANGRY, I cannot.  But I cannot let go either.  So I am hanging precariously to his fingertips, hoping that will be enough to keep me from falling.

Tomorrow we find out the results of the tests.

I come back, once again, to the only verse I find comforting:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6


  1. Purge away!
    Your verse is not only comforting, it's really the only thing that makes sense right now.
    I hate to say "hang in there", but I will if it helps. :)
    Hopefully all of the hard stuff will be over now.

  2. Praying for good results and a happy new year for you and your family...really really hoping for the best for you all.

  3. Praying the tests come back negative (that's good news, right?)...


  4. Sending all sorts of good wishes and whatnot your way... you guys are in my thoughts.
    I wish I could come take you out for coffee and sit and bitch for a while...

  5. So well said, I think you are allowed to have a crisis of faith and humanity after watching your son endure such torture. I am sorry.
    And I am hoping for the best possible results from the tests. Hugs to you, J

  6. I'm praying for you right NOW. Praying for wonderful results that will bring you so much happiness this year!!!

  7. I'm not even sure I can imagine how hard your year has been and how hard this particular day is. Waiting for results is one of the hardest parts.

    Thanks for the verse and the reminder. It's good to hold on to.

  8. Cancer. Powerless. Torture. Waiting. Tomorrow.

    So many words in this post make me so very fearful, even though I am, at this moment, only on the periphery. It makes me wonder, when will it be my turn to suffer or see someone I love suffer?

    I'm sending all the strength I can muster Out There to you, Julie. I'm not sure Who's listening, but I'm sending it. For you, for your friend. And for Andrew.

  9. I wish I could sit in that waiting room with you.

    PRAYING for excellent results today.


  10. Oh, Julie, once again you floor me with the power of your words and your honesty. I can only hope that the test results come back with the best possible news so that you and Andrew and the rest of your family can start binging on the happy parts of life with a 3-year old. I'll be holding you in my thoughts today as you wait for the tests to come back. xo

  11. Your posts always compel me to get out of my comfortable Google Reader zone and head directly to your blog comment section. Then, I'm always at a loss of what I can say to someone like you in times like these. You're a rock. You've heard it all. I can only say that I'm thinking of you and your family and that your blog has made me once again, appreciate each day with my friends, my family and my little boys. I'm sure all of your readers appreciate you opening up the way you do and giving us all a perspective on life that is enlightening, albeit saddening.

    Stay strong my friend....

  12. That was a beautiful post, as usual.

    I've been meaning to leave a comment here for a couple weeks. I read your post about your experience at church last Christmas Eve, and I thought of you and Andrew as my family and I sat in church this year. The choir started Silent Night for the second time, and my 2.5-year-old son looked at me and said (loudly) "This again? Where is Jingle Bells??" I guess that song must be popular with 2 year olds! But I remembered your words, and throughout the service while he was being loud and silly in such a reverent setting, I couldn't help but laugh at him and be thankful for his antics. And eventually, of course, he and I had to leave the service, but we had fun waiting in the church basement.

    Anyway, the point of my story is that had I not read your post, I imagine I would have reacted quite differently to my son that night. But I did read it, and because of that, I will remember our time in church (and in the basement, ha) as one of the most special moments of the Christmas season. Thank you.


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