Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's Been Four Years

      Tomorrow is the 4 year anniversary of Brady's Neuroblastoma diagnosis. There are so many dark memories of that day and those that followed. It's would be so easy to dwell on that aspect of things. And truthfully, there are moments when I do. But this January 21st, I am choosing to focus on the greatness of my God. He has seen us through those dark days of diagnosis, surgery, chemo, more surgery, and healing. And for reasons I hope to one day understand, he has restored our family and blessed us beyond measure.
       As the mom of a survivor, it is so hard to fully "accept" that my son is alive and well. Some call it survivor's guilt, I just recognize it as an intense awareness that for some, the fear that I carried for so long has become a reality. That some must walk the path of life after losing their precious child breaks my heart into a million pieces. But my trust in a Savior that promises that he works all things together for our good allows me to continue to mourn with those who have lost, while still praising God for Brady's healing. What a delicate balance that is.
    I sat here tonight and read through the notebooks I used during the time of Brady's illness. I had one where I kept medical notes, phone numbers, and questions I had for doctors. The other notebook is where I kept lists of cards that were sent to us, meals that were made, fundraisers that were held, and donations that were given. I am in awe, even four years later, at the amazingly generous people that God put in our life during that time. I have pages and pages of names of people who supported us. I read the cards again and just cried. We NEVER felt alone. Thank you if you were one of the hundreds who prayed, gave from your own family's money, took time to write a note or make a meal, or showed that you cared in some other way. Matt and I are forever challenged to give more generously and to step out and help those in need.
     I also came across some notes that I had written for the time I spoke at the Genesee Cancer Assistance Festival of Hope. One of the last things I said was, "I like to sit and think about years from now, when Matt and I watch Eli, Cara, and Brady graduate from high school. On that day I am sure that I will be reminded of his battle with cancer. But all of those years from now, I pray that I can look back on his journey and feel proud that my son was a warrior against cancer. It is my hope that God will continue to use Brady's life and story to inspire hope in others for many years to come."
      Yes, yes, yes! I still feel this way. Brady is just a 5 year old boy. But, his little life is a testimony! It is always my prayer that through his story we can point to Jesus. Our hope is in him, and we trust that he will continue to use Brady's life to bring people into a closer relationship with him! So today we celebrate how far God has brought us as a family.

Those who have read the blog for years will probably remember these pictures!

(warning: some images are graphic!)

The first time I held Brady in the ICU after his spinal surgery (Jan2009), the day he was taken off the ventilator.
 The ladies from Angels of Mercy praying over Brady at a benefit in his honor. I thought, and still do, that he was so handsome with a bald head!

                               Adjusting to life with a Broviac catheter for chemotherapy.

                           At Memorial Sloan Kettering (remember those bunny ears?)
                                                                just before his 2nd surgery.


                                       Recovering after 2nd surgery, while still recovering from the first!
Learning to walk, ride, and get stronger through months of physical therapy.
Committing as a family to help raise money for pediatric cancer research and to raise awareness!
These 4 blessings are the light of our life. They are as close as can be and Matt and I couldn't love them any more than we do! 

                                    I can't wait to see where the next four years will take us!
(photo courtesy of Kristen Hamm Photography)
Jeremiah 29:11
 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Depends on How You Slice It

Brady had his scan today to follow up on October's developments. As always, he handled the process like a brave boy. He walked down to the MRI room with a smile, allowed the anesthesia team to put the mask over his face, and fell asleep like a good boy. He was under for about 2 hours and awoke quite groggy, but rather contently. His first request was for a cookie, followed by his second and third requests...cookie and cookie, respectively. I emailed the doctor when we got home this afternoon and asked for results as soon as they were available. I wasn't sure if the oncologist would call us with only a preliminary report available today since last time the final report revealed that the spot had indeed changed. But alas, our doctor who always seems to be working, called me at 8pm. His words were that, "the report looks good. The spot looks the same, if not possibly a bit smaller. It literally could depend on how you slice it,or how the image is taken. I am taking this as a good omen for the new year." We meet with him next Thursday for our follow up appointment. He will go over the final report and hopefully make some sense out of all of this. This tumor, or "the spot" as we call it, is one strange mystery. It stays the same for years, then it strangely grows, now it is the same again, or perhaps smaller. What will it do next???!? Matt and I are sure that the power of prayer is at work in Brady's life. What we can't make sense of is just as it should be in the eyes of God. There is so much peace in knowing and trusting in that. Thank you if you are someone who lifts Brady up in your prayers. Thank you if you are someone who offers kind words of encouragement to us. Knowing that we have so many who continue to support Brady is such a blessing. />