About Us

Our family of 6 (dad Adam, mom Sherry, big sister Abby and little brothers Isaac and Brady -- who was born on December 14, 2010) joined the ranks of pediatric cancer fighters when our 4-year old son Logan was diagnosed with a dangerous and highly malignant form of brain cancer in mid-August 2010. Logan's cancer journey began abruptly on Sunday, August 15, when his right eye suddenly turned inward during dinner. Twenty-four hours later, we were checking into Children's Hospital Oakland and finding out that life sometimes takes you places you'd never, ever imagine yourself going.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/30/10

It's with no small measure of surprise that I realize we're just hours away from December. Didn't I just type the entry entitled 'Into November We Go' a few days ago? This cold, wintry month brings with it an odd mixture of anticipation and fear, brought about by a unique conflation of certainty and uncertainty.

The certainty: Baby boy will be born at some point before Christmas, ushering in a permanent change in our family structure along with a whole new set of challenges, and of course, joys. The uncertainties are practically as plentiful as the stars in the sky. How will I make it on no sleep when Abby needs to get to school each day and Isaac needs attention? Will my house ever be presentable? How do we coordinate new kinds of help? Will I ever lose the gosh-awful amount of weight I've gained? So many questions, so many unknowns. And so many of them hinge on this upcoming round of chemo: Will this next round be more like cycles 1 and 3, or will it more closely resemble the train wreck that was cycle 2?

Logan will begin cycle 4 tomorrow, pending good blood work (which according to yesterday's draw, he already has in his court). I took him to CHO this morning for his first dose of Synagis, the RSV vaccine; despite the nurse's valiant efforts (which included a hand-knit hat, a shirt and a stack of band-aids), he was not amused by the double-barrel of injections, but fortunately the tears ended quickly and the mood rebounded. He spent the afternoon with grandma while I headed back home to take over Isaac duty and pick up Abby from school. This evening, he chose a trip to Red Tractor for dinner and munched on his fave of late, mac and cheese.

His love of junk food has done excellent things for his weight, per this morning: He was up to 16.2 kg! When he came home back on the 10th, his weight was closer to 14 kg, so we're extremely pleased and thankful that we've managed to help him tank up a bit during his nearly three weeks with us. He's still thin, but I no longer involuntarily cringe when I see his tiny legs, he has significantly more strength (and has been dancing around the house and singing as a result), and he is, if you can look beyond the lack of hair, paler than usual skintone and off-kilter eye, looking quite well. I don't know if I'd ever specifically mentioned my quiet prayer with regard to his weight, but it was that he'd be back up to 16 kg by the start of cycle 4. Isn't that the coolest? I never thought it would actually come to pass but I'm so awed and grateful that it did. To jump from 14 kg to 16 kg in three weeks just seems so amazing; it is, after all, almost 4.5 pounds. Praises to God for those things.

If I'm being honest -- and don't worry, because I am all the time here! -- I'll admit that I'm a little agitated about what's to come in December. We've reached something of a crescendo, the point where the rubber will really meet the road. Up until now, baby #4's arrival has been something of an amorphous concept; he'll come eventually, I'd think, but now 'eventually' is pretty much NOW. I'm super excited to see how God helps us to get through all of this, and how He's going to show Himself in new and amazing ways. He's going to have to show up in incredible and visible ways because there's no way we'd make it if He didn't.

I also admit that for some reason, I'm extra nervous over cycle 4. I don't really know why; maybe it's just worries over whether or not Logan will be home for Christmas, whether he'll get to start his treatment in the immunocompromised ward, where he did well, versus the regular pediatric unit where near-disaster struck, whether or not he'll get to be home when the baby comes home from the hospital, when the baby will show up, and on and on. It's not as if there aren't many things to be worried over. So with all of that said, here's my laundry list of prayer requests to start off your final month of 2010:

- For a smooth cycle 4, with early clearing of methotrexate, no mucusitis and minimal side effects. We'd really like him home with us for Christmas, and for as much time leading up to the 25th as possible. Logan loves the holiday season like no one else in our family; as we drove along in the darkness tonight, he oohed and aahed over the Christmas lights on display, and it made my heart sing to hear so much wonder in his chirpy little voice.
- For a smooth delivery for baby 4, hopefully at a time when Logan is NOT at CHO so Adam and I won't have to stress over Adam potentially missing the birth. My last labor was 4 hours long from start to finish so if I go into labor at the wrong time, he could be on the freeway while I'm giving birth!
- For total eradication of those tumors and an earlier-than-anticipated remission. This feels like a big one and I feel bold for asking for it. But what's the point of praying if you can't be bold and ask for what your heart wants? I'm asking for big things lately. Medically speaking, it takes 5 cycles of regular Headstart chemo plus a transplant cycle -- which is essentially a year of meds crammed into a single round -- to push most kids into remission. But I want that MRI on January 4th to show something amazing. Yes, he'll still have to finish the entire course of treatment, but to go into the final cycles with little to no signs of cancer would be amazing. Utterly amazing. And I still feel like God is promising amazing things here. In fact, when I was awake at 5 this morning and felt the tears coming, I heard Him tell me again to keep holding on; that amazing things are still ahead. And I believe it's true. Please believe that along with me.
- For his health and his spirit. Despite the fears that plagued me as he languished through cycle 2, Logan has been Logan for the past week or so. Vintage, silly, sweet, loving, crazy-dancing and joyfully singing Logan. Please pray that he will maintain that sweetness despite all he's going through and will continue to experience over the course of the next few months.

I think that's enough for now, but rest assured: I'll have more requests soon! Please do pray extra hard over cycle 4: For effectiveness, minimal side effects, no fevers, and a brief stay at CHO. Thank you so much.

Good night, and blessings to you all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Lost Sheep

I've been wanting to touch on this subject for some time now, but hadn't felt the inspiration needed to really get 'er done, so to speak. But now that we're a mere 36 hours or so from starting cycle #4, undeniably the beginning of the truly tough meat of Logan's treatment protocol, it feels like 'the time'.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep was clearly intended to be an important one, as more than one Gospel relays the tale told by Jesus. In a nutshell, a shepherd misplaces a single sheep from his flock, and spends countless hours searching for that one fluffly little absentee until his efforts are rewarded.

Typically, that tale is used to convey God's love for His children; the notion that He'll search high and low for one single lost soul, never ceasing until He's able to welcome him or her back into His flock. And I agree: That's what it means.

However, and forgive me for taking liberties with the scriptures, I'd also argue that for me and for others in my position, it takes on an all new and important meaning.

I've had more than a few undoubtedly well-meaning folks say to me something along these lines. Some of you will find the sentiment shocking and appalling, while others will quietly acquiesce that you've had similar unspoken ruminations while reading about our journey:

It's such a shame that all of this is happening to your family. But remember that no matter what happens to Logan, you still have two beautiful children and one on the way.

I was beyond shocked the first time someone uttered those words in my direction. But I chalked it up to said person simply not knowing what to say, and after my heart wept a little, I let it go. When I heard similiar words a second time, I decided I needed to write an entry like this. The third time, which came very recently, I knew I had to share my thoughts, and sooner than later.

To put it simply, Logan is my little lost sheep. He's not a disposable object that can be replaced, or whose absence could ever be mitigated by the presence of another. In fact, he's a brighter light in this dark world than many, many others combined. He's well-worth being sought after, saved and redeemed.

So as his mother, I'm going to make sure that I keep my prayer warrior troops rallied, with the hope and faith that at the end of this journey, Logan will be 'found', restored to complete health, and returned to our little family 'flock'.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/28/10

Between the holiday season and the unexpected joy of Logan being at home with us for the past 2 1/2 weeks, it's gotten progressively more difficult to update! But I wanted to be sure to do so now, as we're just days away from heading into cycle #4.

I left off with my brief recap of our disappointing-turned-frustrating-turned redeemed (yes, I can call it that!) Thanksgiving Day. Although the way it began broke my heart, a few days removed, I can see it for what it was: A heavenly kick in the pants! I'd been stressing over why we were receiving the gift of holiday-time with Logan at home rather than just accepting the time for what it was and is: A big, unexpected blessing. So the way I see it, what happened was God saying to me 'look Sherry, I'm giving you this great thing you never expected. If you don't want it, then fine, I'll take it away'. Now, a few days later, I can look up, respond with a hearty thank you and a message received! and pray for more miraculous things.

Anyway, I was truly impressed with how quickly Logan recovered from the line placement. He had a single shot of morphine after surgery, but otherwise, has been a-okay. Friday was a cool but pretty day, so we ventured out to the Christmas tree lot by the fairgrounds where we've always gotten our trees in order to pick one out. Logan was super excited about going, so we had a little troop of bell-ringing, singing short people in the back of the van as we made the trek. Given that we were just a day removed from turkey and cranberry sauce, the lot was pretty empty, giving them lots of room to run around and play. The pre-big C diagnosis me would've had them on a tight leash, forbade running, stifled laughter and shrieking to a dull roar... but not now. All three acted a little crazy, and I let them because they're kids. And they were having fun, and there was no one else there to be bothered by their chicanery anyway. And it felt freeing.

Saturday we decorated the tree with a large handful of my massive ornament collection; another activity that was very much on Logan's 'wanna do' radar. There was plenty of silliness and goofing off; so much, in fact, that we repeatedly had to remind all three kids to be careful of Logan's lines, to slow down, to take it easy. Today, Sunday, involved Adam taking the other two kids to church while I hung out at home with Logan. We didn't do anything special, but it was just so nice to sit with him and be for a little while. I pulled out the video camera and did a little 'interview', which was fun. Then we headed over to Arby's for lunch, since that's what he said he wanted, and Adam met us there with Abby and Isaac shortly thereafter so I could head off to a baby shower put on for me and another lovely gal by the Centerpointe ladies (thank you!).

Daily recaps finished, he really has been doing remarkably well, and for that, I sing praises. Medically, he shouldn't be doing as well as he's doing. But I'm telling you that God has intervened in a mighty way, and as a result, Logan is almost vintage-Logan normal. He's goofy, he's silly, he's sweet, he expresses affection more freely than anyone else I know, and he has actual energy. Less than pre-diagnosis, but not much less. He is, naturally, weak and gets tired more easily, but it doesn't hamper his spirit and his tenacity. He's an absolute portrait of resilience and strength of character. It takes my breath away every time I stop and realize that he's not wasting time feeling sorry for himself or asking the big 'why me' question that plagues adults. When he feels good, he plays and acts silly without prejudice.

So all of that beings me to the present, and to the week ahead of us. It's a week that will involve family photos tomorrow courtesy of Chrissy (thank you!), the RSV shot for Logan on Tuesday, and then pending good bloodwork, a return to CHO for cycle #4 on Wednesday. Please pray for another excellent cycle with minimal side effects that will allow him to come home again for an extended time, and of course, for complete eradication of the tumors and healing. Especially with baby boy due in just 3 1/2 weeks, we need things to go as smoothly as possible. Of course, I know that God is in control, but prayers never hurt!

I'll try to be back with more tomorrow, since I know I've been a slacker of late and I don't want to forget anything essential. Until then, bless you all and may the joy of the holiday season overcome you in a new and special way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


First off, I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Days. It definitely wasn't the best one I've ever had -- probably one of the worst, if not the worst, actually -- but we got through it. I'm completely wiped out but felt like I should post something just to bring you up to speed.

Today was frustrating for several reasons. It started off well enough, with Logan calling me from the hospital at 8 to say happy Thanksgiving. He sounded cheerful, happy, and that's always good for mommy's heart. Abby, Isaac and I had a gradual start to the day which involved cereal of their choosing and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Then the parade of frustration started when Adam called at 10:30 -- 30 minutes after Logan's scheduled ER time -- to say that they'd just drawn his labs to make sure that yesterday's platelet transfusion had done the trick.

This did not put me in a great mood, and then I only let it get worse.

An hour or so later, he called back to say that Logan's hemoglobin had come back at 7, which is much too low. So they were planning to do a re-draw using a different entry point to check again, and if it came back low again, he'd have to get blood, repeat the draw, and then move on with the surgery, which meant he'd probably be there til Friday or Saturday. I was confused, mad, frustrated, everything you might imagine. And although I'm not especially proud of myself, I lost it. Tiredness, pregnancy, disappointment and a host of other crazy emotions took over and I started crying. Adam didn't know what to do with me, so he hung up, which of course made me feel even worse.

I vascillated between loading the other kids in the van and driving to CHO, but couldn't make a decision and couldn't get Adam to answer his cell, so I called my mom, which wound up being very helpful. (Thanks Mommy.) He finally called me back and apologized, and said that the second set of results came back and his HGB was actually 9.3, so almost a full point higher than yesterday's number. As a result, he'd just gone into surgery.

He called again when Logan came out of the OR at 2:30, and I then drove up with the other kids. He was aware, alert and eating a chocolate bar when we arrived. He looked pale, but otherwise okay. The oncology team wanted to let him go home, but the surgical team wanted to hold him overnight. A member of the surgeon's team came in at one point and was kind of a jerk to me, to be honest: He asked how much we wanted him to be able to go home today, and I was a little taken aback before I pointed out that he has a bad form of cancer and we like to have all of the holidays we can get. He replied rather curtly that the potential bleeding issue they were worried over was more potentially dangerous than the tumor. I was not amused. The oncology fellow, Anna (who really likes Logan), thought he was overreacting, and talked with the on call doc, who pressed the lead surgeon to just release him. Inevitably, that's what wound up happening, but the conversation with the surgical team member really left a bad taste in my mouth. I understand that it's impossible to understand where I'm coming from unless you've been in my shoes, but the jerk attitude doesn't help anyone.

I drove Abby and Isaac to Adam's Aunt and Uncle's house for a late dinner at about 5:30, and Adam and Logan were shortly behind us. He really enjoyed the turkey in particular and ate reasonably well, though he was also clearly very tired.

We got home a little while ago. I'm utterly exhausted. We have to watch Logan's new line very carefully, and may have to take him to the onc clinic in the morning to have it checked, but at least we're all home. Rather than placing it in the same artery, they wound up inserting it in an artery on the opposite side of his chest, so now he'll have matching scars.

My poor little pin cushion. But he really is a champion. When I was putting him to bed tonight, he said 'I think Angela's a pretty good nurse'. I was amused -- she was his nurse this morning and had been his nurse several times in the PICU back in August, but we hadn't seen her in quite a while. But she's always liked him. Anyway, I asked why, and he said 'it's because I like her hair'. I asked what he liked about it, and he said 'it comes down in a line (sideswept bangs) and it does a circle thing at the end (curls).' He's so funny. He has surgery and is back macking on the ladies a few hours later.

But anyway, thank you for your prayers for today and for the ones of the past and for those to come. They're the most important gift you could ever give our family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tonight and Tomorrow

As of now, Logan's checked back into CHO and will have his line removed and replaced... 'sometime tomorrow'. That's as good a time estimate as they can give, apparently, which is naturally maddening to me. He'll be NPO (no food or drink) from after dinner tonight until the morning, so hopefully there will be a way he can be taken early in the day. Given his re-discovered love of food of late, it would be horrible if he had to wait for hours for the procedure to happen. Then he'll be observed for a few hours, and if all looks okay, they should be able to head home again. So if all goes absolutely ideally, they could be home by the later-afternoon hours.

I don't know what it all means for our Thanksgiving plans (a dinner at 3 PM), but I guess there's nothing I can do about it so there's no point in dwelling.

I'm just so annoyed and mad and frustrated. I fault myself for not intervening more quickly when I saw the fight starting to break out. I felt awful this morning and early afternoon and was trying to just relax; it never occurred to me that this kind of thing would happen -- especially not the day before Thanksgiving. (Though given our history, I'm not sure why I didn't expect some sort of challenge to pop up about now.)

So that's where we are for now.


The news is not what we wanted: The line has to come out and then be replaced, and they want to do it as soon as possible, so we're likely not going to be spending Thanksgiving together as a family after all. Adam is waiting for Philippa to get back to him with the official plan that's devised by the oncology and surgical teams, though given that it's the night before Thanksgiving, it's not looking good in terms of having anything happen any time soon.

I'm so disappointed I could cry, but I can't. It would just make Abby feel worse.

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving...

... without a little drama. That's what Philippa said when I called her a little while ago to report our afternoon trauma. The short story is that Abby and Logan decided to play doctor (as they also did yesterday). Both wanted to be the physician, and a fight broke out over the stethoscope. Somehow, and I still haven't figured out exactly how it happened, Abby yanked his chemo line partially out of place, which resulted in a small amount of bleeding and, as I wrote, a slightly displaced tube.

Adam whisked him off to CHO 15 minutes ago to have it evaluated. Philippa said he'd have to have a chest x-ray and then compare it with the original to make sure it's still in the correct place. If it is, we're a-okay. If it's not, well, today just got much more complicated. Chemo port replacement was definitely not on our holiday to-do list, so I'm praying that it'll look fine and they'll be home again this evening.

Abby is absolutely beside herself over the whole thing, sobbing that she didn't do it on purpose, she didn't know that could happen, it's not her fault. I've assured her -- repeatedly -- that we're not upset with her, the doctors aren't upset with her, and that we know it was an accident. But still, I'm exasperated. I can't count how many times I've told all of the kids how easy it is for Logan to get hurt right now, and how extraordinarily careful we have to be around his lines.

But, well, it is what it is. At least things had been going well up til that moment. His numbers from this morning were great; his WBC count rose to 5.4, platelets were up to 44, and hemoglobin held steady at 8.4. So until I hear otherwise, I'll just think of this as a crappy little bump in the holiday road.

Thanks for your continued prayers!

Two Weeks

Logan's now been home for two weeks, his longest time here with us since before he was diagnosed back in August. Pretty cool.

Given his increase in WBC count, we decided that today was the day to take the big trip to see Santa Claus. Logan was unusually nervous about the prospect of seeing the big guy, but wound up being a-okay. Our photo definitely isn't the best one we've ever had, but it's ours and it exists and that's what matters.

The most poignant moment of the experience -- the one that made my eyes sting with tears -- came after Abby, Logan and Isaac had dismounted Santa's lap and he stopped them to ask what they'd like for Christmas. Abby replied first, asking for a Tinkerbell House, but as she spoke it was Logan's expression that stopped me in my tracks: He had such a big smile, such a wide-eyed expression of wonder on his face that it was almost too much. Almost painful, because our future is so uncertain and I was reminded of that fact in that single moment of beautifully expressed childhood innocence.

I immediately wished we'd had the video camera rolling, but we didn't, and then it was over, the moment had passed, and we were paying for our photo and heading out before the throng of holiday shoppers had a chance to press in on our little party. Surreal.

But I know one thing for sure: I'll never forget the look on his face. Even if he's 30 years old and taking his own child to see Santa, I'll still see that expression when I look at him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


If I was blue last night, I'm definitely magenta today: Maybe still a tad bit blue, but mainly a sea of brilliant reds and purples and pinks.

I had a great OB check this morning, which revealed that I'm making progress -- though not too much progress for just shy of 36 weeks -- toward delivery.

Logan's audiology test at CHO showed no hearing loss through cycle three of chemo, and his WBC count is up to 2.6 or 2.8 (Adam couldn't remember the precise figure, but either way, it's good news). His hemoglobin sits at 8.4, which is apparently lower than Sunday's number (which is weird since we were told 8.4 on Sunday as well though apparently it was actually 8.8, but eh, it's okay), so we'll check it again with another draw tomorrow morning. The sole bummer of the stat set were platelets, which rest at either 26 or 28 (again, Adam wasn't sure), which meant that he was unable to get an RSV immunization: The minimum platelet count to proceed with that is 30, so he just missed the mark. Instead, he'll report to CHO next Tuesday for the shot, and then be readmitted to start cycle #4 on Wednesday, just one day late. Philippa told us to give him one more shot of GCSF to push his numbers as high as possible for the time being, and then we can stop with those, too. Logan will be relieved, since he hates his nightly injections. They're pretty torturous for us as well, but, well, he's 4, so there's lots of screaming and crying and agonizing beforehand.

Otherwise, there's been plenty of good cheer (and noise) around our house. Logan actually has more energy and is in better spirits than he has been since before we knew about the tumor. Sure, he absolutely gets tired and cranky and takes naps, which he hasn't done routinely for two years, but he also seems genuinely happy at times.

So, I'm choosing to think of this third cycle as one of the 'amazing' things God promised to me months ago. And I'm also choosing to believe that it's just the tip of the iceberg, and that more amazing things are in store. I could merely protect myself in a cloak of cynicism -- which, ironically, is my usual modus operandi -- but it doesn't feel like the right thing to do. I don't think this is a bounceback 'extraordinary' cycle designed to make up for cycle 2's disastrousness, rather a sign that All Things Are Possible.


I feel sad.

There, I've said it. It's out there. I can't say that my emotional pendulum is truly swinging back in a negative direction, but I can say that I'm sad, bummed out and frustrated. Fortunately for me, I suspect that this is just part of the natural progression for moms in my position; moms doing all they can do to rally support for their critically ill children and feeling buried, virtually suffocated under the weight of that responsibility.

I'm sad because although I'm thankful that Logan is doing as well as he is, he's still very ill. And he's still very much not himself 80 some percent of the time. He's tired, weak, cranky, mercurial. All things that are normal for kids on his treatment protocol; after all, the drugs absolutely destroy the bone marrow and physical resiliency in addition to causing a host of awful side effects that no 4-year old child should ever have to face.

I just miss my sunshine and I hate the evil that somehow took root in him and precipitated this disaster in the first place.

So yes. My heart hurts and I'm sad.

But tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Heart

I know, I know: I just posted! What's this crazy chick doing posting again?! Honestly, it's because my heart feels so full that I'd be doing myself a disservice if I failed to share the whys.

In a nutshell, Abby and Logan love each other so much that it makes me melt. For anyone unaware, they're just under 21 months apart and have 'grown up together' in the truest sense of the term.

I've been eavesdropping on them as they've played today, and have come to really and truly internalize how very much they've missed one another; how torturous the months of separation have been. Although they certainly have their moments, they also share a love for one another that's unparalleled. Each has a special tone of voice reserved solely for the other; whether or not they're conscious of that fact is irrelevant. It's just so beautifully true. Their play flows so smoothly, so effortlessly from one activity to another and there's just such a tangible happiness that permeates their space when they're together that it takes my breath away.

Oh well; this entry is coming to a close sooner than anticipated as Logan just chased Isaac into the family room with a Buzz Lightyear sonic ray gun (also known as a bubbleless bubble maker) and I need to moderate. I'd hoped to include some quotes from my dynamic duo, but maybe later. Maybe.

Fear and Anticipation

It's been a rowdy but pleasant morning here at our house, filled with the now-melodic ruckus of three children at play. When I came downstairs, Logan was perched at the table, finishing up a chocolate chip pancake and smiling like a goon at what seemed to be nothing in particular. He went on to play with some of his cars, go crazy with a Zhu Zhu pet on the entry tile, create a 'book' with Looney Tunes stickers, string and a hole punch, and enjoy an Outback Adventure with Abby. (I'm not entirely sure what it involved, since the duo went upstairs, but I'm assuming there were stuffed kangaroos and koalas included.) A moment ago, he was wandering aimlessly, swinging his arms from side to side, singing to himself as he often does in his tiny and precious voice, and clearly just trying to figure out what to do next. Now, a minute later, he's begun the long and treasured process of creating a Cars parking lot next to me on the couch. Yesterday I told him that he was doing a much better job of navigating the stairs, and he very excitedly smiled and said that's acause my legs don't hurt so much anymore! Such sweetness in such simple words.

Had you told me a calendar month ago that any of this would be happening right now, I probably would've laughed. Sure, Logan's recovery has been slower this time around, but we've had the unexpected -- and medically unlikely -- luxury of having him home with us since November 10th. That kind of thing just doesn't happen with AT/RT kids, so we're thankful to have had such an extended break from CHO. From a purely medical perspective, his earlier clearing of the Methotrexate had a lot to do with not developing a fever and pain that would've kept him on in-patient status, so I thank everyone who prayed for that, and when cycle 4 begins next week, I'll ask you to pray for the very same speedy clearing.

In terms of how he's doing from a technical perspective, yesterday's CBC showed a WBC count of .5, hemoglobin of 8.4, and platelets at 12. He did have to return to CHO for platelets, of course, but then he and Adam were home again by dinner time and little sunshine had a hankerin' for some homemade spaghetti and meatballs. At the hospital, his fully-clothed and shoe-wearing weight was up to 15.5 kilos, which even counting the extra accoutremants, marks a good increase from last Saturday's 14.1. He's eating reasonably well and is still on the TPN overnight; as Adam told Philippa when she called to check in this morning, we plan to fatten him up as much as we possibly can before he heads back for cycle 4.

With all of that said, why do I cite fear in my title? Things are going well, no? Yep, they are. Thank God for that! I reference fear and anticipation because a little while ago, radiology called to give us the appointment for Logan's post-cycle 4 MRI. **gulp** It'll be January 4 at 8 AM. THIS is the MRI that will tell us what's really going on. If the tumor is smaller (or, God PLEASE!, GONE), if its remnants look operable, if radiation becomes a certainly in our future, if he'll have to go through the pheresis process again to harvest more stem cells. On one hand, I was relieved: I'd been peripherally worried that it would fall on my 33rd birthday (1/11). But on the other, there are just so many things riding on the results of that test that it fills me with an odd sense of fear-dredged anticipation.

Anyway, that's it for my little spontaneous late-morning update. Thank you for your prayers and for your support. Much love to you this Thanksgiving week.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/20/10

Today was a good one for Logan. He had enough energy to play with cars, which involved him creating his first 'couch parking lot' in months. He had fun playing with his siblings, got himself up and down the staircase a few times, and even got up and danced with this year's recital DVD for a little while this evening. He was cheerful and not nearly as whiny as during days past. There were moments when he'd laugh like his old self and say silly things, and Adam and I would just look at each other. It's very... emotional. It makes me a little sad to think that Logan acting like himself would be cause for tears, but hey, we're grateful for every drop of what we're given. I could waste time being angry and frustrated that we are where we are, but I'm not in that place right now. Thank God.

Tomorrow we'll draw blood to check his metabolic panel and CBC, and hopefully, we won't have to head to CHO for any transfusions. Please pray for good levels all around, and for a nice increase in his WBC count. It would be so lovely to be off of house arrest in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling decidedly huge and uncomfortable at 35.5 weeks. As much as convenience says that baby boy staying in longer would be better from a logistical standpoint, my personal sense of comfort says that 38 weeks or so would be just about perfect. I know: Babies come when they want to come. But in our case this time, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family and for Logan's healing. Have a great evening.

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Upswing

As any self-respecting quasi pessimist would do, I'm holding my breath as I type, but Philippa called a little while ago with Logan's bloodwork results from this morning's draw. Platelets were 39, Hemoglobin 9.4, and WBC count .2. She was pleased for a few reasons. For one, a platelet level of 39 means he doesn't need to go back to Children's for a transfusion tonight. Yay! And two, the .2 WBC suggests that recovery is indeed beginning and at day 18, we're still within the 'normal' range. Yay again! Thank you Jesus.

However, after last month's infection and resulting disaster, I'm gun shy about WBC count results. Please pray that recovery continues and that we see a sharp increase in WBC count with Sunday's draw. He really (really) really wants to get out of the house a little. He got mad at me this morning when he asked if we could go to Costco to get pizza and I said not yet. (Then after Philippa called this afternoon and I told him she'd said his numbers were getting better, he smiled his huge Logan-grin and asked if we could go to Costco yet, haha. I told him not quite yet, but hopefully in a few days. His smile got bigger. Just one reason to love this kid like crazy.)

So that was this afternoon.

This morning I decided to challenge myself mentally by driving to the preschool and visiting Logan's class during their Thanksgiving Feast. I knew that he's been something of a 'silent' classmate this semester, with a cubby with his name on it in place and prayers said for him each day. It was much harder than I'd expected: I considered bailing on my plan shortly after leaving home, simply because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to abate the tears that already stung at my eyes.

But I forged on anyway, and it wound up being a good decision. It was nice to see and talk with several friends. It was good to share our journey first-hand and to proclaim verbally what Christ has done for Logan and our family thus far. I've always been shy about that; I'm not a super shy person by nature at this stage in my life, but I've been one to hang back when it comes to expressions of faith. There's always been something vaguely embarrassing about professing Christ and giving testimonies. This experience is teaching me to be bolder with my proclamations; to not fear what others may think or say about me for sharing the truth of what's going on with us and for espousing -- and owning -- the words that are written on my heart. Because as time goes by and I see more and more amazing things come to pass, I believe more and more that it's all true and real.

It's my prayer this afternoon that someone reading this will take a fresh look at the concept of faith and how -- and more importantly, why -- it does or doesn't apply in her life.

Thank you as always for your invaluable prayers and support. Please do keep interceding for total healing for Logan and for peace and hope for our family. I know God hears us all and I can feel the tingle of good -- no, amazing -- things on the horizon. And I want all of you to be witnesses to those things!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/18/10

I've come to realize that on the days that I don't want to pray, I should make a point of praying more. In the same way, on the days that I don't want to write, I should do it anyway. So here I am.

We're all still here at home. Logan's been out of the hospital since last Wednesday, which is pretty remarkable. While I love (LOVE) not having to drive to Oakland every day, not worrying about whether Abby and Isaac feel neglected, not being completely exhausted as I collapse into bed every night, and having my entire family under one roof, there are things that I don't love, too. For example, Logan has morphed into a whiny, incredibly demanding child. To be fair, it's not all the time, but... much of the time. Last night, we made him FIVE different things for dinner in a quest to get him to eat ANYthing. He rejected lasagna, and asked for a hot dog. Then he rejected the hot dog (after it was on the plate, in the bun, ready to eat and in his lap), and asked for pizza, which was rejected in short order. Then he asked for chicken nuggets, and you guessed it: Rejected those, too, after they'd already been made. Next he asked for macaroni and cheese. Adam put his foot down at first and said no, but changed his mind (with a heavy sigh) and said that he'd make it, but that Logan had to eat it. Did he? NO. Rejected that, too. He finally asked for lasagna again and actually ate a few bites, but that's what mealtimes tend to look like lately at our house. He's gotten used to being demanding and to getting what he wants.

Sure, some of it is our fault for giving in. But I seriously challenge anyone in our shoes to not fall into that particular pit as well: Your child is skin and bones, no muscle tone, you just want him to eat and gain weight, so you do what you can to try to get him to accept ANYthing. It's hard. It's not as simple as just saying 'no, sorry, eat what I made or starve', because he really could starve.

Still, tonight we're not taking the guff. He'll have two choices, and he'll pick one (or two, if he wants both). And he'll either eat it or not. The harder line stance is a direct result of the TPN (liquid nutrition IV) we can give him overnight, though; I'm sure that if we didn't have one of them at our beck and call, we'd probably still try to cater to his whims. Sigh. Just another complicated part of this whole routine.

In other news, his bloodwork this morning (which we delivered to our local Quest and was supposed to be processed STAT but wound up taking EIGHT hours to get to Philippa) showed a good magnesium level, slightly low potassium (which is his norm), platelets at 70 (post-yesterday's transfusion) and HGB at 9.7. All decent numbers. His WBC count came back at .1, which is theoretically higher than the 'less than .1' denotation that CHO uses, so he may be starting to recover. He's on cycle day #17 so still well-within the normal recovery range of day 14 to day 21, but of course we'd rather be on the earlier side than the later and not have it drag out as it did during the now-infamous cycle 2.

So what do we need prayer for? First off, for those numbers to rebound soon. If his platelets stay above 50, he won't have to go back for a transfusion, which would be so wonderful. We'd also like to see his WBC count increase for real. Until it does, he's stuck here at the house. While it's nice to be home and not at CHO, it would be nicer to be able to leave every now and then to go to Costco, the park, anywhere. It's easy to get whiny and unpleasant when you're stuck in the same place 24/7.

We also need the three Ps: Peace, patience and perseverance. I once again am beginning to feel like I'm wandering on a long journey through the desert, and am in need of encouragement.

Though in fairness, I should note that it's not that I haven't gotten any reassurance lately, because in my typical bizarre way, I have. (You know how I love my anecdotes.) In the car while driving to pick up a prescription for Mr. Logan earlier today, I was vaguely aware of the radio. I heard the DJ say 'new one from Sugarland' and 'listen carefully to the words', and then of course I tuned it out. The next thing I knew, I'd tuned back in again and lead singer Jennifer Nettles was singing this:

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright,
It’ll be alright again, it’ll be alright again,
I’m okay, It’ll be alright again, I’m okay (okay) It’ll be alright again, I’m okay

Just a little tiny miniscule something, but something nonetheless. And it was just enough of a little something to make my eyes water... a little.

Have a great night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The Impossible"

It's funny: I hadn't thought of the song that follows in at least a year, but when I read Kari's comment a few entries down, the words came at me in a flood. So I'm sharing the refrain with you, since I often find that music inspires me and speaks to my heart in ways that regular prose doesn't.

The Impossible / Joe Nichols

Unsinkable ships sink, unbreakable walls break
Sometimes the things you think would never happen
Happen just like that, Unbendable steel bends
If the fury of the wind is unstoppable
I've learned to never underestimate the impossible.

I'm slowly learning to live by that last line: To not underestimate 'the impossible', because after all, with God, ALL things are possible.

G'night, all. Thank you for your prayers and your ears.

The Irony of Thankfulness

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately on the subject of thankfulness: What it means, how we gauge it, how deep it runs. And after all of that thought, I've come to a conclusion that even I find ironic: I'm probably more thankful right now than I have been... well, ever.

Hold the phone, say what, are you crazy?!

I know. But it's true. I can't lie and say that I'm thankful that Logan is as sick as he is. I also can't pretend that I'm thrilled to be ready to pop out baby #4 while staring down the barrel of an uncertain and decidedly scary future. But even in the face of those things and many, many more, I also can't lie and say that I don't have anything for which to be thankful.

I'm thankful for our community and for the scores of people who have stepped up to offer help of all sorts. I'm thankful that Logan knocked it out of the park during chemo cycle #1 and was able to get started with cycle #2 in an expeditious manner. I'm even thankful for the delay after cycle #2, because it means we'll have a good shot at having him home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, if all goes well. That wasn't the case according to the 'if all things go totally perfectly schedule'. Sure, losing that week is scary and upsetting, but it was immeasurably wonderful to have him here unexpectedly for Halloween, so I know it'd be utterly amazing if he were able to be here for other bigger holidays as well. I'm thankful that cycle #3 has gone better than #2 so far, and that he's exceeded expectations with regard to staying well enough to be home. He had his check-up and Vincristine this morning, and came back home just as we'd hoped.

At this precise moment, as I sit on the couch next to Logan, I'm thankful that he's awake enough to enjoy Zaboomafoo on Sprout, that he's eating his second Oreo cookie, and that he ate 1/3 of a Costco hot dog and some lemonade for lunch.

But more than all of that, I'm thankful that we're being given a rare chance -- a 1 in 3 million-style rare chance -- to see God moving first-hand in an amazing way. Sure, it still stinks. I wish it wasn't me and my son and my family. But at the same time, I absolutely cannot wait to see what God will do tomorrow to blow my mind. He's already given us awesome MRI results, a sudden and, medically, nearly inexplicable recovery from the infection that had his lungs so compressed by displaced fluid that he could hardly breathe. And now, he's given us a nice and unexpected break from the hospital.

I continue to believe and proclaim that Jesus saves, and for that I'm thankful. And I'm thankful that this year, I have an all-new reason to cling to that truth and to believe. Just as Jesus saved Jairus' daughter, the paralytic and scores of others during His time on this earth, he can also -- and I believe wants to -- save my child. Logan is a light in this world, and I hope that if you've not met him, that you will some day.

So yeah, it feels a little ironic to feel gratitude for any of this. But it's my call to share my feelings and my beliefs as we travel this path, so there you go. Bless you all, and as Thanksgiving approaches, remember to be thankful -- for the blessings and the challenges in your own lives.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/15/10

It's Monday night, and Logan is still at home with us. (If I knew how to type a little heart, I would totally do it right now even though I'm not a 'cutesy hearts in my text' kind of gal.) But that doesn't mean that we didn't have yet another trip to Oakland today, as his bloodwork this morning showed not only low platelets (15), but low hemoglobin as well (7.3). So Adam and I took his mom's very kind offer of watching the boys for us and went to lunch sans kids before shuttling Logan to the day hospital for two transfusions. Thankfully, he avoided spiking a fever yet again, passed the on-call oncologist's evaluation for mucusitis, and was cleared to head home again this evening just minutes after finishing his hemoglobin.

Molly and Philippa both continued to be impressed by his progress so far; when Logan returns for his outpatient Vincristine tomorrow, he'll break Molly's record for Headstart kids' time at home mid-cycle. Granted there aren't many kids on the Headstart protocol, but still, it's worth noting that she's never seen a kid manage to stay out of the hospital long enough to need to return for their chemo booster. Additionally, Philippa told Adam that she would've bet money on Logan being admitted again sometime Saturday or Sunday. So positive things are happening. Praise, praise God for that.

Despite all of that, I still feel decidedly squirrelly. I mean, of course I do: My little sweetie has a dangerous form of cancer. It's natural that I feel a little nervous now and then, right? I guess you could just say that I'm having trouble fully accepting and not questioning the positive developments we've seen here. I know they're blessings from God; it's a blessing to have him home. It's a blessing to not have to trek back and forth to Oakland every single day while 34 1/2 weeks pregnant. It's a blessing to think that we may get to have him home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. But at the same time, it's hard to not let the doubt creep in: Why are things going so nicely? I'd like to just accept the blessings freely and without worry and without creating implications within them that probably aren't even there.

It's not as if we're not deserving of a little good news; the past 13 weeks have been largely a string of hellaciously bad things, the unfolding of a horror story. So I know I should just relax and enjoy. But a half glass empty girl like me has to work extra hard when it comes to things like that, so I'm doing the best I can to shut out the negative voices, so to speak -- like the one that whispers 'look at how wonky his eye looks again' -- and to focus on the positives.

I should take a lesson from Logan and live in the moment.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and for sharing our journey with your prayer warrior friends. I believe that prayer can change everything. Blessings to you all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/14/10

This morning was one of the best that I've had in a long, long while: I felt like I'd been transported Mary Poppins-style into a lovely, colorful drawing on the sidewalk. Logan was cheerful, interactive and just generally pleasant. Since I'm not on morning duty at the hospital, I usually miss out on his widely-regarded best time of the day, so it was a huge blessing to see him in good spirits. He was in such a positive mood, in fact, that I wondered if maybe his counts were beginning to recover. He was very pleased when Adam, Abby and Isaac left for church, since it meant special mommy and Logan time. He wanted to pick up lunch from Arby's, so that's just what we did: I loaded him into his seat in the back of the Little Red Car, and we drove across town to satisfy his craving.

Of course, he didn't really eat his chicken fingers, applesauce and juice, and the pretty chalk painting soon faded in a slow but steady sort of sprinkling rain, but it was worth the drive to make him happy for just a little while.

The rest of the day was essentially a blur of medicines, napping, fulfilling Stalin-like demands and the occasional request for cuddles. He continues to be tired -- very, very tired -- and painfully thin. He ate a fairly decent dinner (lasagna, of course), but then wound up throwing up much of it; his poor little tummy is so small and so unaccustomed to housing food that he gets nauseated much too quickly and easily, which leads him to try to vomit. It's frustrating -- no, beyond frustrating to see him eat well and then almost immediately expel the fare, but I suppose it's part of the process. If all goes according to the tentative treatment plan, he won't start cycle 4 until November 30, so we should have ample time post-recovery to convince him to eat, eat, eat and gain back some of the roughly 8 pounds he's lost. It may not sound like much to adults, but keep in mind that 8 pounds is more than 1/4 of his current body weight. Yeah: Ouch.

Although he's definitely become increasingly obstinate when it comes to taking his medications, he isn't complaining of pain or discomfort as frequently as we might have expected after rounds one and two. In fact, he's not on any pain meds at all, so he's doing quite well in that regard, if you ask us.

Anyway, as of this evening, no fever, so he's still here with us at home, thank God. We're assuming he'll need platelets again tomorrow, and he has his Vincristine (one of the chemo drugs) booster appointment Tuesday morning, but otherwise, we'd love to keep him home for as long as possible.

Thank you so much for your prayers and for sharing this blog with anyone who may be interested. And no worries if you can't figure out how to comment: It took me quite a while to figure it out myself. :)

Good night and God bless you ALL.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Logan Update: 11/13/10

What to say about today. Well, I suppose it would make good sense to note first off that Logan made it through another day 'at home'. The quotes refer to the fact that much of the day was actually spent at Children's waiting to come back home; his blood draw this morning showed his platelets to be at 9, which is much too low, so he selected mommy for accompaniment duty, and he and I took off for Oakland at around 11 AM. Everything at the hospital takes a long time; it's time-consuming to check in (especially when the admitting doc misspells your last name and they can't figure out who you are for 15 minutes), to get orders written, to get blood products ready, to receive transfusions. But he got through the process without spiking a fever (thank God), and we were finally back out in the parking garage and headed home by 5:30.

He was so quiet during the drive that I assumed he'd fallen asleep, so I was shocked when I finally got off the freeway, stopped at a traffic light, turned to look at him and found him wide awake and staring at nothing in particular, Lambie clutched in-hand.

And that's sort of how he spent the remainder of the evening: Very quiet, but still aware. He rejected the beef burrito Adam had made him for dinner, so we microwaved a frozen individual-sized Stouffer's lasagna, which has become a recent favorite for some reason -- perhaps because the hospital doesn't offer lasagna. I think he ate about half while lying on the couch, and then he joined Abby and Isaac at the table to decorate some gingerbread cookies. He felt hot when I touched him, and that set off several hours of near-compulsive temperature-taking. We're supposed to call the oncology doctor on call if his underarm temp exceeds 100 degrees, but it never really did... at least not consistently. One of the two thermometers we use read 100.4 one time, but a minute later, it was down to 99.6. The other never went above the latter figure. Then his temp fell to 98.8 on both thermometers and seemed to rest there for a while. Adam's going to take his temp again with both therms when he comes upstairs in a bit. So we'll see how it goes.

It's been a tough day mentally. Not the worst I've ever had by any means, but just, I don't know, tiring. I can feel my hope entering one of its 'waning' phases, and for no real reason at all. Well, some of it may have to do with my moving my blog here from Facebook; I just don't see the support here that I saw every day over on FB. I don't regret my decision to move my entries to a more public locale, but I miss the comments and the confirmation tht we're still the recipients of much prayer. I hope that's not silly.

I do wish his eye would look better, but I also know it's not necessarily an indicator of what's going on with the tumor. The whole experience is just wearing on me. Tomorrow will be the 13-week marker, if you can believe that; We've known something was amiss for almost 13 weeks now. Thanks to my pregnancy, it's easy to keep track of the time that's passed. We're in the thick of treatment now, which is good, but it's just so exhausting in so many ways.

Please continue to pray for complete healing for my Logan. Also continue to pray for milder side effects as he works toward cycle 3 recovery. Today was day 12, and per our spreadsheet, he's already done better this time than last in terms of fevers and mucusitis. Praise God for those things. We just need his WBC count to begin to rebound sometime over the next 2 to 4 days or so. Sooner is better, but we'll take what we can get. Also, please pray for peace and patience for us; it's definitely much easier to snap at Abby and Isaac when we're tired and overwhelmed, and we know that's neither helpful nor productive.

Bless you and your families.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Bit More

The kids are in bed and Adam just stepped out to buy some diapers for Isaac, so I'm once again in my room, alone with my thoughts. My tired, confused, sad, angry, mumbled, jumbled thoughts. I'm trying to process them all; to force them all to come together like good little mind-bytes and make a modicum of sense, but it's not really happening. So I guess being blunt is my only option.

I miss Logan. Yes, he's here with us for now. He's in his little bed with his Lightning McQueen pillow case and Lightning McQueen comforter, his books, his at-home stuffed animals, happy to be away from the hospital and the nurses.

But I miss him. Before the cancer, he was vibrant, energetic, fun, spirited, silly, polite, patient, good-hearted, loving. My sunshine, as I've noted many a time before. As I sang him to sleep tonight, lying next to him on his bed and clutching his little hands, my voice cracked with emotion as I remembered singing the same words to him four years ago when he was a baby. And ironically, I sang from the same spot: Before furniture was moved and rooms were rearranged, the glider had been positioned in the exact spot as his current bed. I didn't know back then that he'd become as amazing a person as he is; that he'd bless so many people with so much happiness, that he'd put others at ease with little more than a grin, that he'd wriggle his way so deeply into my heart that the very thought of him being in pain would quite literally make me lose my own breath. As someone who'd always seen herself with a troop of little girls, Logan was the child who made it okay, and not just okay, but amazing, to have boys.

Of course, he's still here. His good heart, his loving nature, his sweetness are all still present and accounted for; even when demanding fresh ice water or asking for a new apple, he still says please and thank you, and he still says I love you without solicitation. But his energy is sapped, and in its place is a frailty that stabs me in the chest. He's so bony, so tiny, so thin, so weak. Such a far cry from the sturdy kid he was just months ago.

And it's hard to see what's happened. No, his spirit isn't broken, and I pray that it never happens. But his body is so weak, so decimated. As his mother, it crushes me to see the extent of his suffering. I cry out repeatedly for relief, for a cure, for comfort. He's 4. It's all just so wrong.

I suppose my words have run their course for now. Please keep praying for Logan's recovery and for easier side effects this round. He's been hovering just below the 100-degree marker this evening, so it seems likely that he'll probably be heading back to Oakland sometime soon. Also, please pray that somehow, this will get easier for all of us, because at times, it feels like just too much to take. Bless you and yours.

The Logan Update: 11/12/10

I'd forgotten how utterly exhausting it is to be at home all day long with three little children. And of course, one of them being critically ill makes it all the more challenging. Oh, and yeah, there's the pregnancy thing, too. But despite being tired and vaguely frustrated over the endless whining (Abby), yelling (Isaac) and bickering (Abby and Isaac), and sad over how thin, weak and exhausted Logan is from sun-up til sundown, I still feel a pronounced sense of gratitude. Logan's been home for 2 days now and hasn't spiked a fever, so praise God for that. It's more than we expected, so we'll take it with grateful hearts and hope for more of the same.

As far as our Friday goes, it's been... okay. As noted above, Logan is definitely very weak, tired and out of sorts much of the time. He's on a massive number of oral medications, which Adam and I take turns delivering with, quite literally, a spoonful of sugar -- in the guise of cherry syrup from the pharmacy -- each. If you're wondering what he's on, here's a quick primer. First off, he's on Magnesium and Potassium supplements, both of which he deems "yucky"; he takes the Mag as long as it's offered up with a healthy dose of ice water and syrup. The Potassium we sneak into his food, as it comes in capsule form and is good for sprinkling. Yet somehow, he always manages to detect it and calls us out for putting something "salty" in his food or water. We prayerfully hope he gets enough to keep his level high enough before his offend-o-meter goes off. He's also on preventative doses of Flagyl to try to avoid the disaster that was cycle 2's infection. Flagyl is absolutely disgusting; even the nurses at Children's agree with that, so it's a tough one for him to keep down, but I really do think he tries most of the time. MOST of the time. He also has three different nausea medications that can be taken as needed: Zofran, my old pregnancy buddy; Benadryl; and Ativan. On weekends, he gets Bactrim, a preventative antibiotic that all chemo kids take. And the piece de resistance is the white blood cell booster GCSF, which comes as an injection and I get to do this evening. I don't mind giving shots; I received tons of them as a kid so it's not a big deal to me. But he's so thin that it makes me cringe a little thinking about it. There really isn't much room for needle-error; there's nowhere for it to go, so you just sort of stick and pray. Anyhow, he needs the GCSF is preparation for the post-cycle attempt at stem cell collection. If you remember, we were able to collect just over 5 million per kg of weight, so we need another 5 million this go-round. Please keep that on your hearts and pray for success, and that we won't miss the window yet again.

Today, he threw up at around noon and had Ativan to help with the nausea. Then he refused lunch and napped for a few hours while Adam worked and Abby and Isaac played dress-up (which believe me, was not without its humorous moments). Philippa called to let us know she wanted to do labs tomorrow, so we'll draw in the morning, trek up to Oakland to drop the vials off at Children's, and then await the results to see if he'll need to go back tomorrow night for more platelets or blood. If he does, it's okay: The better he feels, the better we all feel. We'd just like the fevers to stay away so he can come back to Pleasanton afterward.

Post-nap, he was still tired and lacking in energy, but wanted to play with some stickers he'd found in his room, so I set him up at the dining room table to do that. I figure hey, at least it's some fine-motor practice.

And that just about brings me to the present. I have a lot of other thoughts to share, but I can't seem to string them together at the moment, so I'll try to remember to come back later. Bless every one of you, and thank you for your continued prayers for complete healing, comfort, peace and whatever else you feel led to offer up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Addendum and Warm Welcome

If you're new to my blog and our story, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to you and to thank you from the bottom of my heart for every single prayer that you say on behalf of Logan, myself and our family. As you read the entries past, be aware that I'm brutally honest at times: Although eloquence of the written word is a gift that I possess, at times, particularly when things seem outlandishly challenging and overwhelmingly hard to handle, my emotions get the best of me. But I assure you that it's all real: If the Good Lord can use me to reach or bring comfort to just one person, I'll be pleased to know that I've served a good purpose through my pain and suffering.


In case it escaped notice, my FB status update a little while ago read as follows:

and the verdict is... transfusion went fine, NO fever. They'll be heading home soon! Phew. Thanks for praying! Now just to destroy that tumor and its buddies...

Woo, thank God for that! Adam and Logan got back home at around 8:30 this evening and while Adam took charge of putting Abby and Isaac to bed, I made Logan's dinner of choice: Kraft macaroni and cheese. (He apparently rejected all other offered foods while they were out at the hospital.) I prepared it in, er, what I'll call 'chemo weight loss friendly fashion', using a full stick of butter, a tablespoon of heavy cream and 1/4 cup whole milk. (For reference, the usual recipe -- which is already calorie-laden in a gross, gross way -- calls for 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup 2% milk. So just a slight variation from the norm.) I made up a little bowl and added a capsule of potassium, since his levels have been low and he refuses to eat or drink anything at all that contains 'those white fings', as he calls them. We figured it would be a good idea to try to melt them. Logan ate about half of the bowl before he complained that it tasted 'salty'. I'm grateful that he probably got a good dose of it, but wish he'd have finished. Oh well: Some is better than none at all.

Post macaroni, he requested the last slice of Abby's birthday cake. After he'd polished it off, he asked for some of the homemade ice cream Adam was eating. Score! It was, of course, made with heavy cream and I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, but he needs those calories so praise God for his dessert gluttony tonight! And yes, I can add that last phrase to my ever-growing 'I never thought I'd say something like that about my child' list.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring -- but honestly, who does?? -- but I'm grateful for today and tonight. And I'm grateful for everyone who prays for us and who intercedes on Logan's behalf. I believe in the healing power of prayer, and I'm so excited by what I've seen. I want to see more and more and more, and I pray that I get that gift.

Despite the pain and the frustration and the pure nightmarish nature of our situation, I'm also finding a peace that I've never really felt before (at times, anyway. I'm still human. I still get upset and lose hope). I enjoy my prayer time more than ever, and I enjoy that I feel like I hear from God. For example, this morning was challenging, with Logan rejecting medicine and then vomiting after we'd made him take it. I was frustrated. I went upstairs, laid on my bed and prayed for some peace. I questioned God for the upteenth time, expressed anger over Logan's suffering, and said I didn't understand why any of it was happening. And then I heard it, quietly: Because I'm reaching people. And I felt peace. Not contentment, but peace. A vague sense of acceptance.

If He's reaching you via all of this, I'm grateful. And please keep praying!


I've officially finished moving all of my posts to my new blog. You can find it at prayersforlogan.blogspot.com. Please feel free to follow me there and to invite your friends and fellow prayer warriors to do the same. Thank you!

The Logan Update: 11/11/10

Logan came home yesterday afternoon... and is getting ready to head back to the hospital again tonight. His bloodwork from the morning showed his platelets to be at 7 and his WBC at 0, so if nothing else, he needs to be re-admitted to get a transfusion of the former. We'll hold our breath that he won't have a fever when they take his temp before getting the platelets going, but I'm trying to be realistic: I took it a little while ago and it registered 98.6 under his arm, so 99.6. Dangerously close to the 100-degree 'sorry, you can't go home' cut-off.

It's hard to not feel conflicted over all of this. One one hand, I'm glad that he had at least a day at home during this part of the treatment process. It's something we didn't manage to do during cycles 1 and 2. On the other, I'm decidedly bitter that we're in the position to be forced to view ONE day as a blessing in the first place. What kind of life is that? Lousy. Frustrating. Arduous. And this 34-weeks pregnant mama isn't amused.

So anyway, we'll see what happens. Adam is going to take him in as soon as Philippa calls with a time. Since he's neutropenic, he needs to go to the immunocompromised ward, which takes time. No fever, he can probably come back tonight. Fever, he's checked back in for a while.

Logan's day here has been a mixed bag: He threw up a few times yesterday, and was up overnight more than once. The first time, it was because he'd had a #2 accident in his bed; the second, third (and beyond) times it was because he couldn't sleep/was hot/insert other random reason here. It's been challenging dealing with the whining and the fussing and the medicine-resistance. It's hard to remember how he used to be and to put that into context with how he is NOW. Heartbreaking.

But at least he's been here at all, and at least I didn't have to drive to Oakland. And at least I got to spend a few hours with Abby at the mall this afternoon (while Logan napped at home). So while I'm sad that we're dealing with this, I'm trying to see the pluses.

Please keep the prayers flowing. I'm tired.

Wednesday Morning Update 11/10/10

Guess whose numbers were good enough this morning that he's going to be discharged in about 30 minutes? Ding ding!

It feels just amazing. A few days ago, Adam asked Molly how often kids on the Headstart Protocol go home shortly after chemo is administered. She paused and in her vaguely cynical and Molly-esque kind of way, said she'd not seen it happen one single time in the past year. There are almost always infections, fevers, low counts, a whole plethora of ill effects that keep them strapped to their hospital beds, especially by the time they reach mid-treatment. So of course, our expectations were pretty low. We figured that if he got to come home for a week just before starting cycle 4, we'd be pleased.

We know full well that he'll almost certainly spike a fever and have to be re-admitted sometime within the next 1 to 3 days (since he's prone to neutropenic fevers), but we didn't expect that he'd be well enough to be released at this stage in the game at all. And it's all the more great because Abby doesn't have school tomorrow or Friday.

Please pray that we'll be able to squeeze a few days out of this unexpected time at home, and that he'll be spared the worst of the mucusitis this go-round. We'd love to stuff him with as much high-calorie food of his choosing as possible, but if he has a bad case yet again, he won't want to eat.

Good things are happening here. Even in the midst of this horrible, awful, painful trial, I can feel it. I leave off with the lyrics of a worship song that keeps coming to mind and giving me a little tingle down my spine. I don't know if it's for me personally or for one of you, but I feel compelled to post it. Bolded section is mine:

Did you feel the mountains tremble?

Did you hear the oceans roar?

When the people rose to sing of Jesus Christ the risen one.

Did you feel the people tremble?

Did you hear the singers roar?

When the lost began to sing of Jesus Christ the saving one.

And we can see that God you're moving

A mighty river through the nations

And young and old will turn to Jesus

Fling wide you heavenly gates

Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Open up the doors and let the music play

Let the streets resound with singing

Songs that bring your hope

Songs that bring your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice.

Do you feel the darkness tremble?

When all the saints join in one song.

And all the streams flow as one river

To wash away our brokenness.

And here we see that God you're moving.

A time of jubilee is coming

When young and old return to Jesus

Fling wide you heavenly gates.

Prepare the way of the risen Lord