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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Odds and Ends and Important Dates

As I once again attempt to emerge from the haze that's clouded my judgment and stolen my joy for the past month, I have some odds and ends that need some TLC.

First off, April 13th and April 25th are both shaping up to be potentially significant dates for Logan. On the 13th, he'll have an MRI. Scans shortly following radiation are generally pointless since they don't often show progress (even when progress has been made), but it'll be used as a tool to show the insurance company that the treatment is working so they'll be more likely to go along with the transplant consolidation cycle. So please pray along with us that the MRI will indeed show progress. Please pray that over the coming weeks, God will use those toxic rays to eradicate every single cancer cell left in his dear little body.

The second date, the 25th, is the projected first day of the consolidation cycle. I'm both eagerly anticipating and dreading it; on one hand, it'll mean we're one step closer to beating the cancer. On the other, it'll signal the start of a monthlong period of familial fracturedness. I'm not looking forward to the long car rides, being alone with Abby, Isaac and Brady six or seven nights a week, feeling alone. Nope. So please pray that we'll be ready for it when the time comes.

Please, as always, pray for that healing touch to be placed upon my Logan. I know that God often allows suffering to be drawn out in order to show Himself in more powerful ways than we can imagine. I pray with everything left in me that we're gearing up for something truly amazing here. I pray that Logan will once again be a strong, healthy child. I don't think I've ever wanted anything more. It's the one, quiet desire of my heart.

On a completely different note, I wanted to say thank you to the Mom behind A Meal in the Mail Ministry, where Logan is featured (click to visit the website) in April. (Please check it out; there are some great stories posted there.) Although we're not in serious need of anything, I decided to accept the offer to feature our family because I think the concept is so wonderful and so very needed by so many. And because I saw it as an opportunity to gain more prayer warriors for my sweet boy. The singular truth for me, and I write this with complete sincerity, is that I want your prayers -- and those of your friends, neighbors, children, parents, strangers, everyone -- more than anything else in this world. I know it's something of a dirty word, but I covet them. I believe fully and completely in the power of prayer. I ask, plead and beg God to make Logan well multiple times each hour, every single day. It's a comfort to know that we have a full army standing behind us, beside us, all around us asking for the very same thing as we fight onward.

Thank you all, and blessings to you this evening as a new month prepares to dawn.

The Me-Do-Its

Although he's speech-delayed, Isaac makes regular use of a few choice pet phrases. His favorite (frequently used in conjunction with NO) is 'me do it.'

Me: Isaac, bring me your cup and I'll pour you some milk.
Isaac: NO! Me do it.

Me: Let me fix the velcro on your shoes, buddy.
Isaac: NO! Me do it.

Me: [watching Isaac approach Brady with his arms outstretched, ready to scoop baby up Elmira-from-Tiny-Toons style] Wait! I'll pick him up. I'm coming.
Isaac: NO! ME DO IT!

I'm hardly a parenting rodeo newbie, so I know that the Me-Do-Its are a normal part of development, as annoying as they may be at times. They help to develop a sense of competence, a sense of independence, a sense of self. But I had something of a profound thought this morning. (At least, it seemed profound as I was sipping my coffee from Mickey D's and watching my third episode of Clifford's Puppy Days on PBS Kids.)

My son's Me-Do-Its are really no different than my own.

Say what? Yup, it's true. Just yesterday, I waxed philosophical about the metaphorical bag of rocks I've been carrying around since Logan's diagnosis. I talked about how I've given the big old backpack to God to carry for me several times now, only to snatch it back again. Instead of the mom-to-two-year-old dialog snippets I click-clacked above, the God-and-me soundbytes look more like this:

God: Let me carry that burden for you. It looks heavy.
Me: NO! Me do it.

God: If you'll just let me have the backpack, I can dump out all of the stones for you. It's too heavy for you to empty it yourself.
Me: NO! Me do it.

See, I may be 33 years old, but I'm still a toddler to God. Instead of letting Him do what He does better than anyone on earth -- parent me -- I'm trying to handle it all on my own. When he tries to lessen my load, I clench my fists, grit my teeth, grip my backback straps and hiss No! Me do it.

But the reality is that just as Isaac can't tie his own shoes (yet) or pour his own milk without spilling half a gallon on the linoleum, I can't carry the burden of Logan's illness and its repercussions on my own. So today, I'm trying to quell my own Me-Do-Its and let God carry my backpack... for a little while.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rocks in a Backpack

Today was a rough day for me. Every time I think I can't possibly sink any lower, I manage to surprise myself and do it anyway. I've grown adept at the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I was bummed to find that Logan was beginning to show cold symptoms, tired from watching him suffer the side effects of the treatment. Brokenhearted to realize that although my own hearing loss (because I still haven't regained the hearing in my right ear) is temporary, his is permanent. I was even more bummed when I got a pretty major rejection from a site that I've been writing for since 2007. Okay, that's a lie. I was crushed. I cried, and when I finished crying, I realized I was hyperventilating and had to lie down and close my eyes to keep from passing out. Good grief, self, I thought. You're such a wuss. Get over it.

The thing is, I don't have a lot of pride. I don't have a lot of self-confidence. I don't think I'm particularly special or great or unique. I'm just me. A wife, a mom, a woman who happens to be dealing with an extraordinarily difficult lot in life right now. When bad things happen -- even stupid, trivial bad things that don't amount to a hill of beans -- I can't just deflect them anymore. Instead, they accumulate like rocks in a backpack. It's like I'm trying to walk up this mile-high mountain with this rock-laden pack strapped to my back. Every rejection is deeply personal. Every one screams see? You don't matter. You suck. You're not good enough. You'll never be good enough. You weren't a good enough mom to keep Logan from developing cancer. You're not a good enough mom to intercede for him and help save his life now. You don't matter. The same voices I've been hearing my entire life, out in full-force. All because I'm down, and down lower than I've ever been. And no matter what I do, I just can't get up again.

I'm not deliberately trying to hold on to all of the stones. Really, I'm not. Yes, I know: The tiny, Bible-beating theologian who lives in my head tells me that I should just hand the backpack over to God. But who am I kidding? I'm the mayor of Snatch-it-Backville. Even if I give it away, I'll just wind up taking it back again anyway.

But I guess none of that means I shouldn't at least try to give it away, right? Because it would definitely be easier to scale the mountain I'm trying to climb without an extra backpack full of rocks weighing me down. Of course, it would be even easier if I could somehow zap the mountain and turn it into a pleasant, flower-filled meadow, but for whatever reason this just isn't a flower-filled time of life for my family. For my sunshine.

Oh well. Thank you for your prayers. I wish I had the energy to write out a great list of requests and a heartfelt, meaningful entry. But I don't. I'm really just a shell of who I was right now. I hope to be back again. Someday.

The Sickies

Logan awoke this morning complaining of a scratchy throat. I'm holding my breath, hoping and praying that he doesn't wind up with the full-blown, extraordinarily nasty cold that Abby, Isaac and I have all had (and are still dealing with). Please, please pray that he will avoid the worst of this awful illness so we can stay more or less on track with his treatment schedule. (And because frankly, he's been through ENOUGH and doesn't deserve yet another setback.) Thank you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Anyone who's followed me for any length of time knows that I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that every person we meet, every conversation we have, every decision we make is an integral piece of the great jigsaw puzzle that is this life.

That said, it isn't completely lost on me that I'm experiencing ear infection-related hearing loss in my right ear right now, just as my sweet Logan is losing -- permanently -- the hearing in his own right ear. It's merely another tangible way that my sunshine and I are connected, and while mine (prayerfully!) is temporary and his is not, it gives me a window into his experience, a deeper, more profound understanding of a fraction of what he's going through as a direct result of the evil that is this cancer. It awakens in me a renewed sense of vigor, a refreshed sense of fight. Because, to be blunt, it sucks to be unable to hear, and it's easy to forget what a blessing all of my senses are when they're all in working order.

For all of this, I'm thankful.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today was an okay kind of day in Logan land. Not great, not bad. Just somewhere in between in the region of unremarkability. He went for radiation, came home, and had a lower key rest of the day that involved playing with cars, practicing his ABCs on the Leapster and fighting with Isaac over said cars and game device.

The side effects of the treatment are becoming increasingly obvious as the days pass. His hair, the stubbly prickles that I'd quietly treasured seeing once again after their long absence, has mostly fallen out. His hearing is no longer perfect; he now yells much of the time and repeats 'what? what?' multiple times a day. His numbers are low but okay; his platelets this morning were only 40, so Philippa called and advised that we not give him his oral chemo med until they stabilize, which they should theoretically do now that the full craniospinal radiation is complete.

And I continue to feel sad. Sad over the hair loss, trivial as it is; sad over the hearing loss; sad over the loss of normalcy and the loss of Logan's innocence at such a tender age. Sad over the painful fact that my life is like this, and that although everyone else can simply pop in and out as they please, I'm stuck dealing with this pain indefinitely. Sad that I can't motivate myself to find ways to add more warriors to Logan's team. Sad that I can't seem to feel hopeful about any of this anymore. So yeah. Just sad.

As I sit here typing, our computer is playing a mix of old photos, which also make me sad. They're photos of happier times; photos of Logan looking as he used to look -- healthy and vibrant -- and of me looking as I used to look, probably 10 years younger and lightyears happier. All of this weighs so heavily on me that it's hard to get up, but I do because there isn't an alternative. I get up, I do what I need to do, and I try to pretend that I'm fine when I'm not. I try to pretend that it doesn't break my heart when I see one of Logan's little friends running and playing, healthy and happy. Not because I don't want them to be healthy, but because I don't understand why my son can't be healthy too. I try to pretend that it's fine that I pour my heart into these entries when it seems like they go largely unread. And I really do know: I do know that it's hard to know what to say, that everyone else has a life to attend to. But it's hard to feel sad and left behind and stuck.

I keep waiting for the day when I'll wake up and feel better, because I know it'll come. I know this is a very negative entry, but I promised to be real from the beginning of this journey, and this is simply my reality right now.

Thank you for your prayers. I don't know what to ask you to pray for anymore aside from Logan's healing, but hope that you'll find the words anyway.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just a Shortie

More than a month removed from the super-successful resection slash super disappointing bad news tandem, I'm still in a rut. I can't seem to get out of it, no matter how hard I try. It doesn't matter how much I pray or hope for the best or plead with God to make Logan well. I simply cannot push myself to be hopeful. It's not as if I don't understand why I feel as I do. We've been battered and beaten so many times along this journey, receiving more blessings followed by sucker punches than I ever thought possible. I'd gotten adept at getting back up again, dusting myself off after each disappointment. But it's proven extremely difficult to bounce back this time because I'm so mentally and emotionally spent. So in a nutshell, I ask you all (in addition to praying for Logan's healing!) to please pray that we'll get hopeful signs over the coming days. Things that I can see and recognize and that will serve to bolster my waning faith. I need to know that things will "be all right again", to quote Sugarland's "Little Miss". If God gives you something to share with me, please do so. Thank you for your support and prayers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A New Request

I had a number of thoughts today as I watched my four beautiful children -- one happily snoozing in his MamaRoo, and other three coloring -- and I want to share them at some point, but tonight I have a singular purpose for posting. Tonight I'm asking you to pray for not only my sweet boy, but for a friend of Adam's from high school who's going through a trying, challenging experience of her own.

Katy went into labor Sunday night, but failed to progress after several days. She finally had an emergency c-section Wednesday after spiking a high fever, and gave birth to baby girl M, who wasn't breathing. Katy is in one hospital, dealing with what turned out to be an e.coli infection, while baby M is in the NICU at CHO. At first, the doctors thought that baby M would die, and then they said she might live, but would be brain-dead. As of now, she's responsive, but they don't know the extent of the damage from the infection and oxygen deprivation. I'm asking all of you to please, please lift up Katy, baby M and their family as they suffer through this uncertain time. I ask you to pray for a speedy recovery for Katy, and for health for baby M. Katy has been a big blessing to me in particular as we've gone through our journey with Logan, often asking how he's doing and what she can do to help.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


A windy, rainsoaked hello to you all from Northern California. It poured all day long and promises to do so again tomorrow. Hopefully, the two trees that are still standing in our backyard (two fell over last year during a similar rainy period) will decide to stay put. But that's all just small talk. On to the meat of the post.

Logan had a good day today. Adam said that he slept better overnight and it showed. (Just as a sidenote to explain, Adam often sleeps in the boys' room because Logan needs help going to the restroom since he's hooked up to a nutrition IV while he sleeps. Well, that and because, to be blunt, he's been traumatized by the past seven months and craves the comfort of having a grown-up close at hand.) He didn't nap at all and had good energy all day long. He particularly enjoyed playing his 'Mater's Tall Tales' Wii game and watching some old school episode of 'Scooby Doo' via OnDemand. He did vomit after eating too much too quickly this evening, but that's just part of the experience, we're told. His platelets were at 20 this morning so he'll be going to CHO for a tank-up tomorrow morning. I'm thankful that Philippa et al are keeping a watchful eye over his numbers.

Please continue to pray that he will be shielded from the illness that's made its way into our home. I still have a rather nasty cold, which morphed into an ear infection this morning. When Adam and Logan returned from Alta Bates, Adam suggested that I head upstairs to rest since I didn't sleep well overnight (too congested to breathe). I napped for about an hour and then awoke to searing pain and hearing loss in my right ear. The diagnosis was confirmed by a doctor this afternoon, and I'm now on a nasal spray, ear drops and a Z-pack. Isaac, who had been well, showed signs of illness this afternoon when he very suddenly conked out, little rump up in the air baby bug-style, on the carpet under the desk in our family room. And Abby, who we thought had been doing better, slept from 4 until 8 this evening. She got home from school, played energetically with Logan for about 20 minutes, and then completely crashed. So yeah: Tough health times here. So yes, please, please pray that Logan and Adam will stay well.

We're grateful for the prayers you've offered up on our behalf thus far. We're thankful for Logan's good energy level and high spirits, and offer up thanks for those things. I'm frustrated and upset and angry over it all, but as it is said, It is right to give thanks and praise. So that's what I'll do.

Blessings to you and sincere thanks for interceding for my sweet boy and our family. I know that God can heal him with a single thought, and continue to pray that it will be so. Good night.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Logan Update: 3/23/11

I've crossed the line that separates 'I feel like I'm coming down with something' from 'I have a miserable cold', so once again, if my words aren't as eloquent as I wish they'd be, I apologize. I wish that I still had the power to pour my heart into my keystrokes, but lately, my proverbial ink well has run dry.

Yesterday was Logan's last day of full craniospinal radiation, so today began the next phase of treatment: Focal radiation. It's really more of the same, only concentrated in the areas of known disease, whether disease is currently present or not. He's doing okay with it so far. The tiredness has set in in earnest; both today and yesterday, he took a two-hour nap in the afternoon. It makes me sad because the old Logan, the pre-cancer Logan, stopped napping prior to reaching age two. He'd always been an 'up early and cheerful from the get-go' kind of kid who had mastered the art of go-go-go, as most 4-year old boys do at some point or another. It's just something else that the evil bastard cancer has taken away from him. I'm bitter over it. I try not to be, but at my heart, at my very core, I am. It's just so incredibly unfair that Logan can't be a normal boy anymore. That so much of the essence of his Logan-ness has been stripped away.

If I'm honest, part of me resents anyone else who has the blessing of having a healthy, thriving, non-cancer stricken 4-year old boy right now. Every time I see someone scolding a child Logan's age, I have to fight the urge to tell them off; to let them know how their life could change in a split second, in the blink of an eye. Mine did. I never thought it would happen to my family, but it did. No one is immune.

But still I fight the bitterness. I wonder why it's happening to him. I wonder why it's happening to me. Didn't I struggle enough just carrying each of my babies? Because I'm not a woman who loves being pregnant and enjoys gishy-gushy feelings when I think back on my time as a carrier. No, I'm the kind who gets horribly, horribly sick, loses weight, vomits ten times a day through the first two trimesters and then once a day until delivery, but only with the aid of anti-emetics. With Abby, I had a sinus infection for three months. I couldn't breathe through my nose -- at all -- for 12 weeks. With Logan, I had preterm labor at 30 weeks and wound up on bedrest, which meant I couldn't attend two family weddings I'd very much looked forward to. With Isaac, I suffered a subchorionic hemmorhage at 11 weeks that landed me in bed yet again, this time for 10 weeks. With Brady, I finally had my 'good' pregnancy, only to have it shot to hell by the news that Logan had cancer when I was 21 weeks along. This whole ordeal leaves me shaking my fist at God, shouting 'Really?! REALLY?! You're threatening to take away one of the children I busted my bum carrying to term? After the nine months of sickness I endured, You might take him away from me?! Why isn't this happening to someone who had an easy pregnancy?' But alas, that doesn't even work, because at my core I wish that NO child would have to suffer. But for whatever reason, some do.

Anyway, his primary side effect so far is nausea and vomiting. He had a particularly tough day yesterday, throwing up out of the blue on four separate occasions. But in true Logan fashion, he's dealt with the discomfort like a champion. Like a hero. He'll vomit, wipe his face, and then go back to whatever he'd been doing, whether it be dancing or creating one of his patented parking lots on the couch. Or, oddly enough, eating. Although he's lower key than usual, my sunshine-y boy is still in there. Even if it's hard for me to see it at times.

My personal struggles with faith have continued. I've still not managed to get back onto my feet following the near-knockout punch that was delivered on the heels of the successful resection. I know that evil intended for this to happen to me; it intended for me to feel so discouraged that I'd wallow in doubt, worry, fear and hopelessness. So in a way, and it shames me deeply to admit it, it won that battle. But I'm trying to stand. I'm trying to rediscover hope. I'm trying to have enough faith to believe that my son will be well and making people laugh as a healthy, cancer-free kid a year from now. But it's hard to hope and to have faith when you don't have the answers. It's painful to think of all we've been through as a family over the past seven months and to realize that we still don't have the comfort of a 100% for-sure answer to the big question that looms like a raincloud over our days.

But all of that's really neither here nor there, because we have to live day by day, and stressing over the future accomplishes nothing. With that in mind, please pray as always for Logan's complete healing; for God to use the radiation to wipe out every single cancer cell. I know He can do it. He did an amazing, incredible job on the primary brain mass; I know He can handle this, but I confess that I struggle with letting it go. It's silly, really, since I can't possibly control it myself, but it's still very, very difficult. You really have no idea how challenging it is until it's YOU in the situation, it's YOU realizing that you can't make your beloved child well again. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and medical staff, for milder side effects -- both short term and long term -- for Logan, and yes, really, my heart just goes back to healing again and again. I know I've not written much of late, but my heart cries out for you to pray for complete healing for my son. Health for the rest of our family would also be appreciated; as previously alluded, I have a horrible headcold, and Abby is still struggling to rebound from her own illness. Please pray a bubble of protection around Logan that will keep him safe from the bug that's floating around our home.

Thank you for your prayers and for being part of Logan's team. Blessings.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brief Update and Request

This is going to be a fast one, both because I'm gearing up for the season premiere of 'Dancing with the Stars' and I feel a step away from awful.

That's right. After being blessed with and enjoying a relatively illness-free half-year plus, it seems as if some sort of bug is settling in at our house. This, obviously, is not good. Abby has a fever and is worn out, tired and cranky. Adam and I both feel a little something coming on. For me, it's akin to a headache/bodyache combo tinged with a little sinus discomfort.

Please, please pray that Logan will stay well, even if everyone else is hit. It's essential that we avoid delays during this treatment process and him getting sick would be a problem. He's doing fine so far with his radiation; he has two more days of full craniospinal treatment before we'll move to focal on the areas of known disease. He spent most of the day today at CHO receiving what we affectionately call a 'tank up', known to normal people as a blood transfusion. His hemoglobin this morning was right at the 9.0 cut-off, so it was decided that today would be a good day to bite the bullet and get it done. His platelets were at 39, which is low but acceptable, and his white cells were 3.4.

Thank you for your prayers, and apologies for the messy, scattered and not-terribly-informative update.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that the collective life of a family afflicted by a cancer diagnosis is one of highs and lows, ups and downs, meltdowns and revelations. After imploding a few days ago, feeling as if I'd never arise and see the sun again, I'm now in the comfortable, quiet post-meltdown phase of the process. A place where silence and stillness no longer make my skin crawl. Where I'm comfortable listening to the raindrops on the window panes and the repetitive ticking of the wall clock. Where I'm okay with hearing my own thoughts once again, because they're no longer stained with worry and worst-case scenarios. I am, to try to make an already long paragraph more succinct, at peace.

It's funny, but as challenging and exhausting as my lowest days are, I don't regret getting angry and losing focus now and again. I'm not perfect, so it helps me to look back on those weak points and recognize how dangerous it is for me to lose my hope, my faith. The knowledge helps me to track my own progress, so to speak, to see how I'm changing over time and how walking this path has altered me in both good and bad ways. And it gives me a greater appreciation for -- and joy over -- those every day moments that I'm guilty of taking for granted, even now, seven months into the ongoing quest for healing.

Today was a good day. School was closed for a furlough day and Alta Bates was conducting maintenance on their radiation equipment, so both Abby and Logan had the day off from their usual pursuits. A spur of the moment burst of inspiration prompted me to call Kelly, the preschool director, to see if any of the children in the class that should've been ours had been sick of late. She said no and I decided then and there that today would be the day that we'd go for a visit.

It was, to be blunt, a now or never kind of thing: For one, it was the only weekday morning he'd have available for the next several months, and in addition, at some point, his counts will likely be affected, rendering him unable to be out and about. And on top of those reasons, I also wanted to see how he'd react to a school setting, since he's been out since last May. Logan was excited about the prospect, especially when I told him that it was umbrella day, but also nervous about meeting so many friends at once, so he asked Abby to tag along and she complied. (And yes, Logan refers to them all as friends, even though he doesn't know them, because to my little sunshine, everyone is a friend. I wish I had that kind of tender heartedness.)

He did well, but was clearly ill at ease at times. He looked to me and to Abby for support and comfort, and was substantially more tentative than I'd ever seen him in an educational setting. But he participated: He colored an umbrella, drew a picture of himself and wrote an accompanying trio of words, had a snack, played outside, took part in the umbrella day activity. Most notably, he helped hand the teacher, Ms. Hope, supplies that she needed during the latter half of class time. I was struck by how much he wanted to be useful; how he delivered the first stack of items, and then returned to retrieve a second stack. I love how he wants to be a good person, how he wants to lend a hand when he can. He doesn't take, take, take as is so common in today's world. He gives, and enjoys himself when he does so. One of the many things I adore about my son.

Before we left, I tucked his precious papers -- the only ones he'll produce in preschool this academic year -- into the zipper compartment of my camera bag and will find a very safe, very special place to keep them. Because for Logan, this wasn't just another day at school: It was his only day at school. And I want to remember it via the photos I snapped and the beautiful artwork he created. I want to sop up every second and try to hold them all in my heart for as long as possible. And that's not because I'm scared that there won't be future like-moments to soak up, but because regardless of what the future holds, he won't ever again be a 4-year old in school. So much of his four-year-old-ness has been about hospitals and illness, that it was refreshing and heartening to see him do something that was once very much a part of his usual routine, even if it was for just a single day.

As we headed home, the rain came down in buckets; cats, dogs, horses, chickens and beavers, as I joked to Abby and Logan in the car. I asked Logan if he could hear the cats meowing and the dogs barking, and he listened for a moment before tentatively responding that yes, he thought he could.

At the house, I discovered the day's second blessing sitting on our front porch. I'd been told by a new friend -- who I met just yesterday at the grocery store after she recognized Isaac from a photo -- that a package was making its way to me from back East, and there it was. I hauled it inside, opened it up, and found inside the most awesome baby swing/cradle/rocker/ingenius device ever. Really. The 4Moms MamaRoo infant rocker. I put it together (which is no small feat for me, as I'm not exactly technically inclined or particularly good at reading assembly instructions) and nestled Brady into the pocket, and he happily slept in Tree Swing mode for a few hours. It's definitely a blessing and my thanks to 4Moms for the gift.

What they don't know is that just a few days ago, I'd remarked to a different friend that I wanted to borrow a white noise machine to see if it would help Brady to sleep better at night. I was surprised and pleased to find that the MamaRoo offers, you guessed it, several different types of white noise. So yes, God knew what I needed before I knew that I needed it. I may feel alone and tired these days, but I appreciate the God-moments when I recognize them.

Well, friends, I'm rapidly losing my focus, but wanted to jot down a few things here for you before I headed off to bed. Please keep praying for Logan's healing, and for our family's well-being. Thank you for your support and for keeping us close to your hearts. Good night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Glimpse

Sometimes it's easier to be blunt than eloquent: I've had a lousy couple of days. But that's really all I want to say to directly address the subject, because the passage to come lays out the reason for my feelings in stark detail.

Logan currently takes two oral chemo drugs in conjunction with his radiation treatment protocol. He decided this evening that he didn't want to take one of them, which is served in a spoonful of peanut butter alongside a glass of milk. He had the small blob of peanut butter in his mouth... and there it sat. He refused to chew or swallow. Then he refused to drink the milk that he needs to take to a) help swallow it and b) buffer his tummy from the effects of the meds. Instead, he whimpered through the peanut butter that the medicine would hurt his tummy so he wasn't going to take it. He was fine with just staying sick.

Fine with staying sick.

Of course he'd say that because he feels fine these days. He runs, plays, jumps, imagines, dreams. His life, save the hair loss, eye issues and time at Alta Bates, is remarkably close to that of a normal, healthy 4-year old boy. But we all know better and the knowledge breaks my heart. We know that he needs to take his pills. There's a horrible urgency that surrounds the issue. We can't just let him be a 4-year old having a temper tantrum. We can't just let him spit out the pills and say 'oh well, we'll try again tomorrow.' So when Logan dug his heels in, Adam dug his own in even more aggressively.

I'll spare the precise details, but the resulting scene was horrifically chaotic, with Adam frazzled, me upset, Logan refusing to swallow anything at all, Abby trying to mediate and Brady screaming his head off. (Isaac was the only one who seemed outwardly unaffected; he squirreled away in the pantry stealing cookies, as any self-respecting, non-monitored 2-year old would do.) After 15 minutes of fighting, yelling, screaming, spitting and threats of vomit, the pills went down.

It's purely heartbreaking to watch a scene like that on TV. It's even worse when it's your everyday reality.

I guess I don't have much else to say right now. As I've said, I'm in a low place. I can't really pray, but I hope that you will. I hope that you'll continue to intercede for Logan and for his healing. And I hope, despite my own doubts and fears and insecurities, that God will hear you. Thank you and good evening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


There's really nothing intrinsically easy about this experience. It's hard to be tired, it's hard to be worried. It's brutally difficult to watch human suffering, especially when your own flesh and blood must endure the brunt of the attack. It's maddening to watch it all happen and be unable to stop it or make it markedly better. But it is what it is. It's our lot. I can own it. I don't want to own it, but I can. And I do.

I've had a lot of little thoughts ping ponging around in my brain of late. Primarily, when I see suffering in the face of my sunshine, I question God. Not His existence, nor His plan, nor His greatness. Nor his power or glory. Nor His great love for others. What I question is His great love for me. Because I don't feel loved.

It's not been an easy life for me. I know, I know: Everyone faces challenges. But as Pastor Mike once said to me, some people do indeed have to walk more difficult, pain-filled paths than others. And although I'm hesitant to go into detail, believe me when I say that mine has been hard -- very hard and very painful -- at various times. I've struggled with what was probably depression in the past; the kind of sadness that you can't just shake or get over by humming a happy tune. I'm not really in a place like that now; no, I'm too emotionally detached to feel depressed. I'm sad, but not as low as I've been at other times.

Of course, I know that love doesn't always mean you get what you want. I know that discipline is a form of love, when done in a loving manner. But I feel beaten, punished in a cruel fashion. Love? No. Scorn? Yes. Disapproval? Absolutely.

I worry that Logan won't be healed because God doesn't love me enough to give me the one thing that my heart wants more than anything else. I worry that despite my intellect and my book-smarts knowledge of God's nature telling me otherwise, this is indeed some sort of harsh punishment for an indiscretion long forgotten. I've always feared God more than anything. Because of my experiences, I've spent much of my time tip-toeing through life, trying to be as perfect as possible in a fruitless attempt to avoid further censure. Clearly, those attempts failed. Miserably. It's not that I expected them to work; I merely hoped to avoid more searing, crushing pain.

And I know that a lot of you will want to correct me here, but I'll just gently remind you that you aren't me; you don't know my full story. I'll also say that this was very difficult to write, so please respond in kind fashion, if you choose to respond at all. More than anything, please pray for Logan to be made well.

And I'll do the same. And I'll also pray for my own unbelief.

Good night and thank you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Logan Update: 3/13/11

It's been a really long time since I've posted exclusively about Logan and how he's handling his latest new treatment. The reason why I've kept largely mum is a simple one: He's fine. Really and truly fine. If you were unaware and able to look past his slightly off-kilter right eye, (much-improved but still present) left-sided facial paralysis, the occasional outbursts of decadron-induced 'roid rage and the peach fuzz that tops his crown, you would never guess how critically ill he truly is, how his precious little life hangs in the balance.

He's had a marvelous time at home with us. He and Abby are as close as ever, often hiding away in one of their rooms, making up games of scope and grandeur that I can only begin to imagine. Just Friday, a near-breathless Logan came down the stairs one foot at a time, plimp-plump, plimp-plump, plimp-plump, for a quick bite to eat and Abby followed a few minutes later on all-fours, asking if he planned to come and play some more. When he waffled, she assured him that it was his turn to be the sheep. I have no idea what game they'd devised and I didn't ask, not because I wasn't curious, but because their imaginary play is special to them, something that the two of them come up with on their own and share in their own made-up world of fun and fantasy. It's their childhood, not mine, so I left them to enjoy it privately. And they did.

That's the soft-focused part of it, the tender element of his 4-year old-ness that's remained largely untouched by the cancer. Under the harsh light of treatment, seven of his prescribed thirty days of radiation are in the books. So far, all appears to be going well; there are no worrisome outward signs thus far. Please, please pray that this continues to be the case as we move forward. This coming week, he'll have four days of treatment, as the machine will be down for maintenance on Friday. Please pray -- aggressively, strongly, faithfully -- that the radiation will do its job, that God will use it as He'd use his own hands to heal. Pray for minimal side effects and for health and healing.

Friends keep asking what comes next, and I hesitate to respond every time the question arises. In theory, prayerfully, hopefully, optimistically, the transplant cycle should follow. We pray that it will. If God uses the radiation to shrink and eradicate, crush, destroy, pulverize this incarnation of pure evil that is cancer, then Logan will move on to the final, marrow-destroying consolidation (transplant) cycle. Otherwise, we don't know what will happen next. I approach the coming weeks haunted by fear and what-ifs.

So much so that yesterday morning as I stood in my dressing area preparing to take a shower, I decided to wrestle it out with God. I'd felt like a punching bag, a victim for much too long, and wanted to be sure that the God of Israel, the great I Am, knew precisely where I stood on this entire hellacious journey. I'm sure that had anyone heard me, they'd have thought I'd lost a screw or two. But I spoke and I spoke firmly, and although I finished airing my grievances with heaves, sobs and a hopeless what do I DO?! as I stood in the too-warm stream of water, I listened to the silence and heard an almost inaudible something after a few minutes had passed:

Just ask.

It seemed so simple. Too simple, in fact. So simple that in my renewed waves of tears and sobs, I couldn't believe that it could possibly be so simple. But the reality is that for God, it really, truly, honestly is that simple. Because He is a God who heals with a thought. And sometimes, I think He just wants us to ask. So despite my human frailty, my exhaustion, my fears and my often all-encompassing hopelessness, I ask. And I request that all of you and your friends and families and neighbors and churches all ask as well. Because yes, God does hear our prayers and does know the desires of our hearts. I believe that.

But I also believe that we are to pray, and to pray with our whole hearts, minds and souls. We are to lay our grievances and our hopes and our pleas before God. So I'm asking once again for renewed vigor in prayer for my dear little sunshine, for hope, for healing, for wellness. I pray and ask you to pray that God will touch him and heal him. That the doctors and nurses involved in his care will be blessed with a tremendous gift of wisdom when it comes to his treatment. I ask you to pray that the cancer will go no further than his spine and his brain, and that God will destroy it in those places, bringing about complete healing.

I've not been able to come up with a seamless way to add the following Biblical passage to this entry, so I'll just plunk it here at the end, as I feel that it's vitally important that I do so. It's been etched onto my heart ever since an acquaintance posted it to her Facebook profile several days ago (thanks Paris). Mark 9 relays the story of a demon-possessed boy whose father brings him to Jesus for healing. The disciples were unable to cast out the spirit, so Jesus intervened and did it himself. When the disciples asked why they'd been unable to do it themselves, Jesus responded that "This kind can come out only by prayer (and in many versions, fasting)". Before anyone worries, no, I don't think this is the same thing. But I do think the message is invaluable and of the utmost importance in Logan's battle. The crux of it is that we're up against something huge here, and Logan desperately NEEDS all of the prayers he can get in order to overcome it once and for all. I believe that with every bit of myself, so much so that I feel antsy when I think about failing to add additional members to Logan's team.

That's all for now. I thank you all for your continued support. Blessings to you as you enter this new week.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free falling

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah I'm free, free fallin'

Okay, so it's a little unconventional for me to begin a post by quoting a Tom Petty song. What makes it even more bizarre is the fact that I don't care for much of the singer's music. But this particular tune has been lazily floating around in my head for days now, so I figured it was time to share it, and why it's significant to me at this point in my life.

I've never been much on spontaneity. That's probably why I'm a bad traveler, why so many things get under my skin and stress me out. Yet here I am, stuck in the most uncontrollable kind of situation I can imagine, watching my dear, sweet sunshine go through cancer treatment, blissfully and torturously unaware of whether or not the toxic rays are successfully taking out his disease. I pray with every fiber of myself that they are and that God is using them as a means of destroying the evil that's trying to destroy Logan, but the cold, hard truth is that I simply don't know what's happening. So, in essence, I'm in a free fall.

As a planner and control freak, it's both exhiliarating and terrifying to find myself free falling like this. It's scary to be hurtling, full-speed, toward unseen ground below, unsure of whether we'll land safely in a meadow with a gentle ploof or in a pit of scalding lava. But at the same time, it's freeing to realize that in a very legitimate sense, there is truly nothing I can do to control what's happening. This time of free fallin' has forced me to my knees, and to acknowledge that God is all-powerful. It's not that I haven't done so in the past, but this time, it's different. No matter how much I wheedle or bargain, I know I can't control cancer.

So for now, I'm trying to enjoy the ride as much as my fearful soul will allow. I'm feeling the air whisk by and that electric jetstream of adrenaline that keeps me on my toes. And I'm trying to keep the faith and the hope alive because I am tired, worn out, almost numb from the wind that rushes by as I fall. It's hard. As someone who would never willingly jump from a plane, it's very, very hard.

Thank you for your prayers and for being a part of Logan's team.

Monday, March 7, 2011


It's shocking to me to come back here and realize that I've not written since the second. I suppose as my focus fades and my mind tires, I have less to say. Or perhaps more accurately, I have trouble articulating what I do have to say. Just as the effects of Logan's radiation therapy will accumulate over time, as do the effects of this journey on my own ability to process, to emote, to think clearly. I miss my clarity of thought. I miss my life as it was before all of this began.

I've been in a low place for a week and a half now. No matter how hard I try to climb out of the hole, to pop back up after this latest sucker punch to the heart, it's been much harder to do so this time. Finding out that the spinal tumors had grown so quickly when no one thought they would and after such a successful resection to remove the primary brain mass was purely devastating. It wasn't just bad news; it was bad news that took away the joy of what had been much-needed good news. It was a reminder of what we're up against, of how unfair it all is. And it's shaken and stirred my faith, my hopes, my dreams for Logan and our family enormously. I feel defeated, beaten. But again, not truly destroyed. And I'm getting back up. It's just taking longer than usual because I've been in the ring for so long and my spirit is so battered and bruised from the battle.

It was good to get away this past weekend, though I was reminded of how difficult it is to really get into the Disney spirit when you have only a day and some change to soak up the atmosphere. Unfortunately the short duration was often a reminder of why we were there in the first place; Logan had to be home today for treatment, so we had just Saturday and part of yesterday for fun. And although I'd entered our time away planning to forget about our troubles -- to leave them at home or simply locked away behind a door labeled 'do not open, do not disturb' in my mind, I failed. I was anxious and sad much of the time, silently ruminating over Logan's illness and how very much I wanted to take future trips with my family of six still fully intact. I stressed over getting enough photos, I stressed over trying to force myself to have fun. I stressed over his facial paralysis, which persists, transforming his sweet smile into a crooked grin, that while still cute, just doesn't look like my sunshine's usual electric expression of happiness. And it was hard to be patient with Logan's mood swings. One of the main effects of the decadron is erratic moods, and he absolutely has them. He often shifted from excited prancing and dancing to angry screaming and shouting for no outward reason at all. It would be something as simple as someone else suggesting we walk in a direction contrary to his own preference, and 20 minutes would be lost to a tantrum of epic proportions. I'm not a patient person by nature so it was challenging and heartbreaking to see him rage like a caged animal who'd been denied the basics of life.

Now that's not to say that it was all stressful or bad, because it wasn't. There were plenty of fun moments, including Logan's love of Autopia, which he sweetly called 'bumper cars', a term all the more amusing since the signs affixed to the backs of the cars all read 'do NOT bump'. Indeed, when he was happy, we were golden. Isaac was pleased to just be there and soaked up every second of it as two-year olds often do, with wonder and contentment in his eyes. Abby was mostly agreeable and her passion for roller coasters -- the faster the better -- continued to burn brightly. Even Brady was pretty well-behaved, excepting night one's bout with overstimulation that left him screaming uncontrollably as we awaited a call to dinner at the Outback near our hotel.

After a mix-up with our return flight, we got home at about 8 last night and slid back into our usual routine. This morning Adam took Logan to Alta Bates for radiation, I took Abby to school. When the littler boys and I arrived at home, I was stunned to look into our backyard and realize that someone had cleaned it up while we were gone. You'd think that something like that would be noticed immediately, so it's a testament to my state of mind that it took me several glances before the good deed even registered on my radar screen. So a heartfelt thank you to whomever was involved in the effort; I know that it was a disaster when we left on Friday afternoon, just as it'd been for months, and we're so appreciative for the work that went into renewing our little outdoor space (and for the flowers planted out front). God bless you, whomever you are.

In supplemental treatment land, today he began the two oral chemo drugs that Dr. T prescribed last week. One of them is so toxic that I'm not even supposed to touch it, since I'm nursing Brady. Yet I willingly feed it to my 4-year old, mixed in a special syrup. It's all just so awful and insane.

As always, I ask that you continue to pray for full and complete healing for Logan and that you continue to ask your praying friends to do the same. I ask also for energy, stamina, persistence, patience, understanding and love for Adam and myself as we continue walking along this path. I'd say that I'm emotionally drained, but that's not entirely true: I'm drained of hope and faith. I have negative emotion to spare. But I know that God wants better for me; He wants me to have hope. To believe. To pray. To have faith. After all, we've seen incredible highs as well as crippling lows since last August, so I know God is at work. And I know He meets resistance from evil and its cancer.

It's late and I need to get to bed, but I offer my sincere thanks for your support and your prayers. They mean so very much to our family.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another New Phase

I had blog on the brain when I was driving Abby home from school this afternoon. I had so many things I wanted to share, so many sentences pre-constructed in mind. But naturally, I didn't get the chance to update until now, and even more naturally, a lot of my thoughts have already dissipated, scattered like leaves in the wind. Instead of sitting here and trying to catch them as they skitter-skatter by, I'll just write from my heart for a few minutes.

Tomorrow at roughly 7:15 AM, Logan will begin his six-week course of radiation. As I reflected to Adam earlier, it's really make or break time. If the radiation does what we hope and pray it will do, we'll be moving on to the consolidation cycle in a few months, and prayerfully, on the road to a cure. I can't let myself think in the other direction; My heart is already so mangled and broken that I can't bear the idea.

As I asked before, please pray that the radiation will be extremely successful. Just as God obliterated the once-ugly primary mass in his brain, pray that He will do the same to the spots of evil in his spine: Grasp them, crush them into nothingness and then blow away the residuals in the wind. I pray for that every day. I pray for mercy, for grace, for healing. Because if I don't, if I let my mind wander too far, my heart cracks anew and it's much too challenging to get up when the sun rises.

Today brought with it an unwanted new development in the form of some facial paralysis. Yes, because my poor little sunshine hasn't suffered enough, the muscles in the left side of his face are lagging; his smile is crooked and he's unable to completely close his eye without holding it shut. I went into a silent, desperate panic when I first noticed the symptoms; after all, the inwardly turned eye was our initial indicator that something was amiss in the first place, so my heart absolutely sank when I saw a change in his sweet face. Adam called Philippa to report our observation and she in turn called Dr. T before phoning back to say that there'd been nothing at all on his MRI to suggest that it would be a tumor-related issue. She suggested that instead it was likely the result of some post-op swelling, and instructed us to double his dose of decadron, the steroid he's been taking to keep his spinal tumors at bay after radiation starts. Of course, if he still looks the same or worse in the morning, Adam will call back again and see if a clinic visit is in order. Please pray that whatever is causing the paralysis will just go away already; we have enough to deal with without this kind of item added to the list.

Otherwise, he's been very normal of late. He came with me to pick Abby up from school today, and enjoyed running around the school yard (real, actual running, too). He laughed with his siblings over silly jokes. He ate solid meals and wanted candy for dessert after dinner. He was upset when he went to bed tonight, afraid of yet another trip to the hospital; after all, the last time he got up early in the morning to go to the hospital he had surgery and then spent several days in the PICU. So his fears are more than justified, but still they pain me. And I cry out in agony all over again: Why, Lord? Why? So I ask you to pray for him to feel peace entering his new routine tomorrow morning. And again, please pray against horrible side effects, and for healing via this method of 'seek and destroy' treatment.

To answer the oft-asked question 'how am I?' I'll say not great. Not even really good, to be truthful. The needle's on empty and I'm in desperate need of reassurances, of signs. There haven't been many -- any, really -- since we got the less-than-good news last Friday, and my spiritual, emotional mouth is parched and in need of something to quench its thrist. We went to Arby's at lunchtime today -- Logan's pick, of course -- and as we sat eating, Another Old Lang Syne started playing on the radio and I nearly lost it. Even if you think you don't know it, you probably do; it's a Dan Fogelberg tune from a number of years ago that relays a vignette from the life of a man who misses the past. I so acutely miss the simpler days of my life, when everything seemed so complicated but in reality, it was all quite simple, neat, compact, predictable, not frightening. To be able to go back and live those days again, fully cognizant of how blessed I was, even in my awkward, unpopular teenaged-ness, would be such an incredible thing. But I know I can't. I can merely sit in an Arby's and cry when I hear a certain song. It's surreal. My entire life is... surreal.

To close, I just wanted to share that we will indeed be going to Disneyland this weekend. Adam's parents took care of the whole thing for us and will be coming along, so a tremendous thank you to them for their support. And a tremendous thank you to all of you for your support and prayers as we continue forward on this path. We're blessed to have you on Logan's team.