I thought you might enjoy seeing some photos of Logan's past birthdays. (Please forgive the ugly formatting.)
At left, on his actual birth day: July 31, 2006.
Below, on his first birthday.
Below, on his second birthday.
At left, on his actual birth day: July 31, 2006.
Below, on his first birthday.
Below, on his second birthday.
Had you asked me one year ago today if I thought that he'd have a fifth birthday to celebrate, I'd have looked at you like you were crazy and said 'of course; he'll have 5, 15, 25 of them and beyond'. But then August 16th came and all of that changed.
There were many times over the course of the past 11 and a half months when I didn't know if he'd make it to July 31, 2011: When we first discovered that ugly, evil, enormous mass in his brain via CT on August 16, 2010. When we heard the pathology report and learned the seriousness of what we were dealing with; when there were odds of survival put forth and they weren't particularly pretty numbers. When the hospital screwed up and a c-diff infection was allowed to get horribly bad last Fall before it was caught, landing Logan in the hospital on oxygen, retaining massive amounts of fluid and languishing in bed when he should've been home recovering before the start of round 3. When Dr. T shared that he and the team had missed the spinal tumors in January. When Logan very nearly bled out during surgery in early February when an artery in his neck suddenly burst, and then two weeks later when Dr. T shared the bad news that the spinal tumors had grown exponentially during the two weeks between the failed surgery attempt and the successful resection; when he said that though he doesn't tell parents to give up, it didn't look good.
It's been a painful path to take, but as I reflected to a friend on Friday over coffee, if those things hadn't happened, the miracle that is Logan's 5th birthday wouldn't be as incredible as it is. It would, to put it simply, but just another birthday. But the reality is that it's so much more than that.
It's the perfect day for celebrating our little survivor. It's the perfect day for thanking God for restoring our family, for restoring his health. And for praying with every fiber of our beings that He will continue to keep Logan healthy long into the future; that He will keep the cancer away; that He will keep him safe from any kinds of infection; that He will protect his body from the long-term effects of the grueling treatment he's endured. All of those things and just so, so many more.
Happy birthday, Logan. We love you soooooo much.
After an utterly exhausting, terrifying day, the MRI result came back looking stable, which means it looked the same as the one he had 5 weeks ago, and the same as the one he had prior to his BMT cycle. The fellow and doctor on call theorized --even before the MRI, actually-- that the limp could well have been caused by a muscle pull or other injury. A normal 4-year old boy kind of injury. It's almost hard to believe, since we've been denied the privilege of viewing ANY injury of Logan's as 'normal' beginning nearly a year ago. But we'll definitely take it. Anyway, we didn't think to ask if they'd scanned just his spinal column or if the brain had been involved as well, but either way, the spine looking stable over three MRIs is a very good thing.
We are absolutely, immensely grateful for the good news. I know my faith had waned a bit of late. I'd let worry and fear back in. But today served as a good --albeit unwelcome-- reminder that we need to keep our prayer armor on at all times, and not just when things are particularly worrisome.
Have a great Sunday and thank you for reading along and for sharing Logan's story.
I keep praying for help, but I'm worn out. Please: Take up your armor and help us. I don't know what else to do. And I feel like the battle is raging once again. Please pray for healing, for hope, for rest.
He now has a slightly-longer-than-peppery coating of dark brown hair --nothing like his long-gone strawberry blonde-- covering the top and sides of his head. The back, however, from just above his ears down, is still almost completely bald, save what I call his soul patch --a slightly larger than half-dollar sized spot of very thick, healthy-looking dark hair-- just north of center back. The image-conscious part of me is upset, worried that despite the assurances from everyone from his oncologist to the radiation oncologist that it would grow back, that maybe it won't. Maybe the intensity of the radiation was simply too much for his hair follicles to withstand.
When I feel myself beginning to get upset, I snap back to reality and think 'who cares? At least he's alive!' But then I revert to my previous mindset, bitter that we're even in the position of being this brand of grateful for life; bitter that our innocence is gone. Bitter that his scar will show prominently if the hair doesn't grow back. Worried about how others in public, those who aren't privy to the horrifying details of his suffering, will judge him for looking different. I know I shouldn't care. But like I said, I can't help it. I'm the mommy. And I don't want anyone to hurt him.
I guess I've felt worn down of late. Acutely aware of the blessing that we have in all of our children, but oh, I don't know. Victimized is likely the best word. I feel like we've been raked over the coals for the past year, and although things are good for now, it's hard to just forget the hell that we lived that hardly anyone else will have to experience firsthand. It's hard to just let that go. It's not hard to learn from it; it's just hard to accept it as part of our reality, as part of our history.
I also have a silly confession to make. I say it knowing full well that it'll cause me embarrassment, but hoping that it will apply to some of you in a real, tangible way in one area of your lives or another. I hear new cancer stories every few days now; it seems that I've become something of a clearing house for bad news. Every time I hear another one, my heart surges, grieves, rebels. I hate cancer. I don't use that word lightly, but I truly do despise it. And then when I start to pray for the affected person --more often than not these days, a child not unlike Logan-- a tiny voice says 'but if you use up your prayers for this child, they'll drown out your prayers for Logan.' I fell for it for a while; treated those other stories as competition for God's attention. But then reality came to me in the form of a song they sing at our preschool:
Our God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty. There's NOTHING my God cannot do.
It's a kiddie song, but the message is powerful. God can handle anything. We cannot over-pray. It's not a competition. A victory for one is a victory for all.
Anyway, I suppose that's a pretty obvious, black and white kind of observation, but it's what was on my heart today.
I thank you for your prayers. I can scarcely believe it's been nearly a year since this all started. I ask, beg for your continued prayers, for the addition of more people to Logan's team. I don't keep analytics on this site, but it's my fervent hope that more people read it than the comments suggest. Logan deserves the attention. He deserves a chance to have a bold, real impact on people in this world as a cancer SURVIVOR.
Blessings and have a great weekend.
But despite the good day that it was, I'm mindful that I can't allow myself to become complacent. We've lost the luxury of assuming that he'll be healthy, and though we can enjoy good days and be grateful for them, we also must keep our guard up. Though I currently feel a wide range of emotion toward God, I know that I must continue praying for sustained, true healing, and I ask all of you, as I often do, to do the same. He's so beautiful, so wonderful, so patient and kind. But he needs to stay cancer-free. And we NEED God to keep His hand on Logan to make that happen. I've felt ill at ease of late, and though what I wanted more than anything was to go to bed 15 minutes ago, I felt compelled to write. To once again reiterate Logan's need for prayer and to thank you for your efforts on his --on our-- behalf. Thank you.
Before I go, I also wanted to ask that you pray for our friends, who lost their mom to cancer this morning. J and S have been great supporters of Logan's --and of our entire family-- so please lift them up.
Thank you so much for being part of Logan's team. Good night.
I made someone feel uncomfortable yesterday. And I'm so pleased that I did. I was standing in line at one of my local haunts of late, Walgreens, to pick up Logan's Fluconazole. The line was long and as slow as molasses, so I zoned in and out of conscious awareness while I waited. That is, I did until I heard the word cancer. My emotional antennae shot up and I overheard a snippet of conversation from a mom and teen daughter in front of me: The mom: Has she posted anything? The daughter: Just 'I hate cancer' with a sad face. Mom: Have you talked to her lately? Daughter: I sent her a message earlier this week. --shrug--
The mom: Has she posted anything? The daughter: Just 'I hate cancer' with a sad face. Mom: Have you talked to her lately? Daughter: I sent her a message earlier this week. --shrug--> Then the daughter went back to playing with her phone and I stood there uncomfortably, wondering if God was giving me a window. I took a chance and spoke up.
Me: Sorry, I'm totally eavesdropping. Mom/daughter turn around and eye me, looking suspicious and a touch annoyed by my confession. Me: But my son has cancer and people totally disappear from your life when you're dealing with that kind of sickness. So be there for your friend. Send her little 'thinking of you' notes each week. She needs it.
Then, of course, there was a super awkward beat that made me want to find a hole and crawl inside before the mom very, very uncomfortably said that she could imagine how hard it would be.
My slingshot thought was No, no, you have no idea how hard it it. None at all. Because you can ask how someone else is doing, get the scoop, and then go back to your smart phone and play Angry Birds or check your mail and forget that cancer happens. But it's your daughter's friend's reality. It's MY reality. But fortunately, all of that remained internal, and I choked a little as I replied well, maybe.... But the girl did say she'd continue to keep in touch with her friend --though her expression was a bit bemused over the whole exchange-- and the interaction was over.
But I'm pleased that I spoke up. And I hope she takes the chance to make her friend feel remembered, loved and well-supported.
Now THAT was a long anecdote! I must have free time... and I do. Ah, the perfect sequitor to my subject line. Adam's parents took the three older kids for the weekend, so Adam and I are down to just Brady boo for the next day and a half. We don't have any grand plans. We considered going somewhere, but decided against it because traveling would probably be more stressful than being at home. And frankly, because home --and none of our usual spots, really-- hasn't felt like a relaxing place for a long while now. So I don't know what we'll do; maybe bum around, watch old episodes of 24, talk, who knows. Maybe just try to remember what it feels like to relax without worrying about an endless stream of medications, chemo ports, dressing changes, temper tantrums, fights and full-on screaming meltdowns.
Just to back up a little, the past week was fine. Adam went to his office Monday through Thursday. I took all of the kids out --with Logan masked, of course-- two different days, hitting Target on one and Costco on the other, not really because we needed anything, but because I need to get out of the house for a few hours.
Logan has continued to do well. He and Abby (and Isaac, in a way) made what I consider a pretty epic fort in our living room using a collection of blankets, pillows, a play kitchen, a bookcase, a table and some chairs. They've also played hospital and another game which involves Abby and Isaac pretending to be dogs, though I haven't yet figured out what that one's all about. (All I do know is that Isaac has the perfect yippy-dog bark. It's impressive. And piercing.) A few mornings ago Isaac came to me after he'd gotten our his Fisher Price car ramp --maybe his favorite toy of all time-- and some Cars diecast vehicles and said he wanted Logan to play cars with him. I told him to ask Logan, assuming he'd say no (since he and Abby more often than not refuse to play with poor Isaac) but he surprised me and said yes. It was such a joy to see them sitting on the floor zooming their cars along. Such a simple thing, such a mundane thing, but still such an amazing joy.
He finished his first week of the oral chemo, and handled it reasonably well, though it definitely seems to have taken a little wind from his sails. I suspect he feels more tired and a bit more nauseaus than usual of late. But as usual, he's handled it like a champion. He has substantially more hair now, mostly on sides of the top of his head (think male pattern baldness), and it's very, very dark. It's shocking, really, since he was strawberry blonde before, but they've always said that it could look very different when it grows back in. The back, where he was irradiated most aggressively, is still pretty smooth with just a few little prickles of new hair growth.
I want to close with some prayer requests. First and foremost, and as always, please pray for sustained, true healing for Logan. I still get nervous over all of it sometimes, so pray for confidence and faith for Adam and me as well. Please pray for protection for Logan and for the rest of our family, and also for every member of his prayer team. Thank you so much for lifting us all up, and for being here. You're a blessing to us.
Finally, I have two more people for you to add to your personal prayer lists. I've become something of a clearing house for prayer requests these days, and I feel honored to pass them on to you, well-aware and confident that God hears them all! I'll just give names and conditions: First is three-year old Abby who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer; second is Angela, who has colorectal cancer in a late stage. Also please pray for the family of Janel, a young woman who passed away from cancer last night.
Thank you for being a part of Logan's team. Thank you for continuing to spread word of his story and for continuing to recruit prayer warriors for him. Happy weekend.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support, for unexpected notes of encouragement, for just being you and being open to go along on this journey with us. You are a blessing to me!