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.
Friday, August 19, 2011
August Clinic Visit, Some Etceteras and A Surprise
Before I write anything new, I want to thank you all for praying for all of us, but particularly for me and my stress level. I'm very thankful to report that following a torturously restless night a few days ago, yesterday was calmer, and last night calmer still. So praise to God for the peace and thanks to you for the help along the way.
This morning Adam took Logan to CHO for his August oncology clinic visit. Dr. T said that he looked good, and everyone remarked on the coating of very dark hair on his crown. He's still largely bald on the back of his head, and I'm coming around to accepting the notion that it may not grow back. It doesn't make me happy; the little soul patch of very thick hair that he does have is suspiciously shaped like a target, and heaven knows he doesn't need any more targets dogging him in the future. But I guess that's where faith comes in. And it's also a digression.
Anyway, Adam pointed out though it had looked better for a while, his right eye is off-kilter yet again. In response to the observation Dr. T did the usual neurological exams and said he didn't see anything worrisome. In fact, he noted that it appears to be an issue with muscle control. Apparently he had varying degrees of success with control during the exam, but it was mobile from left to right, so there was no cause for concern. Later, as I drove my four-pack to Costco to do some shopping, I stressed over it, worried that Dr. T had missed something. But then a prayer I said before the chaos of my morning began came back to me: I'd very deliberately asked God to give Dr. T wisdom to know the difference between something worrisome and something benign. The memory brought me peace.
But back to the visit and perhaps the most surprising part of the day. Adam asked Dr. T about precautions and immunological testing, and they had a long conversation about the differences between standard post-BMT precautions and oncology's perspective. We've been living according to the prescribed bone marrow transplant requirements simply because we'd never asked for oncology's input: Masks, no parks, no eating out, careful food prep, and a mile-long laundry lists of 'do nots'. As it turns out, oncology handles autologous (self-donated) stem cell transplant recovery differently, and most of those restrictions need not apply. In fact, they don't even do immunological testing until a year has passed.
It's very big news, because it means, among other things, that Logan can go to preschool when it starts. It means we can go out to eat at his favorite place, Sweet Tomatoes. It means that we can go to a baseball game. It means that he can go to a playground. It means we can go to church. Tonight, it meant we could dine at a local eatery, Red Tractor, and not stress over him consuming something we didn't prepare ourselves. Of course we can't --or at least won't-- go buck wild. Preschool will be tricky. There's a good chance that he'll wind up missing a lot of class, since we'll be ultra sensitive to direct exposure to illness: If a child in his class has a cold, I'll ask to be informed and then will keep him home. But still, it's a step we weren't expecting to be able to take yet.
It's insane to feel like life is trending toward becoming 'normal' again, if only because it hasn't been 'normal' for so long. And because we're keenly aware that the past year has inextricably changed us. We can't go on living as we did before because we simply aren't the same people we were. We've lost innocence, but maybe more importantly, we've gained awareness. And part of learning to live 'normally' again is to figure out how to most effectively channel that precious awareness.
And now, without further ado, I present my long list of prayer requests. It's been a while since I've had one, so I thank you all for being part of Logan's team and for supporting our family. First off, and as always, I ask that you pray for protection around Logan and for sustained full healing: For the prevention of relapse, for the prevention of radiation-induced secondary tumors or cancers, for his future physical and intellectual development. Additionally, for protection from common illness. In his current state, he's vulnerable to many common bugs; something very simple for another child could lead to a week-long hospital stay for him. Please pray for his appetite and for his stomach to begin accepting food again; he's continued to have issues in this area. Just this afternoon, he ate several bites of pizza and then threw it up a few minutes later. It's frustrating, but I know it happens. And of course, prayers of thanksgiving for how well he's done so far. His next MRI is scheduled for the morning of September 14, so please keep that date in mind and pray for continued good news and for peace for us as we wait.
For Abby and Isaac as they begin school, for positive, fruitful encounters with friends and teachers. And for them as well as Brady, health. For myself and for Adam, I ask for peace, faith, hope and the strength to withstand attacks by the dark side. I still hold fast to the truth that this is a spiritual battle, and that the world is filled with both good and bad. Finally, for me, health. My stomach has been bothering me on and off for a few weeks now. It could well be nothing at all, but I'm a longtime worrier and it's hard to not be concerned when something feels different or uncomfortable.
Thank you so much, again, for sticking with us and for being part of Logan's team. Thank you for praying for his healing and for witnessing what God has already done here. I'm anxious and worried sometimes and my faith wavers. But I claim Mark 11:22 and proclaim that the mountain will be moved.
Have a wonderful weekend.