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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

God is good!... Right?

When I first started typing this entry, I wanted to call it "Shut Up, Sherry". I say that to myself. Repeatedly. Every single time I hear someone complain about something absolutely trivial, I tell myself to shut up because if someone wants to be miserable over something that's insignificant in the long-run, who am I to tell them otherwise? Who am I to remind them that "hey dude, your life is pretty awesome so hold your breath til the wave passes by and you can come up for air"? I feel entitled to say things like that, if only because I held my breath for a year and a half (figuratively speaking, of course) before having the wind knocked out of me in February by the biggest wave I've ever seen. I'm still trying to get up. I could continue complaining about that because even God knows what happened to our family was completely and utterly unfair and wrong. But I don't think Logan wants me to live that way.

Yeah. So where am I going with this?

Right here. A friend recently had a health scare. In the super duper grand scheme of things, it wasn't anything extraordinarily dangerous. But she was, understandably, scared and worried. I had to 'Shut up, Sherry' my way out of muttering 'this is what my life was like every single day for 18 months; not fun, is it?' I'm not proud of that, but I'm human. Wonderfully, imperfectly human. And sometimes I think stuff; stuff that's not particularly helpful. But I wouldn't be real if I didn't admit to it. I wouldn't be very honest if I didn't cop to occasionally hearing about someone's day in the ER and thinking 'you think that was bad? I spent 18 months doing that, only with an inpatient. Oh, and after everything we went through to save his life, he died anyway'. And that's not because I'm a big jerk. It's because I desperately want someone, anyone to understand where I'm coming from. Where I've been. But anyway, I'm getting off-track again.

At the close of my friend's ordeal, when she discovered that things were okay after all, there was a lot of 'praise God!' and 'God is good' bandied about. And it made me think: is that true? Because if the outcome of our family's situation is any indicator of God's goodness --if God is only good and worthy of being called good in the face of good news-- then the answer is a resounding, gong-banging NO WAY, JOSE.

But of course that's not true. God is, by His own claims, good through and through. Evil sucks, but it's here to cause trouble and to bring pain. So my now long-winded challenge for all of you is to do what I have to do every single day: to find something to be grateful for, even though life is extraordinarily painful, hard and unfair. Even though my heart breaks when I see families with four children out and about. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to approach those families and say 'oh, I have four kids, too! One of them's just... not here.' Yeah.

I could say a lot (lot, lot, lot) more, but I'll save it for another day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Thought It Was You

When I was younger, I was --for some reason I can't explain-- drawn to a country song called "I Thought It Was You". It's sung by a guy named Doug Stone, and talks about a relationship that's come to an end. He waxes poetic on his former flame as he describes seeing someone he mistakenly thought, at first glance, was her:

I thought it was you / Took a moment to catch my breath / Tried to brace myself / Still don't have a clue / How to leave your memory behind / After all this time...

I know, totally random post, right? I write about my son, not some long-lost romantic interest. Bear with me; I'm getting there. I had an 'I thought it was you' moment a few weeks ago. It had such a profound effect on me that I'm just now getting to a place where I can write about it coherently.

We went to Adam's brother and sister-in-law's house to celebrate his parents' birthdays one pleasant Sunday afternoon. I slowpoked my way inside after loading Isaac's bike --which he'd had at grandma and granddad's house-- into the car. As I added our gifts to the pile beside the fireplace, I cast a momentary glance into the backyard. And my heart leapt into my throat as I saw Logan, wearing sunglasses and doing a goofy dance. I froze. Tried to brace myself...

Of course, it wasn't Logan. It was Isaac.

But in that moment, I thought it was Logan. I was shocked by how much Isaac looked like the Logan my heart remembers so clearly. It's always startling to suddenly realize that your child has grown more than you'd noticed, but it was jolting. Shocking. Stunning and bittersweet. And the words from that song I hadn't thought of in quite some time came back to me. I thought it was you... took a moment to catch my breath.... Because for a split second, I saw him.

And for now, that has to be enough. As long as I live and breathe, it'll never be enough in the absolute sense of the word, but I'm grateful to have something.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Little Froggies

Given how poorly I've slept this week, I should be in bed right now trying to catch some of those elusive little Zs. But instead, I'm sitting here alone in the darkness and relative quiet of our family room, once again pecking away at a keyboard.

As much as Logan loved any and all cars, lately, it's been a story of two little froggies. But I should probably back up a few weeks.

I've been asking God --and Logan-- for signs. Signs that Logan is still out there, somewhere. Signs that there is life beyond what we can see. Signs that we don't live merely to live, but to have life. Signs that despite the hell we've lived through, Heaven still exists, even if I can't see it or feel it or hear it or smell it or touch it.

I asked again this morning when I visited his grave, as I often do after dropping Isaac off at preschool. Today, the cemetary was particularly alive, so to speak, with the cacophonous sounds of life on earth: birds chirping from the highest branches of a pair of nearby towering trees, planes soaring by overhead, cars whizzing along the road below, a maintenance truck transporting pile after pile of dirt to cover a new burial site. I was sure that my plaintive request had fallen on deaf ears.

I should probably know better by now.

When I got home later, I served Isaac and Brady lunch and sat down to check my email. As I glanced across the room, a tiny blue object caught my eye. I mentally flagged it as a choking hazard, and got up, almost mechnically, to move it to higher ground. And I stopped in my tracks as I realized what it was.

Shortly before Logan began preschool last Fall, his teacher, Ms. Holly, gave him a tiny (and I mean itty-bitty) blue plastic frog to commemmorate his status as a member of the Frog Class. Logan loved that frog. He carried it around for weeks. But until today, I'd forgotten about it. Yet there it was, sitting on my family room carpet right out in the open. I don't know how it got there. I don't know why Brady didn't eat it before I saw it. I don't know where it had been for the past three months. But it was there. One little froggie.

The story of the other little froggie began a few weeks ago when I was pulling out of my driveway to take Abby to her dance class one evening. Rather than putting my purse on the passenger seat per my custom, I left it on the seat directly behind me; the seat where Logan would sit had he not had to leave. As I shifted into reverse, my purse began to croak. I was puzzled for a few moments until I remembered the frog light that Logan had 'borrowed' from a nurse friend at CHO several months ago. That thing croaked and croaked for a full minute. And it continues to croak periodically. And yes, it croaked several times today at random intervals, reminding me of its presence in its own froggie way.

It's funny that two little froggies now remind me of my little Sunshine. He was never supposed to be in the Frog Class, after all; had he never gotten sick, he would've been in kindergarten this year. And he certainly never would've borrowed a froggie flashlight from a nurse. Yet somehow, those little frogs are in my heart. They meant something to Logan while he was with us. And they mean everything to me now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I'm mad.

I could just smile, nod and deny being angry about what happened to Logan. It would certainly be an easy out. I could allow myself to be publicly branded the brave, strong, amazingly faithful servant who soldiers on with great resolve and self-denial during a time of gut-wrenching pain. And then behind the scenes, I could cry alone each and every night as I already do, some nights nearly drowning in the cavernous depths of my own sense of despair, with no one outside the walls of my own imagination aware of my duplicity.

But it would be disingenuous. And God's not interested in disingenuousness. And I've never been particularly good at not wearing my heart on my sleeve, anyway. To not feel anger over the atrocities that Logan suffered --that our entire family endured-- would be inhuman. We're made to feel the entire spectrum of emotion, from joy and elation to despair and pain. Of course, we do all we can to avoid the latter feelings because they're hard. Because we think we're not supposed to feel them. Because somehow, being angry about something that's egregiously unfair is wrong. But that's a load of baloney. So yes: I'm angry.

And you know something? That's just fine. It's where I am and I refuse to pretend that I'm not mad just to make myself look heroic or --in some ridiculous way-- to make God look good. I spend too much time worrying about how my reaction to what happened to Logan will affect people seeking a Savior in this lousy world. I'm terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing; of driving people away from God (or in some cases, the rudimentary notion that a God might even exist). It's a silly thing, really; after all, God will act in and around people as He so chooses. But I'm keenly aware that my words have impact, if only within the bounds of a small circle. However, I also know that I'm allowed to be upset.

A friend shared with me a few weeks ago that she was worried about my heart; worried that I'd hate God because of all we went through and the horrific outcome of the ordeal. I can't lie and say that I'm pleased with Him. And I won't lie. That would be disingenuous. I'm heartbroken. I feel betrayed. I feel left behind, forgotten, hated, despised, unvalued. I don't feel loved. I feel, at times, like I'm part of a cosmic joke that's not even funny. But if I were to deny myself these feelings, I suspect I'd also deny myself a real journey through the process of grief. I have to be angry. I have to fight it out, both with myself and with God. I have to come to a place where I feel peace again, where I can pray and derive comfort from the experience. Where I go to church not out of a sense of duty, but because I want to be there. I won't go if I'm not ready.

I'm not there now, but I will be again. Eventually. I wake up every morning and ask for a sign. So far, I haven't gotten much, just a Corvette here and there. No writing in the sky or special messages from beyond this world. And it's hard. I need to know that Logan is indeed okay. It's very hard for me to go on faith when I feel like my faith wasn't rewarded. I did everything I could for Logan. I begged for his life. And then God didn't heal him for me. He didn't restore my son to me. It broke my heart. It will break my heart every day for the rest of my life knowing that God opted against healing my baby even after I begged and pleaded and tried so hard to do everything right. After all of those trips to the hospital, the time lost with our other kids, the challenges of coping with pregnancy while knowing that Logan could die. I cannot tell you how awful it was and continues to be for me. I have every right to be angry. And I have every right to not be judged for an honest emotion, even if it's a negative one.

But some day it will be different. Some day I will wake up and it won't be as awful. It won't kill me a little bit more to think of his last days and of how much was taken from him. The crack in my heart won't deepen every time Isaac asks what happened to Logan and why he had to die. The pain won't be as intense when Abby looks at her wallet-sized photo of her best friend and asks what I think he's doing in Heaven, if he has wings, how he eats, if he eats and so on.

So that's where I am, for real. The unadulterated, unmoderated truth of me-ness for now.

Monday, April 2, 2012


This life we've been living for the past 20 months now is in part one of nonexistence. Lest anyone should protest prematurely, I'll explain.

When we first found out that Logan was sick, a lot of people I'd considered to be good friends disappeared on me. I don't judge them for that decision now. It was painful to feel so alone; to feel abandoned by people I thought I could count on. But I acknowledge that it's hard to know what to do; it's impossible to know how to help or what to say unless you've been me or someone very much like me. So in a sense, I can understand why simply walking away --vanishing-- was an easy out. And in some minds, an acceptable one.

We replaced a lot of those missing links with people we met at CHO. We spent hour after hour with those people, and some of them I considered friends. I learned about their families, their pasts, their hopes and dreams, and in some cases, their biggest fears. I laughed with some of them, held back shared tears with others. I felt like we mattered, like Logan was an important person. Like I was an important person. Because let me tell you something: There's nothing like being hit with a serious illness to make you feel like you don't matter at all.

And then we lost Logan and nonexistence set in once again. Just as we lost friends after Logan was diagnosed --the people who'd always been there who suddenly didn't know how to relate to us-- we lost the new friends we'd made after he went home to Heaven. He suddenly didn't require care anyone and... poof. They were gone, almost all of them. I'm guessing we'll never hear from most of them again. I'm guessing that we'll be forgotten soon, as new patients move in and others move on. We'll fade into the obscurity that I'd wanted so desperately to avoid. I can understand it, in a way. It must be hard to think of the kids who don't make it. It must be easier --no, necessary-- to forget about them and focus on the next one in line. The one who might beat his personal odds and grow up. I guess that's how you survive that kind of job. I don't know because I could never do it myself.

I used to joke with the hospital staff that they were my social life. I don't think they realized that I was serious. Now, as a result, I mourn the loss of not only my son, but of the friends I thought I'd made there.

I guess it was naive of me to assume that they'd continue to be part of our lives into the future. Every life goes through phases; friends come and go and come again. I'm grateful for those who stuck with me throughout the duration of Logan's illness. I'm grateful for those who've come back to support me now. But I'm sad over the people who aren't my friends anymore.

I suppose this is all rather silly, but it's what I feel. So there it is. Have a good Monday.