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, May 28, 2018

Inhale, Exhale

A friend who recently lost a child messaged me out of the blue yesterday. I'd been worried about her and was thankful that she reached out, but her question was like an arrow to my heart:

How do you learn to breathe again?

I cried while I typed a response. I cried because I was sad for her and because I know exactly where she is in the process and how she probably feels like she will never be happy again and can't imagine living with the pox of such a deep, dark, pervasive brand of pain and because there are no easy solutions and there is no fast forward button that lets you speed through the gut-wrenching parts. I remember screaming in the darkness and punching my pillow so hard that the stuffing came out and then doubling over in so much pain that I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to get up and face the world again. I remember what those first few months are like, after the shock wears off and reality becomes stark and cold and unforgiving and far too real.

And I also cried because I wish I didn't have sage words to share with her. I wish that I didn't understand and couldn't relate and could sit with my fingers hovering over the keyboard, unable to formulate sentences that might bring an ounce of comfort or hope.

But I do understand and I do know the pain. And though I don't want to be in this position, I'm blessed if I can use this experience --this knowledge I so desperately wish I didn't have-- to bring even a moment of peace or a sense of hope for the future to someone who's suffering. Because though my life is far from perfect, I'm still here. And I'm still trying. And anyone can do what I'm doing because I, like everyone else on the planet, am merely mortal.

So my friend --you know who you are and I'm giving you every bit of the privacy you deserve-- know that I'm praying for you and willing you as much strength and fortitude as I can. And as for breathing? Inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale. I know you can do it.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

On Love and Easter

I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday and couldn't stop thinking about it. The message was a simple one:

"How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great."

I'll be totally honest about something: it can be hard and frustrating and painful to love broken people. It's hard to care for someone who exudes negativity. It's challenging to deliberately pursue a person who pushes others away in the name of survival. It's painful to know that even when you do all you can to love a broken person, that person could still reject you.

And it breaks my heart and embarrasses me to write all of that because I've most definitely been the person who's excruciatingly hard to love. I've done the rejecting and the pushing away and the negativity. And I've wound up mostly alone, which, ironically, was the last thing I wanted. It's easy to wind up alone when you're broken, because sometimes it simply takes too much energy, too much heartache, too much everything to love someone who's hurting. I know that. I've been that difficult, difficult person.

But as the meme suggests --and as the message of Easter teaches-- love is always worth the risk.

So show up. Be present. Listen. Pray. And love, even when it's the last thing you want to do, and even when you think the recipient doesn't notice or care about what you're doing. (And if you're the one who's hurting, try really hard to let yourself be loved. I know that's far easier said than done.) What I remind myself when it feels like I'm spinning my wheels to no avail is that He sees all. And if He could die for ME, the least I can do is sacrifice a little of myself for someone else.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

On 40

I turn 40 in four days.

I've been trying to figure out how I feel about it for a while now, which is funny because I'm not really one who's ever cared much about age. My friends range in age from twentysomething to fiftysomething, and age means absolutely nothing within the context of those relationships. So the rational part of me says "it's just a number. It's really no different than any other birthday and besides, most of your friends are already 40-plus so get over it. Boo yah, 40. Woohoo."

But... 40. It's hard to fully wrap my brain around that number.

Don't misunderstand me: my thirties have been hard. Actually, hard isn't a powerful enough word. A more appropriate one would be "torturous." I began the decade on bed rest with Isaac after suffering a potentially disastrous subchorionic bleed. (So you don't have to look it up, that means that a small corner of the placenta tore, which resulted in gushing blood and, eventually, a very large blood clot that could have killed him. Fortunately, of course, that did not happen, but I spent months agonizing over the possibility that it could.) After he was finally born, we had a calm expanse of months before I got pregnant with Brady at 32, and then 20 weeks later, well, you know what happened then. My life, my outlook, my everything was forever changed when I found out Logan could very well die.

Then there were the endless trips to and from the hospital, the loneliness, the exhaustion that goes along with having three very young children at home by myself and the ongoing fear that God would not respond the way I desperately wanted Him to respond to the biggest prayer I'd ever prayed.

And then, when I was 34, horror became my reality as my innocent, sweet, long-suffering little boy drifted from my arms and into God's on that rain-soaked February morning. At first I was numb, but then the sadness, the anger, the fury besieged my heart in a way I didn't see coming. It broke me into more pieces that I could ever count and I couldn't fathom ever feeling like myself ever again. And I wasn't sure I wanted to.

Fortunately, very slowly and with no small of resistance from me (because, well, anger), God knit the pieces back together again. I think sometimes those pieces were re-fused in different places, because when I think of my heart, I don't see it as a smooth piece of fabric, rather as a patchwork quilt comprised of numerous kinds of material and many converging threads of varying color and strength. Although it's been re-constructed with care, it has weak spots, and if those spots are pulled or pushed too aggressively, I can feel the stitches tear away all over again.

So given that history, you'd think I'd be eager to leave my thirties far behind me in the rearview mirror. But I'm not. The thing is, Logan won't exist in my forties. He won't be there to help blow out the candles or to tease me about my advancing age. Of course, none of that is new: he's been gone for nearly six years and his absence is a painful daily reality. And my birthdays are among the most acutely painful of those days.

But in my mind, when 39 melts into 40 on Thursday afternoon, I'll be leaving him behind. And I don't know what to do with that. I know that I can't stop aging; I'll turn 40 and then, God willing, 41 and 42 and 43. Time will keep passing and the wrinkles will keep forming and I'll keep missing him.

And no matter how fervent my prayers become, he'll keep not being here and I'll keep having to cope with the reality that one of my biggest fans is absent.

But you know something? I bet he'd want me to celebrate anyway. He'd want me to dance and talk and eat cake and smile. So though I so wish that he could be part of my forties memory bank in a tangible way, I know that he cannot. And I pray that though he won't be here for number 40, he'll be dancing with me anyway, in whatever way he can, and that though I won't be able to touch him with my fingertips, I'll feel him within my heart.