Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012: In Our Own Words…

Christmas 2012

Looking back at all that has happened this last year, I asked everyone in my family to do a little summing up – Here is my family in their own words on 2012…

Karsten (1): [grunted and walked away]

Chase (3) [thinking he’s writing an e-mail to his hospital, which he’s never done and is unlikely to do anytime soon]: “The cancer is still running away from me because it wants to hurt me, but I am very brave. (breaks into song) God is near me, God is near me, all the time, all the time!”

Aidan (4): “I like when Christmas comes…and I like Uncle Trevor…and I get sad when Chasey hits me…but then we make it right and that makes me happy again…and Mom, when are you going to get out of my room?”

Darcy (6): “Some days I really want to go to my home and be back with my family when Mommy and Daddy don’t have to go to the hospital anymore and be on the phone with doctors all the time, but I’m very happy that I can be off school this week and that we can be together as a family.”

Bob: “If I could use one word to sum up this year, it would be ‘DIFFERENT‘. In many ways, I worked, traveled, wrote and read as in other years, yet this year was profoundly different with the cancer diagnosis. It’s ironic how the normal and the very abnormal go hand in hand.”

Ellie: I think if I also had to find one word, I’d choose ‘BLESSED‘. Never have I been so aware of all that I have and all the amazing people around me.

On that same subject, I’d like to take a moment to say thanks.  The simplicity of these words can’t possibly encompass what we feel, but on behalf of Chase and our entire family: thank you.  Some of you I know personally and some of you I may never meet, but I so wish that I could have the chance to sit down with each of you face-to-face and tell you how much all of the prayers, encouragement, gifts and service have meant to us. We are so blessed by you in ways you cannot even imagine. THANK YOU.

Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace; chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord, Oh, praise His name forever!
His powr and glory evermore proclaim!

Knowing The One who heals all and frees all is our true and constant comfort in this season and always.

Moment by moment…

A Really Wonderful Moment

To all our family and friends who have prayed, encouraged and blessed above and beyond over these last 30+ days, we are profoundly thankful.
For all of you who couldn’t be with us – here is a small clip from Chase’s graduation.

Thank you for sharing in our celebration!

Moment by moment.

12.12.12

This was my favorite moment of Chase being born and Chase’s favorite picture of his birth because it shows that I too have had an IV in my hand

As I sit here contemplating 12/12/12 and the third birthday I have, at some moments, thought I wouldn’t see, I am overcome and don’t feel like I can adequately summarize this moment in Chase’s life, so here is what I would (and probably will) say to him:

My Dearest Chase,
Today you are three years old and even if you aren’t cognizant of it, this is a big deal.  Your Daddy and I have often wondered if you would live to see this day – and that was even before your “baseball“.  Since your “baseball” and your “cancers“, there have been many more minutes that we have stood by your bed or talked with your doctors and wondered if we would get to celebrate this day with you.  …and here you are!  Not only with us, but finishing all your brave days in your “spaceship“.  As we often whisper in your ear before you take your nap with the doctor: “Be strong and of good courage, for the Lord your God is with you.” (Joshua 1:9)
Son, Daddy and I are so proud of you.  You’re our favorite, bravest Chasey Bear in the whole world!
Love,
Mommy

Happy 3rd Birthday, My Precious Chase!

Joy comes in the morning… (I have much more recent pictures, but this is my favorite – that first smile post-surgery is a perfect summary to this little one’s year)

[Chase’s dictionary of terms: “baseball” = the tumor site (with it’s baseball-like stitching), “spaceship” = the proton radiation room]

Taking Note Of The 7th

This year, we spent our December 7th in radiation and blood transfusion appointments, but I’d like to go back to that day for just a second to talk about a special little guy.

Friday, December 7th was Aidan’s 4th birthday.  And -like the joyful child he is- he volunteered to spend the day with us at the radiation center and the hospital.

Big events (like the ones our family has experienced this year) can have a way of either strengthening or weakening, and Bob and I have been so proud to see Aid step up and be strengthened.  Many is the time we’ve seen him unselfishly give a toy to Chase or physically restrain himself when everything in his little boy nature just wants to shove or push.  Just now 4 and only a pound or two heavier than Chase, we often find him carrying his brother’s IV bag on his shoulder so that Chase can move and play with him.

Aidan, my precious concert baby, we are so proud of you!

Happy 4th Birthday!

How To Fry Cancer: A Typical Radiation Day

At the time I started writing this post, Chase had completed 17 of his 30 radiation treatments.  He has now completed 22!  These radiation days can be pretty intense and it’s not unusual to start the day in one location (usually home) and end the day in a completely different location (the hospital).  So as you can imagine, these days are never, ever dull.  [sidenote: “Chase” and “dull” are rarely in the same sentence]

Here’s what a normal radiation day looks like … no wait, scratch that.  Here’s what a radiation day last week looked like (we reserve the word “normal” for the days we don’t arrive in an ambulance).

Chase arrives for radiation on the hospital transport. The mask is to hopefully minimize the germs…when he remembers to hold it in front of his face.

There is a beautiful built-in fireplace which runs the length of the waiting room wall (picture a lovely five start hotel lobby) and Chase loves it.  In fact, he refers to the radiation center as his “fire hospital” – not to be confused with his “fishy hospital” (a name derived from the aquarium in the lobby of his primary care hospital).

First, Chase gets his vitals done (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, etc) – which he hates – and then he gets to put a sticker on his sticker chart – which he loves.  The radiation center staff kindly provided a sticker chart tailored to each child so that they can “check off” the days and see the progress they’re making.  Chase’s chart was presented to him with Cars characters on it.  Do they know him or what?

Here’s the sticker chart from around Day #6…

Chasey with his radiation nurse, Roshena. He loves his “Miss Roshena” and I believe he’s actually proposing to her with a plastic ring he found in the sticker box. So classy.

After he’s “cleared” for radiation, we walk to the room he calls his “spaceship“.  This is the time when he’s usually clutching the iPod and listening to/singing with 10,000 Reasons.  I wish I had better pictures of this room.  One of the most striking things is his mask lying by the table.  I can actually see his profile in the contours of the mask and I find myself staring at it every time we go in.

The radiation mask

In the “Spaceship” – the anesthesiologist administers the drug as Chase falls asleep on my shoulder (sorry about the blurry quality – this was as good as we could get)

Almost every day, as Chase falls asleep, he says “I’m so brave, I’m so brave...” over and over to himself.  It took me almost two weeks of this to get to the point where I wasn’t crying as I walked out of the room.

After Chase is asleep, I leave him in the “spaceship” and wait in the lobby.  On this particular day, I had a particularly wonderful “Good Samaritan” who brought me a particularly needed drink.  In other words, my dad brought me coffee.

Thanks, Dad!

After radiation is complete, the nurses allow Chase to sleep off the anesthesia for a little while, at which time, I join him in recovery and once they’re sure he’s stable and alert, we are free to go.  Sidenote: for Chase, “alert” usually means “ninja“.  A side affect of anesthesia for him is crabbiness – which means it takes three people to get him dressed on many days.  A sidenote on my sidenote: when you read that last sentence, please don’t shake your head or cry at the thought of adults struggling with a small boy.  Picture with a small, wry smile on my face as I type because I love his fight and although it is at times overwhelming, his stubborn, ninja-fighting, never-say-die attitude is a perfect God-given match for his cancer.

This day (that I took most of the pictures), we finished it as we’d started: on an ambulance.  Once he got back to the hospital, he was given a little more chemo and then we were able to be discharged!

Back in the ambulance bay and sleeping off the morning – head shining with post-radiation lotion.

…and that is one of our more average radiation days!  (ambulance and chemo not included)

Moment by moment.