Monthly Archives: February 2014

Please Pray

Summer 2013

“Please pray”, the status read.  The paragraph on a friend’s Facebook went on to detail the sweet little girl, a friend and a classmate, rushed to the hospital and even then in surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Please pray…

“Please pray”, the man said.  That same night, on our way into the emergency room for Chase, we met a friend: a brave man who rides fast and sure under the flashing lights that bring the littles to the hospital’s safe haven.  He said he’d been out by us that day and he couldn’t say who or what, but he said: “Please pray.”

A few days later, I went up to the neurosurgery floor and asked… Upon being ushered into a darkened room, I saw the sweet little girl laying propped on pillows, her beautiful dark hair pulled aside; the back of her head shaved from the surgery.  She had yet to regain full movement.  She should have been in a classroom with her friends as she’d been a moment ago…not in this room.  The exhausted, shocked look in the parents’ eyes mirrored feelings I remembered all too well in those initial days  and I asked what we could do and they said: “Please pray.”

On a crisp Fall day months later, the last of Chase’s chemo days, I saw the mom of the sweet little girl in the hospital hall and we hugged and spoke of the future.  She asked me what was ahead and I told her my heart and said: “Please pray.”

Just a few days ago, the email came.  The treatment for metastatic medulloblastoma was complete and the sweet little girl who fought since that first Summer day would soon be free of the hospital life and we prayed with great joy that night.

And then came the news.  A late night fever of 105.  A sure sign that illness and infections had set in on a tiny body that knew no immunity.  Too soon after the chemo, there was nothing left with which to fight and the medical minds began the rush against time and infection to understand.  Yet she fights!  Though the situation grows more serious and she moves to the unit for intensive care, she fight on!  And I asked her mom – her strong and amazing mom who clings to hope and faith in extraordinary, awful circumstances – what can we do?  …and she said: “Please pray.”

Please pray for Kayla.

Moment by moment.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord

 in the land of the living!  Psalm 27:13

Like A Child

Long before his birth, the adults around him had prayed for a building in which to have their church.  Now, the prayer was answered.  The old building had been stripped and tooled, fashioned and made new by the loving hands of the community, all but ready for the gathering.  The flooring has yet to be laid and the pastor gathered them and challenged… Write.  Write a prayer on the floor before it’s covered.  Write your heart in faith for what God will do in this place.  And so the 8 year old boy crouched on the cold stone and wrote the prayer that came to his heart…

"Dear Lord, I pray Chase Ewalt survives his canser and they will find a cure - Life in God."

“Dear Lord, I pray Chase Ewalt survives his canser and they will find a cure – Life in God.”

They say that love can heal the broken, they say that hope can make you see.  They say that faith can find a Savior if you would follow and believe…with faith like a child.  -Jars of Clay

Moment by moment.

The Shortest Radiology Report

CLEAR!  Praise God the MRI is CLEAR!

We are so blessed to get to walk through Door #1 this February day!

After being warned of almost imminent relapse and today being a significant milestone to reach without threatened relapse, Chase has once again surpassed expectations with “the shortest radiology report” they’ve seen in a while.  His brain and spine looked great and there was literally nothing to report.

We are so thankful for all the love and prayers as we waited this news in silence.

God is good.

More to follow…

Moment by moment.

In post-op after the MRI

In post-op after the MRI

The Two Doors

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“The prognosis for AT/RT has been very poor, although there are some indications that an IRSIII-based therapy can produce long-term survival (60 to 72 months). Two-year survival is less than 20%, average survival postoperatively is 11 months, and doctors often recommend palliative care, especially with younger children because of the poor outcomes.” -Wikipedia on Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor

Tomorrow, February 6th, is Chase’s first truly post-treatment MRI.  The first real chemo-is-all-out-of-your-system, three-months-without-a-single-drug-to-guard-against-relapse, have-your-sleep-patterns-changed, why-did-you-forget-that-word, you-fell-twice-yesterday… MRI.

Tomorrow, there will be two doors.  Behind Door #1 is the clear scan and the sigh of relief and the three month wait until next time.  Behind Door #2 is relapse and all the possibilities that it brings.  Writing that thought down leaves me sick to my stomach, but the truth is, we’ve known about Door #2 since the early days of August 2012.  So, even if it comes to that horror, there will likely be few surprises.

People say in mistaken comfort “Yes, but what are the chances…?”  For a parent of a child that only ever had a hairs-breadth percentage of getting cancer and this cancer and surviving this cancer, the chances hold no comfort at all.

The only comfort is in knowing that I am invited to bring my worry to God, and then not worry about it anymore, because He will guard my heart and my mind.  The only comfort is knowing that all of our days were counted and known before we ever breathed, that we were fearfully and wonderfully created, and our very souls cry out with that thought.  The only comfort is knowing that all our pain and suffering is but an earth-moment, and then we’ll stand in the presence of our Savior, understanding the promises and knowing no more pain or sorrow or tears–only closeness to Him forever.

I know those truths.  I believe those truths.  But as I stand in front of these two doors, my heart is still heavy… what now?

BE STILL…  WAIT…  BE SILENT.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14

Silence?  My make-it-better, make-it-stop, never-give-in heart wants no part of that.  Silence is accepting defeat.  Silence is acquiescing… isn’t it?  Being silent is one of the hardest things for me to do, yet I’m called to do it in this moment.  And as I obey, not speaking becomes speaking.  The quiet becomes loud.  We will watch and see what unfolds as we remember how far we’ve come, and know beyond a shadow of doubt that the same grace that covered all waits always, ahead of us, behind any door.

The doors are in place as they always have been and will be… The right thoughts are known and remembered time and again… and now?

We wait for what He will show us in His time.

We are silent…   Moment by moment.

World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day.

Today is a day we set aside to count our blessings and stand for the fighters. We stand for Julia and Phoebe and Cal and so many others who won their fight and are finally home. We stand for Matthew and Mia and Lucas and Zeke and so many others who continue their fight right here even now. And we never give up. Because there is strength and purpose in what we’ve been given (horrible as it is) and we believe that someday, whether in heaven or on earth, there will be no more cancer. So we mark this day and stand.

For whom do you stand today?

Moment by moment.

World Cancer Day

The Little Big Things

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When you have a 6cm brain tumor removed at 2.5 years of age and go through months and months of rigorous treatment, all bets are off regarding development.  Often, you hope for delays “at best” as the worst is too hard to think about unless forced to do so.

Last night, I sat across from Chase as he made valiant attempts to match and fold his favorite yellow hospital socks and this morning, as he placed another Superman sticker on his “potty chart” I stopped and I marveled.  These things are small and normal milestones to most children, but for Chase, and for all cancer kids, some of these things are beyond huge.

You see, it wasn’t too long ago that teams of doctors waited post-surgery to see if he’d even wake up…or talk…or walk.  Celebrating these little big things today.

Moment by moment.

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Joy In The Mirror

We sat at the long table in the restaurant.  A table full of friends who had invited us to join them and we’d agreed.  I looked at Bob and he looked at me over the wiggly, wriggling heads struggling to sit still like grown-ups do.  How crazy were we to say yes to a restaurant with three little boys in tow? 

Chase especially struggles to sit still (a running family joke given his name), and so he’d sit for a while at the table and then as a reward, I’d get him up and let him walk around and back before sitting a spell again.  And I watched people watch him… His shoes are like the shoes of other boys, his clothes and eyes and energy and everything else…and then his white, white head and the slightly faded, but oh so noticeable scar that runs the length of skull and you can see the looks of pity, the politely averted eyes.  I don’t blame them.  I’d do the same thing.  I find myself wanting to run up to them and say “It’s okay!  Look all you want!  This is a miracle in front of you!“, but instead, I smile, move on and caution Chase not to trip the servers in his enthusiastic dash.

You see, sometimes being out in public with a visibly chemo-worn child is like stepping in front of a mirror.  When we’re home or with good friends, we’re just us and everybody knows Chase.  But when we step out, like that day in the restaurant, it’s a mirror.  Stop.  Look.  We’re different.  This scar says our life looks nothing like yours.  The loudest of reminders in the slightest of glances.

And then, a family approached our table.  They spoke of mutual friends and places from years past, they knew Chase from his Facebook page and they prayed for him and they’d recognized him.  And then they encouraged us with their words and pressed a gift card into our hands.  “Your lunch is on us“, they said.  And then they were gone.

The gift card sits as a reminder with my papers – you just never know.  There in the mirror that day, there was fellowship and joy because of the recognizable scar.

So pay it forward, play it back, make it right, stop to help – don’t be afraid to make eye contact because you never know when you might be staring at a miracle.  And you might be stepping next to a battered parent in front of a battered mirror and showing them joy.

Moment by moment.

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