Monthly Archives: September 2015

This Is Love

Seven years ago, right around this same time, I stood, holding Bob’s hand, Aidan kicking in my stomach, and stared at the stern, older gentleman behind the desk and dais in front of us.

His position in the room was raised to help indicate his position in the building – for he was a judge…the judge, to us. Our papers lay in front of him as he weighed the final decision in the case, and then his words came, directed to the husband at my side.
“This adoption is done now. It’s final. And you… [he waved the gavel in Bob’s general direction] I have words for you. You didn’t have to do this, but you did it anyway and I want you to know that you’re a man of exemplary character.” And then, turning to me, he made sure I had heard the words that Bob has jokingly said should be framed ever since – “You know that, don’t you?”

Bob had taken the daughter born into my arms alone and made her the apple of his eye and his firstborn with a knit beauty that surpasses even blood and DNA. And now, seven years later, it’s so strange to write those words because it’s as if he has always been her father – in fact, I believe he was destined to be that person for her.

And forever, there’s this living, breathing picture of adoption – one person to another saying…

“I don’t care where you came from or what you bring with you, but I LOVE YOU, and what’s more, I want you to be with me forever and I’m giving you my name.”

“For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” Romans 11:36

Moment by moment.

Bob and Darcy - September 2008

Bob and Darcy – September 2008

Being A Cancer Mom

This is a post from September 2014 – written especially for the Mary Tyler MomSeptember Series” – cancer stories from cancer parents.  It was written within a week of Chase’s bad scan and chronicles some of the difficult, unusual aspects of this journey.

To be able to read this a year later without significant change in the story is a great gift.  -MbM-

I’m a cancer mom.

There are fourteen months of “there’s less than 20% chance”-beating treatment, over one hundred inpatient days, as many outpatient days, ER runs, ever so many blood and platelet transfusions, nine chemo therapy drugs, multiple surgeries, and endless procedures and tests saying that I’m a cancer mom.

But what does that mean to me? Just this…

It means being wakened in the night by nightmares and then realizing it really did happen…I really did hear “There’s a large mass” pronounced over the ER bed of my 2-year old and there’s been no waking up ever since.

It means absorbing the sad looks and conciliatory touches to the shoulder and wanting to shout that we aren’t at a funeral yet.

It means “normal” defines any trip made to the hospital with myself behind the wheel instead of five-point harness-strapped into the back of a speeding sirens-and-lights ambulance while assuring him it’s going to be okay.

It means handing out candy at the door and seeing the looks on the costumed faces as they take in the too white, scarred, bald child at my side and ask their parents what he’s supposed to be while the embarrassed adults avert their eyes and move quickly away.

It means “fixing dinner” is preparing an 18-hour IV bag of nutrition and hydration and then attaching it to a tube in his chest.

It means watching a chemo being carried into the room…a chemo so light sensitive that it must be protected in a dark bag…and then they hang it and pump it into my baby.

It means being the grown up and saying; “You need to take your medicine even though it’s yucky.” to a red, tear-stained face when I want to sit down and cry right along with him.

It means listening to him whisper “I’m so brave” over and over as the medicine lulls him into a stupor and I hand him off to sets of surgical masks and scrubbed arms, knowing he’s going into the operating room and I can’t go with him.

It means that while other kids his age are learning to ride a two-wheel bike, I take joy in his remembering a words or learning to jump with both feet at the same time because in his world, that’s a really, really big deal.

It means there’s a kit in my purse that has gloves, alcohol swabs, clamps, and everything I need for a child with a central line and I carry it everywhere he goes….just in case.

It’s being up and out at 2:30AM, not for a party, but for an ER run in which I find myself praying that the fever goes down and the blood pressure goes up and that we can just be admitted to the regular oncology floor and not the ICU.

It’s learning to walk, and even at times run next to a child attached to tubes because playing makes them feel better.

It’s accepting the part of the living child forever lost to the moment his brain was open on an OR table and loving the living child he is today.

It’s feeling like I can’t breathe until I get answers and then they have none and I somehow go on breathing.

It’s allowing the child I swore to protect to go through intense seasons of pain, heartache and potentially life-long damage in order to try and save him.

It’s sitting by a hospital bed; a hundred percent powerless to fix anything and praying for the day the chemo stops hurting his skin enough that he’ll be comforted by a mother’s touch once again.

It’s holding him close next to the Christmas tree and answering “Mommy, will you hold me close so the death won’t get me?” without completely losing it.

It’s hearing that after almost two years of clear scans, there’s something growing and nobody knows what it is and the best thing to do is to wait and check again in six weeks and I find myself agreeing over the sound of my heart ripping open.

It’s knowing we’re out of options to cure his diagnosis and still getting up in the morning.

It’s coming to peace with the understanding that what I do may never change an outcome or what’s ahead for my darling son…and then finding the strength and purpose to make the most of every second of every day anyway.

This is what it means for me.

I’m a cancer mom.

My darling Chase

My darling Chase

Chase’s Story [VIDEO]

Have you ever seen this video of Chase?

If not, I highly recommend it.  And even if so, feel free to watch it again…  We have been so blessed to partner with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation this year and are continually thankful for the platform they give us to share Chase’s story with so many.


[Our deepest gratitude to the incomparable Matthew Lackey for his mad, crazy video skills.  Also, a huge thank you to both Jane Hoppen and Kristen Thies for all they did to put together the finished product and the time spent filming it.]