Tag Archives: love

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.

-MbM-

[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.]

The Story of 2014

Once there was a family of six: a handsome father, a redhead mother, a sole princess girl, and three little wrestling and running boys.

The handsome father, he worked in two places – one a large company, the other a church.  In both places, he worked with numbers… lots and lots of numbers.  In the free moments, you would find him completing a half marathon, quiet with a book, or very lately, working in his new garage.

The redhead mother spent the days holding the pieces together… pieces of laundry and food and school and sometimes, yes sometimes, even silence.

The sole princess girl, just a second ago a babe in arms, was suddenly eight and tall, and already a fast runner.  She was never so happy as when she was running… just like her father.

The oldest of the wrestling boys was five, nearly six, and started wearing glasses to see, which made him look wise.  He began the school journey and stretched his legs at running to try and beat his sister, and if he could, would choose to be buried under a gigantic mound of Legos forever.

The middle boy, with his lightning scar and white head, also began his school journey, but with special help and the fulfillment of his special wish… to ride a bus.  He continued, at every turn, to live up to his name and found his way through life in a never-stopping, never-settling way.

The baby boy, a baby no more, stood nearly as tall as the middle boy, with wide shoulders and stance that spoke of having older brothers and being ready and willing to throw the first punch.  And yet, he would sit quietly with a book for the longest time and everywhere he went, he looked for horses.

This family of six were wanderers.  They left their tiny space when the word “cancer” was first spoken and lived with grandparents for help as two years came and went.  They decided to sell their tiny space and pray for more room close to everything held dear, and the tiny space almost sold three times and they prayed for wisdom to know… and then the tiny space, their first little home, sold and they were led to the perfect little blue house near everything held dear and so, wanderers no more, they moved and settled in the early Fall as the leaves began to change.

And in the first hours of owning the little blue house, the call came that something was growing again under the lightning scar in the white head… and the family stopped and prayed for moment-by-moment grace to find the joy in the every day as they waited six weeks and checked again, and then six more and again.

And by the time this story rests in your hands, another check will have come and gone and a course of action will stand in front of the family.  But they put aside the fear and in grace, choose faith and yes, even joy for their family and their boy, and the root of it is found in this season and in another little boy, born thousands of years earlier.  This stable-born boy would grow to be the Savior and Lord and, bloodied arms stretched wide, would triumph over sin forever and ever, and make a way for death to have no victory or sting, and in this boy-turned-forever-King, there was and is hope and joy, and in this the family of six, in their little blue house, rests secure.  They hope and pray the same for you.

[This is the text of the Ewoldt Family Christmas letter that was mailed in early December, 2014 – Thank you for walking this year with us…moment by moment.]

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Free From The Sting

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As a Christian, Easter is one of the most important times of my year. It’s the season I set aside to celebrate what Jesus did for me, but this year is more precious as I consider how the events of Easter fit into our cancer world.

I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the son of God, that the Bible is true, and that the promises it contains are real and this is why I so often include verses in my blog posts–to remind myself of what I know to be true when my circumstances are overwhelming (which they often are). In those moments, I literally have the physical sensation of drowning.  Believing as I do doesn’t change the pain of cancer or anything else in this life, but it can and does change how I face the drowning moments.

Often, like the thief on the cross next to Jesus–not the mocker, but the other–the weight of life and pain (some self-inflicted, some not) closes in and I cry out.  And then comes the reply,

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

That’s it! This is the answer to the agony. The pain and suffering is only a season, because death is swallowed up in Jesus’ glorious victory and its sting is gone. One day soon I will be with Jesus in Paradise!

Because I know God made me, and I will be in Heaven with Him forever when this weary life is over, I am freed from the drowning to feel joy in sorrow and peace in chaos. Death may be sad, but it need not sting because this life is not the end, but the beginning.

In the midst of this cancer world, there can be incredible, inexplicable peace because my ultimate struggle has already been resolved. My sin was taken care of on the cross by God Himself! All that happens in my life is what He lovingly allows for His pleasure and glory. Someday I will be complete and lacking in nothing and with Him forever in fullness of joy.

This is my cancer foundation. This is my life foundation.

Moment by moment.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4

Of Donuts and Tacos…

On several occasions, I’ve referenced Chase’s central line, his weekly labs and his dressing changes, but today, I’ll be a little more specific.  This morning, we took pictures of Chase’s dressing change.  The hope is that he could see what’s happening from a different perspective and that it would help him overcome his anxiety.

I need to preface these images by saying that it is necessary to hold Chase down with very little mercy for his own protection.  Despite months of talking, processing, and role playing, he becomes protectively enraged, and rightfully so, when anybody even gets close to his line and he must be still for a successful change.  When the dressing is off, one can’t even breath in the direction of the line without risking contamination…hence the nurse’s mask and our heads turned away from the uncovered site.

As I debated whether posting these pictures serves a helpful, edifying purpose, I decided to write this piece and use the pictures because this is part of our every week and even if you must look away (and I wouldn’t blame you if you did!), I hope it will encourage you how to pray for Chase (and his family) in more specific ways.

Stripping off the old bandage

Stripping off the old bandage

After being restrained on a flat surface by no less than two people (but preferably three…or four), Chase’s old bandage is stripped off.  This is without question the most tedious and the longest part of the entire procedure.  This is an area that we hope and pray tubes in his ears will improve.  When he’s screaming at the top of his lungs, he is unable to hear our assuring, calming words in what I can only imagine is a complete nightmare for him.

The central line

The central line

Here is a great and close view of his central line – and his poor and chapped skin, raw from months of bandages and tape.  These moments after the bandage is stripped when the line is completely exposed (while being cleaned and dried) are some of the most scary to me.  He struggles the hardest at this time and I find myself thinking that it would take so very little for him to pull it out – risking infection and embolism.

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Laying the bio-patch

After the line site is cleaned and dried and the nurse changes her gloves (this is how seriously sterile the care is – the same gloves that strip and clean the old can’t lay the new), the re-dressing begins with this bio-patch: a medicated, padded piece that releases antibiotics to keep the line clear and safe.  Chase calls this his “donut” for obvious reasons.  In this picture, he was beautifully silent and calm for a breath.  More often than not, he screams “Band-aid! Band-aid!” as he knows that the last step of the change is the bandage and he desperately wants to be done.

All done!

All done!

And then the bandage and tape are on and it’s done!  It’s hard to explain the flood of relief as we sit him up, sobbing and laughing at the same time.  Another week without mishap…thank you, Lord.  The entire process takes less than 15 minutes or a couple decades…depending on which body part you’re restraining.

The "Taco"

The “Taco”

In our house, because it’s Chase, we reinforce the dressing with an ace wrap.  The wrap, his “taco” (because of how it wraps around him like a burrito), is never off except for dressing changes.  We learned this the hard way after losing a line in the Fall.

Five minutes later

Five minutes later…

And then it’s five minutes later and the fight is a distant memory.  He loves everybody again and he’s busy watching a Disney show on his iPad while Phyllis, his home healthcare nurse draws his labs.  And by the time she leaves, he says “Bye, Miss Phyllis! Thanks for changing my donut!”

In closing, holding him down and watching him fight against this simple facet of care each week is extremely intense to me, but I am always so encouraged that this, this is the level of fight he brings to the cancer battle.  Almost makes you feel sorry for any tumor willing to take him on, doesn’t it? :)

Moment by moment.

 

Shadows And Love

During the Christmas season, I attended the most wonderful wedding – it was just what such a celebration at the holidays should be, yet as I sat in the dimly lit auditorium, I felt out of place. Weddings are joyous occasions and even as I truly entered into the happiness of the bride and groom I couldn’t completely escape the shadow of Chase’s cancer. …and so I sat, taking in the beauty and feeling vaguely guilty lest my shadow burden be apparent to anybody but myself.

Words broke through my distracted thoughts as a woman in a beautiful gray dress stood to do a reading. As she spoke, my shadow seemed to grow stronger. I couldn’t hear the words she spoke with anything other than cancer ears…even though I knew that they had been chosen to reflect this marriage love at the moment of commitment, but as she spoke the familiar words, my heart was soothed by the fresh reminder of the Gracious Provider…and then she began to cry…and I cried too because I had needed to hear those words.

Much later in the evening, Providence ordained that I meet the woman who read the verses: a divine appointment if ever there was one. I learned that she too carries a horrific cancer shadow. I, my baby boy…she, the spouse ’til death do they part. We talked and cried and felt helpless together in the middle of the beautiful reception and though I had never met her before and may not see her again for some time, she is my sister because of that night.

Many times since then, I’ve pondered the strange mixing of the celebration and the sadness, and the family relationship with a complete stranger because of the pain. In my mind, pain and joy belong in different universes, yet from birth to death we cannot separate them any more than we can separate ourselves from the Sovereign One who created us.

Here is an excerpt of the words she read that night…

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Of this I am sure, there is a mercy in the shadows of pain – a severe, but present one nonetheless. I do not even pretend to know what it is, but I know it is there because I, and she, and all who walk a painful road walk it next to the Everlasting Love who has known us always and will know us still and what is a dim shadow now will be crystal clear when we see Him face to face. Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon.

Moment by moment.

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Five Years

Five years later…

My Dearest Husband,
As we pledged our lives to one another, we never could have known what was ahead. I know that these first five years are only a small dip into the well of blessing that the Lord has for us. As I write, I am reminded of the words we sang that day:

“Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”

In joyful anticipation of growing closer every year…

Love,
Your Wife

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A Father

I loved my husband first because of his love for my child.  I love him now even more and for so many more reasons, but today, I mention this one.

He laughs with them …

He listens to them …

They rest in his love for them …

He leads, teaches, and guides …

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY