The word cancer - or even worse - childhood cancer, seems to be a taboo word and an unfortunate reality for so many parents. This is why Chris and I decided it was so important for us to share Christian's story. A story caked in reality and iced with hope. Christian's battle with cancer started late in 2010 - long before we could have imagined that this would be the path our life would take.
|Getting use to his central line|
One evening while sitting around and visiting with some of our friends I found a lump in Christian's tummy. Coupled with the past weeks constant fevers and waning appetite we took him to the ER at the Alberta Children's hospital assuming it was maybe his appendix or in the best case scenario some unrelenting poo!!! Hoping for the best case scenario we were soon faced with the worst case scenario. I can not describe the feeling that a parent has the first time you hear the word "cancer" and your child's name in the same sentence. Leaning over top of the huge table he is lying on for his ultrasound I hear the words, "Christian has cancer". A moment supposedly reserved only for other people....not me. Isn't this what every parent says? It is so cliche to say but sure enough this only happens to other people - could it really be happening to me?
This moment of horror was followed by weeks of torment as we waited for a final diagnosis and staging for his cancer. Within this two week period Christian seemed to get sicker and sicker as the tumor grew to a massive size inside his belly - stealing room from every internal organ in his little body. It finally grew to such a size that he could no longer bend over without painfull consequence and his appetite had long since vanished. He was on rotating pain and nausea medication and due to the increasing pressure in his abdomen his bowels were a mess. Two weeks of testing, surgeries, needles, CT Scans, bone scans and more we listenend intenty while Christian slept in his all too familiar room, 'our room', #16 on unit 1. Our amazing pediatric oncolgist explained to us his diagnosis of stage three . It is a solid mass tumor in his belly that had begun to snake itself into the muscles of his little leg and into the main vessel of his lower body. We nearly dropped to the floor when he told us that despite the massive size of the tumor it had only been there for a matter of weeks. And chemotherapy needed to begin immediately. Unfortunately he had gotten so sick that they had to make sure he was healthy enough to withstand the consequences of the chemo. It is a wierd juxataposition when you are actually looking forward to starting chemotherapy - sending a poision through your child's body. Yet I felt unexplainable relief as the chemotherapy began to course through his blood vessels knowing that it was on a crash course with this massive tumor in Christians' belly. A meeting of David and Goliath.....
It has been very difficult for Chris and I to watch Christian go through all of the testing and poking and proding. As a mother the worst thing I have had experienced so far in this process is about two weeks into this whole ordeal Christian looked up at me and said, "mom - I can't do this anymore". I did not know that a three year old knew how to feel despair but that is what it was. However the great part about children dealing with cancer is that they forget and forgive and I am sure he will never think of that day again. He is truly our little hero and continues to amaze us with his positive attitude and ability to continue to function despite the pain and irritation he feels.
He loves the song by Pink, "So what". Listen to it. He is our rockstar and we continue to talk about how he is going to "..pick a fight..." with the thing in his tummy. Chris and I often talk about how God has spoken to us in different ways throughout this process. I was walking the mall in a daze, trying to escape a little, and looking for some Live Strong gear when I happen to see a small kids size Live Strong t-shirt that said "Pick a Fight" - I almost started to cry when I realized that small messages of hope are all around us if we look and listen.
|Happiness despite circumstance....what an amazing boy!!!|
Through all of these events Chris and I try to lay our focus on God and knowing that He has a plan for our family and for Christian. We prayed with family and friends together is our hospital room and alone at night or anytime we thought God was listening. Our first prayer was answered when we discovered that the tumor had not metastisized to the rest of his body. Although his chemotherapy regiment is still very long and intensive it could have been so much worse. He will undergo 43 straight weeks of chemo (once per week) with intermittent radiation and possible second look surgeries. Our next battle to win and pray for is that the chemotherapy continues to work without the tumor developing any resistances. We pray that the tumor shrinks to a small enough size that a future surgery is not required.
We feel strength from our friends and family who continued to pray for us and visit us and bring us food and laughter - it seems always at the times when we need it most. We truly belive that God has a plan for us and this crazy life is somehow going to work out just the way God intended it to. So we pray for strength and understanding and it seems to come our way. We found a "favorite poem" left by a former patient of the Oncology clinic (who is now in full remission) that has given us incite - it goes like this:
I asked God for strength that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things...
I asked for riches that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise…
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing that I asked for-
but everything I had hoped for,
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.
It just goes to show us that despite what we think it best of us and our families....God just might have a different plan. And His plans are always better!
So our story is long from complete, in fact I think we are still in chapter one. Still our faith is strong, our love for Christian is pure, our friends are true and we have Hope in Jesus.
|His favorite hospital past time WII (despite needing a blood transfusion and hour later) . A true testament to kids constant desire to seek out fun and enjoyment regardless of how they are feeling|
We hope you feel some comfort to read the blog and know that you are all apart of our battle and that we feel your prayers and thoughts. There are so many stories to tell and moments to speak of so I we will write them down as they come and as we remembe them. Thanks for reading and thinking of Christian.