Friday, October 28, 2011

How He Loves Us

2 days pre surgery - silly as ever!

Here we are again – almost winter. You know the snow is soon to hit the ground and the day seems to be over before you can even get home from work. And here I am again in this season sitting in a unit 1 room looking out the window at the lights of the city. I wonder where all the cars are going that drive by – do they even know? Do they have any idea how lucky they are to ‘worry’ about who is going to drive who to hockey practice? I pray for the day when Chris and I will squabble about how we will get all three kids to where they need to go.
Every few seconds I hear the push of Christian’s IV fluids and the sound of his quiet breathing. He sighs a light breath and I know he is relaxed and comfortable. At 930 they shut off the hallway lights in the unit and it feels so lonely – like we could be the only people here. We had a small set back today as Christian has been violently throwing up multiple times a day. He doesn’t eat or drink a lot so I know it is coming from deep down in his stomach and intestines. Oh right the word is bile! Yuck. So he has been temporarily removed from eating and is back on regular IV fluids until his tummy settles down. The good news is that he has been given day passes (you know like jail!) to go home for a few hours each day. I know his brain is so bored of this place and his little body is tired of lying on this hospital bed. The comfort, smell and sights of his home will bring him some peace and hopefully rejuvenate his spirit.
A few days post surgery...i will never forget these days
Halloween will be a go but we will be limited to carrying him up to doorsteps (kind of like Batman’s butler!) We are not sure about Evelyn since everything Halloween seems to be scary – even smiley pumpkins can send her into a tangent… so maybe we will only take our little baby elephant to uncle Dalton’s house!
The look in Chris' eyes is pure father peace - life does not get any better
I had a small revelation the other day while listening to a song from Jesus Culture called, “How He Loves”. I am so scared about losing Christian and how I will respond to the outcome of our battle that I have been throwing my soul into trying to understand God, His plan, purpose and hopes for our lives. I know that praising God and thanking Him for the gifts we receive has helped to provide some prospective for Chris and I. I understand that he has a plan for Christian, for our family. I understand and accept that the outcome of this ordeal is the best gift our family could get because God only gives good gifts. The problem is that I wasn’t sure I was worthy of good gifts. I was only loving on Christian – I forgot to love onto myself.  I was listening to her sing about how much God loves each and every one of us – so passionately and without abandon. A fierce love that none of us will ever understand until we stand face to face with God. Thinking about losing Christians I had a brief understand of God’s sacrifice to us. His own Son. That by doing this He created a pathway for us to have a relationship with Him. That we might know God’s grace and mercy. That we might understand the absoluteness of His love for us. Each of us. I had forgotten that God loved me first. He loved you first. If you feel like nobody loves you or you don’t love yourself. Remember that God loves you – a love so powerful it can overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable – like cancer. God can defeat cancer. God can defeat hate, self loathing, anger, spite, envy. He does this with Love. If you can try to understand the love God has for you then nothing anybody says or does to you matters. Because God’s infinite love ALWAYS stands. And when you can accept that God loves you that fiercely, then you can also love fiercely. Then all negativity, all evil, all cancer that comes your way will smash into your loving spirit and shatter into a million pieces. This amazing love will always reign. Praise God for His gifts, His promises, and His love. Thanks for reading
Power of Love

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Awesome new music
2.     Days out shopping with mom
3.     Revelations
coolest dude ever!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smiles and Tears

Does it get any cuter than this?

What a difference a week makes. It is 7 pm and Christian and I are chilling in his room watching Cars 2 (thank you Nathan! – ssshhhh). I look over as the music blasts out of the speaker and Christian starts swinging his arms and bobbing his head. Trying to sing the words he doesn’t know (so cute!) and a huge smile on his face – he’s back! Today is his first day without any narcotics flowing threw his lines – Chris and I wait with bated breath for something to happen. Any thankfully he appears to be doing well. He has been so ‘stoned’ for the past few weeks that it is just so good to see his natural smile – he looks over at me with a mischievous grin and I am so happy that we can joke back and forth and he actually gets me! Listening to his normal voice and watching his body movements remind me of a time when he was ordinary – or as normal as he gets! We are counting down the days until we can get sprung from the hospital and are pushing for a Halloween reunion in our home.
Music day with Marc
Thanks Tait Family!!!!!
Today we had some minor set backs with a bit of upset tummy and very intense emotions. Apparently this is a normal reaction to all that he has endured over the past three weeks. He cried twice today when a sad song was played (darn you Toy Story 2!) which is so random for Christian as he is not normally that sensitive. But he is generally feeling well, moving around and walking, eating, drinking and moving the sewer pipes along.  For now we are loving experiencing each new day with Christian as he comes out of the fog of all the narcotics and sedatives.  Soon we will begin his next round of intense chemotherapy but for now we will rejoice in the battles he has fought and won and take pleasure in the gift of each sunrise with Christian.  Thanks for reading
Calling, "Dr Christian"

Today I am thankful for:
1.     Cool wall posters in Christian’s hospital room
2.     Music therapist – Marc
3.     Warm duvets in the morning when the room feels so cold
Is that sleep in my eye?

Face painting at Gymnastics

Monday, October 24, 2011

Joy will come in the morning

What a fighter. My hero

So much has happened in these past weeks that I am not even sure where to start typing. Christian has endured so much in these past two weeks and Chris and I have been on a never ending emotional roller coaster ride. I find myself continually asking people what day of the week it is, what month are we in and what is going on in the world outside the hospital? We have been sucked into the vortex of the Children’s hospital and I fear we will remain spinning here for the next few months.

After one miserable but valiant fight by Christian to rid his breathing tube we had to refocus ourselves and Christian to spend a few extra days in the ICU as the Dr’s prepared him for his next extubation attempt.  He began taking steroids to decrease any swelling in his throat and enzymes to help break down all the fluid in his lungs. The day of the second attempt they had every bell and whistle available in case something went wrong with this attempt. They even had a surgeon put a camera down his nose and into his throat to check and see if there was any residual swelling or pressure on his airway. Long story still long the tube came out effortlessly and Christian just began breathing without any effort at all – not even a cough. Wow.
Party in Room 1109! 
Chris and I were super excited and proud of Christian and we thought that we were well on our way to getting him out of the hospital. Well four short hours later I returned to the ICU, after taking a short break to visit with Evelyn and Ryan, to find Christian in a state of mental disarray. They had ‘forgotten’ to mention to Chris and I that Christian would end up suffering from some serious withdrawal due to all of the medications he had been given to sedate him and treat his pain. During the week we spent in the ICU the doctors continually emphasized how many drugs Christian was ‘chewing up’ in order to keep him sedated. We thought –“that’s our little fighter, nothing is going to keep him down”. Ok so here we are now looking at Christian making weird facial expressions, jerky body movements and looking very much like the lights were on but nobody was home. As the hours waged on he got worse and we were resigned to hand restrains and leaving him in the room alone since he couldn’t tell me from a hole in the wall. It was so sad and we both wondered if he had suffered some permanent brain damage somehow. They continued to reassure us that this was normal and he would have to go through some withdrawal symptoms in order to ride his body of these toxins. So our exhilaration about being extubated was quickly trumped and sadness filled my heart for his new state of being. Unable to focus on objects or faces, unable to show emotion or to speak words, unable to control his body movements – I was certain that he was going to be like this forever.
I had to have a little chuckle to myself thinking back to our pre-surgery meeting with his surgeons when they said that Christian might have to stay in the ICU and be intubated for up to 48 hours after his surgery. Move ahead 7 days or 168 hours later and Christian was finally breathing tube ‘free’ and leaving the ICU for unit 1 – our temporary home away from home. We were so nervous about leaving the ICU, where they are SO good about immediately attending to any of Christian’s needs, with him not in his true frame of mind or body. And true to our fears we had a horrible first night which Christian spent every minute of awake and jerking around. I couldn’t help but think this poor little man has fought so hard, battled cancer and chemotherapy, a 12 hour surgery, 7 days with a tube down his nose and throat and now he has to be tied down to his bed so he doesn’t pull out his multiple lines and drains. I cried and cried in the hallways wondering how this could possibly get any worse for Christian.  Thankfully we had an amazing nurse that morning who immediately got things going for Christian and got him the medicine he needed to calm him down and help him sleep and the doctors who could help him with his withdrawal. Fast forward three days and Christian is doing so much better. They have done a good job of formulating a plan to slowly wean his body off the narcotics and he is finally coming around. I never thought I would be so happy to hear him call me mom or finally see a genuine smile. Ecstatic to hear him speak a full sentence and ask for more toys and some food. A true call of reality for the small things that we all take for granted each day. The ability to communicate and receive love from our kids. The chance to hold them tight in our arms and have them reciprocate our love and cuddles. 
Loving grammy's leg massage

Watching baseball with grandpa
So this is where we are right now. In the unit waiting for his full faculties to recover, waiting for his withdrawal symptoms to fade away, waiting for his body to heal, and waiting for his next round of chemotherapy to begin. I am sitting here in our 'suite' - quiet and away from the rest of the unit so Christian can have some peace. I am listening to his sounds of withdrawal return and I take a break from typing to go and get his nurse. Another night and another round of withdrawal drugs. 

Kisses and cuddles - have you given yours today?
The preliminary results from the lab showed the his tumor was encased in a very solid and thick case. They found no tumor cells outside of what they removed from his body. However the cells from the tumor they took out did show that the tumor had grown and developed a resistance to the chemotherapy treatment he was receiving. We have yet to have a meeting with our oncologist but we are very aware of the implications of tumor regression. He will definatley need a course of high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in order to ‘wash’ his body of any cancer cells. So let the prayers begin now that Christian will have full healing and recovery from this next round of intense chemotherapy. We will be spending the next 2-3 months in the hospital with Christian while he completes his treatment and deals with the negative side effects of the intense chemo. 
The peace of uncle Peder
We continue to have hope and praise God for all the gifts we are given. He has lead us through these trials and we have been victorious – Christian has been triumphant in every stumbling block put in his path. God has hoisted Christian high on his shoulders and will carry us through. A good friend of the family came and visited the hospital this past weekend and shared some passages for me to focus on, this one has stayed with me,
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning”
Psalms 30:5
Uncle Ian making a surprise visit from Ontario
Today I am thankful for:
1.     Unit 1 nurses who go the extra mile
2.     Hearing Christian say, “I’m hungry”
3.     Christmas movies – yes its that time of year again

Monday, October 17, 2011


I love the concern in Evelyn's eyes - what a sweety!
I watched today while Christian was extubated and was filled with joy to see his nose and lips free of tubes and tape. Three minutes later I was filled with horror as I watch his vital signs start to decline as he struggles to breath. His throat was swelling up and the pressure in his lungs (caused by too much mucus) was making it very difficult for the respiratory therapist to bag him. At one point he lost the breath sounds on his left side and I wondered if there was a point when they would not be able to save him anymore. Could it be possible that today would be his last day on earth? My heart only briefly allows the thought to enter my mind.
Trying to breath
I listen to the Dr Megan talk about how strong Christian is and how hard he is fighting. How amazed she is at his strength and I wonder why I am questioning his ability to fight as well. God is most markedly in this room with us, holding Christian close to his heart as he struggles. There are two doctors, two therapists, and nurses all working around to try and keep him going and despite all of the hands on him and around him he is looking at me and communicating with a calm that can only be God given. The doctor stares at him in wonder and I have a moment of enlightenment when I realize it is God fighting for him. It is God battling tooth and nail and not allowing the clutches of satan to take him from us this day. Or any day. I feel in my heart and with every ounce of my soul that this battle of Christian’s is not going to end in defeat. Cancer will not be the end of Christian’s life but the beginning of it. He is destined to be great – a human being with the understanding and compassion that only a few people in this world could ever fathom. There is no reason for him to fight so hard and have so many trials to not triumph. God truly has a plan for him and is fighting along side him. Helping us to see His power and allowing us to release control. I have never felt so helpless as I did today watching the struggle in his eyes and the veins in his neck and the blue in his lips. I had no control today – but God had control and God brought him through with the help of all the staff here at the hospital. Whether they knew they were part of God’s grand plan – they were. They saved Christians life today – so that he can battle again tomorrow and the next.

As Christian is fighting to breath and live, Chris and I make sure he knows how proud of him we are – that he can fight so hard and work so hard. I am amazed that he knows no bounds of his abilities. I remind him that golfing with daddy is in his future. Today this little boy deserves the world, or at least an amazing round of golf or two.
Leave to uncle dalton to be silly!!!!!

Thanks for praying for Christian
Today I am thankful for:
1.     Doctors
2.     Fast acting respiratory therapists
3.     My brother Dalton showing up in uniform for a quick visit with Christian 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slow and Steady

Opening my eyes

Praise God - Christian is doing better. As his Doctor continues to say, “Slow and steady wins the race”. He is doing so much better today and than yesterday, in fact he is even doing better tonight than he did this afternoon. Kids are amazing with their healing powers. Over the span of a few hours today his vitals have improved significantly, meaning that his body is not ‘leaking’ as much into his abdomen. He is able to keep the fluids he is being given in his vessels where they belong and not in his lungs. He is slowly being weaned off his ventilator and is working to breath on his own. This morning during rounds they spoke of his progress and thought that by Monday he might be ready to come off the ventilator and by this evening the doctor is already talking about maybe tomorrow sometime instead! Way to go Christian!

 He is so understanding of all that is going on around him – he rarely gets upset except when his hands are restrained (so he doesn’t pull out his breathing tube) or when he wants a cuddle. For the first time today I was able to get into bed with him and have a cuddle. We had a beautiful two hour sleep together. I almost forgot where I was. Heaven.
Finally a cuddle with mommy
He has no less than five medication pumps beside his bed to help control his pain and keep him sedated. He is also receiving nutrition through his lines (probably the best diet he has had in a year!) as well as plenty of hydration. All I can say is that he is the bravest little soul I have ever met and if I thought he was a trooper through his chemotherapy treatments – well this has brought him up to a whole new level. Maybe they should have an award – Bravest child award – and I would give one to every little person living on Unit 1(Oncology) at the Children’s hospital. Despite all that is going on – today Christian opened his eyes and smiled. I wonder when all must seem out of his control, crazy, painful and foreign – he is just happy to see mom and dad. Small things. He opened his eyes today and pointed at the TV – he wanted to watch a little Tree house, and this small victory was a great reminder to me that we are not going to be in this place and in this state forever. Even though it feels like it sometimes. There is progress.

This is all for now. Thank you for praying for Christians healing – I know God is listening to our prayers and God keeps his promises.

Today I am thankful for:
1.     A Fed Ex parcel that arrived at the Children’s Hospital for Christian with a drawing made by an amazing family. The smallest gestures make the biggest impact – thank you – and God does keep his promises, Noah.
2.     Cars 2 – thank you Nathan – he was SO excited and smile when I told him
3.     Swab sticks with water on them for Christian to suck on – so great when you can do ONE thing for him that makes him feel better
4.     Christian opening his eyes and smiling at me today. 
Papa Norm feeding Ryan a doughnut -YUM!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tales from the ICU

Battling to recover

The words to describe the past few days of our life are nonexistent. How do I explain the emotions one feels while waiting 12 hours for your child, who is in an extremely high risk surgery that could save their life? Anguish. And at the same time hope. Fear. And at the same time peace. It is the ever present battle between good and evil and yesterday Christian won.
Night before surgery
October 12, 2011
5:25am – After a night of not much sleep I awake to the sounds of Ryan crying, “mommee, mommee…..” Not that he woke me from too much. I slept with Evelyn, who decided to sleep horizontal. So Evy’s toes and my constant fears kept me awake most of the night. Leaving Christian at the hospital the night before was torture but I left him happy and playing with his toys.
6:45am – Mom, Norman (chris’ dad) and I arrive at the hospital. Everybody is asleep but I can tell by the color of Chris’ eyes that he has not slept much either. I quickly jump into bed with Christian knowing full well this is the last cuddle for a while
7:30 – We are wheeled up to the operating room floor and wait to speak to our Anesthesiologist, surgeon and nurses.
7:50 – I don my cute blue hat and yellow scrub for the walk with Christian down to his operating room. He is sedated but looks at me and says with a big smile on his face, “I have never ever done this before”. If only he knew. A quick kiss and I had my little life over to Dr. Brindle and the team of six surgeons.
10:25 – we receive our first update that things are gong extremely well and he was ready for surgery a lot sooner than the anesthesiologist originally thought. It only took her less than an hour to get him ready as opposed to the 1.5 hrs that was planned. So the first incision was made at 9:10am. And they begin freeing his tumor almost immediately. 
First hours after surgery

Bandages to cover his incision
The day went on and we waited anxiously with many friends and family. Eagerly awaiting our reports that came every two hours or so. I am so thankful for the people who came to sit with us and divert our minds for a while. Laughing at ridiculous things just so I wouldn’t break down in tears. The most difficult part of the day was waiting to hear them say that the ‘dangerous’ part of the surgery was complete. Reconstructing his vessels was complicated and a vascular surgeon from the Foothills hospital was able to put humpty dumpty back together again, thanks to a few donor grafts. The wierdest part of the day was Chris and I going for a random walk and running into our anesthesiologist whom we assumed was still in the OR with Christian. It was late in the afternoon and she had been working for many hours so it was the next anesthesiologist’s turn to take over. Thankfully, she was able to give us a lot of incite about how well the surgery was going and how amazing Christian was responding. We just about jumped for joy when she told us that the tumor had being removed and they were just trying to get him back together. The whole day long everybody just kept saying that he was doing so much better than anybody could have expected. PRAYER. This is the word that I know made a difference for Christian. God was in that room holding him in his big, strong, warm arms while they were removing his tumor. He was listening to the cries of the people and protecting Christian like He promised He would. 

At 6:50 our amazing nurse Courtney checked in with the surgical unit and let us know that Christian was officially being closed up. We had been sitting in our room with Pastor Doug, Loralie, my mom and Chris’ dad. Laughing as much as we could and keeping our brain’s busy. Our favorite child life specialist, Cindy, brought us a game of Twister to try and pass the time. I didn’t feel right playing while he was in surgery so we said as soon as he was done we were going to play a celebratory game. And play we did! I think it ended up with Loralie and I in a tie but I was just happy to have the chance to play.
Dr. Brindle showed up about an hour or so later and was able to give us a debriefing of how the surgery had gone – the tumor was out. It came out fairly easily except for a small portion that was in his Aorta. He lost a lot of blood, which of course they replaced, and his right kidney, which we were anticipating.

He is now in the ICU where he has been for the past 26 hours. I feel like it has been 26 days – but he has made so many strides and has overcome so much. He has multiple tubes, lines, dressings (from a massive incision), a ventilator and pressure monitors – all to try and get his body back to a new homeostatic state. He needs to be able to pee with just one kidney, profuse and drain both legs with different vessels and control the swelling in his abdomen after being substantially invaded. They are keeping him in a 'drug coma' and on a ventilator so his little body can heal without havin to worry about pain or discomfort. And even though the whole scenario looks horrible to me –the nurses say he is doing so much better than everybody expected. Right now we are very focused on getting his one remaining kidney to function properly and create urine. It is not working great tonight so we need lots of prayers. 
I have to admit when I was told about the size of the tumor and the likely hood of their being malignant cancer cells I felt very deflated, depressed, sad, exhausted. This battle between good and evil in my brain has been ongoing for the past 26 hours. I am continually amazed at how God is speaking to me even though He knows I have a problem sitting down and listening. Chris was speaking to his mom on the phone and she made the statement, “God didn’t bring him this far to take him away now”. Then an hour or so later Chris was talking to a  colleague on the phone who made the same statement, “God has brought you this far – he will not abandon Christian now”, and I am simultaneous reading a Facebook message sent to me by Freda Steeves, (whom thankfully started Christian’s “one voice” Facebook prayer page) and she stated, “the Lord has not brought you this far to leave you. He finishes what he starts”.
So I am listening. I have faith that God will see Christian through. There will be a day soon when Christian will have hair, he will smile and laugh, he will touch his chest and not feel plastic tubes, he will shower without first applying 10 dressings, we won’t visit the children’s hospital every week and he will tee off with his dad on the most amazing golf course overlooking a blue ocean with a breeze on his face, he will chase Evan down a beach and tickle Ryan’s tummy. A day soon when he will feel peace in his body. Until this day arrives we will have peace in our hearts and KNOW that God will lead us to the warm ocean water when He is ready – when we are ready. Please continue to pray for healing for Christian and strength for Chris and I. Thanks for praying.
The face of peace and joy

Today I am thankful for:
1.ICU nurses
2. Good friends and family who come to the rescue
Yes, i am soooooo cute

Cutest bug ever!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Don't Blink!

Does it get any better?
Obviously I have never had the experience of a child battling a life threatening illness before Christian got sick last January.  So I am assuming his recent behavior is due to his world literally being flipped on its back. Not bad behavior – in fact, he is the cutest little duck ever! And he says things that make him sound like a little grown up. Yesterday we were in bed together (the nightly ritual of trying to get him to sleep before midnight) and he wants to lie together…”I want to cuddle” he says he to me. It hits me right in the heart and I am all over it, especially since my other children are not that cuddly! So first we lay back to back but this is not good enough and he wants to know why we are not facing each other. So we turn around and have a big hug cuddle and then he turns his back to me and tells me to stay still and backs up into me as far as his little bony back will go. He tells me to wrap my arms around him and says, “Mommy – you know what this is? This is cuddling!” My heart melted and I wondered if there was a better gift on earth than being a mother.  Grateful, thankful, appreciative, any way you want to word it, this weekend is not just about being thankful for the big things in life but about the small little moments that might pass you by if you blinked at the right time.

I am so thankful that Ryan likes to have his tummy tickled with my mouth and always rewards me with a good belly laugh. I love that he lays there underneath my face and waits with great anticipation for me to gobble him up! I am so thankful that Evelyn jumps around like she has 1000 jellybeans in her pants. I love that she is so determined and strong- minded, a gift that I am sure it will suit her well as she grows up. I love that she likes to hiss like a snake at her dad because, “Daddy is scared of snakes!” I love that Ryan puts his head down and crawls like a mad man when he wants to get somewhere fast. I love that you can’t open the dishwasher when Ryan is around because he MUST get inside!
Parent and tot skate today
But the gift I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend came from pastor Doug and his wife Loralie. They have been an amazing council leading Chris and I through this most wretched journey. After our meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday I was absolutely devastated. My brain was numb and both Chris and I walked around in a daze. I prayed a lot but was still so fearful of what we were to receive as an answer to our prayers, I just couldn't let go. Pastor Doug reminded me that God doesn’t just want to hear my requests, but my concerns,

“I would encourage you that even though it is a scary thing to come to God with your thoughts and concerns, that when you do you find peace that is only available there and no where else.  Remember that we come to God because He loves us.  He loves you and accepts you in your wondering and fear and he wants you to have peace instead of that.  You said in your email that you know that he loves Christian, but remember as well that he loves you just as much.  As a parent we wear that "hat" so often that we forget that when we come to God, we are the children.  He sees you as his child and with the same infinite love that you know that he has for Christian. ….to stay in the peace of God we have to keep surrendering to God the thing that is causing us anxiety.  we come to God in prayer and give these things to Him and sense his peace for a few seconds, but then we take them back and the peace leaves.  It takes discipline to keep giving that burden to God until we are able to leave it with him”.
Getting better every time!
As Chris and I wandered the aisles of Wall Mart this evening we talked about being at peace with what is going to happen on Wednesday. We talked about how the things we have endured this past 10 months, (as weird as this is going to sound) has in itself being a gift. It has shown us where we needed to improve in our marriage, as parents and as people. As a whole I think most people have great intentions of working on their marriage or becoming better parents but life just moves so fast that it remains just that – intentions. But both Chris and I have been forced to take a good hard look at our lives. How we cope. How we love and forgive. How we find peace. We certainly have not discovered all the answers but at least we are looking for them. A good friend of ours posted an enlightening quote on Facebook,
 Olives are crushed to make the best oil. Grapes are squeezed to make the finest wine. Roses are pressed to make the most fragrant perfume. Have you been crushed, squeezed, and pressed by life’s trials and difficulties? Be glad. God is bringing out the best in you”(Author unknown)
"I can swing like a monkey!"
and it was like a light went on in my head, that there is purpose for the things that are happening in our lives – whether we think our circumstances stink or not – God has a plan. And Loralie is constantly reminding me that God only gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11). So I had been thinking that God was displeased with me and was loading on the ‘teaching tools’ when in fact he was giving me a gift. And if I were to trust Him and leave my concerns with Him instead of lamenting over them, then I would experience peace. And I am. This maybe a little deep but I am so moved by this new feeling of calm I have as we move into next week. I look forward to spending the next three days with Christian and enjoying every moment with him and Evelyn and Ryan and watching them play together and enjoy each other. Happy Thanksgiving.

Today I am MOST thankful for:
1.     Christian, Evelyn and Ryan and the love and loyalty they have for each other
2.     Family coming together
3.     The ability to have some calm in the worlds biggest storm
It's like she thinks he is the best thing ever!
"go on, Christian!"


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I type this blog with a heavy heavy heart. Only a few blogs ago I was rejoicing in the few short weeks of treatment that we had left. I had the chemotherapy countdown in full swing and I was dreaming of a warm vacation with pools, golf and freedom from the clutches of the hospital.  It is maddening how your focus can change with one phone call. One call with the words, “larger tumor margins” splashed all over it and I am back reliving the nightmare of that first morning when I was told Christian has cancer. I feel like I am being told all over again – and my world is crashing down on me once again. Isn’t it bad enough to have a child with cancer but to have one who has possibly relapsed before treatment has even concluded? ONLY God's grace will get us through these trials. 
I take my Wii very seriously!

After a very long, intense and information laden meeting with Christian’s oncologist and surgeon, it was determined that Christian will undergo an extremely invasive and complex surgery to remove his existing tumor. The CT scan uncovered that his tumor was larger but the answer to why, can only be answered by taking it out and examining the tumor under microscope.  Removing it involves little, skinny, fragile Christian to undergo a grueling 12-hour surgery. He will be put under at 8am on the morning of October 12th.  The hope of the surgeon is that the tumor will easily remove itself from anything it is touching. Our prayer is that the tumor has not invaded any other structures (specifically his Aorta, pancreas and small intestine) as this increases the difficulty of the surgery. He will also lose his right kidney as the tumor is lodged right against it and is causing it to fail. The surgery will not require Christian to be put on a heart lung bypass machine as the surgeon feels she can move the vessels that need to be moved with out the excess complication. When we were told that no bypass was needed I immediately broke into tears with relief and was filled with peace when I saw the surgeon also crying. It warms my heart to know that not just a surgeon but a human being is operating on Christian. After the tumor is removed Christian will recover in the ICU for a few days and then will be transferred back to unit 1 where he will stay for a minimum of two weeks. Should the surgery involve additional complications (which are planned for but not anticipated) then his stay could be extended up to two months.  

I hope that everybody who reads this will find time next Wednesday to think of Christian and say a prayer for him and for his surgeons. This has been very difficult few days for Chris and I and our whole extended family, but we feel comfort from our friends and family. We find peace in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and know that he is God and that he loves Christian and wants to best for our family. He is listening to all of our prayers and He wants to connect with us. Let this be your opportunity to connect with God and say a prayer for Christian – for healing and fast, pain free recovery. Say a prayer for the surgeons who are going to operate on him – that they would have calm and perfect hands and collected heads. That God would guide them through the surgery and give us peace as we wait the very long day. 
Thank you to Freeda Steeves for starting a prayer event for Christian, search facebook for: 
Canmore - always a favorite
Our goal is to help Christian have as much fun over the next few days and enjoy our thanksgiving with family. This weekend especially is a time for us to sit and reflect on the things we are so blessed to have, experiences to share and people to love.  Thanks for reading
Today I am thankful for:
1.     God who loves my son one thousand fold more than I
2.     Pastor Doug and Loralie
3.     Hot meals sitting on our door step (THANK YOU!)

Staying warm before my scan