Sunday, May 8, 2016

Faith and Fear

I've been waiting a very long time to write this blog. And, though, exciting, I've been putting it off on purpose

In 2 1/2 weeks, Jace will take his last spinal infusion and his last infusion since 2013. 5 days later he will take his last oral chemo pills at home. The day after that he will graduate from kindergarten and the next day he's asked to be baptized. 

Needless to say, I will be more of a mess that week than I typically am on a daily basis.  {you've been warned}

It is the weirdest thing to actually be at this point and I guess today is as good as any to post this blog. 

Those of you who've been in my audience for a while know that this day {Mother's Day} has always been hard for me. I was not super close to my mom and being adopted I already felt as though I was missing a huge part of my story by not knowing my birth mother. 

Instead of being sad, I do my best to celebrate the mother I am to my own three kids. They know it's a hard day for me and they know that I don't expect any special or expensive gift or a fancy restaurant. My favorite thing is to have a day of unplanned rest and relaxation doing what I want which mostly includes sleeping in, going for a run and writing or watching movies. 

Today, I woke up to a sweet video of Super Jace in 2011  in which I was so hopeful that he would finally say "mama" and yet he continued to say "dada." It's one of my favorite videos because of his sweet voice and how carefree those days seemed to be.  

As I watched that video, I was reminded of how we never really know just how we can be jolted by life's curves and twists. I also realized it was time to share the next chapter in our cancer journey with you all. 

You see, I've been very quiet about his last chemo date. It isn't something I wanted to yell out to the world. I've been keeping the date safe within our family and pondering on what that meant exactly. I'm planning a few surprises for that day, but we wanted to keep it intimate for our family so that we can really be in the moment instead of hosting visiting friends. 

When people find out how close he is to being "finished," they are always so excited. And so I just smile. 

It is exciting. I am so excited for him to not be dictated by a medicine schedule. I am thrilled that he will get to start doing "normal" kid things that he has not previously experienced. I am relieved for what it all means for our family and the things we are able to do again. 

At the same time, only people who've walked before me know this part: It is about to be the scariest time in our lives, too. 

To recap for you: 

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Jace's diagnosis) has one the longest treatment plans of all the childhood cancers. I remember the dr specifically saying to us the day he had his port put in: "This treatment will be at least 3 years long since he is boy." Girls are treated in 2 years. 
  • He was in remission soon after his diagnosis and after he started the intensive chemotherapy, however, that doesn't mean he stopped his treatment plan. It must be seen through to the end. 
  • He has gone through 5 phases of treatment over the course of the last 3 1/2 years: Induction, Consolidation, Interim Maintenance, Delayed Intensification, and Maintenance
  • Though, he will be finished with treatment, he will still go to the dr monthly for blood tests and check ups. 
  • Those visits will taper off over the course of a few years, but he will always be monitored over the course of his entire life. 
  • The chance of relapse is higher the first year off of treatment. 

The next season in our journey is much like being in the ocean without a life preserver. The chemo, though, harsh and difficult on him and his body was a safety net for our minds and fears. 

Now more than ever will our faith have to diminish our fears. 

We've ran this like a marathon. It's been long and grueling and some days we just didn't think we would make it. 

When he started he was still potty training. Now, he is about to be a first grader. We often joke that even though he is the youngest in our family he is sort of like the oldest. He's experienced so much life and overcome so much in his short 6 years that he really is leading our family. 

We want to thank each and every one of you for following along on this journey, for putting up with my many blogs and posts and pictures.  

There is a story in the Bible that my friend, Mandy Hall, referenced last night as we were preparing to serve at our church {Luke 5: 17-20} and I found it fitting for our relationship with all of you. 

Some men were trying to bring their paralyzed friend down before Jesus, but because they could find now way to get him in through the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles. 

You see sometimes when our faith isn't leading us, the faith of our friends and family is what is getting us through and seeing us to the next day. Many of you have done that for us. Your prayers and your faith and your words of victory have gotten us from that devastating day in 2013 to now. 

You cannot know how thankful we are to have all of you behind us, beside us and leading us.