Cancer Mom Confessions

I took a substitute teaching job Monday. I worked for Children’s Choice Monday night. I worked in the office Tuesday and today.

I’ve been cancer momming and regular momming in between.

Jeff has been taking care of Justin and making dinner.

Maybe I haven’t spent enough time with my kids. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time with my cancer patient.

But maybe doing everything I possibly can for them is enough.

I push forward.

Please continue to pray toward fitting  employment for Jeff. It will come.

Thank you for continued support.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. Psalm 86:1-4




Day 995

I am running on about two hours of sleep, and Jeff is recovering from emergency eye surgery.

First day I go to work and he goes and gets himself temporarily blinded. I only asked him to cook some lousy chicken.

Okay, seriously. Jeff had something called acute angle closure glaucoma, which put us in the emergency room Monday night. Then a transfer to Will’s Eye Hospital until the wee small hours when IV meds and tons of eye drops alleviated pressure, and, thankfully, his eyesight was restored.

Today he had a laser procedure in one eye  to hopefully remedy the problem. He will have to go back Friday for the other eye.

C0118345-9E01-4661-B7DD-BB15228E19E9I couldn’t make this stuff up. We just like to stay on your prayer list.

A very special thank you to family and friends, who helped me juggle the boys and still make it to new employee training.

My first day, Justin said, “Mom, you look nice for work and if you get nervous or anything don’t poop your pants.”

Sage advice, kid.

It’s either laugh or cry over here, people. I choose laughter.

Justin has been feeling much better since finishing his last course of steroids, and has enjoyed his time playing the Wii, with our neighbor, instead of doing boring old school work with me.

Thank you for continued support. I don’t panic over every new trial because my Hope is not of this world. Grace be with you, my friends.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18




Day 990

Well, I got a job. Unless my criminal background check turns up a felony I’ve forgotten about.

I’ll be working at The Children’s Choice social services, in the Human Resources department, as a recruiter, performing phone interviews for potential case workers.

I am going to work Monday, while Jeff is homeschooling Justin and making dinner.

On that note, Jeff would like me to distinctly STRESS to our readers to please contact us if you know of any positions available in I.T.

I am convinced more than ever of God having a sense of humor.

After training, I can typically work from home, which fits in really well with my hectic cancer momming schedule.

God provides! Thank you for continued support and prayer. A very special thank you to the lovely Sharon Cline, who has faithfully sent us an encouraging note every month since the beginning. Always a big cheer-up to open her cards!

Here’s a few pics from our adventures this week. Justin was able to play soccer and attend computer class at school, while also keeping up with his studies at home. God is good!


Day 982

Clinic went really well yesterday. Justin had a relatively easy IV placement, and received his chemo in the playroom with best pal, Luke.

87A1AD4C-4696-46C5-8B83-9DB33E8AEB35But Justin isn’t feeling so hot today. We are watching movies, and I’m making some of his classic chemo crave items – meatballs and banana bread.

I still haven’t come up with an appropriate way to describe our gratitude for the awesome ways God has been providing for us. But it’s kind of like that scene in “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” when the whole town is turned into ice cream and everyone runs around cheering and diving face first into mint chocolate chip snow drifts.

It’s kind of like that. But so much better.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21




I share very personal experiences for one reason. To glorify God and bear witness to His goodness and grace.

We very recently lost our health benefits. We can skip Friday pizza night, but this is clearly something we cannot do without. But I didn’t mention it here because God had given me such a peace that it would all be okay.

Although Jeff is still not employed, through circumstances clearly engineered by God, we received insurance cards TODAY. Justin is in clinic TOMORROW to begin a new cycle of chemotherapy.

Awesome right!!! Wait there’s more…


I haven’t found words for this yet. Only tears of joy and gratitude. I will write more on this when I can say something besides “wow.”

I mean I KNOW God provides. I BELIEVE it. I’ve SEEN it. But this…this is more than I could ever imagine.

“Thank you” seems so inadequate. Hopefully I can think of something better to say when I pull myself together.


If you aren’t crying with me yet, this will get you. Our boys varsity soccer team came off the field at today’s game to personally greet Justin with high fives and fist bumps.

836F01D6-5D98-4AEF-8AF1-4F4E37074D11This kid was over the moon. He was beaming. These boys know Justin’s name and care about his struggle! A very special thank you to Danny Mulder and all the guys.

As long as I live, I will never forget this day and what Justin said to me.

“When I am in pain, mom, God feels it too. And now He must feel happy because I am happy.”

God is good, baby, God is good. He has not left us and He never will.

Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lordand all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. 




Day 976

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:20-21

Justin cried his eyes out last night because another boy on his flag football team called him “fatty”.

Yes, I wanted to drop kick that kid. No, I didn’t do it.

Justin is on a boat load of steroids and drugs, which have caused weight gain.

He also eats stuff like cheezits dipped in chocolate milk.

575E12FF-0EEA-4E04-93E4-446C4EA1B615We allow it and won’t be judged for it.

Chemotherapy does weird things to your taste buds and causes outrageous cravings.

It’s a very unhelpful side effect, but even doctors advise, it’s a futile battle to fight during treatment.

I know cancer moms, whose child never tasted a french fry, running out to McDonald’s at 10pm. Because when your child is in severe pain and vomiting through their nose, but also screaming uncontrollably for a happy meal because all they can do is watch TV and they just saw a fast food commercial, you go get it because that’s the only thing you can fix for them.

Parents, please remind your kids how stupid and hurtful their words can be.

Jeff has not yet gained employment, but we are ever hopeful.

Thank you for generous giving as well as unparalleled support and encouragement. Grace be with you, my friends.

Day 973

5CCC644C-60E1-4E35-A981-A2E988C2A4CDWe have discovered a sport Justin can play, and actually make it through a whole game. Flag football. They play two 15 minutes halves. His body can handle that once a week.

It also helps that his dad is the coach. Jeff knows when Justin needs a break.

Justin is so happy to be part of a team again. He is thrilled to be involved in sports again.

And he did really well. He looked like every other kid out there. He wasn’t significantly slower or anything like that.

And, lately, Justin has been putting more effort into his school work. And not throwing nearly as many insane, steroid-induced tantrums.

So I think: maybe he is coming back to us. Maybe he is getting well.

He’s been in treatment for so, so long. Could he finally, REALLY be getting well?!

Then I think: this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I have jumped out of an airplane, taught in inner-city schools and birthed a ten-pound baby.

But this. This has taken up my whole being. Staying next to this child for every second of his suffering.

And it’s been thousands and thousands of seconds.

It isn’t over. We have 6 months of treatments to go. Then who knows what beyond that.

But I think maybe Justin is coming back to us. I see him coming back.

Thank you, my friends, for your continued support and encouragement. Stay with us as we begin to approach the finish line.

And, God, let it be so that we will be able to say:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7




Day 971

This week it was more physical therapy, getting fitted for new leg-stretching braces, library day, homeschooling, keyboarding class and Justin getting caught stuffing his face with fruit snacks and cheese dip. Weird chemo cravings.

A very special thank you to Gloucester County Christian School’s boys varsity soccer team for making a sick little boy feel very special. They are wearing Justin’s initials (pictured on the sleeve below in orange) on their warm-up jerseys throughout the season. They also had one made for Justin and gave it to him at yesterday’s home opener. Thanks, guys. So cool.

After all that, here is a glimpse of today (pictured below). THANK YOU for continued support and prayer. God is good and He DOES provide.

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. Psalm 31:3-5



Day 967

🌟Justin played an entire game of flag football yesterday! He is exhausted today, but Buddy is there for him.

🌟I was able to travel to DC over the weekend to continue support and advocacy for childhood cancer patients, survivors and families of children who have passed, called angels in the childhood cancer community. I learned that the bill I helped lobby for has not only become law, but Congress has also voted to fully fund the survivorship, treatment, access, and research initiative (STAR act).

Someday we hope that chemotherapy will be a thing of the past. As Congressman Mike McCaul, champion of the STAR Act, put it, “we will say ‘how barbaric’!” Yes, indeed. We get that here at the Pierantozzi home.

I cried with parents who lost their child and we lit candles in their memory at the White House. We cheered for kids who couldn’t walk a year ago then took the stage Saturday night to dance ballet or sing songs they had written. For some, pain and hardship can be well-managed through exposition of the arts.

🌟We are inexpressibly grateful to God for providing through go fund me and private giving. We are able to cover all bills this month. Thank you for answering the call. God is good.

973178E9-1D9D-42F8-855D-00EB3596D340We will continue to run the campaign until Jeff gains employment. He is pursuing several leads. Thank you for continued support and prayer. Grace be with you, my friends.