What having a kid with cancer taught me is, well, a lot of things. But one currently useful thing is this: a crises will pass.
Now what things will look like on the other end of it is a different story.
But the crises itself WILL pass.
Michael was done his assignments in 39 minutes. The other two, not so much.
From a mom who has taught in the classroom and homeschooled a cancer patient: parents, be gentle with yourselves.
Make a schedule. Realize you probably won’t stick to it perfectly. Take breaks. Compliment successes more than criticizing failures. Yours too. One thing at a time. Do something fun.
Justin remains cancer-free! We met with my favorite member of his oncology team yesterday. She explained his long-term trajectory now that he is one year off treatment!
Justin has one more year of monthly exams and blood draws before he will move into the survivorship program. This is like a dream come true. He will continue to be followed by doctors who understand late effects of chemotherapy and know how to treat them. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the first hospital to pioneer a children’s survivorship program!
This is amazing, wonderful, super-duper news and a result of the research and work of many extremely dedicated, tireless, caring doctors and childhood cancer advocates.
This is the result of a faithful God who does not leave or fail us. He works through the hearts and minds of people to give us medicine, treatment, good hospitals, hope.
To all those out there in the struggle whether it be cancer, loss, pain or fear: hold onto God and hold onto hope.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5
I don’t mean the muscle heart. That keeps droning on, pumping blood and all. I mean my thought heart.
Because today they will check Justin’s blood. And, for a leukemia patient, that is like being scanned for the return of a tumor.
I will look relatively normal today. Brush my teeth, do the dishes, spend time with Justin. I will even drive him to the clinic.
But don’t ask me to make any big decisions or help Nicky with his Algebra homework (just kidding I can’t do that anyway).
My thoughts will be mostly focused on one thing. Healthy blood in our now nine-year-old son. Although I have been doing this dance for four years now, the struggle still gets real.
What can I say. God is in control and God is good. Thank you for continued support and prayer.
I just drove by a field that went on forever and had the strangest urge to pull over, get out and run and run and run.
But then what?
I kept driving.
This week, Justin will present his first oral book report/biography research project. I think Justin is drawn to people who are a little touched in the head.
Today, Justin played his first ever basketball game in a school intramural program. You could not have guessed this kid was, at one time, deathly ill, unable to walk, on chemotherapy for three years and sick and miserable most of that time. But not today, baby, not today!
We have our bumps in the road and tired days, but Justin continues to excel in 4th grade. I spent the first few months having anxiety when he cried every morning about going to school and spent a lot of time going to the nurse’s office. But I never gave up on gently pushing him forward. I know God was gently pushing ME when I felt weak.
And somewhere along the way, Justin changed from being a patient, a cause, a survivor.
He became a kid again.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
We are told if Justin is still in remission by the fifth year, he will be considered cured. This month marks 4 years since his leukemia diagnosis. Justin, remarkably, went into remission about 30 days after diagnosis and is still going strong. Today, we took a few minutes to thank God and celebrate with his fourth grade classmates, teacher and brothers. A couple of his friends remembered to wear t-shirts that were made for their kindergarten class the year Justin got sick. They still have them – so cool! Orange for leukemia awareness. Thank you for continued prayer and support!