Time out for Advocacy

Please take a second to breathe out a prayer for these children and families across the world. It is my passion and pursuit to hold them close in my heart through prayer and hope in the One who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.



Cancer Mom Confession

Due to the nice break in weather yesterday, I took Buddy and the boys to air out some at the dog park.

This was my first time at such a place.

What a strange, disgusting concept.

Let’s put a bunch of dogs in a fenced in area, so they can run around slobbering and sniffing each other’s butts, while their owners stand around and chat each other up.

So I smiled and said stuff like:

“How old is your dog?” (I don’t really care) and “Oh he’s a big one!” (That is a seriously ugly mug)

But the boys were happy, especially Michael. So I pretended to like it, too, even though I was innerly retching. This is a mother’s love and that’s about it because the whole dog scenario has not grown on me one iota.

Except this iconic-looking picture – boy and his dog – makes me smile because I know that in this moment Michael was perfectly at peace.

Yup. The good Lord works in mysterious ways.




Day 1105

Justin is having a bit of a more difficult time with this latest round of chemo as some of his dosages were increased. He is dealing with fatigue, leg pain and roller-coaster emotions.

Unfortunately, I am still vomiting everyday and we don’t know why. I will see my GI doctor Thursday. I’ve been tested for everything and then some.

Weird. But I think maybe it’s like this chest pain that moved itself in a couple years ago. There’s no medical explanation for it. It’s some kind of manifestation of sorrow that tears just can’t quite express.

Because on paper, everything looks very good. On paper, Justin is getting better.

And he is!

But the cost. The cost has been great. We are nearing the end (most hopefully). I have run with endurance, but may fall on the finish line.

I am the spider in Charlotte’s Web. Fading. Running myself down. But, I have a sick child and two stressed out siblings. Like Charlotte, somehow I gotta keep these babies safe!

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26



Day 1097

Finding individual time with the boys is really tough, but once in a while we manage it.

Playing monopoly with Nicky. Watching the Sixers game with Michael. Justin did a little of each then konked out.

We also got out recently to spend some Christmas gift cards on lunch at Olive Garden and “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Yes, I used my surgery guilt to get the boys to go. But, they ended up enjoying it in spite of their no girlie movies campaign.

I am mostly recovered, but sadly eating a lousy three cheese fries made me sick. Three FRIES, not three orders. Without a gall bladder, the body is missing its fat digesting factory so I currently can’t eat cheese steaks and pepperoni pizza. But I also couldn’t walk around vomiting up my necrotic organ.

Anyway. This could turn out to be a really good remedy for my junk food addiction.

Justin will return to clinic February 1st to start his next round of chemo. We finally found a reasonably priced indoor pool so Justin can work on his dream of being on a swim team this summer, while also doing some much-needed physical therapy. God is good. Grace be with you, my friends.




Cancer Mom Confession

Me: Justin, brush your teeth.

Justin (whiny voice): But I’m really tired, mom, can’t I just skip ONE TIME?

Me (already half-defeated): Justin. Robert. When is the last time you brushed?

Justin (drop dead serious and in a tone that suggested he had the RIGHT answer): Three to five days, mom.

Successful Surgery!

8cd62ff8-21be-461f-97cf-34e12521ed80All is well and I am home resting. Thank you for the thoughtful, encouraging texts and emails. We welcome continued prayer and so appreciate your support.

Grace be with you, my friends.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

Day 1085 (3 years today)

So my tests all came back fine except the gall bladder. That part has to go.

I am scheduled for surgery Thursday and I am actually looking forward to it. Eating without pain and vomiting sounds really good to me. In all honesty, I’ve been sick since the summer. The first time I lost my dinner was in July and it’s been a vicious cycle since.

I ignored, downplayed, denied. All that stuff. Because that’s what we moms do when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

Maybe the timing is just plain serendipitous that my employer is having me read a book about self-care. I missed the workshop. Coincidence? I don’t believe in them.

In my defense, I am a care-taker for another person whom is more ill than I. So there is that.

Justin continues to do well. I drove him to the hospital at midnight three years ago today. Within a few hours, our lives were like a tractor-trailer flipped over on the highway.

It looked really bad.

Yet. Here we are. A little dented and scarred but scraped up off the highway and out of imminent danger.

Sometimes, we are just surviving. But, some days we thrive. I just registered Justin for swimming lessons at an indoor pool so he can continue physical therapy his favorite way. Justin hopes to join a swim team in the future.

Justin’s next round of chemo will begin February 1st. After that, he has 2 rounds to go, God-willing.

We very much appreciate continued support and prayers. Grace be with you, my friends.

A big shout out to my Nicky and the first ever GCCS robotics team for winning first place for their project and qualifying for the regional competition at Rowan University this Spring. I’m so proud of you, Nick!!


In Loving Memory

A while back I posted about a cancer mom I had connected with on social media. Ruth is a beautiful, funny, dynamic person and a tiger cancer mom.

Her beautiful little girl has become an angel and will be forever four years old.

I had to pause to remember her.

Today, grief is like a heavy boulder that I must carry even though it cuts into the skin and tries to pin me underneath of it.

And that is nothing compared to what I can only imagine her parents feel. Please take a moment with me to plead for the presence, wherever they are in this moment, of the only One Who can truly comfort.


Minimosa Eloise Mcrea 



Day 1078

I planned on writing a tribute to Debbie Huesser, our beloved late teacher, before I posted again. But I haven’t been able to find the right words or any words about it, really. Not quite yet.

25ceb913-dbd7-4e31-b4f6-86234cc0fa27Justin is doing well since New Year’s Eve, when his most recent round of chemo began. Normal ups and downs. He is pictured here playing monopoly with Nicky and our friend, Emily.

Justin is starting to talk about how he would like to celebrate the end of his chemotherapy (scheduled for the end of March/beginning of April).

We’ve had some ideas, but would like to hear from you. Suggestions?

Wow. I can’t belive we may actually NOT have chemotherapy in our lives very soon.

Okay. Now here’s some cancer mom confession truth. My recent tummy trouble has grown exponentially.

Stress has wreaked havoc on my body. My junk food hasn’t helped either. I am currently a little bit of a mess.  I can’t eat much without vomiting and stomach pain.

I must give you an example. It would be rude not to, really. Christmas night. Driving home from our friends’ house with an empty ice bucket on my lap, having lent it for the festivities. Suddenly, turkey, with its many glorious trimmings, is rising fast in my throat. I open the window. I look around frantically for a bag or something.

Yes, Christmas Day ended with me carrying home an iceless ice bucket of my own puke instead of a fruit cake.

I am now seeing a GI specialist so it’s 500 tests and no more fun eating.

In the end, it will all be fine, though. I will be a few pounds lighter and maybe missing a gall bladder or something like that.

We are so very grateful for your continued support and prayers. God has faithfully provided and brought us to the other side of many moments I’d rather not remember.

Life can really, really, really stink. But God is good.

Here’s to hopefully experiencing less of those bright, eye-searing, face-numbing hospital ugly lights in 2019!

Grace be with you, my friends.