Justin is holding steady in remission, with great blood counts and a good physical exam today. He has been visiting the oncology clinic every two months, but, going forward, he will now receive quarterly check-ups.
We are told Justin will begin the survivorship program in 2022!
This morning, he said, “Mom, when I grow up I want to be either a preacher or a mall cop or probably both actually.”
As we pass the FIVE YEAR mark since Justin’s diagnosis on January 16, 2016, I can report with gladness that the anniversary date of his diagnosis did not send me into a bout of struggling through post-traumatic flashbacks and unrelenting dark thoughts. In fact, to my absolute joy, I forgot the date until today. I actually forgot!
A Huge STEP…
This may seem like a gross omission, since we have looked toward this time with such faith, endurance and hope. But as one who has struggled and suffered and persevered with Jeff, Nicky and Michael, alongside Justin, all of these many days, I view it as a huge STEP. By His grace, I have been able to move forward. We have been able to move FORWARD.
There came a time when posting updates became too painful for me. I had to take time for self-care, rest and even moving into a new house. There are several reasons why we moved, but it is not lost on me that staying in the physical place where we experienced the longest of nights and greatest of pain was not healthy for the mind. We are so very grateful that God provided an alternative.
…only Jesus Christ can heal the heart and soul…
While it is true that I have walked through dark places with Justin, Jeff, Nicky and Michael and what often felt like being very, very alone, I also know what is not true. I was never alone. By His Spirit, Jesus was with me. I know this is true because we are HEALING and we are daily BEING HEALED. To me, forgetting the diagnosis date, even briefly, is evidence! Yes, chemotherapy, with its host of problems and side effects, CAN kill cancer. But only Jesus Christ can heal the heart and soul after being broken over and over again.
Justin will not officially finish treatment and move into the survivorship program until the end of March 2021.
If you are still receiving these updates, thank you for following and praying. Grace be with you.
“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
Swipe left to view our story in photos — almost 5 years of laughter and tears, joy and pain, triumph and loss, highs and lows, faith and fear, heartbreak and hope. And ultimately a new normal for a patient, a mom, a dad and two siblings — all survivors of pediatric cancer.
Justin will receive his last infusion of chemotherapy on this day.
We are planning an open house-type celebration at a local park this Spring. More details on this to come…
We are coming up on a MAJOR hurdle but this is not, in fact, the finish line. As of the end of March, Justin will no longer receive treatment, but he will still be seen in clinic every month for a physical exam and CBC. The following year, fifth and final, we will make the trip to clinic once every other month. Medical exams, heart monitoring and needle sticks will still very much be a part of his life until Justin is declared completely cancer-free.
Justin must remain in remission for a total of five years to be considered cured.
We are staying ever-positive and hopeful, but, of course, without the regular infusions of cancer-suppressing drugs, concern over relapse becomes far greater.
I am elated and I am terrified. Our hope is in the Lord.