There’s really no good reason for me to share this particular picture, except for the fact that it warms my heart. Can you see the mix of sweetness and mischievousness in that precious little face? Our little monkey. Grade One. Our first year living in Haldimand County.
It was a desire to live in the community where we attend church that first brought us here. That, and the amazing reputation of the little country school our children now attend.
But it is the community itself that we have come to love.
If you don’t live in Caledonia, you might not understand. If you do, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. There is an old world charm to this place. Where it takes an hour to grab milk at the grocery store because you know at least half of the people shopping. Where there is an unwritten code about how traffic merges onto the main street (and its clear when someone from out of town doesn’t know the rules). And where neighbours still genuinely care, and go out of their way to help one another.
This is the place we are blessed to call home, and we could not be more proud or more thankful. In our eyes, it is the best place in the world to live.
And it is because we feel this way, that we want to share a part of our story with you that we have been struggling to process over the past couple of weeks. Because we want you to hear it directly from us, and not from another source.
This past week has been beyond amazing for our family. A much needed escape from the world of medical procedures, neurosurgery follow ups, and oncology appointments.
Just two weeks ago, we were offered a week long family vacation to Fort Myers, Florida. Initially, we did not even know how to respond to such a generous offer. It seemed surreal that someone we had never met would be so touched by Ethan’s story that they would want to bless us in such an incredible way.
Before deciding, we raised the question with Ethan’s medical team to see if he would be able to travel. They said that he was stable enough to go, but that we would be assuming the risk of having difficulties with his accessed port or his infection, and that neither of these would possibly be covered by any form of insurance because they were both preexisting medical conditions. We decided that we were willing to take the risk. Ethan was stable and well enough to enjoy the trip, and we have no way of knowing what the future may hold. We felt it was important to take this time as a family to celebrate our beautiful life.
I have the most wonderful news! Our pediatric oncologist called us this evening to share a most hopeful update. He started by saying that some of the test results have been very strange, not at all what he and the team had expected.
The initial biopsy results, from samples taken during the first surgery, had indicated Ependymoma. A nightmare of a diagnosis. We had been told that this was an incredibly stubborn tumour, extremely difficult to treat, and having a high rate of recurrence. The prognosis after failing to achieve a complete resection (removal of the tumour), was not good.
We were heartbroken at the bleak outlook, and yet never lost sight of hope. We know that we serve a mighty God. We believe that He is able to restore that which is broken, whether that be a grief-stricken heart, a shattered life, or in our case a very sick little boy.
Those who know our son, know that he is determined. Intensely driven. A fighter.
When playing sports, he gives his all. He doesn’t back down, and never gives up. A passionate and enthusiastic opponent.
His competitive spirit is strong. A teacher once commented on his report card that Ethan needed to remember that Phys-Ed class was not the Olympic games. That sometimes he should tone down the intensity a little.
Now is NOT one of those times.
We are counting on our boy to be a fighter. To give 100%. To never give up, no matter how hard the battle may be.
The results of the last MRI were not what we had hoped. The surgeon was able to remove most of the tumour. But with cancer, most is just not enough.
As I look out the window of our ICU room this morning, the sun is shining brightly and the maple trees are beginning to turn a most beautiful shade of golden orange. A welcome change from grey skies and rainy days. Perhaps a gift for today, to lighten the burden we are facing.
Ethan’s neurosurgeon told us that the surgery went well. That he believes he was able to remove most of the tumour. Some had to be left behind because of the way it had grown so closely around some critical ventricles in his brain. Attempting to remove more may have subjected Ethan to permanent damage.
An MRI is the only way to confirm how much of the tumour remains. Once that information has been obtained, the team will be able to decide how best to proceed.
This weekend has been special. Time spent appreciating the simple pleasures in life, and enjoying the company of each of our children. Facing a health crisis of this magnitude certainly changes your perspective on what is important.
My oldest daughter took her three youngest brothers out to the movies tonight to help pass the time, and ease some of the mounting anxiety.
While they are out, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share some specific prayer requests, so that you know how to pray for our boy most effectively tomorrow while he is in surgery.
We have be asked to arrive at McMaster by 6 am. Ethan is scheduled for another MRI at 7 o’clock. Please pray that the technician is able to take clear pictures of the tumour that will effectively guide the surgical team as they undertake this delicate operation.
Read more at https://prayers4ethan.wordpress.com/
Much love to you all,
My dear sweet friends,
I have been absent here. At times, struggling too much to engage. At other times, simply caught up in the busyness of life – finishing my social work degree, parenting my seven children, and trying to keep up with the endless battle against laundry, dishes, and piled up messes.
But I’m back, because I need your help.
My family is at the beginning stages of dealing with childhood cancer.
We need your prayers.
I have started a blog to share this journey with our family, church community, and friends. A place to share updates, prayer requests and praise reports as we experience the faithfulness of our God.
It was an unremarkable Monday evening, back in May of 2013. A young couple, Tim and Sharlene Bosma, had just tucked their little girl into bed for the night. A hockey game was playing on the television, and the Bosmas were waiting for a potential buyer to show up to look at the Dodge Ram diesel pickup truck they had posted for sale online. It was getting late. It seemed strange that someone would come to look at a vehicle after dark. “When they come, should I go with them?” Tim asked.
“Yes you should because we want the truck to come back,” Sharlene replied. Words spoken innocently. Words that would come back to haunt.
Two men arrived shortly thereafter, walking down the long rural driveway, no vehicle in sight. They claimed a friend had dropped them off and was waiting at a nearby coffee shop.
One man smiled and appeared friendly, while the other hung back in the shadows. The men barely looked at the truck.
Tim smiled at his wife. He said they were going for a test drive and would be right back.
As the truck slowly pulled down the driveway, Sharlene and her downstairs neighbour agreed the situation was ‘weird’. “That might be the last time we ever see him”, the neighbour joked.
My dear friends,
I am so sorry that I have been absent without explanation. I feel badly about that. I do care deeply for each of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
The past month has been incredibly difficult for me. I’m not even sure why. There has been no big catastrophe in my life. No logical reason for this downward spiral.
But I have entertained the lies of the evil one. And that has brought devastation into my life. Shame, self-loathing and despair have wormed their way into my heart, draining me of life, leaving me longing for eternity in an unhealthy way.
The words of John 10:10 are vividly real in the midst of it all, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”.
And yet, dear ones, there is a second part to that same verse. A beautiful promise. Jesus has declared His truth, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Please pray for me. That I would turn to Christ as my strength in the heat of the battle. That “no weapon forged against [me] will prevail” (Isaiah 54:17). And that God would take that which the enemy purposed for evil, and redeem it for good and for His glory.
Please forgive me if I am not as active here as I would like to be. I will try to at least check in and share with you how I am doing.
Blessings and hugs,
I’m honored to share these insightful and healing words, shared today at Truest Voice – a blog devoted to helping survivors of abuse share their sacred stories. Sharen Watson has done a beautiful job of creating a gentle place to be heard and understood – an important first step in the journey toward healing…
I am excited to introduce my dear friend and guest blogger – Lucille Zimmerman, LPC. Her vulnerability (of sharing her own sacred, Renewed: Finding You r Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World) and wise counsel of others (as they share their own in her counseling practice) are wrapped in her passionate desire to help hurting people. Thank you, Lucille, for taking some time to share a bit about some dynamics of childhood sexual abuse and ways survivors can care tenderly for themselves during their healing journeys.
When I was earning my Master’s Degree in Counseling
I was forced to examine my own story. Toxic family dynamics, boundary violations, and abuse weren’t the only parts of my story. However, they were definitely mixed in with the good parts of my childhood, and I had to acknowledge what hurt me.