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Honor the Space Between

Wanting and working and waiting builds character. Our family’s patience (both collectively and individually) has expanded during Abraham’s 30-month battle against brain cancer. I don’t claim that as a special feat; there really is little choice during intense times of medical necessity.

As 2017 began, Abraham had his three-month MRI. The results documented a stable scan of his brain and spine, and under direction of our skillful oncology team, the surgeon removed the port in Babe’s chest. He and his brother Tom have been fighting a persistent fever and cough, but it seems they are both slowly, steadily on the mend.

Removing the port moved us all one step away from Abraham’s cancer treatment. It doesn’t signal the all clear, but it does change our space into a milder yet untold truth that lies somewhere between no longer – and not yet.

Our son may no longer be in active treatment, but the view for a cure that holds much certainty remains hidden.  We continue to grow our hope despite the unknowns because our perspective is fed from gratitude and grounded in faith.

Like everyone, we cannot see beyond our present reality. Setbacks such as fevers that linger and falls on the ice make it even harder.

So for now, the transitional stretch ahead offers our family an open climb. Fortunately, this new, formidable terrain welcomes us all with majestic, humbling views along the way.


Peace, love, and strength…

Gifts Before Christmas 

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

-Melody Beattie

It’s almost Christmas, and our driveway is now properly trimmed with my new Crafting for a Cure Peace Sign.

And with only four days to go, of course there are cookies:

A year ago, Abram was approaching nadir of his 3rd chemo cycle. He was able to leave the hospital for a couple days before the fever kicked in, and this is the moment we arrived home:He didn’t even take off his coat and hat before curling up in his recliner to sleep.

Days are still hard sometimes. Simply sending our recovering little boy to school this week after his pediatrician alerted us to active Influenza A in the area makes me want to pack my family into a sterile safety bubble. Every ache and pain -especially phone calls from school about “weird” headaches like this afternoon- sends shocks of panic back to the surface.

Despite the forever unknowns, I’m keeping busy and focusing on the positive. Tonight, in between checking his beautiful eyes, precious head and general wellbeing, I packed up some of his warm, small clothes to donate. His chubby little belly has the elastic band of his favorite Minion PJs stretched to the max. What a beautiful, happy site that is after seeing him critically underweight for so many months.

Abraham’s headache has lessened a bit and I am grateful to spend this evening with my husband, our recently-turned teenager, and a sweet little boy who has outgrown his clothes. What gifts!

Peace, love, and joy…

Shifting the Burden

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. -Gilbert K. Chesterton

Freeing ourselves from our burdens is not always possible. That does not mean we are doomed to break under the pressures of family, occupation, or self.

Today, my sister and I brought Abraham to the hospital to flush the port in his chest, to be examined by the radiation oncologist for side effects or signs of regression, and to confirm the route we will take to amplify his decreased hearing due to the ototoxicity of chemotherapy.

All of those things are difficult.

Yet, all of those things are who we are.

Here is Abraham in the Chicago Sports Room waiting for the nurse to come with her tray full of needles and syringes. With all the pains and discomforts and inconveniences and exclusions that cancer has thrown at my little boy, needle pokes are the toughest part for him.

Yet, there he stands proud of his hat, and although he was definitely afraid, when the time came, he took his seat and allowed Nurse Jessica to do what she needed to do – because that’s just who he is.


Sometimes, recognizing our responsibilities as part of what makes us whole and unique shifts the weight of what we must carry to what we are made of; thereby adding substance to our sense of self and reducing the pressure from our sense of duty.

Peace, love, and shifting perspectives

Snoopy Time

It doesn’t matter what you believe just so long as you’re sincere. -Charles M. Schulz

Not everyone celebrates Halloween.

Not everyone eats candy.

And that’s ok.

Us? We have two young sons who enjoyed both yesterday.

In the last two years, Abraham’s health has made conventional Halloween fun a challenge. In 2014, he was recovering on October 31st from brain surgery the day before at the age of six.

He, Tommy, and their cousins celebrated early that year at a trunk-or-treat. Our little Minion didn’t feel well, but he made it through.

Two years ago today, I updated friends and family post-craniotomy:

‘Intense day yesterday, but turned a little corner last night. Ate a tiny bit; talking more. Doctor very pleased with the surgery results.

Line of the day:

Nurse: That was a good idea, Abraham!

Abe: You can call me smarty pants if you want to, even though I got no pants on!’

Always a jokester, even when he is recovering from brain surgery and hooked up to monitors galore.

In 2015, Abram was seven and battling infection and the effects of chemotherapy. He and I celebrated together quietly in the hospital.


This year, we are eating up every aspect of the season together as a family.


Abraham has to be one of the biggest eight-year-old Charles M. Schulz fans around. He has vintage Peanuts books, memorabilia, encyclopedias; you name it.   It is also his dream to be a comedian or cartoonist one day.

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown started our family weekend rolling. Like the Peanuts gang, his old soul is straight out of the past where kids were kids and the world was a welcome playground. To be hospitalized on a sweet, spooky and silly holiday two-years in-a-row was unfortunate. So this year on Halloween, Abraham and his brother Tom were able to just be together and have some fun.

Times have changed and so has trick-or-treating. We only went to houses we knew, but we made the rounds, because this pup needed to ring some doorbells!

With each achievement, we celebrate. We celebrate childhood. We celebrate mobility and stamina. We celebrate family and friends. We celebrate happiness.

We celebrate life.


Peace.

Willing Dreams

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. -Christopher Reeve

Today is Sports Day at Taft Shool. Abraham decided he would represent his t-ball team “from when he was young,” and Anthony Rizzo’s team, the 2016 history-making, pennant-clinching Chicago Cubs.


Some people dream of winning it all. Others seek international fame or great wealth. I envision a kinder, healthier world for our children and grandchildren. If you ask eight-year-old Abraham Daily about his dreams, he will tell you, “I just want to be able to grow up, and I want to have a job where I can make other people smile-like a writer or a comedian.”

So let it be.

The realization of any dream originates somewhere in the mix of intention, determination and application. Oftentimes, the pursuit of that dream may seem unreal. We may feel the world or the odds are against us. Plus, we cannot simply will our dreams into place.

But dreams can come true.

To get past our doubt and to embrace our vision, we must believe; we must work; and, we must persist. Though first and foremost, we must be willing to dream.

Why bother when so many dreams cannot come true?

When we work towards the possibility of fulfillment despite the scarcity of chance, a single dream actualized could result in an extraordinary life.