"Only one life, 'twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last."

Ed's Story

Dear Reader,

You may have followed our story as it unfolded these past five months, you may have discovered this blog through Ed's cancer diagnosis (It jumped to 40k views very quickly!), or you just happened upon it today.

There are some posts back in June, 2014 that chronicle the experience of learning your child has cancer, leukemia, but I thought it would be helpful to write a summary of it all like you see on a "Caring Bridge" site.

So there it is: (I'll try to be brief!)

I must start our story back in September of 2013. Our oldest son married our lovely daughter-in-law in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. We had just been out west on the train to attend the wedding of a dear friend. We had planned to have a few stressful days of travel, preparations, and typical life stress (It's a wedding!) but after the events were over and all seemed to be calming down Ed slipped away from us into a bi-polar mania.

We didn't know what we were experiencing. It was all new to us. The diagnosis came on October 1, and we proceeded to learn how to stabilize him and deal with a chronic illness. We all went through stages of denial, grief, and extreme stress. Actually, we're still going through those stages...

Our second son married our second beautiful daughter-in-law in January, and we had another perfect wedding and all the events that go along with that.

Ed's meds were starting to affect him, and he wasn't really stable yet. A new med was introduced, but the effects of the first med started to cause harsh symptoms. Weight gain was rampant. He put on 50 lbs., very quickly.

Next we had three of our children (our two older sons and one of our daughters-in-law) graduate from college! Much celebration, lovely moments, happy events again!

But marring this springtime milestone was Ed's health. The doctor diagnosed him with tonsillitis, gave appropriate care for that, and we watched Ed wilt. He wasn't up for some of the events, and it was a sad state when he began to sleep long hours each day. He lost much of the weight he'd gained!

Ed was pretty stable, psychologically at this point, so that was a relief. We had weathered the life events of weddings, graduations, and also two Army commissions. We also threw a reception for our sons, celebrating their graduations and their commissions in the US Army. We were enjoying the first weeks of summer with few events on the horizon!

I called the doctor again, making a follow-up appointment, but before that could take place, two good friends of mine encouraged me not to wait, but take him in to Urgent Care. His face was swelling, as if his tonsils were infected. Could it be an abscess? It was Thursday, June 12.

It was around 9:00 pm in the evening when we saw the Urgent Care doctor. She examined Ed and declared that, "This is weird."

Not words you want to hear. Blood tests followed showing extremely low hemoglobin. She sent us to the emergency room at our nearest hospital, Mercy, for a blood transfusion.

That never happened. The emergency room doc, in is wisdom, mentioned leukemia and immediately sent us to the nearest Children's Hospital. It was 2:00 am on Friday, June 13th.

Life changed that day. Ed was very sick. The diagnosis came back to us by that afternoon. Ed had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We'd joined the cancer club, that dubious collection of those who deal with this dreaded disease.

As I write this we are five months into treatment. Cancer is in remission, but the treatment is projected to last three years. These first eight months are the most intense chemotherapy. So far, so good.

Ed is stable mentally, for the most part. We still watch and monitor his moods, swings, his activity levels. Complexities appear to be second nature these days. Keeping the chemotherapy and the psychotic medications all straight and working together poses interesting outcomes. We must be vigilant.

Nope, life isn't easy, but we have the God who made the universe helping us. That is completely evident, and we are thankful.

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