We are in a season of lives converging. We have been on this cancer journey since June 2014 but we have lived in simultaneous medical battles with people who make up our heart and our home. So the updates that I have relayed to you have been from our personal trial to triumph stories but that isn’t the whole story. I’ve come to realized that we hardly, truly have the whole of someone’s struggle. We dole out our story in portions and tidbits but how can we bear to lay our hearts on the altar of reality? I will attempt to convey the meshing of new lives and old cornerstones that have become irreversibly conjoined to form the heartbeat of who we are today.
I am the baby of the family. My sister, Tracy, (who was 17 at the time I was born) has told me the story of the shocking phone call (that she intercepted) from the doctor saying that I was coming along. I have three older siblings and my brother Jacob and I (we are 10 months apart) came along quite a while after our family was established.
I liked this! Not just because I’m alive (which is super great) but because I gleaned the benefits of being a much younger sister.Jerry and Tracy were married when I was about eight years old. I had the pleasure of growing up with their children and doubling down on fun,memorable and grand childhood experiences.
Jerry is the fun guy.
The get it done guy.
There isn’t a deal he hasn’t found or someone left unpersuaded.
Jerry takes care of it.
Jerry has a bullet point list for his wisdom-laden advice.
Jerry has terribly placed humor. Seriously, terrible!
He is kind and generous. He is a man that follows Christ.He loves my sister fiercely and his kids are the apples of his eye.
I believe I had the pleasure of being in that inner circle.
I received that warm blanket of love and security.
Jerry isn’t just a stereotypical “brother-in-law”.
He’s my brother.
Jerry and Tracy have bore our struggle with Lane. My sister has hopped on flights at a moments notice and has sat with me when we’ve received devastating news. Jerry has paid for flights and babysitters as we navigated our first round of cancer.
As her first battle came to a close in the summer of 2015 we were ecstatic to be able to go back to Chicago to celebrate her remission.
We left Chicago with devastating news. Jerry was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer.
We all battled Lane’s cancer. We had to pony up strength from everyone. Cancer is a family disease and all hands must be on deck to survive.
Now we had to divide and conquer.
While Jerry was busy fighting his cancer (which was kept at bay for several months), Lane’s cancer returned in the spring of 2016.
In a bitter exchange, Jerry’s cancer has also recently returned.
Two most beloved, sweet and kind souls now wage war against this heinous, dark beast.
My Beautiful Mother
When we left Chicago we saw some of the signs. My mom, Edith, would stumble over a few words here and there. She would grapple with a statement or two but nothing that couldn’t be easily dismissed. As the months went on and our family weathered the deluge of cancer struggles my mom was struggling too. My mom noticed she was having some issues.
She braved the doctors and tests.
My strong, beautiful, witty and sharp mother was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. PPA is a neurological syndrome in which language capabilities become slowly and progressively impaired. She is compromised. She is lovely, strong, compassionate and capable.
There is no cure.
My mom is my biggest fan. She always has been. She’s cried with me in my deepest pain and held onto my dreams, fanned their flames and returned them to me. She has taught me courage and passion.
She has the best laugh.
She goes to God on our behalf. She begs the Lord for Lane’s life.
My mother will continue to struggle with speech and writing until she is unable to do both. I ache for her. For the life that she knew and for the life that will come.
Thank you for always standing outside to wave goodbye, for telling us every day to be someone’s hero and for your dedication to the truth.
I love you mom. If you never said another word to me I would know how much you love me simply by the way you look at me….I always have.
Linda is such an important cornerstone to the community of women that I have come to love. Linda has been a steady voice when sanity seems fleeting. Linda is wise and kind. Linda has also been in this with us from the beginning. She is Brandy’s mom. So she is always aware of every chemo, overnight, ER visit and our tumultuous travels.
When Lane’s cancer returned in April we barely got time to catch our breath before we hit the ground running towards a cure. Brandy was there every second to discuss and help filter this -once again- reality. During this time Linda had been sick for about a month with mono. Her neck was severely swollen and she was very tired. This diagnosis was extremely taxing and she just wasn’t getting better.
A blinding flash of bitter reality hit the people that have been our constant cancer companions. I remember getting ready for our first doctor visit after Lane’s second tumor was removed. With taxing anxiety we thought about what this visit was going to tell us and then the knock came on the door. Brandy was out of sorts and shaken a bit. She said her mom was at the doctor’s office and needed to go to the hospital right away. He believed that this was not months of resistant mono but lymphoma.
From that day forward our lives were trading days of chemo and radiation treatments.
Lane and Linda lost their hair together. They were sick and weak together. Many days they overcame together. Linda went through six rounds of chemotherapy and 4 weeks of radiation. Linda is currently and continually fighting the side effects this treatment has plagued her with.
We love you Linda.
So there it is…
It has taken me several weeks to get this post written. I sit here to finish this post because my sweet girl had to go into the ER tonight. Her counts crashed and she is in a lot of pain. They will put her on morphine and probably give her blood transfusions. I was holding one crying child in my arms and waving goodbye to another as she was whisked away to the ER. She rolled down her window and cried, “I’ll do my best Mom” and the frigid temperature left her breath in the air for another moment…I know you will Lane.
We have found a new beauty in this broken life. We have even seen incredible parallels that allows us all such comfortable tangled connection. However the daily battles of difficult news, sickness, scans, pain and deterioration is so very hard. We rarely have a reprieve. I admit I write this last portion in a sad place.
I’m so sad for my sweet child that has fought like a mighty warrior. Tonight she is hurting and so are many of the people I love.
I know you will read this and pray for us.
For my sister and nephews and niece.
For my dad as he navigated this new reality with a woman he will celebrate 50 years with in April.
For Brandy, her siblings and whole clan of people that love Linda dearly.
You are why I continue to write these updates. We feel your prayers. Please continue to pray for us…
Oh, did I mention that we got out of our rental in June to follow a dream and we currently live in our friend’s basement?…another post for another day friends. .