Sunday, December 28, 2014


7 years ago on December 28, we stopped using the word "future".

We were told that Braden had a 30% chance of surviving his neuroblastoma diagnosis for 5 years.

Then a year and a half later, we were told there was no known cure for his relapse.

Then 17 months ago, we were told by both of our cancer teams in KC and Philly that they had never seen a child survive the particular type of secondary leukemia Braden has following a neuroblastoma diagnosis.

Future hasn't been word I have chosen to use since December 28, 2007.

It seemed a bit irrelevant...

and a whole lot sad.

While the word future isn't my favorite word, and the word past is 


emotionally conflicting...

because it's been a really rough 7 years, but he's still here.

So what do you do with equally intense amounts of gratitude and anger?

Quite a quandry.

But, every year on Braden's cancerversary, I am reminded of the grace of God and the tremendous blessing He gave us by trusting us with this very special little boy who would bring so much joy and clarity to our lives.

7 years ago everything familiar to our family was wiped out with one x-ray showing a large gray mass.

Braden was oblivious to why his world had been completely changed in every way you could imagine. 

His autism requires constants, routines, and predictability.

He had none of that.

He didn't understand why everything in his life was scrambled because he doesn't even know he has cancer. 

He has no concept that this isn't the way we all live.

He didn't know why people were constantly sticking him with needles and tubes,

He didn't understand why he was hooked up to machines almost 24/7 for over a year.

Why he couldn't see his friends, why he didn't live at home very many days, why he did live at the hospital, 

yet he was still smiling,

and enjoying life,

while fighting to have a future.

He asks no questions about why people are stabbing him with needles, injecting him with poison, holding him down for meds.

He harbors no resentment...





or hopelessness.

He's never wavered in his constant example of positivity, 



and an immense appreciation for every single breath.

There's a life lesson there.

A life lesson I could benefit from, 

a life lesson many of us could benefit from.

All thanks to cANCER.

cANCER who thought it was getting the best of this brave knight.

We would trade every lesson for him to not have to endure all he has gone through in his short lifetime.

Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

So the best we can do is to try to live with the same happiness, appreciation, love, fight, courage, 

and HOPE that Braden lives with every single minute of his life.

Anything else does nothing to honor his seven year long victory.

As of today, he's winning and cANCER is losing. 

But, as we were just reminded when we went back for scans in Philly a few weeks ago, 

it could all change at any moment.

It feels like we are walking over a bridge suspended by a rope that is unraveling.

And there's Braden, crossing that bridge with his smiling face, 

and the beautiful naivety that accompanies being oblivious to the unraveling rope.

Instead of worrying about the rope and its impending doom, he's happy just because he's still on the bridge.

He's focused on putting one foot in front of the other, while being joyous just to be traversing the bridge, no matter how wobbly it is or where it is headed.

I want to live like Braden. 

I want to be that faithful, trusting, and grateful.

I'm a work in progress.

What I do know is that my faith in a God who didn't give this cancer to Braden and who will carry us through wherever the bridge leads us to in the future, 

is enough.

And that's all the "future" I care to consider right now.

Braden has taught me that HOPE is the key. 

HOPE is the optimism and the light.


7 years and he's STILL here!

"They" thought they knew where the bridge was leading to, and when he would reach his final destination.

"They" were wrong.  

And we keep believing and understanding that while the future is unknown and uncertain, we have today.

And today is going to be as beautiful and wonderful as we make it, regardless how shaky that bridge is on any given day.

We live for today, tomorrow isn't promised.

We live with HOPE!


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