The Circle of Life … & Death … & Complete Healing

Last Sunday I could never have imagined I’d be writing this blog post this Sunday. As Darin & I sat in his room watching the service at our church, worshiping right along with everyone, we were filled with peace. Supported & encouraged by the powerful prayers of so many of our loved ones. We waved back to those that waved at us & opened our hearts & spirits in song.

But as has so often been the case on this cancer journey, on Monday we were met with yet another turning point. In hospital Darin was in pain. Terrible pain … which was agonizing for all of us. In his quiet, calm manor he handled it well .. with inner strength that comes from God alone. While we grappled with decisions over what could be done, what should be done & what God was doing, he rested. Heavily medicated he slept, & then woke & smiled & made us laugh. Typical Darin. Always, always, always loving, kind, so considerate & sweet.

We wept in private & comforted him always. We prayed for a miracle … & I believe we got one. A living, breathing, real-life miracle named Darin. Fully surrendered to God. Forever in our hearts.

Rest in peace our sweet angel. Safe in arms of Jesus.

Full Circle

It’s been an unbelievable 24 hours … & we are right back where we started this crazy journey of ups & downs, twists & turns, bumps & bruises. On a sunny, warm Friday in May we entered the Walker Family Cancer Clinic at the St. Catharines General Hospital expecting more tests & walked out with a new label … “cancer patient”. Last night, almost exactly 6 months later, we returned to the hospital … our 3rd ambulance ride in 2 weeks 😦 … after Darin suffered an unexpected fracture in his left thigh bone while trying to get out of bed. UGGHHH!! 😦 The absolute agony of it all! He was distressed & honestly, so were we. A rough & restless night was spent by all.

But, we had great care from EMS Niagara, the ER doc who got Darin admitted, nurses on the surgical floor & the amazing orthopedic surgeon who managed to set Darin’s broken leg in traction. Sadly, surgery to repair it is not an option in his condition, so we are doing our best to manage his symptoms & get him the best pain relief possible.

He is heavily medicated & drowsy, but did enjoy a couple visits from family & friends, including our awesome pastors Kevin & Jeff.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our amazing son & for the rest of our family as we trudge along this difficult path. It is gut wrenching to watch helplessly as your child/brother (no matter what age) suffers both physical & mental duress. God is with us. We know & believe that with all our hearts. We take comfort in Him.

Wow

We are completely overwhelmed … by love, friendship, compassion, the power of prayer & so much more. What an amazing evening at Cornerstone. Our church community & many, many other friends & family from near & far came together to support us in very meaningful ways. Not only financially, but more importantly, in the joining of heart & soul in petitioning our great God on Darin’s behalf. Asking God for healing … strength, comfort & peace through the journey. Wow. So incredibly awesome.

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Darin & I were totally there in spirit. We watched every minute from his room & were so moved & inspired by the complete out-pouring of love & prayer for us. As one dear friend put it … “God was so there!”

Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU. For praying for & supporting us on this road. God is with us. Every step of the way.

As the saying goes … priceless ❤

 

The pain of it all …

Cancer sucks. Even the website says so. It (almost) literally sucks the life out of the person with it, & hurts that person’s loved ones (ie. care givers) almost as much. The pain of it all is severe … debilitating … overwhelming … & just plain horrible. I hate it. I hate it more than I’ve ever hated anything in my life.

That’s my angry mother heart talking. My softer, more loving mother heart is saying something very different. My real mother heart is broken. Raw. Cut to the core.

As I’ve been home, looking after Darin’s every need this past week, I have tried to remain positive & strong. I’ve prayed without ceasing. I’ve cried. I’ve cried out to God for mercy & strength & healing & peace & calm through the storm. I’ve been mom-nurse (oh the slew of meds! Ugghhh), caterer (many meals in bed now) & encourager (through the dry heaves & a host of other things). I’ve watched our beautiful son struggle … & sleep.

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The pain of it all … is unbearable at times. Dave & I are often at a loss for words. We are in uncharted waters. Many times we aren’t sure what to do next. His sweet sister Linda reminded me this week … “just one foot in front of the other” … so that’s what we do.

With power only God can give us, we soldier on. For Darin’s sake. We hold fast to what keeps us on this incredible journey, encouraged by family & friends rallying around us in incredibly meaningful & powerful ways this weekend. Thank you! All along the support has been amazing & that we believe, is God at work among us. A true miracle … & a fitting tribute to who Darin really is. Loved by God. Loved by us ❤

 

 

“Untitled”

I’ve been dreading writing this post all week, because I feel like I have no idea what title to give it or where to even begin to describe what has gone on the last several days.

As the pattern goes … after a couple good days on the weekend where we got to enjoy some great time together as a family, with Colin & Leah & Nova, Colin’s puppy(!) – pics to follow 🙂 both visiting;  it’s been straight down hill from there. Definitely hoping & praying it is a rough patch & nothing more.

While Darin was feeling OK, he & we were able to get out for some family pictures (many thanks to Cindy, of CJK Photography), & a visit to the lake with the dogs & Gramma & Grampa. Our boys cheered on their favourite hockey team together & joined us for 2 rounds of “Sorry” 🙂 Darin even enjoyed sharing his gift on the piano in church on Sunday. So great to see & such a sweet blessing!

But the burdens following the blessings have been very heavy. He has been in A LOT of pain, so excruciating at times that he feels completely seized up & can’t move. One episode so severe it sent us back to the ER again. The struggle to find effective pain meds is real too, & the involvement of CCAC & yet another ‘team’ of health care professionals makes me feel better & sick at the same time. Palliative is a word I just can’t tolerate quite yet & maybe never will.

We are surrounded, that’s for sure … with both tremendous blessings & terrible burdens. Blessings abound in caring friends with offerings of  healthy food, prayerful support & countless messages of love & compassion from family & people both near & far help get us through every day. They, along with strength that comes from God alone, help us carry burdens that are far too heavy for us … the heartache that comes with watching your child suffer in so many ways, from a beast-of-a-disease that is ravaging his body. It is all-consuming & at times overwhelming.

We are surrounded by a triune treatment regimen too. Darin is now taking a chemo-therapeutic drug orally every day to try to slow down or stop the growth & spread of his many cancerous tumours. We have also sought out treatment with Naturopathic Doctors who specialize in cancer (in St. Catharines of all places – yay!) for IV Vitamin C infusions 2-3x/week as well as Photodynamic “Light” Therapy at a private clinic in Toronto 1x/week.

We are fighting this dreaded disease from all sides & invite you to join the fight by continuing to pray to the One who can heal our boy completely.  Darin said it himself this week … “one thing about this pain … I know it won’t last forever” ❤

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know HIM who holds the future. That has to be enough for now.

Confound and befuddle

Sorry, this one got kinda long … !!

What a difference a few days or a week make! I have to write this blog post tonight because my heart is swelling with hope & happiness.

When our pastor, Kevin, prayed for Darin 2 Sundays ago, he prayed that God would “confound” the doctors … interesting term.

This past Sunday Kevin prayed that God would “befuddle” the doctors with miraculous healing that would remove all the cancer from Darin’s body. Sounds like the miracle we’ve been hoping for …

Now, I believe we are doing just that! After a very rough weekend of feeling like Darin’s illness was getting the best of him, & us feeling increasingly desperate & fearful, he has had some ‘alright days’ this week … still in pain with his back & legs, but also moments of feeling slightly more rested & energetic. After a massage at GoodLife he was able to enjoy a short time in the pool. Tonight he had the energy & will power to do what he does best … join his worship band’s rehearsal & “rock it out on the keys” (words spoken by yours truly!) 🙂

Thank God!!! And THANK YOU …  ALL of our friends & family, both near & far, people we know well & people we hardly know at all, for praying & supporting our family during this difficult time. The countless ways you have blessed our family is completely overwhelming & we are forever grateful. The way so many people at Cornerstone Community Church have stepped up & offered us meals is incredible. Thank you so much.

Please keep praying for our son. We are firm believers in the power of prayer & know that God is already at work … in a very mighty way. As my former office manager & now dear friend Anne so beautifully wrote to me this week … “the miracle is already here. The miracle of our Saviour, the miracle of family & faith, & of Darin – a child beloved of our Heavenly Father who called him by name before he every became a gift to our family. The miracle of a young man who is steadfast & immovable in his faith, that despite all, lives as an example to everyone who meets him. The miracle of Darin who lives with the assurance that he is held close in the palm of God’s hand.” (paraphrased slightly)

We are holding fast for that miracle. Day by day.