Sunday, 29 April 2012

So Good


So good to be together.  To delight in each other.  To pray with and for each other.  To learn together.  To laugh together.  To play together.  In one way, I wish this time would never end now that Jordan is eating and virtually free of nausea.  I will write more later.  My heart is just so full....and yet I still find myself holding my breath.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Power of Words


I read a quote by Oswald Sanders a many years ago that stuck. “Faith by its very nature must be tested.”  

Pushing away fear and choosing to trust when Jordan’s pain is staring at me every time I look his way takes its toll.  No one can figure out why Jordan is still struggling with nausea and unable to enjoy food.  We thought the last 2 weeks we’d be able to catch up on homework, enjoy some breathing space between trips and instead we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find distraction from nausea pain and we’re holding our breath as we fly out tonight.  One step at a time.

I have come to appreciate the power of words.  At the best of times they contain life or death.  When we’re exhausted and vulnerable, they literally feel like life or death going into you.  How many careless words have I spoken? We want to thank you for braving our fragility and speaking courage and faith into our hearts.

This is the furthest thing from a normal holyday.  Our lives are the furthest thing from normal.  Half way through our flight to Vancouver, I turned to Kim and told him my struggle to hear and believe God’s voice.  He opened up the National Post he was reading to reveal the section headline “GOING ALL IN”.  Wow!  

Sunday, 22 April 2012

AAAARRRGH!


Well the VAD is out!  Good Riddance!  I know I am using a lot of exclamations marks but I am writing this when I’m angry.  Not about the trip or the procedure – I’m grateful for all of that.  I am just furious that after a great morning and okay afternoon, the nausea dominated Jordan’s evening and resulted in violent spews.  How does one recover from being ambushed?  And even though I am not my son, his suffering affects me.  One of Jordan’s teachers who has been through cancer and its treatment I assume) called it an evil beast.  Yup and I want this beast slain.

The morning was wonderful partly because Jordan’s procedure was over.  The VAD that had never sat well on top of his chest.  The surgeon was thoughtful, reassuring and so kind.  He was determined to get it out yesterday so that Jordan would not have to endure another day of not being able to eat (pre-surgery prep) – which seemed to trigger his nausea non-stop.  After waiting in emergency for 6 hours, Jordan was in and out and it was over. 

Jordan’s sense of humor and politeness – even when he was in obvious discomfort was commented on by several staff.  He came out of the anaesthetic singing J

This morning we discovered the False Creek Dog Park in Vancouver.  While Jordan and I were given the unexpected gift of flight home by Hope Air, Kim drove the mountains with Tucker beside him.  Accent Inn is dog friendly so we brought the best medicine we had at hand.  Back to the Dog Park.  Seriously the prettiest dog park we could imagine…..a waterfall, a creek, ringed by forest with spring flowers in adorable clusters.  Jordan played with the puppies and looked strong and happy.  We pointed out to Tucker how other dogs fetch.

It’s important to remember the good moments ….

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Focus


We’re going to Hawaii!!!!  There were so many obstacles and each one of them was overcome.  It was so hard on the heart.   Kim is my hero – he was cool and calm and tenacious.   
Yesterday we worked on the yard (which we hate)with two wonderful friends (whom we love) who drove up from Abbotsford.  I didn’t realize how little my muscles had been used over the last months.  It was so good to be outside.

Jordan was so much fun and loved to share his favourite comedian – Brian Regan who has a sketch on doctors, pain and emergency rooms.  I love that he can laugh about the elements that have been a part of his last painful season.

Last night the nausea snuck up and hit him hard for hours – even when he tried to go to sleep.  I was soo angry. Enough is enough!  How long does it take to eliminate the effects of chemo? He is doing much better today.  A weariness settled on me that didn’t lift until late this afternoon.  This evening I heard a message on the battle for our mind – how appropriate!  Thank you God.  Getting my eyes on Jesus…the author and perfector of our faith.  He is amazing!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Coming Together

The day started with a convertable ride in a friend's car to Jordan's favourite breakfast place - IHOP or as our family says, "not so much I-HOP, more like I Barely Move" - since we usually eat too much. :-)  And Jordan ate!  In fact, he didn't awaken with nausea!  Oh thankyou for praying.  He was hilarious as he recounted a skit from one of his favourite comedian, Brian Regan, on the topic of emergency wards and pain medication.  And then a trip to Toys R Us...how fun!

Then bloodwork at the hospital - not so much fun. And a new doctor's consult on getting Jordan's VAD out before we leave for California so he is more comfortable.  In ends up we're going to head to Vancouver this weekend to get the device out at BC Children's.  We had hoped to get it done here, but there are no openings until mid-May. We'll head down Friday and show up Saturday morning in emergency where we wait for an opening.  It could even be bumped to Sunday but we'll pray for early Saturday so Jordan has more time to recouperate. So many are looking our for his best.

I had an appointment this afternoon and needed to give an update on Jordan's condition.  I was very conscious that I had a choice as to what report I can provide.  God's perspective or man's.  I know that Jesus never told someone it wasn't God's will to heal them or it wasn't the right time. He healed everyone who came to them whether they had faith or not.  We just keep speaking LIFE into Jordan's body... the Life of Christ.

Kim spent hours scheduling our flights - thank you friends who gave us points! Matthew will have to drive to Saskatoon the day after exams to catch his flight and will miss the first day of the seminar but we're so jazzed we'll all be together. We're still waiting on the confirmation of the Hawaiian Dream Cruise of Jordan's but we're just moving ahead since the points seats were diaappearing.  Joel got the last seat out on his flight.  We are pooped emotionally but oh soo grateful.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Looking Forward

Today was pretty special for me.  In our family gathering this morning I asked for courage to go to the hospital to pray for a teenage boy I had heard about.  I just didn't want to renter the hospital environment yet.  Little bit of trauma left I guess.  And I don't know this family personally and I didn't want to create extra stress.  It all is so close.   Jordan reached over to me and prayed for me and then offered to come with.  I was so proud of him. Kim and I sat by and watched him truly minister with compassion and confidence that paralysis and pain is not God's intent for this young man.

We are waiting on Jordan's passport, which expired in February, since the Children's Wish Foundation has approved us for a family trip. Never imagined we'd be a family to qualify for this.  Jordan's first choice would be a Hawaiian cruise the second week of May through the islands with sightseeing tours of waterfalls and volcanos.  We'd like to take it is soon as the arrangements can be made since Matthew has a job as a Program Director at a summer camp in Saskatchewan that would have begun May 1st.  He took it with the understanding that he'd need time for this trip before officially beginning.

What we are actually most looking forward to is attending a seminar the 26th to the 28th of April in San Diego as a family.  Matthew and Joel have their last exams completed the 25th so we're hoping to fly them from Regina on points (a friend has offered us a donation of points for one free flight - we are very grateful).  The free 3 day teaching is provided by John G Lake ministries and trains believers to use the authority Jesus gave them to "lay hands on the sick and they will recover".  While we've been so impacted by the teaching we want to go down and experience it first hand. There really aren't any lengths you wouldn't go to for the life of your child.


P.S. We have updated the side bar on how you can help now that we are no longer living at the hospital.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Daisies on my porch

Arrived home from being out with my mom to find some dear friends had planted my favorite daisies in our pots on the front steps. How did they know? I find myself wondering if I was ever so thoughtful and generous to others when they were hurting as others have been us now. Since our world has been turned upside down Kindness just makes me cry whether it's in an email or a gift or a cheque or an act of service. Sometimes it still feels as if we are in a little bubble and soo alone and then..kindness arrives. I do think we could write a book on how to love those in distress based on our amazing experiences.

Jordan is pretty frustrated with his VAD - the device still implanted in his chest for intravenous lines. In speaking with our nurse in Vancouverr, if it is causing him discomfort, they may remove it and it probably could be done in Kelowna. That would be so great...

We reduced nausea medication today by a 1/3 and Jordan is doing okay. Still asking for prayer throughout the day. But I hear him whistling, humming and singing - Truly beautiful sounds.

In many ways life is really simple right now. The things that distracted us in 2011 seem so trivial.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Perspective


After living in such a confined space with such a schedule created by others, we decided to escape for some beauty therapy.  Tuesday we packed up the car - with Tucker - and headed into the Rockies. Somehow Jordan had never remembered seeing Lake Louise, so that was our destination.

It took some tenacity getting there - a rockslide and then an avalanche turned our 5 1/2 hour trip into a 10 1/2 hour trip.  But we made it and the weather allowed some spectacular perspectives.  That is one of Jordan's favorite talking points.  He treasures perspective, valuing many of the difficult life experiences he's had for what they've allowed him to become.

We've included some pictures of mini-hikes on the snow-covered lakes.  Even we were surprised by lakes we could walk on in April.

When Jordan stepped on the scale, he was dreading it because it still has been hard to get up an appetite.  But he tipped the scale at 105 - Yahoo!

Next week we're planning to get down to business with homework and yard work – it’s going to be awesome (smirk)!


Monday, 9 April 2012

Bicycle Horns in the Night


When we first returned home in January after hospital stays, the length of the hall between our room and Jordan's seemed so significant after sleeping in the same room, and being just a touch away from helping him when he needed us. We were concerned we wouldn't hear him easily at home. We tried several devices: a tin whistle - which doesn't work when you're throwing up :-), a silver bell - too soft, and a cell phone - takes too long to press the right buttons. My mother gave Jordan his Grampy's bicycle horn partially as a joke - it is soo loud. But it has become our communication of choice. Thankfully we haven't needed it - until this week. In concept, the louder the better. In reality, I literally fall out of bed and start running since it rivals those WWII sirens I've heard in movies. And I can't calm my heart down quickly since I've been awakened from a dead sleep, knowing that Jordan wouldn't use it unless he's feeling desparate. Even after all these months, he still regularly apologizes for bothering us. Last night, when I asked what was up, his response was "I'm suffering."

We knew the effects of chemo would take awhile to wear off - even after all this time we didn't anticipate the unexpected and violent reactions to last so long. Last night upon arriving at a family Easter dinner, Jordan ended up in the bathroom losing the contents of his stomach. He just wanted to get back home.

And now I'm listening to the shouts and cheers of 8 young men playing games and being wonderful friends to my son. It's a beautiful sunny day - they could be playing football or soccar outside - things Jordan would have been doing with them a few months ago. I'm thinking of rewriting my will and putting all of them in it. What a journey!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Risen Indeed

Jordan is working on getting his weight up - just not hungry yet, and the nausea has held on. This morning he suggested with a smile that we pray for an appetite, so we did. He stayed over a 100 pounds through the last few weeks - but just. I told him we would stop hassling him to eat once he was above 110. I don't ever remember pushing my sons to eat.

Yesterday, we skipped stones on the beach in Peachland and lay on the rocks. Something precious about the combination of water, sun, and love.

And we celebrated an extra component in the Easter weekend at the Unrau home this year ... Friday was "by His stripes we are healed and by His blood we are saved". Saturday was "Anticipation and Expectation". And today was, "It is all True! He is Risen". Our celebrations were far more sober than other years. It feels  like we are living Saturday over and over again ... between the cross and resurrection. Our lives are actually counting on these truths. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

All In


Throughout this journey, we have felt that we have been facing impossible choices as parents. After having followed the medical plan for the last three months, their prognosis is not hopeful. They are projecting a very limited life span after putting Jordan through multiple surgeries and extended chemo. In light of their prognosis, they have given us the option to bring Jordan home and discontinue their protocol. Needless to say, this was a shocking revelation for us. We didn't know that the odds were so poor. All along, we knew it was life threatening along with difficult treatments but the last consultation took us somewhat by surprise.

So, we have been quiet because we have been in shock and it took some time for us to decide what to do. We are thankful for a very understanding Oncologist who provided the options without judgement. 

For months, we struggled through the recommended treatments from one of the best medical communities in Canada while placing our hope in the finished work of Jesus. Now our hope lies in the finished work of Jesus alone. So now we're home with no plans to return to the hospital apart from a scan every few months.

We know that Jesus paid for and delivered Jordan’s healing. The scans show that the cancer has diminished significantly. Thank you Jesus! We want the full result which means the mass above his right knee must go, his leg must strengthen and the cancerous cells cease to multiply in his leg, spine and arm.

Jordan’s response has been, “It’s a relief to trust in God alone”. So, whereas it felt that we had two feet in two different canoes, we are now “all in” for trusting the promises of Christ.  We’re holding onto Plan A because with God, all things are possible.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

It's Sunny In Vancouver!

Yes, it's true. It's sunny, and we are enjoying it. Jordan received a nice remote control car yesterday. Here's the video:
video
enjoy.
ok, it's not sunny in the video, it's sunny right now.