Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Turning Right at Wise

Emma Kait - August 1, 2011-6 months into her treatment   

After six months of fighting a horrible disease and understanding the gravity of the situation my little family has been thrust into, I’ve realized that there is still so much to learn and even more to share.  Knowing that my amazing wife and best friend, Rebecca, is usually at the helm of this blog, I’ve decided to high-jack it, say hello, and share a little about the journey thus far.

For those new to the Lymphoma roller coaster our daughter Emma is on, she was diagnosed in February of 2011 with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.  Since that day we have learned, lived, cried, and prayed, for her health, our sanity and understanding, and God’s healing hand in this battle for the life of our 10 year old. We created this blog to share the experience.  We hope to not only teach others what we’ve learned and what methods that have worked for us, but to learn ourselves from and heal from comments posted by our amazing followers and supporters.

Emma sleeping and fighting the newly added Methotrexate.

When Emma was born I had just begun an eleven month attempt to build our first home out in the country.  After finishing college, we quickly left San Diego and headed for the hills. Freshly relocated back home, Rebecca and I knew which direction we were headed. I had goals in mind, set my sights, put my head down, and started down the road of being a dad.  Every day after work I would drive home using the same path to work on building our home.  Life was simple and easy. One kid, one more on the way, why deviate from the way I always drive home.  Wind down the valley, across the river, turn right at Wise. Simple.

Fast-forward 10 years and life has become everything but simple. Even using the word “simple” doesn’t seem to fit.  Stressed.  Tired.  Frustrated.  Worried.  Definitely not simple. With Emma’s diagnosis came panic, worry gauged in tons, prayers by the minute, and learning like we had while earning a degree.  We began to watch and listen to the other parents in the Oncology center.  Each story must be different, right?

Waiting for Chemo, Round 6

After regaining our vision from the initial impact of news, we quickly realized how similar the stories of each child and parent or parents really were.  So many children.  So much heart ache.  Such great hope and love. We learned volumes from total strangers that would take us in, after noticing the “deer in the headlights” stare we had on our faces, thus giving them a rough idea of where we were in our journey.

Two months after Emma’s diagnosis we hit a rhythm and found our step.  Rebecca was getting really good at everything Lymphoma related.  She knew the steps needed for this, where to go for that, and who to call if a fever popped up again.  She’s amazing. So much talent and love.  But as we would begin to feel our face in the wind, we would notice that our dreams and direction were cloudy and vague.  Nothing could be planned too far off in the future, for fear of a fever spiking up again and a mandatory three to four day hospital visit. We felt in limbo.  Life was complicated.

Now, today, we’re still only six months into our treatment plan for Emma Kait, but have started to tease the dreams again.  I’ve been catching myself dreaming of Emma’s first car and how I would surprise her with it. I’ve dreamed of the day when the actual protocol treatments are over. We’ve dreamed of a family trip to celebrate our crossing the finish line.  We’ve contemplated retirement when our kids are all married.  I would almost say things are getting easier.  I still worry and fear.  I still watch our daughter in amazement that she knows the tastes and smells associated with the hospital’s specific floors and can equate them to various drugs being given to her through her port.  I still sit in disbelief with each clinic visit, wanting to rub my eyes as I wake from a bad dream.  And I still break down and cry as I explain to some stranger that has a daughter, about Emma’s story and why my head is shaved and I’m wearing a bright pink bracelet, all while in the plumbing supply store.

Having fun during the good cycles of chemo, watching the Sacramento Capitals courtside.

On August 14, Emma will turn 11.  She’s turning into a little lady.  She’s been forced to learn so much and grow up so fast.  We all have.  Life won’t stop.  She will grow.  We will live. But if I’m to focus on the great things that we’ve found in this journey and pass it along to another worried parent stuck in the eye of a horrible storm, it would be that there is an undeniable amount of endless love from Him, our God, promising that this will pass.  It might be that there is an enormous amount of love and support available to you from others passing through the unimaginable.  Friends have become great friends.  Family will become a family that I can’t describe well enough with written words.  Strangers will love and encourage. Wisdom is always available at every intersection, as is anger and fear.  Pray for them.  Love them.  Hold them.

Waiting with Dad in the Oncology clinic, making paper flowers for the doctors, nurses, and patients.



  1. Epic title, Jon! And words refilling with hope. I love you, Pam

  2. Touching post, Jon. Keep strong. Keep the faith.


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