Chemotherapy Starts in a Few Hours

Brouwer and Ginger are fast asleep here in our Ronald McDonald room just a few blocks from Lurie’s.  Banner is back at my parents.  Kermit is back at my Uncle Steve’s.  It feels like we’re writing the last few sentences of this brief chapter and are poised to turn the page.  For the most part, with the exception of Ginger’s chest pains (which continue, more tests later this week), this last bit has been a truly sweet space in time.  I’ve been able to spend everyday with my family (thanks GT!).  We’ve gone out on some fun outings and have spent a lot of time with extended family and friends.  Brouwer has almost entirely, except for his gait and left-sided weakness, etc., been back to himself – innocently friendly to strangers, telling jokes and making people laugh, impressing us with his vocabulary, etc.  I wish we could press “pause”, rewind and play again and again and again.

But now we look into the darkness.

How will Brouwer respond to the chemotherapy?  Will he experience some of the common side effects (jaw pain, numbness or tingling in fingers or toes, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty walking, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, blood abnormalities)?  Will the chemotherapy be effective to shrink or at least stop the tumor?  Do I really see the increased tremors in Brouwer’s left arm and hand that I think I see?  If Brouwer’s symptoms escalate, is there anything that can be done?  How will Brouwer respond – mentally and physically – to the orthotics we ordered for him today (hard plastic bracing to cover his feet and legs up to his knees / he’ll wear these 100% of the time he’s awake for the foreseeable future).  What will come of Ginger’s chest pain symptoms?  How does our life look and work when I return to work?

We believe in God and that ultimately he works together all things for the good of His children.  Still, we feel so very human and every day worry and even lament over what will come of our Brouwer.  We desperately wish that God would unzip the air, come into our world and tell us the story of how we were scared but He had a plan and ultimately made all things right.  We trust in God but, when we look into Brouwer’s eyes, it’s hard to be okay with anything other than Brouwer beating this cancer, growing up, marrying a fine girl, giving us grandkids and living a full and happy life.

But then we also recognize that he’s not “our” Brouwer.  And, in the words of another, that it may be “a better thing to be broken and then redeemed by Love.”  And that when we look into Brouwer’s eyes that we have been given a truly tremendous gift to spend any time with either of our boys; a thing that we certainly did not earn or even know to expect.

Lyrics to a song we’ve been listening to recently:

“This is not another song about the mountains / Except about how hard they are to move / Have you ever stood before them / Like a mustard seed who’s waiting for some proof?

I say faith is a burden / It’s a weight to bear / It’s brave and bittersweet / And hope is hard to hold to / Lord, I believe / Only help my unbelief

Till there’s no more faith / No more hope / I’ll see your face and Lord, I’ll know / That only love remains / Have you heard it said that Jesus is the answer / And thought about the many doubts you hide / Have you wondered how he loves you / If He really knows how dark you are inside

I say faith is a burden / It’s a weight to bear / It’s brave and bittersweet / And hope is hard to hold to / Lord, I believe / Only help my unbelief

Till there’s no more faith / No more hope / I’ll see your face and Lord, I’ll know / When there’s no more faith / And no more hope / I’ll sing your praise and let them go / ’cause only love / Only love remains

So I will drive these roads in thunder and in rain / And I will sing your song at the top of my lungs / And I will praise you, Lord, in glory and in pain / And I will follow you till this race is won / And I will drive these roads till this motor won’t run / And I will sing your song from sea to shining sea / And I will praise you Lord, ’til your kingdom comes / And I will follow where you lead

Till there’s no more faith / No more hope / I’ll see your face and Lord, I’ll know / When there’s no more faith / And no more hope / I’ll sing your praise and let them go / ’cause only love / Only love remains”

– Andrew Peterson

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10 Comments

  1. “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” -Psalm 34:17 Continually pray for Brouwer and your entire family.

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  2. Thinking and praying for you guys today. You have made a decision in the best interest of your child. Knowing He alone has a plan for each and every one of us. You are so right that it is hard to accept when it isn’t the plan we had in mind. Hope Ginger’s situation improves as well and she finds answers there too. Love you guys!

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  3. We are still praying Dan and Ginger. You are not forgotten and we are believing for Brouwer a future that is beyond your wildest dreams for him. As I write this tears for you stream my face. You both are so brave. I cannot even imagine. We are praying God to be your steadfast strength through every breath you take on this journey with your precious child. Ginger, I’m covering you in prayers my sweet friend and sister. Praying for your body to be at rest and peace and praying against all anxiousness and fear in the name of Jesus. I love you! His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.

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  4. Linda MacKillop

    October 7, 2015 at 9:03 am

    So beautiful in the midst of life’s hard moments, Dan. Your faith is showing. Keep it up. And Andrew Peterson is our family favorite. Please give Ginger a hug for me.

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  5. Our prayers and hearts go with you as you start this next chapter!

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  6. Praying much for Brouwer and you all today!!! Psalm 27:5, ” For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.”

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  7. What a fitting song. Praying for you all, especially for sweet little Brouwer. Thank you for your updates. Seeing your faith through this trial is a strong witness for the rest of us. May God continue to use you to glorify Him. We are praying for a complete recovery and new mercies every day. Take one day at a time and continue to remember that God loves Brouwer and you and Ginger more than we can comprehend. Praying always…the Hamstra’s

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  8. We are lifting you all up before the throne of grace, knowing that even as we pray, God already knows and is providing!
    All our love!

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  9. We are praying for you all and will be continuing to pray for for you all.Hugs and love

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  10. I was going to text you about a half hour ago to tell you I’d be praying tomorrow, but I didn’t want to wake you.

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