Week 77 – No More Chemo

May 12, 2017 will mark 10 years of marriage for Ginger and I.

Never.

Never could we have imagined how much we would love our kids.  All of them are treasures beyond our wildest dreams and have brought us joy upon joy upon joy.

There is no doubt of that.

Likewise, never would we have thought that our firstborn would be struck with a brain tumor.  When we wed on that spring day in May, we not see that one coming.

And it’s the intersection of those two unthinkables that makes these past 77 weeks so profound.

As well as this day, when Brouwer rang the bell to celebrate the end of chemotherapy.

This day, which closes a very dark chapter in our lives.

498 days of chemotherapy, began at the ripe age of 2.

The misdiagnosis and time lost.  The moments and days after the correct diagnosis where we were led to believe that nothing could be done, that his fate was sealed.  The months when MRI after MRI showed the wretched tumor advancing and overtaking more and more of his precious head.  Worries about chemotherapy, concerns with his eyes, fears about blood counts.  Week after week at the hospital for infusions and clinic visits.  Watching drugs drip into his small frame.  Knowing that he knew nothing and just implicitly trusted his mommy and daddy to make the monumental decisions on his life.  Choices about fertility.  Trying to balance work and give the time and affection to Banner that he deserved.  Trying to convince many that we were just fine.  Dark, dark days.

The road ahead may still be winding, we just don’t know.

But I am certain of some things.

Tonight I tucked a 4-year old boy into his bed.

That boy can run.  That boy can jump.

Sure, there’s a scar on the back of his head and another on his chest.  Yeah, his left side is slightly weaker than his right and his left hand trembles, subtlety, from time to time.  He struggles with stairs and might not be quite as physically capable as other the 4-year olds.

But, as I said, tonight I tucked a 4-year old boy into his bed.

And I’m certain his brother is quite happy I did.  Many nights, when they should be falling to sleep, we smile as we hear Brouwer and Banner talk and laugh well past the time young boys should be awake.

I’m certain his sister, who quiets best when he consoles her, will benefit richly from the love of her biggest brother.

I know that tomorrow is a new and wonderful day for us.   No more will Brouwer need to swallow 25 pills on a weekend.  In the coming months his appetite will return and his sensitivity from the vincristine will subside.  Brouwer will again eat bananas, chocolate, cheese and other foods off limits for the past year plus.

Too though, I know that the odds are still against us.  These tumors are stubborn and there’s a 70% chance his will grow again.

But of all these things, of one thing I am most sure is that this May will feel different than that from 2007.  Love, then young and naïve, after being tested by this life, has roots than run far deeper.  The horse-backed white wedding-dressed girl from 10 years past has blossomed into a mom who works tirelessly to care for her kiddos.  And me, then concerned primarily with career and calling, has had his attention brought back to that girl and our kids, thanks in part to the 4-year old one, here with us even this night, now fast asleep in his bed.

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10 Comments

  1. What a precious piece. We rejoice with you and are thankful to our God for His continued watch care over us.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.

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  2. Hallelujah. Hope things return to “normal”.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful – your words, and the clear hand of God holding each of you through each of those days. Our family’s prayers for you continue!! Thank you for sharing your family with us.

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  4. Beverly macKillop

    February 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Tears in my eyes after reading this blog. Praise the Lord.- We know who holds the future. Love and hugs to all

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  5. Congratulations on your bell-ringing! How exciting. I remember when a friend of mine was able to do the same. I don’t know your family personally, but I wanted to mention what an excellent job you’ve done with these blog posts. I’ve read most of them and when I do, I am struck by not only your clarity, but also your thoughtfulness. You have very ably allowed those of us who have prayed a sneak peek into your home and your hearts. I’m sure that many times the blog-writing was difficult, but you were able to very clearly express the needs and cares of your family while you were all undergoing a lot of stress, worry and pain- and that takes a lot of skill. So I just wanted to throw it out there that you have beautiful writing and I appreciate the time you’ve taken to let us be a part of your walk with the Lord during this struggle. I have learned a lot.

    God bless, and I hope you can keep writing in some form or another. :)

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  6. Oh my goodness, Dan. Such a beautiful picture of your life and perspective and family. You love each other well…the highest calling for us all.

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  7. Dan and Ginger, I praise God for the miracle He has performed in little Brouwer. I pray He continue to perform His miracle in him. The Lord has blessed you with a beautiful faith and I know if you continue to trust in Him, He will always see you through. I realize the last thing you wanted was for something like this to make you an inspiration, but you have been an inspiration to me especially in this last year. You have showed me over and over that even when our heart is breaking, trusting that God is in control will see us through. Thank you for your wonderful example and I will continue to pray for Brouwer and your entire family.

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  8. So thankful, along with you for Brouwer’s night in his own bed! May God’s hope and help continue to lead you through your days! I love to pray for red haired 4 your old boys and will continue to ask for God’s care and protection for your little man.

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  9. So much growing up in these last 77 weeks. For Brouwer and for you!

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