Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two Worlds

A great week-end. Tyler is continuing to do better. We attended graduation parties. Brandon was home with a bunch of friends. Last night we walked down the street for a gathering of friends out on their patio. All the "normal" things we been unable to do. In many ways it felt like the old BC times (Before Cancer).

The boys and their friends sat around telling stories, like the time they tried lighting the bonfire with wet firewood. They decided 1/2 a gallon of gasoline would do the trick. A package of bottle rockets was added for good measure. The flames shot 20' high as the boys ran for cover. Travis was hit in the forehead with a rocket. The patio is still charred. Then there was the white water rafting trip in West Virginia. We bought several hundred dollars in fireworks on the way. We trip shooting several bottle rockets simultaneously from one bottle. Great idea. That was until the bottle turned over and shot rocketing into our supplies, lighting off most of the fireworks. Run for cover again. Lots of great times. This week-end had no explosions, but it was still fun.

More and more we can have conversations about things other than chemo, treatment options, drug side effects, scan results, blood counts, protocols, and disagreeing doctors.

Tyler still has a long road ahead (Chemo does some very obnoxious things to the body), but he is doing very good. He was back at Children's this morning. It looks like the 8th round for chemo will start in a couple of weeks. And it continues to look like this will be the last round! We thank God for Tyler's healing from this horrible disease.

As I sat recuperating from today's run, I watched some of the "Rocky" movie on TV. His fictional battle reminded me of the true life and death battle these young people endure everyday. As Mickey said to Rocky Balboa,

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean, and nasty place an' no matter how tough you think you are, it'll always beat you if you let it. It ain't about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! If you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits and not pointin' fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, her, or anybody! Cowards do that, and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!"

"That which does not kill me, makes me stronger."

Now we have our sights on the world of remission, and then 12 months of remission to be "cured". But the world of J-5, and the other cancer floors, will always be part of our lives. Cancer is constantly sneaking up and attacking again. Please keep in your prayers our friends still deep in the fight. Stef, Ryan, Mathew,Tristan, and the many others. And then there is Sinjin. After a relapse of Burkitt's, he is and days past the bone marrow the doctors said he would not survive. The doctors wanted to give up. But there he is, still fighting hard. As long as there is fight there is hope. Refuse to lose.

"The human body can last roughly 30 days without food. The human condition can last roughly 3 days without water. But no human alive can live for more then 30 seconds without hope, because without hope we have nothing."
--Sean Swarner, the first cancer survivor to climb the Summit Mt. Everest, as well as the highest point on all 7 continents.

AJ is another young man of incredible strength and courage, another brave fighter against Burkitt's. Last December, when a relapse ended all further options for treatment, his father had to sit down with him and answer his question, "Dad, what is hospice?" No father should have that conversation with his 14 year old son. We must find the cure. AJ's dad spoke at a recent fund raiser for cancer research:

"I have no idea if you have even been on a pediatric cancer floor. If you have walked the halls and seen the smiles or tears on the faces of these little fighters as they play on the little trikes and big wheels. How the moms and dads race behind them with the ever present IV pole. How they have little child-sized masks on because they are at high risk of infection. How the teens hang together and still try to be cool, even though they’re bald and ready to throw up at any time. How the teens have added words like methotrexate and acronyms like ANC to their vocabulary, instead of LOL and "sweet". How the poor little baby's cry because they can't even relate what hurts. Or if you've ever seen a mom or dad alone in the break room at 3 am, with their head in their hands, feeling alone, helpless, scared and mad. I've seen it all and more."

There is a world called cancer that most do not begin to comprehend. I know we did not. The realities of this world need to be heard. Only then will the necessary funding be given to find a cure. Do not forget:
  • Less than 3% of all cancer funding is granted to pediatric cancers.
  • The first ever tissue bank to study teen cancers is just now in the planning stages.
  • In the past 25 years only one new drug has been developed for pediatric cancer.
  • Teens and young adults (age 15-22) is the only age group where cancer survival rates are decreasing, and have for the past 25 years.
  • The cause of most childhood cancers is still unknown.
  • Due to the lack of new drugs, most pediatric cancer treatments are little more than mega doses of adult chemo treatments.
What can you do about it?
  1. Sign the petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/CureChildhoodCancer
  2. Donate to research in Tyler's name at http://pages.teamintraining.org/coh/columbus08/kalfriend

Team in Training: 35 training miles down. 438 to the starting line.


dina b. said...

I just caught up on your updates after a week with virtually no computer access -- The end is in sight! I am so excited for you guys!! I LOVE the new score card -- Tyler 7, Cancer 0 -- Keep fighting!

God bless you all,

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you were able to get out and have some more 'normal' times. It will never be the same kind of normal, we know, but it's nice to get back into the swing of things! Hope you all are enjoying this great weather and that the next two weeks will be relaxing before the next round! We'll be keeping an eye out for updates!

Take care,
Heather Timbrook (and the rest of the Timbrook clan)

JD said...


Another eloquent blog post! Towards the end of your blog, you ask what can we do about the alarming children's cancer statistics. The two links are great ways to get involved.

The most proactive thing we can do is copy and paste this blog and send it everyone we know; which what I am doing.

Regarding your training miles...you still have 'til St.Louis to get your miles in...the offer still stands to get you free bus ride back from St. Louis when you get there!