10 lessons I learned from cancer

I should probably start by stating that I do not have cancer now, nor have I ever had cancer.  So I am probably not qualified to even write this.  However, please note that I am not being so presumptuous to call this, “What YOU should learn from cancer.”  I have no idea what your experiences are with cancer (or any other major illness), so I am definitely not trying to make light of them or offend anyone.

Exactly two years ago today, my youngest daughter Delaney was diagnosed with cancer (leukemia to be specific).  That day (February 25th, 2013), was easily one of the worst days of my life.  However, during the past two years of her treatment, I have made some observations and learned some things that I think are worth of sharing:

1. People are kind- That is an understatement.  I really have no way to say it without being an understatement.  My wife and I have been overwhelmed and literally brought to tears by the simple kindness of people.  Friends, family, old folks, young ones, people we barely know, and even people we’ll never meet have shown our family kindness time and time again.  This one may seem obvious but I think it is worth pointing out because tonight, or any night, when you turn on the news they will let you know that there are many people that aren’t very nice.  That may be true, but there are a lot more people out there that are truly kind.

2. Prayer works- Either you believe it or you don’t, I know I’m not going to convince anyone here but I can only share from our own personal experience.  I don’t say this because of a specific treatment went well or a certain procedure worked out.  But there have been several times when we have amid the cancer storms, and have felt completely at peace.  Times when we’ve had plenty of reason to get discouraged, but only felt hope.  My belief is that it comes only from HIM who gives hope.

3. So does laughter- I know chemotherapy, dexamethasone, methotrexate, 6 mercaptopurine, vincristine, septra, and a ton of other drugs I can’t pronounce or spell are all good medicines, but laughter probably is better than any of them.  No, it doesn’t cure cancer or heal the body, but it nourishes the soul.  I know we are a crazy family.  We have fun.  In some of our toughest times, we’ve ended up laughing the most.  I know that I have chronicled some of them in this blog here (and here), but there have been far too many others to capture them all.

4. Attitude and outlook matter (A LOT)- One of the most important lessons we learned, we were fortunate to learn early.  We’ve met many other “cancer parents” in the past two years and whenever I am asked for my input, I always try to convey this lesson because I just think it is so important.   Think about your own kids for a minute.  When something completely foreign happens to them, what do they do?  If they are like most kids, they look at their parents to see how they react.  Really early on my wife and I agreed that if one of us were going to get emotional, we would just step out of the room to regroup before entering the room again.  We always just “knew” our daughter was going to beat cancer, so she always KNEW she would beat it!

5. It’s okay to cry- I remember trying to go back to work after she was newly diagnosed and just losing it.  I was in a cubicle at the time and would intentionally wear a jacket with a hood so I could try to cover my face when needed.  I think depression to a certain extent is almost natural when faced with these circumstances.  I think as parents more than anything we want to protect our kids and hope they have a long, happy life.  When something happens to them that we can’t protect them from, we feel we’ve failed.

6. Whether you agree with their advice or not, people mean well- We’ve been offered a whole heck of a lot of alternative remedies that will “cure” cancer.  Besides all the cures, we’ve also heard all the conspiracies about how (usually Western) medicine doesn’t want to find a cure for cancer because it is a billion dollar industry.  I won’t mention the various cures and conspiracies here as my goal isn’t to poke fun at any of the people offering them, but eventually we realized that the people mean well.  We appreciate all the tips, but we’ll stick with the folks that spent all those years in medical school.

7. Half the crap that we think matters, really is just crap- Before our daughter ever had cancer, my wife lost one of her very best friends to cancer.  I still remember something she said about how cancer put everything into an immediate perspective for her and how she couldn’t care less about who some celebrity was dating or whatever the latest gossip is.  This doesn’t only extend to the worthless celebrity stuff, but it is a good reminder to really love our loved ones while we have them.  Sure kids will still need to be disciplined and you’ll still get upset with those you love, but at the end of the day make sure they know you love them.

8. Those lemons you’ve been handed can be used to make lemonade- By no stretch of imagination am I an expert on cancer, but I don’t need to be (and neither do you).  If somebody else can be encouraged by our story, fantastic.  If we can help a charity raise money and awareness that could help eventually eradicate cancer, even better.  Our daughter Delaney is a fantastic example of this.  She is honored to be the Denver Chapter of  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Girl of the Year, but she is also doing her part even closer to home.  Just last week she was teaching her classmates about leukemia at her school’s science fair.  Here is a picture of her with her award winning presentation:

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9. The higher the stress, the more grace that needs to be extended- One of the saddest things I’ve learned in the past two years is how high the divorce rate is for couples affected by cancer and other serious illnesses.  As the stress builds arguments tend to increase.  When it feels like you are in the middle of the pressure cooker, it isn’t the time to argue who is right and wrong.  It is the time to extend extra grace.  Even when you feel the other person doesn’t deserve it, do it anyway. If it isn’t something you can’t work out by yourself, don’t be too proud to seek outside help.  A divorce added to lives that have already been turned upside down, is the very last thing that is needed. Speaking of grace, it usually isn’t cancer, but I’ve learned that everyone is going through something.   More often than not, you don’t know what that person that seems so angry, withdrawn, sad, or “different” is going through.  Just extend grace.

10. People are kind- I know I already stated this, but it is worth repeating.  Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.  We honestly can’t express how much we appreciate all of the kindness that has been extended to our family over the past years so I guess I’ll just leave you with a simple, THANK YOU!!!

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The countdown is on!

10…9…8…   I didn’t get to witness the Orion spacecraft countdown, but I’m sure it was exciting because they pretty much all are.  At the end, you know something big is going to happen.  7….6….  Six, that is where Delaney is at right now on her own countdown.  We just got the word last week, God willing and if all goes well, she is down to only six more months of treatment!  Her official last day of treatment will be May 5th, 2015 talk about a good reason for a fiesta!

As for her part, Delaney has been doing great.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving and she was as spunky as ever.  We put the bird in the oven and then went out and played some family 3 on 3 football.  Even her non-tomboy sisters got out there and played.  When they tired of that, we switched to soccer and played that until the bird was gobbling for us to eat it.  We went inside, gave thanks, stuffed ourselves, played games, watched football, took a nap, stuffed ourselves again, and then played more games.  It was the perfect day!

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The fun continued all weekend.  A very nice parent at Delaney’s school who owns 3 Ring Photography offered to shoot some family photos for us.  We happened to all get the case of the giggles so it turned out to be a very silly fun-filled hour.  We also managed to sneak in a movie and an art exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens before having to send Delaney’s oldest sister back to college on Sunday morning.

That afternoon, a fellow leukemia survivor invited Delaney and our family to come take a tour of the Denver Fire Department’s station 27.  Russell and his wife Katie were at the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Light the Night Walk and heard that Delaney wanted to be a firefighter.  It turned out, Russell is an older, male version of Delaney.

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Not only does he have his own battle with leukemia, but he is a firefighter who loves legos!  Russell, and all of the firefighters on duty that day, made Delaney an honorary firefighter.  Along with her sisters, Delaney got to go up

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(and I mean wayyyyyy up) in the bucket on top of the firetruck.

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We got to hang out in the firehouse and eat lunch with the entire firehouse.  Delaney got to try out all the cool gadgets, put on the uniform, and even fire the hose.   She was in heaven!

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After the weekend highs, Monday came along and brought her chemo treatment and steroids with it.  It was another rough week.  She was home sick all week and still wasn’t really feeling well as of last night.  She did rally on Friday for the Make A Wish event at Children’s Hospital where the kids get to pick out gifts for their loved ones from Santa’s workshop.  It basically took it all out of her by the end so she didn’t get to meet the Denver Bronco cheerleaders were there, but a couple of them were nice enough to send her a personalized message.

While we excitedly start the countdown, that is pretty much our routine right now.  We hope to have three good weeks of non-steroid happy and healthy Delaney (even though she is still taking her oral chemo daily), and then one week when she gets more chemo injected into her port and has to take steroids for the week.  She goes from a feisty energetic kid for three weeks to getting her little bummie kicked for a week.  But… the week is almost over, and she only has six more months to go!!!

Faith restored!

     Have you ever had one of those weeks?  You know the ones where your job could be going better, your relationships could be stronger, and you’re angry at God and just about everyone else because you’re just down in the dumps?  Well, I was having one of those weeks a couple of weeks ago.  By the time Friday evening rolled around, I just wanted to put on some cozy PJ’s, curl up in a the fetal position, and cry for my Mommy.  Okay, not really, but as work was piling up and I was already exhausted, I wasn’t really looking forward to the Spring Carnival at our kids’ school.  The only reason that I was going was because Delaney was beyond excited to go and the only way my week could get any worse was if I let my daughter down in something that she was really looking forward to. 

      As we entered the Spring Carnival, I couldn’t but notice all the usual fun stuff: bounce houses, dunk tank, games, girl dressed as a cookie holding a sign that has my daughter’s name and pictures of mustaches on it.  Wait… what was that?  The elementary school had already blessed us last year with the stache station.  Maybe there was a mistake?  A couple of steps later I realized that it wasn’t a mistake as there was the culprit: there stood young Jackson (aka The. Sweetest Kid. EVER.), “Hi Mr. Stafford!”  He was selling cookies and donating all proceeds to help support Delaney.  Really it was more than just Jackson as there were probably about five different kids and just as many adults.  What I found out was that Jackson took it upon himself to approach the PTO of the elementary school he no longer attends and ask their permission.  Not only did they give him permission, they rallied behind the idea and about 5-6 different families joined Jackson’s family in baking cookies to be sold.  Somehow this was all kept a surprise from us until the carnival… maybe things really weren’t that bad afterall. 

      Not even 24 hours later, I got a message on Delaney’s Facebook page from a woman that I don’t know if I have ever even met.  Her daughter and friend wanted to do something for Delaney.  They went and bought all the supplies for a lemonade stand and set it up all on their own, and then spent almost the entire day selling lemonade.  These sweet kids just took it upon themselves to do whatever they could to help.  How awesome is that???  Keep in mind that it has been over a year since Delaney was diagnosed.  With video games these days are today’s kids supposed to have attention spans that last a few seconds (who am I kidding… Squirrel!)? Young Jackson, his sister Lauren, Maizie, and Ally are restoring my faith in humanity. 

      As for Delaney, she is doing great!  She is still getting her monthly infusion of blood products and it seems to be working for her.  We actually had a rarity last week where two of her sisters were home sick with a cold and “sick” Delaney was feeling so well that she couldn’t wait to get to school.  Assuming her counts are good on Thursday, she’ll be getting more chemo in her port this Friday.

      Lastly,  we found out that Delaney was chosen as the Honored Hero for the Denver area Light the Night Campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  If you have never heard or done one of these, they are a ton of fun.  Come join us on October 2nd as we walk around Wash Park in an almost festival type setting with everyone getting a light to carry around with them to symbolize the hope of putting an end to leukemia and lymphoma.    If you want to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or want more information on the event, please see the link below:

http://pages.lightthenight.org/rm/DenverL14/cancercankissmystache#home

There goes this soccer season!

It’s been quite the month!  We’ve had good, bad, and I somehow got more ugly. ” Impossible,” you say?  Well you are correct.  But about a month ago, I decided that I needed to go bald for a great cause again, and some very cool stuff happened.   I signed up for St. Baldrick’s  annual event where you shave your head while raising awareness and money for childhood cancer.  Because I already blogged about it, I won’t go into full detail, but I just wanted to include a brief update.

       We arrived just in time to see my 13 year old daughter’s orthodontist shave his head in honor of Delaney and other kids battling cancer.  Before we knew it, our own team was showing up and the real fun was about to begin.  Just over a year after they were both diagnosed with Leukemia, Delaney and Luca finally got to meet each other.  I also got to finally meet Luca’s dad, Pete, for the first time and see her mom Molly again.  We were amazed that it had been a year since our fateful meeting and couldn’t help but think about  how much our daughters had been through in that time.  Here is a pic of Luca and Delaney (who both had been bald but now have hair again) with me and Pete (who both had hair and were now bald):  
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One of the members on our team, Brian, had almost his entire family join in (I say, “almost” because his  wife Kerri wimped out. JK… love you Kerri!).  However, both his son Jake AND his daughter Hailee shaved their heads.  Whereas someone’s first response could have been, “a girl shaving her head?” Hailee’s response was, “for kids with cancer? Yes!”  Where this really got interesting was right after Hailee shaved her head in show of support for our Delaney, another girl of about the same age shaved her head for her friend Delaney.  The only difference was that little girl got banned from her school because her new bald head violated the school's dress code policy.  Of course this made news, both local and national, that a girl who shaved her head for her friend Delaney with cancer.  It was a different Delaney, but we started getting calls to the affect of, "I saw your daughter on the news."  Anyway, thanks to that little girl that shaved her head for that Delaney, Hailee and Jake who shaved their heads for our Delaney,  to those that donated, and everyone else that showed their support and helped make us the Number 1 team at the event that day (raising over $2,000 for St. Baldrick’s).
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From Bald to… Worst. Dad. Ever.

      Last Saturday was one of those Colorado days where God himself seemed to scream, “Get out and enjoy this beautiful day I have made!!!!”  So we did.  Delaney and I played some baseball.  Let me tell you, that little goofball has got an arm on her and I am really hoping to get her to try softball this year.  Anyway, we took a break from baseball for the sweet sound of the ice cream man’s truck. When we adjourned, we swapped baseball for the trampoline.
“Hey chubs, see if you can bounce me so high that you break my ankle!” is what I could swear that I heard when she actually said, “bounce me daddy!” Yeah… Long story short, Delaney is sporting a pretty cool cast after her fun on the trampoline with dear old dad. Before you file a CPS report, the doctor explained that the steroids she has to take make her neutropenic which makes her bones brittle. The fear is that if there is any damage done to her growth plate that it could stunt her growth and that being neutropenic would delay any recovery. So of course, all of this is really slowing Delaney down… yeah right! When her mom took her back to school that day, she was so excited to show her friends her new cast that she ran into her classroom. Neutropenic brittle bones or not, there is no slowing Delaney down!

4 weeks and 4 baldies

      Delaney is fresh off her first full week of school in the past 5 weeks!  After missing four weeks of school and having cold-like symptoms for over three months, her doctor did some additional scans on her.  He showed us the scan of her nasal cavity and being the doctor that I am NOT, I identified the problem right away, “Aha! That little black dot right there is probably the problem!”  Delaney’s doctor was kind enough to confirm my errant conclusion, “Yep, that’s it, but it isn’t because what you think.”  Apparently the whole scan should have been black.  Delaney’s scan showed one little black dot on one side, and no black at all on the other.  So what it meant was that her nasal cavity was 100% blocked on one side and about 95% on the other.  So besides this preventing her from being able to fight anything, there was a slight fear that it could go to the brain because of its proximity to the nasal cavity.  Long story short, Delaney is now getting IVIG (basically blood or more specifically a plasma product) transfusions once a month.  As much as it isn’t fun for her, it did help her get well enough to go back to school!

       On a different note, a little less than a week ago I signed up to do St. Baldrick’s again.  If you aren’t familiar with it, St. Baldrick’s is a fantastic charity that directly benefits childhood cancer.  They have raised millions and millions of dollars and given it back to the medical community in grants to research the cure and treatments of childhood cancers.  Participants shave their heads to help raise awareness and money for St. Baldrick’s.  So as of tomorrow, I’ll be sporting a buzz again… but that isn’t the exciting part.

        A couple of days after I signed up, a very nice guy that I work with (yet barely even know), said that he would also join Team Delaney: “Cancer Can Kiss my Stache!”  A couple of days after that, a guy that I have met once said that he would also join moving us up to 3 baldies.  My sister was then kind enough to sign up as a donor and a volunteer, but too much of a sissy to shave her head.  However, my wife got a call the other day from Luca’s mom, Molly.  If you don’t remember Luka, she was diagnosed with leukemia only a few days after Delaney (you can read the first post from when we met Luca by clicking here – and I’ll apologize for my first impression of Delaney’s doctor who turned out to be wonderful — I feel like such an idiot when I re-read that part) .  We learned the ropes of Children’s Hospital together while we learned about the terrible disease our daughters were just diagnosed with.  Anyway, Molly called because she saw our post on Facebook that I was doing St. Baldrick’s again, and said that her husband Pete was going to come join us!!!  So I have officially changed our St. Baldrick’s team name to Team Delaney AND Luca: “Cancer can Kiss my Stache!”

     That brings us to 4 Baldies tomorrow and more importantly over $1100 raised for St. Baldrick’s in their fight to make sure that no parents ever need to hear, “We’re sorry to tell you this, but your child has cancer.”

Thank you so much to all the people that have already donated to St. Baldrick’s.  If you would like to join them, you can do so by using this link:  http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/CancerCanKissMyStache 

Childhood Cancer: A year in review

One year ago today. There are parts of that day that I can remember like it was yesterday. More than anything, I remember feeling helpless as a father and as a husband. My wife had just received the call that we had been waiting for that would let us know our daughter Delaney’s lab results. A little swelling below the ear couldn’t be serious, right? I watched anxiously as she moved from the kitchen to the study to take the call away from the kids. I held my breath as my wife tried to keep her composure while listening to our primary doctor. With one last “okay, thank you” she hung up and then told me that we needed to immediately get Delaney to the emergency room where they had a room waiting for us. As our doctor said, “Now is the time to call on any support you might have as we think your daughter has a type of blood cancer called leukemia.” The world briefly stopped while my wife and I collapsed into each other. We just held each other and cried. I was quickly a scared man who was powerless to protect his own family.

~~~Here is a pic that was taken just a few months before her diagnosis:
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In the beginning, the not knowing was the worst. Will she be okay during the surgery to put a port into her chest? What about during her first chemotherapy treatment? What type of leukemia does she have? Are you sure she is even sick? What is the survival rate? What are the chances of our daughter… not surviving? When will we be able to leave the hospital? When, if ever, will our lives get back to “normal”? Are we going to be able to care for her at home? When will her hair start falling out? Will she be able to finish up kindergarten with her friends at school? How will we be able to continue working?

~~~Smiling during her very first dose of chemo
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It was tough. Eventually we got answers to most of our questions. It was still the uncertainty that ate at me. I remember putting on a brave face when having to face people for the first time because I knew that I was going to have to talk about it. When I returned to work, I purposely wore a hooded jacket. There were times when all I could do was sit at my desk and weep like a baby. I tried unsuccessfully to distract myself with my work. When it got too bad, I would put on my hood to block my face so others wouldn’t know. I know one of my co-workers knew but his father had his own battle with cancer so he could at least kind of empathize with me.

~~~It may have been tough, but this little stud is tougher!
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There were a couple of things that helped us overcome the tough times. The first was Delaney herself. When we sat there in shock listening to a doctor describe the different effects of the medicine they were going to give her or what procedures they were going to perform on her, her only question was, “When you are done can I wake up with a mustache?”

~~~Ahhh… the silly mustache. Who knew that it would inspire the “Cancer can kiss my stache!” movement?
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But more than that, was the overwhelming kindness, love, and support. It came (and still comes) from family, friends, co-workers, churches, entire schools, complete strangers, and just about every place imaginable. Just this past Sunday our doorbell rang. There stood the sweet neighbohood boy with his familiar bag of cookies and the money he made from selling them door to door. It has been a year and this boy still goes door to door to raise money to give to Delaney! Seriously if anyone knows of an award that we can nominate him for or some other way we could publicly recognize him, please let us know. My wife and I probably shed more tears from just being amazed over, and over, and over again at people’s kindness than we have with the actual cancer. Okay, maybe not… but it feels like it.

~~~Elated by the kindness of our friends at the Littleton Fire Department as she gets to ride in the fire truck
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As for Delaney, she just took it all in stride like the little trooper she is. Back to the doctor’s office? Okay. I’ve got to get treatment today? Do you think the nurses will sing “Dynamite” to me? My hair will start to fall out? Maybe I can get a cool Bronco’s hat! Sure she got sick of the pokes, the treatments, not being able to participate in so many fun things because her counts were too low or she wasn’t feeling well enough, and all the other junk that goes along with childhood cancer, but there were very, very few times she really let it get to her. I can probably count on one hand how many times she ever felt sorry for herself.

~~~Proving that bald really is beautiful!
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Of course, the one time that she really let it get to her broke my heart so much that I probably will never forget it. It was April 26th of last year (okay… I’ll admit that I only remember the date because it was our anniversary). Delaney had the moon face thanks to the steroids she was taking. Her once skinny little 40 lb. frame had gained 10 lbs. in just over a month. It looked like it was all in her cheeks, but by no means was it a cute “chubby cheek” type of thing. She didn’t feel well, and the steroids were running rampant on her emotions, and she just lost it. “Why mommy? Why? I just want to be beautiful and feel like the other little girls,” she cried. Besides trying to reassure her that she IS beautiful, what do you say?

~~~She may have had “moon face,” but she will always be beautiful!
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There were other things that may have bugged her, but really bugged my wife and me. The kids at school, not necessarily being mean, but just being kids, asking her why she is trying to use the girl’s bathroom. The little girl at church trying to argue with the teacher when he announced that another girl was joining the class. Of course, it doesn’t help that our daughter is such a little tomboy. I was asked not too long ago if it bugged us, why not dress her up in pink so people would know she is a girl? Most of you are parents, think about it for yourself. Do you want your kids to be themselves or pretend to be something they are not to please others? We want all of our kids to have the courage to be themselves. So we would never force our daughter, who answers the nurses question of “Do you have any allergies?” with “Yes. The color pink” to pretend to be something she is not. Would being decked out in a pink pretty dress with a big bow on her head help people recognize that she is a girl? Probably. And then Delaney is no longer her silly quarky blue loving, bow tie wearing, what little hair I have I am going to put into a mohawk, mustached self and cancer wins… and that will NEVER happen!

~~~Hmmm… maybe if she wore a nice Justin Beaver wig people could tell she is a girl. Doesn’t she look excited by this?
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At one point I was hoping to put our whole Non-Adventure into a book, but realistically that will probably never happen (although it would probably be the first book with negative sales). But in the longshot that some other parents might come across this who have their own child with a recent similar diagnosis, I’ll share two very valuable lessons that we have learned this past year. The first is to realize that your child is going to react to whatever you react to and in a very similar fashion. Fortunately, we learned this very quickly. On that early evening a year ago as we headed to the hospital we couldn’t stop our tears. So what did Delaney do? She cried. We were scared and so was she. We quickly realized that the opposite was also true. If we were brave and confident she was going to be okay, so was she. That first week in the hospital we had times that we were so overcomed with emotion and we would just walk out of the room so she wouldn’t see mommy or daddy crying. Realize that your child and their classmates or friends might associate the word “cancer” with death. We literally when into her classroom and told them, “Just because Johnny’s grandpa died of cancer, does not mean Delaney is going to die of cancer.” Along with explaining how there are different types of cancer, we also explained that, “Yes, she is sick. But, NO, you cannot catch it.” We didn’t want her classmates to be afraid to play with her because they were afraid to catch what she had. And thank God, they didn’t. Her class embraced her and continued to love her. They knew that she wouldn’t be able to be in class all the time, but when she was able to make it, she was just another crazy kid who they played with and had fun with. They also knew that when her hair started falling out, it was a sign that “the medicine was working.” The hospital staff shared that one with us and we thought it was good.

~~~Who are you calling crazzzzy????
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The second thing I would share with other parents who have a child facing a similar illness is a little more personal, but because of its importance, I’ll share it openly anyway. Cancer is very tough on a marriage. Whatever stress you had in your marriage prior to the diagnosis is still there, but now you have a whole lot more of it. Early on, after continually snapping at each other, my wife and I had a conversation where we said, “We are going to need to be more forgiving with each other than ever.” Is my wife perfect? No. Am I perfect? Yes! I am kidding, of course, but we should have set a daily reminder that forgiveness was now, more than ever,a necessity if we wanted our marriage to survive this. There were times, like most marriages, where we just wanted to throw in the towel. But then there was the realization of, “And how would that help?” Delaney is one of our four daughters. She isn’t the only one affected by cancer and my wife and I definitely are not the only ones. Our entire family has faced Delaney’s cancer together, and as a family we will continue to fight it together.

~~~A family that goofs together, stays together!
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So Delaney is now 365 days into her cancer treatment and has over 500 days remaining. WE have reached the “new normal” that one of the doctors told us about early on. We are slightly more, but still far from totally, comfortable on a daily basis. Delaney has missed 3 of the past 4 weeks of school because thanks to low counts, her body can’t fight a basic cold. She has these weird pains in her foot and there is a real fear that the steroids are causing necrosis, which essentially destroys the bones. At least week’s doctor’s visit due to foot pain, I was expecting to get an update from my wife. When it didn’t come… and still didn’t come… my mind went to, “What if they are saying they need to amputate?” Well, they didn’t need to amputate and as I was writing this my wife sent me a text that read, “They called with her infection test results. Low IGG level and 2 viruses.” I don’t even know what IGG is, but it might be how I feel about leukemia at this point… IGG!!!! Its Gotta Go!!!

~~~Maybe we would be protected if we could just stay in this snow globe!
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We know that God is still in control. These fears are of no value. We don’t let them control us by any means, but they are still there. We have been blessed by people all over the world praying for our daughter, and for us. Most of them will never see this, but I still want to thank them. The same with the kindness that has been shown over, and over, and over again. We will never be able to repay this, but we so appreciate every single bit of it. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU from our entire family!

~~~Cancer messed with the wrong family!
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This leukemia stuff is a pain in the…

For the most part, Delaney is doing great. She’s happy, she is going to school, and she is feeling well enough to fight with her older sister (dad’s non-medical gauge of how well she is feeling). So with that said, nothing to worry about, right??? I don’t really know, but I certainly hope so.
Besides cold symptoms that she hasn’t been able to shake so they have been able to linger for about a month, she keeps having a weird foot pain. The “weird” part is that I have no idea whether it is related to all the drugs she is taking, or if it is related to her doing a silly Russian dance where she combines Baryshnikov with River Dance. The same with the cold… is it just a cold (that a lot of kids have right now), or is it something worse related to her leukemia. What I can’t seem to shake from the back of my mind is “Uh oh.. you are feeling safe again.” Every time we get comfortable with where she is in her treatment and how everything is going, we get thrown a curveball. The persistent fear is just all part of the cancer fun.
On a different note, Delaney asked us recently how long she has been in treatment. Next month will actually be one year, almost 15% of her young life. As much as she is over it, she knows she still has a long way to go. She has a very matter-of-fact approach and just takes it day by day (she just told me, “Dad, it is Sunday, I need to take my Septra AND 6MP). She doesn’t do the whole, “Woe is me” Eeyore thing. Quite the opposite, she finds the joy and fun in almost everything she does, and right now is just excited that her Broncos are going to the Super Bowl!
Thanks everyone!

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