The first Sunday

Many people warned us that the first Sunday in church since Jacobs diagnosis would be very tough emotionally. We have known now for only 6 days that our dear son has bone cancer. This morning it was announced off the pulpit and prayed for by our Pasta Ted 😋. Last night as I thought about what the service may feel like, my anxiety shot up and I did not want to go.  This morning I went to lay with Jacob in his bed. Jacob and myself both wake early these days,  between 430-530 am so we talk and cuddle, read devotionals and bible texts people have sent us, or just lay silently together until it’s time to get up. Jacob told me he very much wanted to be at church this morning even though he was afraid, so we all went and I am so thankful we did.  The love and support we feel is so critical to us and is one of the reasons we are able to stand right now and be “strong”.

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Jacob and I stayed home from 2nd service for a much needed nap and after the rest of the crew came home we went for a walk.  This was our first time out with Jacob in a wheelchair, which turned out to be much harder on me emotionally than I was prepared for. Jacob was so active, so full of life and energy, athletic and good at any sport or activity he tried. To see him in a wheelchair watching all the other kids run around ripped at my heart, and I’m sure his as well. We did discuss choosing a positive attitude, and I hope that through this long journey we can continue to show that for each other.

Jacob is no longer allowed to put any pressure on his leg. His bone is so full of cancer that the femur is brittle with a large area of not much bone left, so he is at a very high risk now of the femur snapping.  It will be many, many, many months before we get to see Jacob even attempt to walk again.

Though all of this is incredibly overwhelming and we are so afraid of what the next weeks and months are going to look like, we remain strong and that strength can only come from God, the God who gives us peace that transcends all understanding.

Thank you again for the love, prayers and support you have shown us in so many ways. Without that all, too, it would be hard to stand and face this. We feel deeply that we are not alone.

 

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Please continue to pray for our brave boy, that the operation to remove a piece of bone on Wednesday will go well and that he will feel calm and held in Gods faithful hands, and also that the upcoming PET scan will show no other signs of cancer in his body.

A verse from this mornings devotion

“Because of the Lords great love, we are not consumed, his compassion never fails.   They are new every morning ; great is your faithfulness.”  lam 3:22-23

Taking the first steps

Around the beginning of April, Jacob started to complain about some knee pain. This gradually worsened, and soon he was limping and could no longer play sports or run around on the farm. By the end of April, Jacob could hardly climb the stairs in the house.  We visited our family doctor who suggested that it was probably Patellar Femoral Syndrome – a sports injury – combined with growing pains, since Jacob had recently ( and quickly!) sprouted up several inches.  We accepted this as an adequate explanation and were told to do some physio exercises and to come back in a month if no change or things had worsened.

Sunday, June 3, we noticed a swelling above Jacobs left knee. It was very hard and did not have the usual appearance of inflammation from injury.

Monday, June 4, I ( Mom) took Jacob back to the family doctor concerned that this did not look typical at all. The look on the doctors face told me that this indeed was not typical, and I knew already then that something serious was going on. We were sent for bloodwork and X-Rays. Only 4 short hours later we were called that the X-ray was back and that I needed to bring Jacob back to the doctor immediately. The secretary then added “ and Tracey, the doctor has requested that your spouse comes along as well.”  Fear and panic hit instantly, but we composed ourselves and went back to the doctor.  He showed us an X-ray of Jacobs femur and told us that it had a large tumor growing inside of it.  He said “ it’s bad” and “the worst of the worst”.  We were told that the radiologist thought it looked like aggressive osteosarcoma and  referred to Children’s Hospital Oncology and to an orthopaedic oncology surgeon.

The next couple days were an emotional rollercoaster, but I will spare you all those details.

Today, June 8, after waiting what felt like eternity, we went to Children’s Hospital for testing and consults.  The morning started with X-rays of his leg and a CT scan of his lungs.  The lungs are the most common place that osteosarcoma spreads to first. After the scans we met with our oncologist to discuss what the journey may look like.  We were told that the CT scan was clear with NO signs of cancer in his lungs. We were so relieved to hear this news.

An IV line was put in place and bloodwork done.  We met “our” nurse and “our” social worker as well. They assured us that we will never be alone when we are at the hospital and that they are our team, along with the oncologist.

The last test of the day was an MRI of Jacobs pelvis down to his shins.  I got to sit with him through this which was very helpful for Jacob as his anxiety was high.  *note to anyone sitting next to an MRI machine – take out the bobby pins in your hair 😋 . Mine were standing straight up and being pulled towards the machine.  We had to stop the scan halfway to get them out of the room. The scan took about an hour, and then we met briefly with the orthopaedic surgeon.  He will be performing an open biopsy of Jacobs femur on Wednesday, June 13.  Jacob will be put under for this as they will do a 2-3 inch incision to cut out a piece of bone to be sent to pathology to see what type of osteosarcoma Jacob has.  This will be an overnight stay.  Friday June 15 Jacob has a PET scan to look for spread of cancer in other bones at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver.  These last 2 tests are critical for the doctors to decide the course of action needed and what chemo meds to give and how often.

The cancer appears to be quite aggressive and the tumor is already very large. Once all the results are in, the doctors are thinking that we will begin with 3 months of chemo therapy to shrink the tumor and prevent spread, and then surgery will take place after that, with more chemo to follow. With osteosarcoma, chemo alone will not cure. The cancer has to be physically removed. The upcoming surgery will be invasive and bones will need to be removed and replaced. The road ahead will be very long, painful, and difficult for Jacob, and just as painful on our hearts to watch.

The outpouring of love from those around us has been a huge support. Meals, visits, hugs, cards, gifts, and most importantly prayer, has been appreciated by all of us so much.  Please continue to pray for Jacob and for our family as we step out into the unknown. We are afraid, but we know that with with God as our Guide walking along with us every step, that we are not alone.  This verse has been shared with us many times over the last few days.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you ; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you ; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

We cling to these words right now.

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