Friday, August 1, 2008


We've been in a whirlwind of activity since we left Baltimore. Over the past weekend we enjoyed a reunion with family we'd not seen all in one place for almost a decade. It was great fun. We visited my brother's family at their reunion in West Virginia as well which is an annual occurrence. The kids swam, rode the paddle boats and played in the sand and with each other all day in the sun. It was really wonderful. My parents left for Kansas again yesterday, and while they're still en route, we begin to settle back into our routine.

On Wednesday Henry had a clinic appointment and required blood. His counts are not returning as quickly as expected but are rather hovering at a low, but safe level. He will require an special infusion of Invtravenous Immunoglobin next week, alongside his lumbar puncture, audiology test and MRI. While Tara and I are confident that the MRI will remain the same we cannot help but be somewhat anxious.

Which brings me to the reason I needed to write today. We follow several kids of about Henry's age around the country with the same diagnosis, anaplastic medulloblastoma. One of them was recently diagnosed, roughly at end of April. The beginning of her course has been rough, lots of ups and downs, with some uncomfortable and difficult side effects. Her mother received the results of her recent MRI yesterday. The tumor has regrown, apparently resistant to chemotherapy.

This brings up memories of the past and fears for the future, deep and painful empathy for this family and for their little girl. Just as, at the beginning, one cannot believe it's actually happening or even could actually happen, we persist in the belief that we'll be the ones that make it.


Somewhere parents are sitting in disbelief across the room from the physician telling them of their baby's cancer. Is this really happening?

Somewhere a family is plodding with slow, heavy steps down the passage to the cancer clinic for the very first time.

Somewhere a little girl is beginning to lose her tight, curly hair - but not her playful spirit.

Somewhere a bald, steroid laden boy crumpled in his stroller, stares with eyelids half open in a chemotherapy induced stupor.

Somewhere a young girl's face grows ashen as her life-saving medicine drips into her veins and saps her energy for play.

Somewhere families have moved their lives miles away from home and support to give their child the best chance.

Somewhere a doctor is giving parents the news that their child has only weeks to live.

Somewhere a baby is awakened in the middle of the night to the cold of a hospital room to bathe off the chemicals burning his skin.

Somewhere parents are making the difficult decision between subjecting their child to more harsh treatments or letting them die at home.

Somewhere a father is tortured daily by the memory of his son, lost to cancer - two years ago.

Somewhere a scared little boy is screaming and pleading with his mother not to let the doctors hurt him again.

Somewhere a father encourages his frail little girl to walk again after debilitating surgery to remove her tumor.

Somewhere a parent waits hopefully, unaware of the cancer regrowing inside their child.

Is it me?


I remember the names, faces and voices of you all.

Courage, Hope and Love.


Granya said...


Did you write this - it is beautiful - so profound, so personal -

Thank you for sharing.

Love, Jane

Anonymous said...

Bryan, I was going to ask the same thing. Did you write this beautiful poem? Such feeling it has!
Thank you for sharing and I hope all goes well and uneventful this week.
Love always,
Cousin Susan H.

Hillbilly Fairy said...

wow, you guys... you've made it! i'm so amazed and proud of you all. haven't been reading since i was away, but it's great to come home and read all of this at once.
what a summer, huh?
love to you all.... bibi

Anonymous said...

I pray that this family you refer to, has the support group that is needed at this time of crisis.
Life really sucks at times, but it is what we are given and forced to deal with.
Your strength will always be a guide for me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bryan, Tara, Anna, Sophie, and Henry,

Your strength, endurance, courage, and perserverance humble me.

I wish you Godspeed!

p.s. Bryan, you really are a heckuva writer. No kidding.

DKay said...

Hi - I found your blog when I was googling for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month info. We are doing something really special for the kids in our community down here in South GA. The poem on your post - Somewhere - is awesome. It puts things in perspective for those of us who have not walked in those shoes before. I will come back to your blog and read more later. The family in your post - I will pray for them.