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    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Two Years of Cancer


    November 12, 2009 marks the second anniversary of Cole's diagnosis of ALL (leukemia). In light of this Dalynn and I have spent the last several days preparing to post an update for this momentous yet silent event. In that time, we have spent many hours looking through pictures we have taken over the last two years. The effect it has had on me, personally, is profound.

    It's amazing what you remember, and how you remember it. I don't remember Cole as looking sick. I remember him much as I see him now, vibrant, alive, talkative and energetic. In my memories, I place the Cole of now back into the settings that we were in back then. Cole chatting away in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV. Cole, picking at food and talking to me on Christmas day.

    The reality, especially of those first few months, is very different and much grimmer. My little boy was so sick. He was swollen to near-unrecognizability from steroids. He was so weak. He talked very little and had to have help to eat. His legs were mere sticks and if he could walk at all it was with a pitiful gait, dragging his legs almost behind him. I cannot believe that I lived through that time and have forgotten so much of the detail.

    But, perhaps, it is that same forgetfulness that is a blessing. I remember that things were hard, I remember that it pushed me to my breaking point, but it's a bit like remembering facts. Oh, it has left an indelible mark on my soul, I have been forever changed by this tangle with cancer. But I don't remember these events in crystal clear detail, and thank the Lord for that.

    Cole has fought long, and he has fought hard. As I have said, marrying the images of the Cole of then with the Cole of now is almost impossible, and oh, how thankful I am for that. For, you see, Cole is more than winning this fight, he is thriving in the midst of it. He is facing it with an indomitable spirit that does not even recognize that the option of surrender exists. I can see in his actions a heart that will continue to strive for life regardless of what the circumstances say. In looking back at these pictures I am amazed by what an inspiration my little boy is.

    I was telling a friend the other day that I am hopeful that Cole will remember his fight. I hope that he always carries with him the realization that if he can overcome this heinous demon he can overcome anything. So much better for him to draw strength from this later in life than for him to forget.

    Yet, at the same time, I can also say I hope he does forget. I hope he forgets the pain, the suffering, the terrible days of misery. I hope that he can continue to live life as a normal little boy, vibrant and fully certain of the safety and continuance of life. It would be terrible for cancer to have taken away his sense of security in his childhood. So many children lose that so young, how much better if my boy is not one of them.

    For all of my hopes and aspirations, though, I must leave them, and indeed Cole, in the hands of the Lord. God will shape Cole and mold him as he grows older, into a "big boy", into an adolescent and finally into a man. I can only pray that the Lord will allow me to instill in him the values and character that will see him in good steading later in life. As a fallible man, one who is so utterly human and ultimately inconsistent I know that it will be the Lord that shapes and molds Cole, not I. Let Him make of him what He will.

    Please join us on this wonderful day in saying a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of Cole's life that the Lord has given to us. I cannot remember what life felt like before him and I hope that I never have to experience life without him. He is truly a blessed boy and I am a blessed father.

    Join with us in thanking the Lord for all the good that has come out of cancer. We are a stronger, tighter family than ever before. We are each individually stronger. We have a reference on what tough times truly are and the certainty that we will make it through the tough times ahead. Most of all, pray with us that the Lord will use this to His glory, to carve a path straight to Him. What better way could Cole's illness serve the world?

    6 comments:

    tad said...

    beautiful! i am thanking God with you.

    Anonymous said...

    You and your family are remarkable human beings... I admire you so, so much. May many, many, many more blessings come your way.

    Ipek said...

    You have an incredible family Mike...you guys are an inspiration to everyone. I only met Cole once, but that was enough for me to fall in love with him, he is an amazing boy, and I'm absolutely sure he has an amazing life ahead of him, with all of his loved ones...The only dream that I see NOT coming true is him meeting Lightning McQueen, but I'm sure he'll be fine with that in couple of years :)

    You are always in my prayers.

    Ipek

    bill said...

    Michael - Cole is a miracle and so are you! It has been an honor to walk this sometimes horrific walk with you and Dalynn. I sometimes think back to when Cole was just a baby and you were struggling with your demons. I don't remember much of that Michael but I will never forget. You are my poster boy for what God can do with a broken man. In case I don't tell you enough know that I love you!!

    Wayne said...

    Mike and Dalynn,

    I am so amazed at the faithfulness of our God! I am reminded of the scripture, He spoke to me when first hearing of Cole's diagnosis. It was clear and came from within me. John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."

    Thank you Father for the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the promises spoken in that small still voice while others around me were shouting so loudly.

    We serve an awesome and mighty God!

    Love dad

    bill said...

    Michael - Cole is a miracle and so are you! It has been an honor to walk this sometimes horrific walk with you and Dalynn. I sometimes think back to when Cole was just a baby and you were struggling with your demons. I don't remember much of that Michael but I will never forget. You are my poster boy for what God can do with a broken man. In case I don't tell you enough know that I love you!!