Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa and Sarah

Santa and Sarah

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

"Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your friend? Your sister?'"

"Yes, Santa,' he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue."She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.
"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but.." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
"The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the least I can do."
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.
"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.

"C'mon.....I'll take you there." Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa..
They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.
The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!"

"Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

"Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you." he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night.... all is calm, all is bright..."
"The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.
When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!"
He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.
"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.
Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.

"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"

"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.
"You came to see me in the hospital last year!"

Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope.. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!"

If you believe in miracles you will pass this on...I did!

Why Me? Uggg!

The last couple of days I've been going thru the 'why me' stage. I have been wondering why I have been blessed to have cancer and especially a rare one. Why not one that has a cure, or one where they can operate have chemo and radiation and it's gone. But no I've got one that has no cure and comes back.
It's tough to 'Oh well' this.
I've been reading again the Mitford series by Jan Karon where the main character is an Episcopalian priest. I love this series. Something that Father Tim says in the book I'm reading is, 'Like it or lump it, nothing happened to a Child of God by accident, and scripture inarguably proved that out.' Father Timothy, These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon.
So this all wasn't an accident. God knew this would happen. I feel it was to deepen my faith in God and depend on him. Which both have happened. Also to affect the lives of the people around us.
Also, a friend of ours stopped by to see us. His wife has MS and now her right arm is the only thing she can move. She is home bound in her bed. So sad for one so intelligent and active to have this happen to.
So when I think of her, my pity parties don't last long.
And my positive attitude gets back into place. :-)
I know dwelling on the negative is going to get me no where. So I read God's promises and believe that this cancer will not come back and that it will go away and stay away. It will be for the Glory of God!
I thought I would explain some of the pictures that I have on here this time.
This first is of Bobbie getting blessed this year by Pastor Kirk. Just a month or so before we put him to sleep. The 2nd one is of the bridge, I really think this depicts everyone's life journey because we don't know what the future holds. That's why we need to depend on God. The 3rd is a gift that Pastor Michelle sent me very recently of a prayer shawl. Isn't it pretty.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day after Surgery

My laser surgery went pretty well. I don't know if I would like to do it again but if it gets rid of a tumor I really don't have any choice.
We were able to take a shuttle back and forth from the hotel to Rush so that was nice.
Things seemed to go really fast.
I guess my main complaint after surgery is that my mouth was really dry and I couldn't really talk to tell them that I would like to have ice chips.
My chest hurt too but that probably was combination of me coughing and the laser surgery.
We were able to leave the same day so we missed driving in the snow and sleet. We left about 3 and got home about 4:40. I slept most of the way home that was after we got on Rt 88. Woke up outside Waterman. I also had a really bad headache when I got home so took some ibuporfen and slept for about an hour. Woke up without the headache.
I can say that I'm feel like I'm breathing better. At least I think I am. I'll have to see when I go up and down the stairs in a few days.
I did eat a popsicle last night and I'm sipping tea this morning.
The thing that hurts today is my throat and my chest and that really isn't that bad. My throat hurt worse yesterday. I've been taking ibuprofen so that helps. They gave me a prescription for pain pills but we didn't fill it. I don't think it's necessary.
Right now I'm kind of tired but that's ok.
There were some differences between Kish and Rush. When I had the bronchoscopy at Kish they numbed the back of the throat. They didn't at Rush. At least I don't think so. I was out before I got to the operating room. I was alone during recovery, they told me that would be for 45 minutes but it may have been longer. At Kish they let Buddy come back when I got back.
The one thing I remember was during recovery there was a little boy crying. I felt badly for him. They had all the beds facing the wall so you couldn't look at anyone. The little one was gone by the time I was able to sit up.
If I had to choose between the 2 I liked Kish better. I had a better experience. The people at both places were nice and compassionate but I just didn't like being separated from Buddy that long. But I probably shouldn't compare.
So that's how I am. Not really that bad. I've felt worse having bronchitus.

Have fun in the snow.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
~All Animals are God's angels, they give to us their unconditional love~.
~A dog has one aim in bestow his heart. J.R. Ackerley~

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ok, today I'm impatiently waiting on my phone call. You know the one's you get to confirm your appointment. They said that they would call to tell me what to bring and not to bring. I have looked at the website I have the list of things to bring all packed and ready to go. I just wish they would call!
There is so much riding on tomorrow. More than they have said. I feel he is going to be able to do more than just burning the tumor off/down.
At least that is my prayer. I'm also praying that he will get in and see that it's all gone! That I have no more cancer. Prayers are needed for today and tomorrow.
Today we are driving into Chicago which may be fun. :-)
Tomorrow for me and Buddy but also my parents and everyone else. Mom and Daddy are going to try to come up tomorrow if the weather is ok.
My one sister in law wants the cancer taken out and to fix me. Buddy's told her that there is only one person that can do that.
God is our healer. He can do anything exceedingly abundantly! He is omnipresent and omnipotent!
He is the one I trust and love!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rush University Hospital

We yesterday Buddy, Mom, Daddy and I went to Rush for my appointment. We were hopeful that we would get some kind of new information and hopefully surgery.
We saw quite a few doctors the first was Dr. Mohamed Farhat. We think he was a physician's assistant but he was a MD. He took looked at my medical history and asked me when all my symptoms started. Fortunately I had things all written down, Buddy suggested this which I thank him for, so I wouldn't need to talk so much.
We then saw Dr. Warren who we discovered was the surgeon. Up till this point we had never met with a surgeon. He told us that we had some options but surgery wasn't possible. But....there are some options. He told us that he could go in with a bronchoscope and burn the tumor down in the windpipe. This will not get rid of the cancer but, it would get airflow back into the right lung. They are afraid that if we don't get movement back into the right lung, secretions could build up. The right lung could get infected. I could develop pneumonia and possibly die.
He also said he may do some other things maybe not this time but another time. He doesn't know exactly what he'll find. He said the scans, CT and Pet are like an aerial view of the area.
So next Thursday,the 18th, we will be going to Rush and I'll be having my tumor burned off.
He did say that with my voice that the tumor or something was pinching the nerve to the vocal cords. He said there were things they could do to strengthen it. I won't be able to sing in the choir and it may never be the same tone. But it would help it a lot. But who knows, with God all things are possible. :-)
He was very nice, very informative and we really liked him.
We then saw Dr. Bonomi the medical oncologist. He agreed with burning the tumor. He talked of a C Kit mutation and a drug called cleevec to control the windpipe, nodules. I'm not certain about all that. I'll have to research that more.
Oh, and we saw a Dr. Kazi the psychologist. She was very nice. Asked about how I was feeling and doing with all of this. She was happy that I had a strong faith and such a strong network of support. She said not many people were as upbeat and positive as I have been at this stage of the process. She told us if we needed any help to contact her.
All 4 doctors were very nice, informative and gave very positive encouragement.
They said since I was so young being diagnosed that my prognosis is very good and that I could live a long a healthy life. The surgeon asked me what grade I taught and I said 1st and he said God bless you. Then Mom said that I was an assistant with special needs child and then he said that we need to get you back to work.
Also they all said I didn't look my age and that I couldn't have kids 28 and 24. So that helped my ego a lot. But Mom and Daddy have never looked their age either.
Please e-mail me if you would like. I love getting e-mails. I always did love getting mail. :-)
God is such a good God. He has sent us so many wonderful doctors and staff. He really is with us and he really does love all of us. This is all for his glory!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's been a month ago today that I've been diagnosed with ACC. It's been a rollercoaster ride so far, or maybe bumper cars would be a better carnival ride to describe this. But thru all of this I've depended on God for my everything. I'm still here, he's brought us wonderful doctors and people to help us. We are going to Rush today. There is a doctor who thinks he can do surgery. At first I didn't want this because I was afraid to lose my voice. Although I still don't want to lose my voice, I don't want to lose my life more. So if surgery is possible that's the route I will want to go. I'll still need to do Chemotherapy and Radiation but surgery is something else I want.
God is in control, he knows whats going on and he loves me.

I recently got an e-mail from a friend of mine who now lives in the state of Washington. I thought it was so good I would post it here too. Oh and the picture is of my littlest great nephew Jacob. Isn't he cute.

Baby's Hug ~
> We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik

> in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking.

> Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat
> baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter

> and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and
> giggled with merriment.
> I looked around and saw the source of his merri ment. It was a man
> whose pants were baggy with a zipper at hal f-mast and his toes poked

> out of would-be shoes His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed
> and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his

> nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.
> We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His
> hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there,
> big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik.
> My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?'
> Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.'
> Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the
> man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.
> Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya

> patty cake ? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.'
> Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.
> My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for

> Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row

> bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
> We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband
> went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The

> old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of

> here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to
> the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he

> might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with
> both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him,

> Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.
> Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated
> their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and
> submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The
> man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged

> hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom
> and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so
> short a time.
> I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms
> and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm
> commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.'
> Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.
> He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he
> were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you,
> ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.'
> I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I
> ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding

> Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.'
> I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a
> tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a
> soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who
> was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are

> you willing to share your son for a moment?' when He shared His for
> all eternity.
> The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the
> Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.'
> If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on.
> Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important.

> We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most
> importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the

> car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you
> at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you
> are.
> This one is a keeper.
> 'It is better to be liked for the true you, than to be loved for who

> people think you are......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Christmas is a magical time of year. It was also my Grandmother's favorite holiday. She always made Christmas Special for me. We always went Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve for that last present for either Uncle John or Bruce. Later when everyone arrived we would go to the Candle Light service. I have found out that if I don't go to this service Christmas just isn't Christmas for me. We come back eat and then open presents. In later years we made home made ice cream with Grandma's home made chocolate sauce. She made the Jesus' Birthday cake Which was a round chocolate cake with white icing. 12 red candles and evergreens that surrounded it. We would tell what each thing stood for. Chocolate cake stands for our sins, White icing is Christ's purity that covers our sins. The cake is round because a circle is never-ending. 12 candles for 12 months of the year they were red for Jesus' blood that was shed for us. Evergreens stand for everlasting life. We would lite the candles and we sang happy birthday to Jesus. The next day was Christmas and we would go to my other Grandparents and celebrate all over again. Playing out on the farm, taking walks with the aunts and cousins. Having Grandma's home made rolls and lets not forget the scalloped oysters. :-)
I've realized a long time ago it was family that made things special. I guess if I was spoiled in anyway growing up was the fact that I always saw my grandparents and aunts and uncles every week. Most of my aunts and uncles were still in school when I was a baby. So I got a lot of attention and they always made me feel special and every holiday was extra special.
Family, after God, is the most important thing to me. It's God and my family that I run to when I'm hurting. I've thanked God over and over so I want to thank my family for all their love, support and prayers.
I love you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Change in Plans

Ok I waited until today to send this because I didn't have an appointment. Yesterday I got a phone call from Dr. Bhate, the radiology oncologist. She was talking to one of her colleagues about me from Rush University Hospital and thought he might be able to do surgery on my trachea. This would mean, I think, less radiation and less chemo. Anything I've read if surgery is possible to go for it.
So next Thurs. the 11th Buddy, I, Mom and Daddy are going to Rush. I'm kind of excited and more hopeful. But if they can't operate that's ok, we'll go back to square one. I know God is here and his plan is there, I'm just going along for the ride. :-)
So pray for a beautiful day, no snow, not much traffic, good directions etc. and that God leads the doctors to where they need to go.
Love to you all,
Buddy and Dawn

~Sometimes God brings things to you because you have the strength thru him to deal with it. ~
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
~All Animals are God's angels, they give to us their unconditional love~.
~A dog has one aim in bestow his heart. J.R. Ackerley~

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Plan

We saw my oncologist today and we have a game plan. The doctor's feel that this did not originate in my salivary glands but in my trachea. It's still rare and still no cure. I'll be having chemotherapy treatments along with radiation treatments. Chemotherapy drug that he wants to try doesn't have the strong side effects like some of the others. We read some research online and he also knew that combining chemo and radiation therapy together is a good way to start. He doesn't just want to temporarily get rid of it, he wants to cure it. He also talked of proton or nutron therapy but I would need to go out of state for it and plus the money involved would be huge. So that right now that isn't really an option I want to try. I'm done with work until this is all over with. I'm becoming more and more out of breath. Just finishing making my bed yesterday I got a little bit winded, very frustrating. I'm scared to start this and anxious to get it started. It's the reality...I've been able to hide from it up till now. Now it's hitting me square in the face. I'll be depending on my faith in God more so now than ever. Depending on friends and family also. Some people have asked what they can do for me. I've just said pray, I know it seems so little but it does so much good and really prayer is the best thing for us. I will keep you all informed on what is going on.
~Sometimes God brings things to you because you have the strength thru him to deal with it. ~
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
~All Animals are God's angels, they give to us their unconditional love~.
~A dog has one aim in bestow his heart. J.R. Ackerley~