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Families Again
Monday, 7 November 2011
Gratitude Challenge - Thanking God for My Oldest Being Cancer Free!
Mood:  happy
Topic: Blog Carnivals!

Today is a great anniversary!


No, not my wedding anniversary.


No, I'm not talking about a birthday either.


I'm talking about a real anniversary milestone.


What is it?


Today we mark 14 years of John Allen, our oldest, being cancer free!


It was 14 years ago on Halloween that John Allen was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer that almost always occurs in children under the age of two.


I remember when he was diagnosed. We, of course, were devastated. The only thing the doctor said was that it was a fast growing cancer that needed to be taken care of right away. The office made an appointment with the specialist at Vanderbilt, but we couldn't get in until the next Wednesday - five days away.




If this was a fast growing cancer we wanted to get in their right away! We didn't want to wait five days. We decided to travel to Sarah's grandparent's house to get away for the weekend to gather our thoughts. We found some old medical journals and looked up Retinoblastoma. They said that John Allen had a 25% chance that he might die! That made us even more frantic.


We began making calls to see if we could get into St. Jude's. Yes, it was further away, but what was a six hour trip compared to our baby's life?


Finally a good friend contacted us. She remembered she had a friend in college with an artificial eye. She called him up and found out that he had Retinoblastoma as a child as well. And, his parents had just moved to Nashville six weeks before. His parents wanted us to call them so we did.


Patsy was so kind. She told us to keep the appointment at Vanderbilt and she would meet us there.


The day of the appointment came. The doctor examined John Allen's eye and, we could tell, was trying to prepare us for something. We were thinking the worst. Finally she hesitantly said that she thought that it would be best if they enucleated John Allen's eye. She then waited for us to break down. Instead she got the shock of her life. We were overjoyed. Our baby wasn't going to die! She didn't know that we had read Medical Journals that were hopelessly outdated.


She must have thought we were crazy. I'm sure she doesn't get too many parents who are happy that their child is going to lose an eye. What was an eye compared to our son's life?


Patsy and her husband Lynn allowed us to stay at their house for the next four nights. Patsy came with us the next day, Thursday, for MRI's and CAT Scans and visits with the oncologist and visits with another eye specialist who would be doing the surgery. She patiently explained things that we didn't understand. After all, she had been through it all with her son. We are, to this day, so very thankful for Patsy and Lynn and their graciousness and love toward us.


Finally, John Allen's eye was removed on Friday, November 7, 1997. Fourteen years ago today. After spending the night in the hospital we were able to come home the next day. We found out later that the cancer had covered almost 90% of John Allen's eye and had started on the optic nerve. If it would have gone up the optic nerve to the brain there is nothing they could have done.



John Allen is 15 years old now. He's almost as tall as I am and has been cancer free for 14 years!


So, today for the Gratitude Challenge I want to thank God for sparing our son and healing him from cancer.


Thank you Lord, for being the great physician.

Thank you for being a loving God.

Thank you for being a God that heals.

Thank you for our son, John Allen. Amen

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Posted by tink38570 at 10:34 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 7 November 2011 10:40 PM CST
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