Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2014

I’ve been talking about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month every September since Landon was diagnosed in 2008. This is our 6th CCAM.

And amazing things are happening.

The word is getting out that this is important. People are noticing and paying attention. Maybe they always have been, but I haven’t really noticed it until today.

Today I was tagged in a Facebook post by a friend. I figured one of my kiddos were in a picture and they tagged me so I’d see it. Instead it was a video on another woman’s page, a stranger to me. I didn’t have the opportunity to watch the video at that time and I wondered what that was all about. Strange.

In the meantime, I was tagged in another friend’s picture. Two taggings in one day is very strange for me. My friend Lori had posted a picture of herself with her face covered in whipped cream! She participated in a challenge called Whipping Childhood Cancer 46/7. Why 46/7? Because 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer every single day and 7 more die. Every day. From cancer. I think the 46/7 notation is genius.

Anyway, later I was able to finally watch the video that had been bugging me for hours. In it, Heather, a lady I had never met, was talking about having shaved her head for St. Baldrick’s. I don’t know a single person who has done this so this fascinated me. This is a woman about my age who voluntarily shaved her head to raise money and awareness for children with cancer. Whoa. That’s big.

Not only was she talking about when she shaved her head, but another lady Audrey is planning to shave hers here in town this month! Pediatric Cancer Awareness in my little town? That’s bonkers! Small town that it is, Audrey’s son and Landon are friends!

I usually get down in September. I start seeing the Breast Cancer Awareness pink ribbons everywhere and actually have the nerve to be resentful of their successful awareness and fundraising campaign. I know that’s wrong; that the light of one candle can never dim another. And yet I still want to scream for them to wait their turn and focus on the kids this month. I know, cancer doesn’t wait for a specific month to hurt people. Landon was diagnosed in August; didn’t his cancer know that Childhood Cancer Awareness isn’t supposed to start until September?

This year, though, I’ve had a different attitude. I’ve done my little social media postings and just been happy to be heard. Every little thumbs up or Like on Facebook or Instagram has been like a little validation that my lone whispers in the dark have been heard. And now I’m seeing these women shout from the hilltops and I am so humbled and inspired.

We sometimes almost forget what Landon has been through. As much as it bugs my mom, I’m going to tell you my analogy for how we feel about Landon’s battle.

Remember when we were all into Harry Potter? We read the books, saw the movies, wore the tshirts, and bought wands for our kids. The whole world was talking about Harry Potter! But it wasn’t real. It didn’t really happen to us. And it’s over. That’s how I sometimes feel about Landon’s illness. It wasn’t real; it didn’t really happen to him; we were just really involved in a work of fiction.

Until Childhood Cancer really is just fiction, though, I am grateful for people who are making a stand for children like mine, the 46 that were diagnosed today, the 46 that will be diagnosed tomorrow, and all the rest of them.

I know that y’all don’t come here to read what I’m thinking about today. I know y’all want to hear updates on Landon.

He is awesome.

Landon is in fifth grade this year, making great grades and amazing friends. I’ve updated the pictures page so you can see how much he’s grown. You won’t believe it!

His health is an amazing blessing. We often say that Landon’s only long-term side effect of his treatment is that he is utterly spoiled, but all of our children are. Who can blame us?

This year he played baseball again after taking a hiatus. He joined 4H and raised his first pigs! Right now he has a steer named Sloppy Joe and Landon gets up to take care of him every single day.

His goals and dreams for the future change often, but usually flip back and forth between oncologist and priest. I can’t complain about either of those goals, can I? He does always say he wants to be one thing when he grows up, though: happy. I think that’s an awesome goal.

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Welcome Back!

We’re baaaccckkk!  No! Not the cancer!  Just “us” as in Landon & Family, back on the job of giving people a first-hand account of everything that we have experienced because of the Leukemia.

It’s Nurses’ Appreciation Week and Landon happened to have an appointment to see Dr. Morad for his quarterly counts check.  Now that he doesn’t have a MediPort (that’s another story, isn’t it?), the blood is drawn from his arm.  His counts were perfect, as they have been for years now.  We are grateful, as we will eternally be.

During Landon’s appointment, Dr. Mo told us about another family with a 2-year-old son freshly diagnosed with ALL. This sweetheart’s daddy was asking about the future, what his son would be like 5 years from now. The doctor asked if he could take a video interview of Landon.  Of course we agreed and Landon went on to tell the camera that he was diagnosed five years ago and has been finished with treatment for 18 months.  He also said that he remembers the sticks and pokes from the office (blood draws) but that he doesn’t remember the bone marrow aspirations and spinal taps because he took “medicine naps” during them. We hoped that this video would bring this family comfort, seeing how happy and healthy Landon is, how comfortable he is with the medical terms and procedures.

After our appointment, we rode the elevator down with Dr. Morad and continued to talk. As we were parting ways, a young man walked up to shake his hand. He said his wife and son were taking a nap at the hospital and he was just walking over to check out the office.  Just so happens, this was the daddy Landon made the video for. We were able to talk to him, share our contact information, and tell him that we will be praying for his son to have an outcome as awesome as Landon’s.

This is not the first time that we’ve come across these families. My dad sat next to a stranger at a race in Texas and found out that her best friend’s grandson was just diagnosed with ALL. We were able to share with her.

I felt it upon my heart to restart this blog, to do some updating and restore the LandonUpdates.com domain name. I will update the Monthly Pictures tab at the top of the page with most of the months since I stopped.  That was in 2009! Can you believe how long ago that was? I can’t wait to show you how much my baby has grown and grown up!

Take Care,

Dana

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Howdy to Our New Friends

First of all, Landon is doing wonderfully.  He will finish his treatments up on November 11, in less than 2 weeks!  He is healthy and has been without setbacks for a very long time.  <Knocks on wood>

We have, however, been making new friends.  We have been meeting new families just about monthly.  While this sounds like a wonderful thing, making new friends and all, it is not.

These families are like ours:  completely devastated because one of their babies has this horrible disease.

I feel so blessed to be able to meet these sweet babies and their parents.  I love feeling like I’m helping, in some small way, to ease their fears.  I cannot cure their baby and make it all better, but I like the idea of showing them that there is life after diagnosis and reminding them that they were chosen for this path.

God has chosen to entrust this family and these parents with this incredible responsibility because He knows they can handle it.

We were picked for this journey because we have everything we need to succeed.  We have the support systems in place, the backgrounds and histories that give us uncommon skills.

So to you, mommies and daddies of sick babies, I say this:  trust in yourself as much as God does.  Take it day by day, hour by hour if necessary.  YOU are your child’s primary care-taker.  Trust your gut, take good notes, and pay attention.

Now go love on your babies, the sick and the well.  Love on them all!

~Dana

A Healthy 7-Year-Old Landon at Cub Scouts

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Relay for Life

Relay for Life is an annual fundraising activity for the American Cancer Society.  Every year, teams of volunteers walk around a track all night and compete to raise money for ACS.

Each year, Relay begins with a Survivor’s Lap.  Remember Landon’s first one?  This year, he was a little bigger and a little stronger.

Relay Racer

After the Survivor’s Lap is a Caregiver’s Lap where those of us who took care of survivors walk with them.  This year, however, Landon did not want to do that.  He was ready to play on the inflatables.

Sliding

We then got to meet a local celebrity:  Harry Coleman.  He played football at LSU and just signed on with the New Orleans Saints.

LSU Saints Harry Coleman & Landon

We played and played until it rained us out!  And, as usual, Lan Man was the center of attention.

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Look What Happens to Six-Year-Olds!

First Missing Tooth!

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Six Years Old

Landon turned six years old yesterday and we have been celebrating all week!  We had a party here at home on Saturday with an inflatable obstacle course and marshmallow guns.  I’m not sure who enjoyed the guns more:  the kids or the adults. 

Today, Landon had to go to the hospital for a Spinal Tap.  He was treated like a celebrity and everyone celebrated!

Everyone wore party hats:

Miss Janie & Landon (with the $1 he got from a stranger who saw it was his birthday!)

His room was ready:

Making a cake with Miss Janie:

Switched Hats!

Dr Morad and Dr Meyers

He's asleep. Nurse Linda is rolling him over for the procedure.

I love this picture. Dr Morad is getting ready to perform Landon's procedure in his party hat. Landon is out and doesn't even know. Dr Morad is so special to us.

Coloring the icing

He wanted a rainbow cake. These are some bright colors!

Icing the Cake

The Finished Product!

The Nurses Came for a Party!

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A Fish Story

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