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What started out as a site to update on our daughter's cancer has thankfully grown into a site to update on our beautiful family of four. Enjoy our journey...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

celebrate * remember * fight back

prepping for surgery...

Those of you who know the Relay For Life, know about my title today. But, as we are just days away from Charli's "anniversary" those three words have meant more to me than I realized.

I have been thinking about what I would write this weekend for a long time. "It" is always on my mind, and this place really was an outlet for my feelings, fears, joys, and just life in general. But, there comes a point when I realized...maybe I should move beyond what has been the past and only focus on the future. That is when I realized, that our past will always be a part of our future. We would be fools to let it go and blindly carry on. On a different level of being a "God fearing individual", I am also a "cancer fearing individual". By saying that, I mean I respect the nature that things can come up and change so quickly. I treasure the now and realize that it may not have been, and it may not always be. I am guessing there are people reading this thinking "you can't always fear the unknown"...and I imagine those of you who have been down this path can somewhat, if not fully, understand what I am trying to say.

The past few days I have been cleaning and organizing, finding treasures for our summer Relay For Life garage sale. Today was the day for Charli's closet. I have a ton of bags, love fun bags!! And, in each of these bags is almost always the "usual" for me...hand sanitizer and suckers :-). In a bag today I found something extra, two tubes of EMLA cream. This is the cream that we used each time Charli's port was accessed. We would put the cream on her port area, cover it with press-n-seal and make our way to Omaha. I loved the made accessing her port a breeze. I have no ill feelings to EMLA, in fact I am a fan. As I pulled it out of the bag this morning though, I cried. Why did I cry?! This stuff was our friend!!!! There are always reminders, always.

To celebrate how far Charli has come, and how far we have come, we will be taking some time to celebrate on Monday. Chad and I have taken the afternoon off (if all goes well!) and we plan to do something special with Charli that afternoon. We want to celebrate the life that God so graciously gave us not only once in this lifetime...but twice with her diagnosis and successful treatment of the neuroblastoma. Last year we had a pizza party for our family to thank them for their help while Charli was in treatment. This year it is all about her!

We all remember and honor things in different ways. I tend to remember all the time. With Harper being born only one month before Charli was, it is strange to see how different things could have been with Charli when she was that age. But also, it makes me so thankful that her body was giving us those hints that we needed to get her diagnosis. I remember the Thursday that she started acting strangely, I remember telling her Aunt Amanda "she doesn't want to be crabby, I know it!". I remember the "first time mom" look from almost everyone at first and the words from some too. I remember thinking a billboard was talking to me (boy was I WRONG!!), I will always remember her St. Patricks day dress she didn't get to wear on St. Pats day, the phone calls made, posts written, tears shed, blessings received, shutting down and turning off, being hopeless but most of all hopeful. There is so much to remember...most of the memories are suppressed I think and pop up on occasion for whatever reason jars my memory.

What I also remember are people 100% believing us and pushing me to push the doctors, I remember late night hospital visitors popping in just to see her sleep and give us hugs. I remember phone calls, letters, emails, and anonymous gifts. I remember the desperate need people had to come see Charli, because they couldn't wrap their mind around the reality. I remember feeling disgust, terror, strength, passion, hope, faith, love, fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, joy, anticipation, and being just naive enough to make it through some days! I remember feeling pretty much any emotion I have ever dreamed of! And at the end of it all I still feel thankful and full of gratitude to all who were a part of it and our God for the miracle we not only expected but were chosen to receive.

I was reminded again this week that life isn't always fair, and we won't always know why things work out the way they do. But, we are not supposed we should really stop asking! At the beginning and end of everything is God -- who are we to judge. Of course sometimes it is hard not to question why something worked out the way it did, but by dwelling on it we are basically doubting His choices for us.

I remember the day in college when I decided my methodology in life would be "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you look at it. And if you can't do that, get over it!" I can even tell you where I a "Mr. Basketball" game in Kearney watching my nephew Andrew play basketball at Sunrise Elementary near my apartment! I TRY TRY TRY to remember this when things have me upset. Of course we all have our moments when we need to overreact about something before we can move on, but it is the moving on or moving forward that is important!!

We fight back, by literally fighting back! We have tried to make childhood cancer awareness and raising funds for cancer our priority. We are doing this by being active in fundraising and advocating for CureSearch, Alex's Lemonade Stand, CNCF, and the American Cancer Society to name a few. We try to reach out when a local family is down this path, and do our best to do whatever we can to help them with whatever they need. We fight back because year ago others fought back, and that is why Charli's story is as successful as it is. And, because we are fighting back, someone down the road, with a little faith, with have to fight a little less.

My challenge to you is to take a moment to figure out how you can CELEBRATE * REMEMBER * FIGHT BACK. It doesn't take one large act to make a difference, but several people making everyday/typical acts that will make all the difference in the world!!!!!!!

the face of a miracle

Charli is doing well!! She goes down for what may be her last ultrasound later this month. We trust the results will still be good, but as mentioned before we respect the situation just enough to still be scared out of our minds :-)

Thank you for following Charli and her journey in life...we wouldn't have made it to this point alone!

Sounds kind of silly to say this...but, Happy Anniversary Charli! What started as a horrible day is now a day that I know saved your life. I will forever love March 15th....


Haines said...

One thing we all know is; we are very thankful for you showing us how to "Expect Miracles" and "Live with purpose"!! We wish you luck with the ultrasound! Lots of love from west to east!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Monday is a SPECIAL day. I am so happy you're taking the afternoon off to spend some quality time with your little precious miracle. She's taught us all so much and was TRULY our inspiration over the last several months as Landon went through his cancer treatments. God brought you and I together Brenda--and we now know why. EMLA is wonderful stuff, so are ports and even Press n Seal! While I will never look at Press n Seal quite the same, I will always remember the path we took to where we are now. I trust Charli's results will be great, and I too would like to say...Happy Anniversary Charli!! We love you.
The Russell's

Anonymous said...

As the Grandmother to dear little Charli, my emotions go right along with yours...........and I must keep some of them hidden deep inside of me!! I am praying for good results on the 26th and also praying that Charli will handle the situation with ease..........she is older now and knows so much. Bless Her.....I love her!!

Natalie said...

Happy Anniversary Charli!! ( It doesn't sound silly at all Brenda!) :) You and Charli are an inspiration to so many...even those of us who havne't been affected by cancer first hand. You go right ahead feeling "scared out of your witts" when scans come up and if anyone has a problem with that, they'll have me to deal with! Thanks for being such a great friend Brenda...I'm lucky to have such a wonderful person in my life!

Vinton and Jodi Johnson said...

Brenda, You are amazing! Charli is so very lucky to have you for a mother. You are such a fighter and believer. I can only hope that I can be as strong as you are. I remember when Andrea sent me the e-mail, (I think I still have it!) I wanted to come visit and let you hit me or yell at me just so you weren't hurting. Good Luck this month on her scans and prayers coming to you!! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to Charli, Mommy, Daddy & Harper.

Deqlan said...

Thank You Lord for the miracles you have worked in Charli and for giving her parents the courage and hope to fight for others , to continue making a difference. We celebrate with you today and forever more! God Bless all our love Mark Samm Deqlan Logan

Jen said...

There are moments in life when choosing your attitude is the most essential thing! You continue to be an inspiration to so many. I can't wait to see what amazing this you will accomplish as a family with a mission!

Grma and Grmpa Preister said...

God's continued blessings always on our sweet Charli and all of you! Know that she will be bathed in prayer on her scan day. God is so good.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope."