Keep Praying for Joel

I have had a button for a long time that says,  “Praying for Joel.”  It has blessed my heart immensely when I have come across his picture on someone else’s blog.  It can feel like a lonely journey when your child is going through brain cancer.  Joel has finished cancer treatment and it does not feel right to have his bald little head and sweet smile there anymore.  It is hard to believe but there is part of me that will miss his bald head.  Oh,  I do not miss cancer,  or cancer treatment at all but that sweet little head was MY little boys head and I loved it hair or no hair.

I have been afraid to remove the button because I don’t want people to stop praying for him.  He has come along way but he still struggles in so many areas.  Monday was a bad day for him.  I told myself,  he is just tired.  He struggled with his speech more than normally,  and he stumbled a lot.  As we left speech therapy he had a big smile on his face and was ready to grab a snack.  He stumbled and fell,  he missed the back bumper of the van by a feather,  but ended up ripping a hole in his jeans and skinning his knee very badly. Poor little guy was so happy one minute and had dissolved into tears the next.

I was right the next morning he was all smiles his speech came a little easier and he was better on his feet (fewer wipe outs).  He was just tired on Monday,  but the speech issues and stumbling are also signs of a tumor.  I knew he was tired,  my gut said, “He’s tired.”  Yet there was still the smallest nagging feeling that said,  “What if…?”  We pray that we will never go there.  We have been told that the chances of recurrence are low but if Joel were to have a recurrence there is very little that can be done.  I want people to keep praying for Joel that the cancer would never come back.

He is learning to run again and when he picks up speed he usually wipes out.  He can not climb trees yet,  like he use to,  but he is climbing stairs.  He will need surgery on his one eye.  He has cognitive issues.  He is learning to write with his left hand as he still does not have complete control over the right hand.  His speech is still a huge issue,  he has to search for words and sometimes it can be very exhausting for him and the person listening.   I don’t want people to stop praying for healing in his brain, in his eye,  for his balance to return, for his gait to improve,  for his speech to become fluid,  and his right arm to strengthen and control to return.

We have been warned about all kinds of side effects.  “Joel is at risk for heart disease,  lung disease,  kidney issues,  he most likely will not be able to have children.  He most likely will not be as tall as his peers, have as high an IQ as his peers.  He will be at risk for other cancers…”  The list goes on and on.  The list is so long because his whole brain,  as well as,  his spine were radiated, many of his internal organs were hit with exit rays.  The brain controls growth hormones and cognitive processing etc.  all things that can be effected.  And we have not even talked about the side effects of chemo.  I don’t want people to stop praying for Joel, that he would be free from the long list of potential side effects.  I want him to grow up and be able to get a job,  get married,  and be a Daddy.

I know those things are far off but I still pray for them.  So while I felt it was time to move forward,  I am still asking you to pray for Joel.

Could you keep praying for Joel?

I have had a hard time getting a decent picture of Joel if you ask him to smile this is what you get,

I told him he looks like he is in pain.  I have to snap pictures of him at just the right moment when he is genuinely happy.  I made two Keep Praying for Joel buttons and was hoping you would all be willing to tell me which one you like best.  I would be so touched if you added a button to your blog.   With out any further adieu…

You can see them in the right margin and whichever one I decide to go with if you pick the other one and put it on your blog it will still work. Thanks everyone!

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