Lucky Number Seven

Hello everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated Noah’s blog, approximately 7 months. Oops. I guess it’s because Noah has been doing really well so there hasn’t been much to share about this guy! We had an uneventful fall and winter for the most part. Noah wrapped up another running season in October with mom and enjoyed the winter relaxing at home with mom, dad, Kaycee, and Griffin (Kaycee’s boyfriend). Noah cleaned up at Christmas (not like a rehab sort of thing, but from gifts) and got a million cool new toys and the most presents under the tree. The new year started smoothly and we all endured a cold winter, but we survived!

In March, Noah got a nasty stomach virus that rocked his world for about 2 weeks. He made a few trips to the ER and spent 2 days in the hospital, but he finally kicked the infection! Thank goodness for Noah’s friend, Cassie, who helped him out in the ER and got him the treatment he needed quickly! Noah’s fortunate to not get terribly sick often, so we don’t spend a lot of time in hospitals. There are some new policy changes that are a little annoying, but we can understand why they need to happen. (Side rant) Noah was in the ER one night for several hours before he was finally admitted, but then they had to test him for CDiff and MRSA before he could be transferred to a room. Why is it not protocol to just test for those things in the ER when you arrive? It takes a few minutes to test and then around an hour to process. Noah was in the ER for at least 3 additional hours while they waited for these tests to come back before he could be admitted. It was very frustrating for everyone. (End rant)

I digress. Now let’s get to the real reason for my post today: It’s been 7 years since Noah was diagnosed with the dreaded c-word (no, not that word): Cancer. Ugh. It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years. A lot has changed in that time: Noah graduated from high school, he aged out of high school, I graduated from college and grad school, and now we go to work every day. (Well, we call DSC work for Noah, but we all know he doesn’t do anything but play Yahtzee all day!) But seriously, 7 years. There are days it feels like it just happened yesterday, and then there are days it feels like it was a lifetime ago. I’m always so proud of Noah for facing this adversity with a positive attitude and that has helped our family keep our strength and humor through this process. Our motto has always been to laugh instead of cry. That’s working so far! On Friday, we will mark the 7th anniversary of Noah’s surgery that removed his testicle, and it’s nasty cancerous tumors. We have a picture of his tumorous testicle that my mom brings out every so often. It’s one of those funny things we do that no one else finds as funny as we do. I wonder why?! Either way, we get to celebrate Noah being a cancer survivor and still being cancer free!

Way to go Noah! Still going strong after 7 years! IMG_6920 IMG_6971 IMG_6992 IMG_6993

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The Honest Truth About Cancer and Noah

It’s been months since my last update. (Sorry) Summer flew by, as always, and Noah had a smooth transition back to the school year schedule. Noah spent the rest of his summer enjoying one-on-one time with all of the family members while we took trips. Noah doesn’t travel easily, and often doesn’t care to travel, so we take turns going places. In July I traveled to St. Louis with my mom, then went to Denver with my dad. In August, mom and dad went to San Diego, which meant party-time for Noah and I! It’s actually really nice to have that time just the two of us, to hang out and do whatever we want! Now we’re back in the swing of things. It’s been hectic for all of us getting back into the school year, but it’s starting to improve!

Time to get serious, however. I want to have an honest conversation about Noah’s health, and the real thoughts we have as his family. Tonight our family, and community, learned that a beloved local news anchor (Dave Benton), who has been battling brain cancer, has received news that his cancer is back and is untreatable. His doctors have given him a few months and he’s trying some experimental medications to prolong his life. He’s hoping to get a few more days with family and friends. It’s a constant thought for anyone with cancer, that even when you’re in remission, it’s still there and will likely return. We always hope and pray that life will be kind, but eventually the unthinkable happens.

It’s also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I’m reading stories almost daily of children who have battled cancer, including many young friends of mine. These stories remind me that no one is safe; no one is immune to cancer.

Now, let me clarify, Noah is currently healthy. As I wrote about in my last post from July, Noah’s scans are clear and it appears that his cancer is not growing at this time. But we know that it will eventually rear its ugly head again and we will be faced with many difficult decisions. But here’s what I want people to know: We often feel incredibly guilty that Noah’s cancer journey has been so easy in comparison to others. Noah’s cancer was discovered by my parents, diagnosed, and the tumors removed within a week. And then that was it. Sure we had frequent CT scans and blood work, but that’s relatively easy to do. Noah never went through chemo or radiation treatments, his hospital stay post-surgery was 1 day, and we never had days where he was sick and unable to live happily. Everything went according to plan. I look at our family and friends who have fought the hard battle, and watched them struggle through treatments and good news followed by bad news. I’ve seen and listened to my uncle have more bad days than good. My great aunt hide the pain with eternal optimism and faith in God. Our family often talks about feeling so incredibly lucky that Noah hasn’t been through this struggle, considering he’s battled an unknown disease his whole life, but that feeling of guilt is always there. When I see family members of our friends who have passed away, and I share how well Noah is doing, I can’t help but feel that they are mad or jealous that Noah is still alive and healthy. That we experienced all these negative things, but Noah survived. I think, or at least I hope, they are happy that Noah is doing well, but I don’t know for sure. Anytime I hear news of cancer inhabiting another’s life, I’m saddened that another person will have to endure this journey, with the possibility of losing the battle too early. We try to be positive as a family, to not take life for granted, and embrace every day as a day for opportunities to love one another. It’s a hard thing to do, but I know no other way to live.

I can’t end this post without acknowledging the anniversary of 9/11/01. A day that changed our lives so abruptly and one that is never far from my mind. I’ve always been extremely patriotic, and my love for the USA only grew that day as our country united. Never Forget.

No post is complete without Noah pics, including some adorable Throwback Thursday pics of a little Noah! 🙂

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A Cancer-Free Summer

It’s summertime and we’ve received some excellent, amazing, wonderful news! Noah had his annual CT scan to check for any cancer growth. The scans did not show any growth, which means Noah is still CANCER FREE! Of course, since we were unable to do any treatment, the cancer is there, it just isn’t growing right now. But hey, we’ll take this kind of news!

Other than his doctor appointment, Noah has been busy working at DSC three days a week and enjoying fun-filled 4-day weekends! Noah participated in Champaign’s Relay For Life a few weeks ago. It was an absolutely beautiful day and Noah got to celebrate 6 years of being a survivor! Noah has enjoyed going for walks, swimming, and playing with the dogs to occupy his time! And he’s been in full-on shredding mode too, ripping through several phone books, catalogs, magazines, and newspapers.

As for the rest of the summer, Noah will continue on the summer work schedule, spend time with his favorite sitter, and enjoy alone time with mom, dad, and me! We’ll finish up the summer with a 5k run!

Happy Birthday Noah!

Yesterday we celebrated Noah’s Golden Birthday! He turned 24 and what an awesome day it was! Not only was the weather absolutely beautiful, so was the company we got to spend the day with! We invited friends and family over for an evening of treats and laughter! It was such a great night full of love and celebration for another year we have been blessed with Noah!

We always treat Noah’s birthdays as major milestones. When Noah was about 9 years old, the team of doctors he was seeing didn’t think he would live to see his 10th birthday. Noah’s health is full of questions without answers and the team believed he would get pneumonia (due to fluid in the lungs) and he’d never be able to recover. Initially we were devastated (as anyone would be) and lived in fear for a year thinking that Noah would die at anytime. After we celebrated Noah’s 10th birthday, and then his 11th birthday, we stopped thinking he was going to die any day now, and instead started to enjoy and celebrate his life. We always make Noah’s birthday a big ordeal! We’ve been blessed these last few years especially as Noah has reached some major milestones including his 18th birthday, his 20th (left his teens behind), 21st (LEGAL!), 22nd (officially aged out of high school), and now his 24th (Golden!)!

I am always amazed by the love Noah receives on a regular basis, but especially on his birthday. As Noah has gotten older, the amount of friends he hangs out with has diminished. It’s just so special to see the outpouring of love on his birthday from so many people. I love it! 🙂

And of course, some pictures from his golden day!

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The aftermath!

 

 

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Opening presents!

Running to the Birthday!

Good afternoon! It’s a beautiful day today and we’ve been waiting all week for it! We had a rainy, cold week that left Noah and the rest of us unable to do a lot of activities outside of the house. Fortunately, last weekend was lovely and we enjoyed it by running a 5k. We participated in the Not Your Average Joe 5k in Urbana. It was a pretty, nice course and a fun event! The cool part is that Jan Seely, the race director of the Illinois Marathon, is also a director for this race. She was cheering Noah (and my mom and I) on during the race and had everyone cheering Team Noah to the finish! Noah definitely had a giant smile on his face!

In other fun and exciting race news, I was featured in this month’s Big Ten 10k newsletter for Team Noah! All of the email subscribers received a short story and picture about Team Noah! It was very cool!

We won’t be racing for a few weeks because next weekend is Noah’s birthday! The golden birthday is less than a week away! We are looking forward to celebrating with Noah’s friends and family! Here are some fun pictures from the past few weeks! Image

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Illinois Marathon

Over the weekend, we completed another fun weekend of racing at the Illinois Marathon! This is Noah’s 4th year participating in the 5k. Noah really enjoys doing 5k races, but once we’re done running, he’s done! When Noah’s being pushed in his chair during the races, it’s a brief moment of freedom for him. It’s a chance to be “normal” like his peers. We continue to race for Noah to give him those opportunities!

A few years ago, my mom learned about a father/son pair who race called Team Hoyt. They are an inspiration to our whole family because the Hoyt’s proved to us that a wheelchair can’t stop you from racing! Dick and Rick Hoyt have competed in marathons, triathlons, and several other races. Rick has CP and told his dad how much fun racing was for him, so Dick decided to fulfill his son’s wishes and keep racing! They’ve completed several Boston marathons, and this year was Team Hoyt’s final Boston together. Dick is retiring from racing, but Rick will continue to be pushed by other racing friends! They created a video last year before Boston to share their story. I love this video because it combines my love of racing and communication devices. I hope Team Hoyt (and Team Noah) inspire you! http://www.dsg.com/media/team-hoyt

And no post would be complete without some photos! Here are some race pics! The before and after of Noah’s 5k experience and all of Team Noah racing this year!

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