Update 8/10/15

   So I should really apologize to all of you out there who do not have Facebook but follow our blog. I haven’t been great at updating the blog after we are done with scans and other appointments and I should be. So my new goal is to really try and be on top of that!
   The last update I put on here was asking for a prayer request for Collin’s upcoming scans. In case you haven’t heard, his last scans in June were clear for which we are grateful. The MRI he had not only scanned for tumor but also was used to check the status of the iron storage in his body. The results from that MRI were again inconclusive. He continues to fall in a range where his numbers are higher than normal, but not showing significant enough for them to intervene, based on protocol. However, we were referred at this appointment to a hematologist who will closely monitor this from now on. This appointment will take place next Monday, August 17th as well as his yearly hearing check- hoping and praying that this has continued to stay unchanged and has not gotten worse. The last time we had appointments we also had a consult with an endocrinologist because Collin’s thyroid numbers at his yearly appointment were high, so they have been added to our list of doctors as well. I am thankful to report though that his blood work from those appointments showed his thyroid was back in range, so I’m praying that this will continue.
   We also found out at his last appointment that this upcoming scan in September will be his last 3 month scan (assuming and praying that they see nothing) and then he will be going to 6 month scans. This is a few months earlier than we expected, but she explained that protocol has changed and the new guidelines say that if there is no sign of disease that the scanning can start being spread out more starting at 1.5 years post treatment. It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been done that long, yet it seems like a lifetime ago and praying that continues.
   In other exciting news, we added another member of our family on July 22nd. Not quite as soon as mom was expecting, but thankful for her safe arrival. Emilyn Christine Anderson was born at 1:09 p.m. and weighted 7 lbs 15 oz and was 21 inches long. I will say that her pictures are a bit deceiving because she looks rather chubby but she’s pretty long and lean! Her brothers are very much in love and love showing her off to people (especially Cooper). Now that she’s here we are making up for time lost this summer and just got back from a 5 day stay at Grandpa and Grandma Rhatigan’s where the boys got to do lots of swimming and other fun adventures, and Collin has already started his next adventure at Grandpa and Grandma Anderson’s where the rest of us will be joining soon. The boys are thrilled they finally get to go places and not be stuck at home (which they really weren’t stuck as we still tried to do stuff with them-just couldn’t travel.)
   In a few weeks Collin will be starting 2nd grade and Cooper will be starting 1/2 days in 4 year old Kindergarten. I think they are both really looking forward to it, Coop especially- he assures me that even if I cry and miss him, he will still be coming home. :)
   So that is about it for news on our end. Utterly grateful for the blessings we have received with the new birth of our baby and Collin’s continued health. We continue to thank God for His answers to prayer and continue to pray for the future. Thank you again for all those who continue to think of us and pray- to say we are grateful isn’t even a strong enough word!

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Thankful for….
* Emilyn’s safe arrival and the help we were given in taking care of our other kids and stuff around the house.
* Collin’s clear scans and positive tests results for other issues.
* Browyn and Cheyenne’s continued health!
* All four of our kids being able to meet each other and be together. There were so many times we didn’t even dare to hope this was possible and we are so thankful for it.

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Please pray….
* For Collin’s upcoming scans and tests- that they would continue to be clear of cancer and clear of other issues. He is currently being followed and seen by: oncology, hematology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, audiology, and GI as well as his regular pediatrician.
* For Browyn’s continued healing- that she may be well enough soon for her port to come out!
* For the families who do are not able to have all their children together, who will not be sending their kids to school this year, and who everyday live with an empty place in their heart that was once filled with their child. It is impossible for me to be thankful for our blessings without remembering these families who know lose that I cannot even begin to imagine and hope and pray I never have to.
* That the journey that Collin, Browyn, and Cheyenne have been on and continue to travel will be used to show people the power of God and would either prove Him to those who doubt His existence or would bring all of us closer to God. I know in my heart that these kids did not go through all of this for no reason, that God has a great plan! I pray for myself that my life will continue to be changed because of this- I don’t want time away from the hospital to cause me to forget or take for granted all of the blessings we have and all the things I learned because of all of this (and continue to learn).

A Few Prayer Requests

Okay those of you prayer warriors out there…. a few things to pray for.
1. Collin has scans on Thursday to check for cancer (hopefully there is none) and for iron overload in his organs. It’s his 15 month follow-up scan.
2. Dick Bruley, a man from my church (where I grew up), had heart surgery on Tuesday last week. He was set to go home last Friday and he had a sudden complication. They took him back into surgery where there were some complications. He is currently in CCU and is undergoing a number of tests. He is comfortable, but not responding yet. Keep him and is family in your prayers please.
3. Browyn is still in the hospital (at least in my last chat with her mom) and is doing better but needs to make progress with some things before going home. Please continue to pray for her healing.
4. Our friend John also had a heart procedure last week after they discovered blockage. It went well and he is home and we are thankful for them finding it and getting it taken care of. Please pray for his full recovery and strength.
Thank you to all those who continue to pray. I can’t even begin to express how thankful we are for these! Amanda

 

5/27/15

   Just a brief update to let you all know what has been going on lately and what is coming up. We are about 2 weeks from Collin finishing a whole school year- which is such a huge blessing! We are also 2 weeks from Collin’s 15 month scans and tests. This time instead of having a CT Collin will be having an MRI (but one with a really complex name). This MRI is killing two birds with one stone- it is checking for tumor growth (which hopefully they continue to see nothing) and it is also checking his liver for iron. As you may remember from a past post, one of the things they monitor with kids who are post-treatment is iron overload. It is where your body’s main organs store iron that was accumulated due to the number of transfusions that the kids need to survive. The last time they did this test 6 months ago, Collin’s heart was good but his liver numbers were in a gray area- which they explained to me doesn’t mean anything concrete. So they are retesting him again to see what it looks like. Hopefully his iron levels are okay and the things we have been doing naturally are helping.
       We also have a new appointment with an endocrine specialist. This is because during Collin’s last round of blood work it showed that his thyroid is working twice as hard as it should be to keep up. Our oncologist said this is “expected” for cancer kids because she said that treatment basically destroys their thyroid. So we will have these tests run again and see where they are at- they say it is likely he will need to be put on thyroid meds but I have been doing some natural things to see if we can get it under control while he still has thyroid function. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but I figured it was worth a try while his thyroid is still working.
      He also has another eye appointment coming up to check on the progress of his pupils. Which I can tell just by looking at them that they haven’t progressed much if at at all. He still has one that is not dilated normally and when they looked at them last time they said that one was worse but both were still sluggish. So not entirely sure this problem will ever resolve itself. They say it’s not too much of an issue as long as it’s not affecting his vision and he isn’t getting bad headaches. We do have to be careful about light though.
       His bowels are still really challenging. He has made huge strides in some areas and these strides have led to issues in other areas. So I have a feeling this will be a big topic of discussion at this appointment again. So please continue to pray that things improve in this area.
      As for the last few months we’ve just spent a lot of time doing “normal” stuff. It’s been wonderful. Collin is doing really well in school which is pretty incredible since he missed so much- for which I am grateful! He has also made strides socially and now has a core group of friends he plays with at school which was another one of my worries that is now dispelled. He has earned his green belt in Tae Kwon do and the thing that I most appreciate is how much he has physically grown because of doing this. He is so much stronger than he was when he started and it’s amazing to see how far he has come. As a family we started using Young Living Essential oils and have really been loving it. Using the oils has made a huge difference for the boys sleep especially. We have noticed a significant change and are so thankful for this- it is now a rare occurrence for them to be up during the night! We are also expecting the newest member of our family at the end of July (although this mama thinks she’s making an appearance earlier than that). The boys are very anxiously awaiting her arrival and I’m sure she will be VERY loved (in fact I think I might have to schedule holding times as they all are very serious baby holders). We also just got done celebrating Cooper’s 4th birthday and in a week will get to celebrate Collin’s 7th birthday. SO much to be thankful for! Some other highlights from the past few months that you’ll see in pictures is us getting to help my mom celebrate her 60th birthday, spending Easter in Blue River with Grandpa and Grandma Anderson, Collin getting to be a super hero for one of the Make-A-Wish fundraisers, and celebrating the boys birthday with some of their family (including their beloved Cindy, her family, and Owen- Collin’s best friend from daycare).
       Not much else to write for now but just wanted to write a quick update so everyone knows where we are and how things have been going, as well as let you know that we value your prayers heading into this next round of scans. We have nothing that has caused us to be concerned this round, but the fears are always there. Thankfully though we have a God who still has power to do above all that we ask or think- so trusting in that as we go into another round of tests. The hard part this time is that we have to wait a week between Collin’s scans and his appointment so I’m hoping our oncologist takes pity on me and lets us know before our appointment what the scans looked like so we don’t have to wait that long. Thank you to all who continue to think of us and pray for us. Your prayers will never cease to be valuable to us and we are so grateful for them. :)
Thankful for…
* A faithful God who continues to hear and answer prayers. Who guides us and helps us even when we are hard-headed and tough-hearted. A God who supplies all of our need and has led and guide us through each step of all of this.
*Another year of birthday’s with our wonderful kids! To be able to celebrate each one is not something we take for granted.
* Things being “normal”. Spending time together, laughing, playing, and even not getting along- each thing is a blessing.
* The ability to travel and spend time with family and friends. Something we weren’t able to do too much of for a long time.
* A healthy pregnancy and baby thus far.
* The continued prayers of so many. We crave them and are so thankful for them!
 
Please pray…
* That these upcoming scans would show no signs of cancer and continued signs of the power of God.
* That the MRI, bloodwork, and appointments would go well and that Collin would have the strength to get through each one.
* For strength and peace for us as we wait for results.
* That the birth of this baby would be smooth and healthy and that God would help this mama to focus on Him and not the anxieties that could plague me ahead. (For those of you that don’t know, this pregnancy has made some anxieties very obvious that I didn’t even know existed. In fact, I would say it borders on PTSD.) Being pregnant really brings back a lot of memories of when Collin was diagnosed and each step of this process brings out fears I didn’t know I had.
* For the families of those children who are no longer with us.
* For continued healing for Browyn. That she would continue to make strides in her recovery and be able to at some point eat normally again and not have to have any use for her CVL. :)
* For Collin’s bowels, hearing, eyes, and thyroid (and any other things that may arise.) I say this because so far every time we have had an appointment something “new” has manifested itself as a result of treatment. I can’t complain because I will take these things over what he was being treated for, but it is still something that we would love prayer for.

 

Update 3/11/15

So today we had another huge answer to prayers: clear 1 year scans! Even after some leg pain and much anxiety on mom and dad’s part, they were clear! Praise God! He also had a pulmonary lung function test, an EKG, and an echo which were all great! Some things to watch in his blood work with side effects from treatment, but no signs of cancer!  So much relief and thankfulness that there is no possible way to put it into words. And for those of you that don’t know of our other news we are adding another excitement to our family in July. We found out last week that we have another healthy child thus far and God has chosen to change things up because this time it’s a GIRL. So thankful for these healthy kids- this is so not taken for granted! Will write more later, but wanted to share the good news now for those of you who have been thinking about us and praying. Thank you again for your continued prayers for us that are appreciated more than we can ever express.

One Week

I know so many of your are praying and thinking of us all the time, but for those of you that pray specifically I just wanted to let you know that Collin has his one year scans coming up on March 10th and our appointment with the oncologist is on the 11th. It will be a very full day on the 10th because he has his normal CT and bloodwork but also an EKG, echo and pulmonary function test. We are hoping and praying for good tests. One year off treatment is a big milestone in the cancer world, but as his parents each clear scan, each hug, each laugh with his brothers, and each one of these moments is a milestone for us and ones we are grateful for. Thank you again to all who continue to think about us and pray for us. Will try to update all of you as soon as we have some test results back.  Amanda

p.s. Collin had an audiology appointment this week and his hearing has remained unchanged for which we are thankful as well. No more hearing loss is a great thing. :)


Help

On March 23rd of this year, Collin will be one year post treatment for Stage IV Neuroblastoma. We are grateful beyond words to God and all who have supported us through this time for where we are at right now. In honor of celebrating one year post treatment and hopefully and prayerfully one year of clear scans (those are coming up in a few weeks), we would like to give back. We are not quite sure of the specifics yet (sort of depends on how much we are able to raise) but we are looking to directly impact with the Hot Unit or the families on it. As soon as we know more specifics- we will post. Please consider supporting celebrating with us and donating with us to give back for all the blessings we’ve been given.

 

p.s. For those of you continuing to pray we have scans coming up in March. They are not sure of the dates yet as they are moving to a new clinic and the doctors schedules are changing, but they are thinking the third week in March. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!