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The C Word, Part 1

February 6, 2011

First on caringbridge, and then at Brock Rocks, I’ve given updates about Brock’s health, starting just days after his diagnosis.  And while I gave a short description here of how we knew something was wrong, I’ve never really told the whole story.  The real story.  The moments that only Jay and I and countless other parents of children with cancer have lived.  So, inspired by Mique and her “The A Word” Series, I’m going to do just that.

Brock was diagnosed with Leukemia on October 7, 2009.  The the story of what God was doing to prepare us for that started more than a year earlier, before Brock was even born.

I’ve never been a feeling kind of person.  You know those people – they take a different route to work because they have a feeling they shouldn’t drive their normal path.  Or how Phoebe warns Rachel to get off the plane because she has a feeling there’s something wrong with the left phalange.

Well, that’s never been me.  I’m the logical thinker.  The math teacher.  The member of our family who relies on facts and evidence to make decisions.  But the entire time I was pregnant with Brock I had a feeling something wasn’t right. 

In the beginning I worried that I’d have a miscarriage.  And when I passed that staged I worried that I’d go into pre-term labor.  And as I neared the end of the pregnancy I started to worry that he’d be born with Downs Syndrome.  And when I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful boy on October 25, 2008 I breathed a sigh of relief. 

Until we brought him home and I started worrying about SIDS.  I just had a feeling that something about this baby wasn’t going to be the picture perfect dream that I had envisioned.  When I would say prayers with 2 year old Jaycie at night I would end every prayer with “Father, please keep us all healthy and safe.”  It wasn’t a trite saying just to end a prayer and it honestly wasn’t something I had prayed much before.  But I had a feeling that we weren’t all going to be healthy and safe.

Every time I was overcome with worry I would cry out to the Father.  The one who had created us and promised to take care of us.  And through that God taught me that these children I was raising weren’t really mine.  They were His, and I’d only been entrusted with them for a short while.  When they’re not yours to begin with, it’s much easier to let go of them.  A nice theory that eased my mind, but one that I was about to be forced to put into practice.

We were sitting in my bed on a Wednesday night.  Jay, Brock, and I.  I’d just finished nursing my-almost-1-year-old-but-still-a-baby and sat him up on my lap.

“Jay?  What’s this bump on the back of his head?  Have you felt this?”

“Yeah, I noticed it yesterday but didn’t think it was big deal….”

{to be continued}

To read Part 2 click here.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:23 pm

    Oh girl, don’t leave me hanging! Love you.

  2. melissa permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:23 pm

    That pic of new-baby-Brock is and always will be one of my all time favorites.

  3. Rachel Kolb permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:34 pm

    LOVE it! I wanted to keep reading more! I can’t wait for the next segment, who knows could someday be on Kindle! Oh, and you are beautiful, pregnant, not pregnant, BEAUTIFUL, inside and out!

  4. February 6, 2011 10:34 pm

    Oh my goodness- I am sooooo moved by this. First that you were inspired (by little ol’ me???) to write about it. Second that you wrote so beautifully. And third at your faith in Him. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will be right here with you as you share. xoxoxo, Mique

  5. Susie permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:43 pm

    I didn’t know about this blog – so glad to find it! I remember when Brock was first diagnosed. Thanks for sharing a different perspective — can’t wait to read more. 🙂

    • February 6, 2011 10:49 pm

      Thanks Susie. I can’t think about that time with Brock without also remembering your sweet Anne Marie.

  6. Barbara Whipple permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:45 pm


  7. February 6, 2011 11:19 pm

    Oh my, I am so touched by your story! I love to hear that you kept it strong through your faith in God, and can’t wait for you to share more.

  8. February 6, 2011 11:40 pm

    You know in the Old Testament, when God would do something big with his people, they would build a monument. Something to show that “God did something really important here.” Writing out Brock’s story IS your monument because we serve a BIG God who did and is still doing BIG things in your lives. Looking forward to reading about your journey. 🙂

  9. February 6, 2011 11:42 pm

    Hopped over from Mique’s tweet (she’s my big sis!) – thank you for braving to share your story and to be vulnerable to all the emotions that will certainly come from sharing it! I know we all have a lot to learn from your faith and courage! Can’t wait to read more…

  10. Jennifer Sims permalink
    February 7, 2011 7:41 am

    Thanks for sharing Vanessa, I love it! You have to be careful about those phalanges!! : )

  11. Kelly permalink
    February 7, 2011 7:43 am

    I’m so glad you are writing this!! (and beautifully, i might add) I can’t wait to read the next “installment”.

    ps love how you inserted the Friends clip ;D

  12. Susan Crabtree permalink
    February 7, 2011 9:03 am

    What a blessing this story is going to be to hurting parents. I am anxious to read the rest of the story. I am not much of a reader, but I can see this becoming a book that touchdx many peoples lives. I just read “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman & couldn’t put the book down. I can see this becoming the same kind of book. There is a world of hurting people & I’m sure this will be used for the Lord. I’m always sharing your prayer requests with my friends & church family. They especially like the pictures, because it makes them feel more a part of your lives.

    • February 7, 2011 3:45 pm

      I’ve been reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book too. It’s so good!
      Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

  13. February 7, 2011 3:51 pm

    well good grief, i’m all teary-eyed. something about this…how you wrote it, conveyed your feelings…ugh. it’s breaking my heart and stunning me into silence as i see how God prepares us for what is to come before we even know it. i’ve had that “feeling” also…in the 6 months leading up to my move to africa. and during the entire time i lived there. i thought i was insane and paranoid. looking back i see it as God preparing me…and while it doesn’t at all compare to what you went through, my nightmare came true there as well.

    do you struggle with worry more or less now?

    p.s. LOVE the friends reference, totally cracked me up. friends…so relevant to life!

  14. Jessica permalink
    February 7, 2011 5:09 pm

    You did such a great job writing sister! Im pretty sure I know this story second best to you and Jay and even I wanna keep reading. Cant wait for your next post. Im gonna bug you everyday to write more lol Love you!

  15. February 12, 2011 10:16 pm

    What an adorable little boy. My heart was breaking reading your story. You wrote this so beautifully, and I look forward to reading more.


  1. The C Word, Part 3 « He Gives Hope
  2. The C Word, Part 2 « He Gives Hope
  3. The C Word, Part 4 « He Gives Hope

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