Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Playing The Waiting Game

...hmmm...
Not quite sure where to start today. We found out yesterday that Bronson has been placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant... Today we found out that he is blood type O... which means that he is a universal donor...but means he can only receive O type livers... :/

The waiting list is as long as 2 years for a liver like this.  
What a thing to think about... that the best liver we could obtain for Bronson is one from a baby who has passed away. It's a lot to soak in...
Then we've found out that we can get one from an adult, but there are very tight regulations on donors...i.e. healthy, fit, free from disease, etc. In the first few questions of the form, because of my cancer history it takes me off the list.
It's hard to know what to write...or what to think tonight... This process changes his life. For his lifetime he will have to take medication... he will have to worry a lot more about things like chicken pox... things that I was hoping would never happen to him... I don't know what to think...

This doesn't change things for me... until he is on that table getting the transplant I will be praying for his healing...

I asked that as he waited, if his liver started to fail, are there any options of treatment to prolong his life? The answer was no... The liver has to work in order to live...

This next part is not something I am comfortable with writing... but from the messages I have received I think it's necessary. We have already received about six offers from people willing to give up part of their liver. What a humbling situation to be in...
We were told today that Canada is one of the worst countries for donors... Not enough people think about it.   But today has changed that a bit...

Again this is not something I could ask of someone... Major surgery is involved for anyone considering. 3 months of healing would then follow... but this is for those that have volunteered - and there are very specific guidelines to be approved. If you would like to talk to me further please email me @ jon@btcc.ca .

This is a hard place to be in... but to know that people are wanting to step up to this for us... there are no
words to describe my gratitude...

Ang and I are very tired...and getting a bit sick..so we are taking tomorrow off...Please continue to pray with us that we will see God's grace in this situation!


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Only Takes a Moment

In a moment your life can change... You can be welcoming your new son in the world and in the next moment you can see him flying overhead to SickKids Hospital. In a moment you can see your child in the NICU and the next you can see him breathing on his own, in his own room, acting as normal as a baby should! Oh and his sister and cousins got to really meet him for the first time today! Very exciting!

I've learned to cherish every moment... I've learned to thank God more and more in the good times and the bad - and I am so thankful for where we are now! Bronson is doing great... Over this past week he has been moved out of the NICU and to a different floor - he is definitely making great progress. Today I was able to bottle feed him! He did pretty good - what a great feeling... tomorrow night Ang is going to sleep over with him... All these things that we could never imagine happening are actually pretty exciting things!

Though we don't miss the NICU for obvious reasons, we do miss the nurses! Jane and her right hand girl Hailey, Judith, Megan, whom we have never met because of night shift, but always took time to give Bronson a bath... These people are so undervalued - And of course our nurse practitioners and doctors, like Didi and Dr. Anders, who is now back in New Zealand... we are truly blessed to live in this country!

Bronson still has a lot of fluid build up on his tummy. We need to continue to see improvement in his liver and hope you'll continue to pray along with us as fervently as you did from the beginning! Though I have no doubt the miracle of medicine has played a big role in Bronson's life, I have seen God's hand through this whole process... We couldn't have made it without the peace that comes from knowing Christ - we couldn't have made it without all of you, around the world, praying for Bronson... 'The fool in his heart says there is no God (Psa. 14) - let him say that when he's in our shoes. Through the good and the bad I will praise the name of the Lord.

Angela and I were talking on the way down to the hospital today... saying that there were points throughout this journey that we would drive home secretly thinking that we were going to get a call that night telling us the worst has happened... There have been times as I've prayed that I pleaded my case with God...asking for Bronson to be able to live out the full days of his life... but at the same time trusting that He had the big picture in front of him, and even though it tore me apart to think it... that we were trusting God to do His will for the glory of the Kingdom of God - I am glad He is giving Bronson back his strength... :)

Bronson is still not out of the woods... but that sunlight is certainly shining through. The more I think about what we have gone through the more I think about the glory of God... In the month of August we are going through a DVD series from Passion called 'How Great Is Our God'. Louie Giglio walks you through things as big as the stars in our galaxy to things as tiny as the science behind what holds our body together... No matter how big our problems are...our God is bigger - no matter the position of our joy or sorrow, our God has a plan and as purpose through everything... and for that I am thankful today. (If you would like to see this series and you're in our area, please check us out!)

Continue to pray for Bronson... and tonight please also pray for our Pennie... who needs a miracle... we are so humbled and blessed to have so many of you lift us up in prayer! Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

On The Mend...

It's been a while since I've updated with a post so here we go. Bronson is doing so well! We are so happy with his progress... Each day he is more awake and more alert - it's just this darn liver. His Jaundice levels have increased to about 330... whatever that means... but it's not changing his progress at this point... he 'looks' the best he has since day one.

There is talk of moving him to a different floor because 'he no longer needs the assistance of the NICU' - but they are going to wait till he is weaned off of the last of his pain killers. It seems strange that we haven't seen improvement in his liver yet, but I am believing that any day things are going to start improving...

This past Sunday I spoke for Father's Day at our church (www.btcc.ca). It had to be one of the toughest messages I've ever given. By faith I spoke boldly believing that God is going to bring our little guy through this. By faith I continue to believe that's going to happen.

Please continue to pray... I know it's easy as time moves on to forget about the urgency of prayer because we get used to a situation... It's the way our society builds us... Please continue to pray because we know it's only through prayer that he is going to rebound now... we don't want to even consider the thought of a liver transplant. He's going to get better...even better than he is now... he's going to be home soon.... By faith I am believing for this!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Everyday takes faith.

Sunday-Father's Day-....

Everyone deals with suffering differently. Some get angry, some scared... Some simply lose faith in a world that has continued to spin while theirs has come to a screeching halt. 
What do you do when you lose a loved one? Or like our friends to the south, what do you do when your home and ecerything you know is ripped from you through horrific tornadoes. 
What kind of God lets this happen? 

Mike (my brother and lead pastor at btcc) asked me about two weeks ago to speak on Father's Day. With hesitation I said yes. Part of me doesn't want to-mostly because as a father I can hardly keep it together knowing my son is battling for his life. Mostly because there are times I feel helpless knowing that all I can do is trust God and trust the doctors to bring our boy through this.
Yet I am still on deck for Sunday. My thoughts are based a bit around the story of Abraham and Isaac. Why? 

Four years ago as you know I had my own battle with cancer. Because of this I didn't know if Ang and I would ever have kids. During the next few years while I was in youth ministry I came across a particularly tough situation - a student had 'cried wolf' regarding a tough situation and I had to act. Unfortunately I was wrong - and parents were obviously upset. As I spoke with a very upset mother - who - in a moment of tears and anger said 'how could you ever know, you don't have children'...

I let it wash off my back because I knew she was hurt and really didn't mean it, but it still stuck with me. A nerve that no one knew about was hit.
There where nights when I would pray so hard to believe that God would still bless us with children. When I would 'remind him' of Psalm 91- that because we loved him, he would grant us long life and show us his salvation - his favor. 
And here we are. Another day sitting on the train, heading to SickKids. I can't help but feel a little of Abrahams pain. Though the Scriptures don't say anything about his fear of sacrificing his son (Gen: 22), I am sure there were questions going through his mind. 
At the end of the day though he never questioned God... Never doubted him - and God saved Isaac from death. 

So here I am. Heading to see Bronson who still needs healing - who still has a liver that is not up to par - who still needs our prayers. 
My topic on Sunday is still finding hope through suffering. God still knows our pain and struggles. Even though he gave Man the freedom to ignore him and live for themselves, it is in time of sorrow that he reminds us that he is here to walk us through it and bring us out unharmed. 

As my brother reminds me-three boys were thrown into the fire for not giving up on their heavenly father - three boys came out not even with the smell of smoke on them...(Dan 3: 19-28)

If you're around I'd love for you to join us on Sunday. It will be a day to remember for me. Hopefully the same for you. www.btcc.ca

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A Good Day

As I write this, my little boy is resting in my arms. It's quite the feeling every time we get to hold him. He seems to be doing so well but his billi levels show differently. In the past 2 days they have jumped almost 50 points. 

Everyday is a roller coaster. Tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Angela just finished giving him a bath-so proud to watch them. As he sleeps now I can't help but feel hopeful. Yes the doctors are concerned and yes we have reason to be concerned. But I am reminded even as we speak with them that God is much bigger than these issues. 

We have an incredible team of doctors and nurses working with out boy- and by the grace of God if it wasn't for them, he might not be here right now. But I am believing that beyond the diagnoses of his liver at the moment... Beyond the concerns... God is going to be faithful. I have every feeling to believe that he will be restored. 

It's days like today that I could sit here for hours and rock him. I took time this morning to read to him Psalm 91 and John 16.33. We believe in a big God-and there my hope will rest. 

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Tough Day For Bronson

On my way down to SickKids. I'm so excited to see my baby boy but already feel heart broken knowing he has been in pain the last few days.
It's a hard thing to overcome...pain and sickness. The feeling of not being physically able to do anything for him. If I could lay my own life down for him I would in a heartbeat.

But here we are. And as hard as some days are. As hard as it is to see him go through what he is dealing with I still have hope in a healing God.

The following is the bridge from a song by HILLSON UNITED. It draws from John 16.33
If you would like to hear it click here.

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failure
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome
All our heartache
And all our pain
God our healer
He has overcome

All our burdens
And all our shame
God our freedom
He has overcome

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our hope
He has overcome

All our failures
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome

God our justice
God our grace
God our freedom
He has overcome

God our refuge
God our strength
God is with us
He has overcome



Isaiah 55.11 tells me that Gods word will not be returned void to me today. So beyond the battle I'm fighting within. I still am giving my son to God believing that he will restore him to us.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Another Day

Yet another day has passed. May 9th to June 9th... Here we are.

It's hard to see him the way he is. It's hard to see him struggle for air. If I could breathe for him I would. If I could give him a lung or liver I would gladly without hesitation. But I stand next to him feeling like my hands are tied. I'm in a place that I can only rely on God. He's brought us this far and compared to where he was a month ago, he is doing better.

I couldn't help but be drawn to the Book of Job as we sit here on the GoTrain. Chapter 5 specifically has stuck out to me. My plan at this point is to continue to present my case to God. We are brought to this earth for a purpose. To know the grace of God and share that grace and love with others. Bronson hasnt had a chance to do that yet. He needs to grow strong. He needs to lift up those weaker than him - He needs to teach this love to his children so that they may do the same.

We have a purpose. And though my heart is heavy today - cancer will not hold my awe. We will live out our days - I will walk and talk with my son before I leave this earth - we will both know that God has brought us through this for a purpose - and even through these tough times we will thank God for the plans He had laid before us and hope we've made the most of it.

Today is a tough day. But I will not forget Christ's words.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

His promises are made new every morning. And so I will continue to wait on them.

What's Next...

Well as I write this, sitting on the train...they are beginning to prep Bronson for his procedure. He has a lot of fluid on his belly and it is making it especially hard for him to breathe at this point. At the moment his o2 is as high as it can go with his low flow air...we are hoping they don't have to intubate him.

It's tough to know what to think at this point. So many people have mentioned to either us or family that they believe God is going to heal him-which I have no doubt-but today I feel that my faith is struggling. It seems like Bronson is taking a few small steps forward and a few giant leaps backwards.

It's times like this that I am glad others are believing and praying for us. We are still believing and still trust that God will restore Bronson but I feel like I don't know what to pray anymore. God has the ending already worked out. I feel like I'm just along for the ride now.
I want to bring him home and let him rest in his own bed. I guess that's my prayer for now.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Life is a Highway

Insert Tom Cockrane tune here...

Life can throw so much at you in no time at all. I remember when we lived in Labrador there was one road in and out when we went on vacation we would have to drive the dreaded Baie Comeau road. An 8 hr drive from city to city with 1 stop along the way. A drive with more twists and turns than a Roller coaster. One with many stops to remind us what we ate that morning.

I feel like I am on that road again. Knowing the journey is a long one and knowing there will be tough days is not an easy thing to prepare for.
Bronson is having a tough day. He is breathing fast and and seems to be battling. A few moments ago I asked everyone for prayer and just now the nurse says he seems to look better. Whether it's the morphine kicking in or the lasix helping to relieve pressure, or God hearing our prayers, it's a constant flow of emotional news.

I keep reminding myself that God is bigger than this...bigger than his symptoms and bigger than our fear. I'm reminded today to continue to give thanks for hid life. Even in these moments God continues to hold our boy in his hands.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Our Pennie For Your Thoughts

Today we are heading down to see Bronson again. Currently sitting on the GoTrain thinking about everything.
Today we had a good service at our church. Good music and good preaching. But today I can't help but think of others that are battling as well. So many are touched by cancer. So many have their lives drastically changed because of what it can do.

Today I think about our Pennie. Pennie Park. If you knew Pennie you would know a love like no other. You would know a woman that only came to know A relationship with Christ a few years ago. Most of all you would know a woman that even through sickness knows that God has great things in store for her.
Pennie was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. She has had some good battles and some tough ones-today Pennie needs a miracle. Radiation and chemo are simply trying to improve her quality of like right now. The next 'natural' step is not something I am will to accept at this point.
I have seen God's grace in my life...I've seen it in my sons life and I am believing that the grace that was given to us would pass to her.
A lot can be said for someone's testimony-even to the end. But I believe that more can be said for those who are restored.
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

So today I'm thanking you in advance for your prayers over our family-but I pray that you will take Pennie under your wing as well. That we would believe for a full restoration and that today she would feel the warm healing touch of Christ's garment. I know there are great people praying for us today, but I humbly ask that you would also pray for our dear friend as well.
Matt:18.20

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Patience...

“Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.”


Patience is a virtue... No, actually it's more of a pain in the butt. Bronson has made so much progress. And to be able to hold him today makes us want to bring him home so much more... He seems to be doing so well, yet he still has such a long ways to go. 
Today was a good day. His Jaundice levels dropped from about 290 to 230 (still a long ways from zero), and his clotting levels are a bit better. 


He has been at SickKids for almost a month... it's hard to believe... almost a month ago we didn't know what to expect... almost a month ago we almost lost our one and only son - but here we are... one month into this and we've grown closer together as a family...closer together as a husband and wife... closer together as people who trust in a loving God. 


It's incredible that through all of this..through the tough patches...through the sad times, the peace that we still feel from God. Don't get me wrong, I want my boy home and I wish he was home from day one... but for whatever the reason is that we can't have him yet, we are trusting that God has a purpose and is working it out in his time... 


If you've been reading from the beginning of our journey, I hope you've hugged your child, your spouse, your family member that much more... I hope you've taken the time to cherish the time you have with your loved ones that much more... because we never know what tomorrow brings... 
14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. - James 4v14



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Days Like Today


Because of today... this song has been on my mind... have a listen...

              - Brian Littrell (more than just a Backstreet Boy)


“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”
      - Oscar Wilde


I could get used to days like today... We both had a chance to interact with Bronson...see him looking around - look at us... we were able to hear him cry... we both held him. 


Even through my own trials with cancer I never appreciated life and family the way I do now as a father. It's days like today I feel like I can see just a little bit through the eyes of God... To see my child fight through a tough battle - to see prayers being lifted up by people all over the world - it's an incredible thing to see faith in action. By name people around the world might be strangers, yet through Christ it feels like extended family. 


I can't begin to describe how proud I am with Bronson. He may go through life, succeeding at everything he puts his hand to, but these are the days I will remember... the days when he was finally sick of artificial life and decided to breathe for himself, by pulling out his breathing tube... A step so monumental in his progress that the nurse was caught off guard and had to hit "the big red button" - that brought everyone running... Oh what a trickster... only a few weeks old and already messing with people - He's definitely an Anthony. 


What a a story to tell... 
    Beyond stories that I can describe on a blog, I have seen such blessing poured out from God on our life... even through this trial. I have never seen such prayer, love and support that I have seen in this situation... to know that literally thousands of people are praying for us - for Bronson - it's a humbling experience. 


Many see 'religion' as a crutch. They see it as something that's only useful for the weak... I don't quite view it the same way. We all go through life winning and losing at different battles... But in the times that matter, I will boast in the fact that my strength is in Christ. See, in situations like this, Christ hasn't been the crutch I've leaned on... He's been the foundation that I stand on. 


We still don't know what's in store for Bronson. We have every reason to believe he is going to be restored but there is still some miracles that need to happen. The chemo has reduced the size of his liver and adrenal glands significantly - but currently his liver is not functioning properly... which is serious business... 
But why should we worry? Our boy was diagnosed with 'Bi-lateral Adrenal Neuroblastoma', and even though we were scared...we trusted God... and here we are... - Leaps and bounds beyond where he was 2 weeks ago - why would we doubt that God wouldn't continue to restore him? 


Just like Bronson, I refuse to live an artificial life... Christ said that he came to give life, and life to the full (John 10:10)... so that is what Angela and I choose for our family... to live life with Christ as our foundation... to give him praise through the good times and the bad...  We are believing for good things... 


 “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”



So tonight, even though we know we still need to see some major progress... I am thankful to the doctors, but especially to God that he has made the progress he has, and hope you join us in prayer to see his liver restored! 


Good night!