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The worst part of a nightmare week [Aug. 23rd, 2013|09:47 am]
I have been mute here because it has just been too hard to try and talk about what's going on. A timeline version of events will be another entry. Let's cut to the heart of it.

Rebecca Meyer, the 5-year-old middle child of our best friends Eric and Kat, has brain cancer. It is a very aggressive type of brain cancer. She has had a very successful removal of the tumor, and with 6 weeks of aggressive proton radiation therapy and another year of low-dose chemotherapy, she has a 50% chance of celebrating her 10th birthday.

It was a week ago yesterday when we first learned the horrifying news of Becca's tumor. Though the Meyers live here in Cleveland, they were vacationing on the Jersey Shore when Becca grew ill. Eric describes the events in his own words on his own site. For us, the experience was that we had just scooted around New York City and crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge when he called. We immediately aborted our weekend plans and headed south to take care of the other two kids and get them to Philadelphia, where Becca had been life-flighted.

A week ago today, we were on our way from the Jersey Shore in Kat and Eric's car, after a short night of sleep and loading the children into the car. We had the additional support of Kat's friend Lisa, who spends a week of vacation at the shore with them and who had also arrived late Thursday night. We got to the hospital early enough for 9-year-old C to see her sister before she went into her first surgery, this one to create a drain to relieve the intercranial pressure caused by the tumor blocking the natural drain for brain fluid. It was the beginning of a very long weekend of waiting, praying, hugging each other, and praying more.

Honestly, I can't go into all the details of that weekend. It's too distressing. The Meyer children are the children of my heart. I have been there for the arrival of all three. They are far more than just "our friends' kids." They are my babies. The Meyers are my family.

And the wonderful thing is, I'm not alone in feeling this way. These kids are loved deeply by an amazing group of people. A party that included all their "family by choice" would fill a decent sized hotel ballroom. Eric and Kat are about the most amazing parents and friends I can imagine, and the size of the group that thinks of them as family is awe-inspiring.

On Saturday, surgeons removed the tumor. Though they were successful in removing the whole tumor, this type of cancer does not surrender easily. Again, Eric discusses it.

We had to leave on Monday morning early. I had court, Ferrett had to work. It felt like - feels like - tearing my own heart out to leave them alone in Philadelphia. There is no proton radiation center here in Cleveland, so Eric and Kat will remain in Philadelphia with Becca until around Halloween. I have been arranging care for C and J back here in town, where they are scheduled to return on Sunday evening so that C can start school.

If you pray, pray for them. No child should have to go through this, and no family, either.

[User Picture]From: aiela
2013-08-23 02:12 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that Kat and Eric have such a lovely support structure in place. I wish it weren't so needed right now. :(
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[User Picture]From: nex0s
2013-08-23 02:28 pm (UTC)
I have a number of family members in Philly who might know of apartments/ rooms/houses that can be rented or they could be hosted in. Please let me know if you'd like me to boost the signal.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-23 02:38 pm (UTC)
Right now they are just way too overwhelmed. They will probably start in Ronald McDonald house, but may be interested by early September. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2013-08-23 03:42 pm (UTC)
i was totally going to suggest RMH. they really helped us with thomas over the years.
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[User Picture]From: horizonchaser
2013-08-23 02:33 pm (UTC)
it's so much easier with friends and family. I pray they get through this easily and healthfully. (I know that sounds odd, but when they start hearing about the array of side effects, you'll understand.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-23 02:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. I'm just trying not to think about them too much.
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2013-08-23 02:47 pm (UTC)
Sending hugs!
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From: anonymousalex
2013-08-23 03:29 pm (UTC)
I can't remain silent, and yet there is nothing to say that you haven't.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-23 03:32 pm (UTC)
Hugs are enough. They are, with prayers, all for now.
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From: anonymousalex
2013-08-23 10:01 pm (UTC)
If I were there, I would offer a hug.

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[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2013-08-23 03:59 pm (UTC)
That's an awful thing for a family to have to go through. Lots of strength to you and yours.
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[User Picture]From: wilhelmina_d
2013-08-23 05:48 pm (UTC)
Many, many good wishes for a full recovery. I know it's highly unlikely that I can be of help, but I am in PA, about three hours west of Philly. Should they need a stop over spot to stay or anything like that, please don't hesitate to contact me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-23 07:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I will keep you in mind.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2013-08-23 05:58 pm (UTC)
they're definitely on the prayer list. no child, no *one* should have to go through this.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2013-08-23 06:06 pm (UTC)
Much love to you and Kat and Eric's family. Brain cancer took my brother as an adult, and the toddler daughter of some friends. I was the one who arranged meals for their family for several months. Sending whatever moral support I can via the web.
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[User Picture]From: jmfunnyface
2013-08-23 06:41 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this will make you feel better, but as someone who lived in or around Philadelphia for a very long time, CHOP is such an incredible hospital.

The things they are able to do, and the compassion that they show to both patients and families is above and beyond what anyone would expect. I've had numerous friends and family members treated there (including my stepson-to-be), and I honestly cannot think of a better hospital for Becca to be at.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-23 08:01 pm (UTC)
We have been told that about CHOP by many people. It helps to know she is in such a great place.
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[User Picture]From: tfcocs
2013-08-24 02:57 am (UTC)
I am in Philadelphia; and, as long time readers know, a social worker. If there is anything that they need, let me know via email at TFCOCS at GMAIL dot COM. You can forward my contact information to them as you see fit.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-25 04:10 pm (UTC)
I know they are currently being well-supported by the hospital, but I will let them know. Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: wednes
2013-08-24 05:37 am (UTC)
My gods...that's so terribly sad.
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[User Picture]From: voiceofanangel
2013-08-24 11:11 pm (UTC)
*hugs tight* I know it's not much, but please let us know if there is anything we can do to help the family or you guys.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-25 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I will.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2013-08-25 01:48 pm (UTC)
Please offer them this resource, with my compliments. Childhood cancer is tough at the best of times, and astro is particularly challenging. This free camp is for children with cancer and their siblings, to just have a normal week of summer camp. Everybody there knows the deal, everybody there is living or has lived with it. Also has events throughout the year, both of fundraising and celebratory nature. Kalahari in the winter, bowling in the spring, that kind of thing. Yes, normal kids' life stuff as a break from the round of treatments and doctors ...


Please also share this site: http://www.caringbridge.org/
Nothing like being some place where other folks are living with your current challenges ...

Everybody else will tell you this sucks, and it DOES. Hopefully the resources will be more useful than yet more sympathy. Cancer sucks. No way around it. Strength to all of them, and a bit of luck to make it through!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-08-25 03:59 pm (UTC)
Once they get through the next two months of intense radiation therapy, I will share it with them. Right now they are feeling overwhelmed.

Thank you very much.
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[User Picture]From: natf
2013-08-25 04:26 pm (UTC)
*hugs* to you, yours, them and theirs.
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