Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Gift of Life, Love, and Purpose

Every single day is a gift!  In the spirit of “Rare Disease Day” (which also happens to be my
grandpa’s birthday); we unwrap every gift before us with new wonder.  

A very cold, fatigued kiddo
during walk kick-off
Walk Team Page:  Join Parker's Team (click here)

This week was way busy with much reflection; and we feel certain that we are blessed with Parker’s very wise, compassionate doctors.   And this week we had discussions with 4 of his docs.  We feel like we are on a good path and that Parker has a voice in making decisions.  Needless to say, the decisions continue to be difficult and choices no child should ever have to ever consider.  And yet, Parker does …and he weighs it all out with more wisdom than many adults.

We had our walk kick-off this week and one of Parker’s docs spoke.  Her presentation sparked many thoughts for us.  She spent some time chatting with me after the presentation and helped explain some pieces of the “Parker puzzle” that we never quite fit together.  One of Parker’s meds, methotrexate (a chemo drug), was discontinued during a hospital stay a little less than a year ago.  He was switched to prograf, a drug usually prescribed to help the body not reject organ transplants.  We haven’t heard of any other children on this drug; and we are pretty connected in the “JA world”. 

So, I inquired why this drug is being given to Parker.  She said that it was because he was in MAS at the time.  For those of you not aware of what MAS is…it is pretty much every family’s nightmare that has a child with systemic on-set juvenile arthritis.  We knew that Parker was on the verge of MAS a couple of past hospital stays but we didn't know that he was fully in it and that was why prograf was chosen…and if we were told at that time, MAS was not the word used.  However, thinking back on that hospital stay, it definitely was an intense stay and he was very sick and they did explain the reasoning behind using prograf.  And I think that the doc was probably trying to keep me calm and protect my momma heart.  I definitely was hearing white noise and felt like I was in a fog as I tried hard to focus on her words and focus on my reaction and stay calm.  This is when trust is the up-most importance, because your child is witnessing so very much alongside of you and prayers become your constant inner voice.  For those of you who don’t know what MAS is, it stands for macrophage activation syndrome.  It is severe, dangerous, and life threatening.  It is the number one cause of death in kids with systemic JA.  Here are some links about MAS:

In addition to our walk kick-off, Parker endured two rounds of sacral nerve ablations.  He has two more rounds next week to complete the series of 6 for the sacral area.  This last round was pretty tough on him.  He is a strong little tough warrior.  He was then going to move on to the lumbar region; but we need to stop for a period of time to deal with some endocrine issues first.
The endocrinologist called and his labs and bone-age scans showed that he needs further testing.  So, we are scheduling a day long test day at the hospital to proceed with testing for possible growth hormones.  The “good news” is because he has not yet hit puberty and his bone age is “younger” than it should be, then he could potentially get growth and puberty hormone with good results.  So we are actually hoping he “fails” the day long tests, so that he can get help.  Yes, you read that right.

At first I was upset to hear about another round of “bad labs” but after seeing the rheumatologist Thursday, she explained things in a way we could better understand and that this could really help him.  So, we are going to stay in that mindset and hope for the worst to get the BEST!
Michael and I are pretty exhausted these days.  We are just trying to keep all the balls in the air and if one drops…we hope it is one that we can just do without and let roll away.  So much that is happening is movement in the right direction, it is just constant.  And there seems to be a domino effect.  And then there are my health issues and Logan’s health issues that also need attending to; we must remind ourselves over and over that we can only do what we can do in a day.

And we also must remember those precious gifts:  Parker is off of prednisone after 4.5 years and he is off of morphine after 3.5 years (one of his narcotics).  Parker re-started an on-line virtual class yesterday; and he is determined to not look back and to continue moving forward…wherever it takes him.  He is pushing through his pain and walking more and using his wheelchair less.  He is excited about his and Sadie’s High-5-Club; and they
Sadie and Parker deliver High-5 Care Kits
delivered their first set of High-5 care kits this week and can’t wait to do more!  Our family and friends’ encouragement and love continue to lift us up and power us on.  Our lives have purpose.  We have faith in what is meant to be will be… and it gives us peace and hope for the future.



  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Baby steps in the right direction.

    Please do not hesitiate to ask if there is anything we can do to help.

    How did the video turn out?

    1. Hi Kathy, thank you so much for your kind offer. I will keep you in mind. The video is still in edit mode and we will be posting it soon on :)

  2. How I can found the right word tell Parker, Logan, Rochele and Michael , I LOVE YOU GUYS ! and I feel so Bad , because the live is so rush rush and I never TRY to do extra time to see you guys .. I always think ...." maybe this is a NOT right moment." to stop by, EVERY SINGLE DAY I PRAYER FOR ALL YOU . and think ..and ask .. why, why this family .. every single one are awesome , great individuals, WHY THEY NEED TO PASS SO MUCH... I 'M SO SORRY , BUT HOPE VERY SOON THE LAB SHOW A "GOOD LAB" I ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT RESPECT FOR YOUR FAMILY. ROCHELE PLEASE LET ME KNOW IS ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP ? HOW I CAN DO FOR YOU ,TAKE A BREAK FOR FEW HOURS ? PLEASE KEEP ME IN YOUR MIND, AND LET ME KNOW . I LOVE YOU ALL COACH LIZ

  3. Hi Coach Liz,
    As always, you are so kind to our family and always there for us. We so appreciate your love and support. Parker is a little trooper! And I know he misses you. We love you.