When You Love Someone With Cancer Tags: cancer parenting

Cancer, if we’re honest most of us think things like cancer happen to other families, not yours – right? That is unless we’ve already heard it in connection with the name of a family member.

All or Nothing Day on July 26th is a day dedicated to living life to the fullest.  Heather Von St.James who is a 10 year survivor of mesothelioma, discovered it online and it just spoke to her so strongly that she took up the cause.  When she shared with me about it I decided to join her in spreading the word about cancer survivors and how our son Eric’s journey through leukemia has affected my life.

Learn more about a mesothelioma diagnosis here.


  • He was born 7 weeks early after three months of bed rest for me.
  • Although he was supposed to be in the hospital until his due date in mid-May.  He came home after only six days.
  • He was small, just 5 pounds, but a real fighter.
  • They told us preemies don’t nurse – especially boy preemies.
  • He nursed for almost two years – which became a real blessing.


  • After two series of antibiotics he didn’t seem to be getting any better.
  • On Sunday morning he was crying and just couldn’t be consoled. He had a temperature of 103 and our pediatrician said we should take him to Children’s Hospital.
  • When we arrived there they ran a series of tests and decided to admit him. It was then they told us they thought he had leukemia.
  • We were stunned! How do you go from an ear infection to leukemia?
  • By Tuesday the diagnosis had been confirmed. He had his first bone marrow biopsy, a Hickman catheter put into his chest. By Wednesday he had the first in a long series of blood transfusions.


  • My big question was why? Why did this had to happen to Eric, but especially why when he was so young.
  • He was the last male child in my husband’s family.
  • We had waited and prayed for him for years and now this.

Eric would have to undergo three and a half years of chemotherapy. Just the sight of blood made me sick and now I would have to live in the hospital world for over three years. I remember the nurse coming to his room to teach me how to change the dressing on his catheter. I quickly replied, “Oh, my husband will do that.” Her reply was, “Mrs. Sather, we can let you take your son home as soon as you learn to change the dressing.” Needless to say, I drew on God’s grace and learned how to change the dressing. It was a task I would do every other day for the next three years.


  • Eric would wake up from a nap with a temperature which meant we would have to go to the hospital.
  • Or he would have a reaction to one of the chemotherapy drugs which also meant a trip to the hospital. Or his catheter would fall out which meant emergency surgery. By the time he was 2 years old he had undergone more surgeries than most people have in a lifetime.
  • Bone marrow biopsies every third month were the worst. I would hold him while they pumped the anesthesia into his catheter. One minute he would be talking and playing and the next he would go as limp as death in my arms. I would hand him to a nurse and race out of the room sobbing.

We were in survival mode -just putting one foot in front of the other.


  • He entered every day with a big smile on his face and a Zip Lock bag of Cheerios in his hand.leukemia - Eric
  • The nurses at the hospital would say they could always tell when Eric was around because there were Cheerios everywhere. His little two year old hands would drop as many as he ate.
  • He knew all the routines. If the nurses missed a step in preparing him for a test or for surgery he would stop them and remind them of what they were supposed to do next.
  • He knew everyone and had a smile for them all.


  • We were in for a bone marrow biopsy.
  • As we were going through the regular routine of preparation there was a boy next to us who was about 3 years old.
  • He had just been diagnosed with leukemia but there was a big difference in how he was handling all the procedures.
  • He was fighting and crying and refusing to let the nurses do what needed to be done.
  • It was then the Lord spoke to my heart. Eric had been so young when he was diagnosed that these procedures were a way of life for him.
  • He didn’t know anything else and didn’t think to question them.
  • When he learned his body parts he would proudly announce his Hickman as one of them.
  • It was then I yielded my heart to the Lord’s wisdom in this situation and saw my biggest question answered.
  • Yes, Eric had been very young to be diagnosed with such a difficult disease, but the Lord had used that for good in his life.


  • Eric is 25 now and an amazing young man.
  • He still enters every day with a smile – well at least most of them. But the bag of Cheerios is gone.
  • He loves life and does everything with an all or nothing attitude.
  • When he does something he does it as well as he possibly can.
  • His enthusiasm draws others in too. His father has learned more sports and activities because Eric was interested and talked him into trying it too.
  • He is healthy and well-rounded and enjoys talking about almost everything.

You can read more about our journey through leukemia here:

Our Journey Through Leukemia 

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Category: Holidays
Tags: Valentines Day free love
Reasons Why

Reasons Why

Trying to find the perfect thing for your love’s birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day gift? Shari’s Berries has created adorable printables you can use to make a DIY book of 100+ reasons why you love your partner, spouse or even your BFF!

Skip the extravagant gifts and grand gestures. A handmade gift, created by you, will mean so much to your loved one on any special occasion. Whether you’re giving this book to your husband or your best friend, having a reminder of all the reasons they’re loved will make your special someone feel cherished.

Each printable has a different theme –– like Romantic, Cheesy and Serious. You can cover all the bases when it comes to reasons why you love your recipient. Get inspired by the suggestions in the post or let your creativity soar and just start writing!

This is the perfect gift for anyone special to you. Hope you enjoy!

Thank you, Shari’s Berries for being willing to share these ideas with us. I’m sure they will be a blessing.

Here is my short, but meaningful post from another Valentine’s Day.


Finding Joy in the Journey,


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Dan's Doodles a coloring book for all ages.

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Summit has set in motion what is to come in my life

Mikaela heard about Summit over a year before stepping on campus in Manitou Springs, CO. As a budding Marketing and Journalism student at Dordt College, Mikaela loves writing and connecting with people.  

“I think really, during my freshman year (in college), I have had more of a secular worldview than I had originally thought. And coming to Summit, I have really learned how the Christian conservative worldview is so true. Even though I claimed to be a Christian conservative, I still believed that if a woman was raped or had something traumatic happen to her then abortion is okay in that circumstance.”
One lecture in particular stood out to Mikaela. During his “Case for Life” lecture, Scott Klusendorf talked about abortion in the case of rape. Klusendorf asked the students two questions:
  • Would you want the death penalty given to the rapist?
  • Would you murder the woman that has conceived the child?
When the students answered “no” to those questions, Klusendorf asked the students, why then, would it be okay to murder the baby, who is the most innocent of all?
This discussion put things into perspective for Mikaela and helped correct her own views on the pro-life position. “I was like WOW, that kind of just struck my heart, and that was what just kinda flipped the switch for me, and my viewpoint really changed.”
Summit Student Conferences exist to help students think through their convictions and answer hard questions. Mikaela’s thoughts and ideas about important cultural topics have been challenged during her time at Summit as she has engaged with like-minded peers in small groups, learned from Christian leaders during lectures and open forums, and explored answers to hard questions about her faith, purpose, and identity. 
“I had struggled with identity all through college, and I thought that Christians just always pushed their faith on others, and I wanted to be someone who believed my own thing and just talked about it at church. But at Summit I have learned that sports, theater, and other things don’t define who I am. Christ in me is my identity. I don’t have everything figured out, but Summit has set in motion what is to come in my life. God is who makes me me, and Jesus Christ and his sacrifice and his wiping away all my sins have made me who I am today, and that’s why I am able to touch the lives of other people and proclaim his name!”

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Community Blog
Friday, February 15, 2019
When You Love Someone With Cancer
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Summit has set in motion what is to come in my life
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Yearly Planning at the Sather House
Monday, January 14, 2019
Friday, January 4, 2019
How To Get Your Life Back After The Holiday
Friday, December 14, 2018
Friday, December 7, 2018
Thursday, November 15, 2018
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