Week One: Part Two

Day Two: Saturday, November 16, 2019

Courtney and I were both awake by four in the morning. The realization that the previous day’s news was not a dream smothered us.

My wife went and retrieved Kohen from his bed and brought him into ours. We embraced him, held him, and caressed him as he slept.

My wife and I wept in the dark.

Day Three: Sunday, November 17, 2019

Kohen has been on a juice diet the past couple days. All the organic fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants and other cancer fighting properties are now part of his strict diet. He’s not a big fan of it, but he understands why we’re doing it and he’s accepted it like a trooper.

As the sun sets, the longest weekend of our lives has come to an end. We now prepare with trepidation and fear for what tomorrow and the rest of the week will reveal.

Day Four: Monday, November 18, 2019

The pediatric doctor has reviewed the Urgent Care x-ray. His opinion is that the x-ray reveals an aggressive tumor and that an MRI, biopsy, and surgery will all be required. The MRI was promptly scheduled for tomorrow morning. 

Kohen’s tolerance for a fruit and vegetable juice diet is waning. I can’t blame the little fella.

Day Five: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

At 6:45 AM we arrived at the hospital in Reno for Kohen’s MRI. 

At 11:00 AM we met with the pediatric oncologist who, after reviewing all the reports, believes Kohen has a cancer known as Ewing Sarcoma.

Five days into this ordeal, and we’re beginning to come to terms with what we’re facing, and accepting that it doesn’t matter why this is happening to us, because it is not ours to ask.

We now have to change our attitude. The time for grieving needs to pass and the time for fighting needs to begin. We can still allow ourselves moments to mourn for our son’s situation, but it should not be our defining factor any more. We are now on a mission to beat this, so we must mobilize for battle.

Day Six: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Yesterday’s positive attitude and determination to change my focus from grief to fighting has drowned in a sea of tears. The sobering weight of our son’s situation has returned like a dark cloud. I have to concede, my change in attitude was premature. I am clearly not ready or prepared to mobilize for battle yet.

I am desperately seeking out moments of distraction and normalcy throughout the day, and although we have been receiving a lot of support from family and friends, I dread when the days turn into months, and that support begins to fade.

It seems like fear has become my constant companion now.

Watching Kohen’s big brother, Elijah, offering some of his own money to encourage Kohen to drink his veggie juice is so precious, and at the same time, so sad.

I’ve cried every day for the past week, and today was my first day back to work since receiving the dreadful news. I made it a total of 15 minutes at work before breaking down in tears. The weight that had lifted from my shoulders the day before was clearly just a momentary reprieve.

I went home for lunch today to visit with my family and talk with Courtney. Among the topics of discussion with my wife was whether or not we will need to amputate my five-year-old son’s leg. A conversation I couldn’t have imagined having just one week earlier.

Finally, today marks the one year anniversary that I published an essay on Medium entitled Have You Hugged Your Kids Today? I wrote it on November 20, 2018, and little did I know then how poignant and apropos it would be a year later. That essay holds much greater significance for me now than I had ever imagined it would when I wrote it.

You can read the brief essay here.

To be continued.

Kohen Gabriel: The Unfathomable Journey Begins

Kohen Gabriel, our smart, funny, five-year-old boy likes tigers and strategy board games. He is inquisitive, witty, and brave. He is also the youngest of our six children, and being the baby of the family, he is the object of everyone’s affection.


Kohen and mommy (circa November 2018) one year before we found out he had cancer.

In August of 2019, we noticed Kohen began favoring his left leg when he walked, occasionally complaining that it hurt. But being an active farm boy who played outside all the time with his big brothers, we figured it was a minor injury that would heal. We even speculated it was simply growing pains.

His discomfort came and went over the next three months, during which time he still roughhoused, wrestled, played football, and even competed in a bike race at the county fair.

Then one evening in early November, I was playing with him in the den when I picked him up by his legs. He complained that his left leg hurt and that’s when I knew something was wrong: his leg still hurt after all these months and how I lifted him should not have caused him any pain. It was then that I asked my wife to make an appointment to get him into the doctor.

The results of that doctor visit would change our lives forever, and is the very reason why this blog exists.

Continued here.