Dear Ones who have held the intention of healing and courage for Connor and his family,

Below is the latest update on his progress, and even with a few setbacks, Connor and the Dunham’s will soon be able to return to Alaska.

I have been playing – with the help of a sister-writer here in Port Townsend – with two new made up words: consti-patience and antici-patience.

Consti-patience is similar to impatience, wanting life to go as we want. We force it along angered by our helplessness and feel backed up with emotion, regret, resentment, resistance, and despair… almost immobilized, and for sure depressed. Our negative emotions take us hostage and we feel blind-sided by life’s challenging circumstances.

Alicia, modeling for the circle of support that surrounds her, has taken on with such AMAZING GRACE the journey from consti-patience to antici-patience. She has found fiber for the soul and has moved free with forward and backward steps. She now sits in antici-patience.

Antici-patience demands a dance across the fertile void. You can allow yourself to fall in the pit swallowed up by all your limiting thoughts, or do ‘a-void-dance’ by choosing mindfully where to place your energy while accepting your humanness. Alicia is maneuvering a tiring path, making it as smooth as possible by marrying the joyful thoughts of longing and intention, those of finally being able to go home, with those of being fully present. She has taken this on as an exercise, a spiritual discipline, an opportunity to notice and see infinitesimal positive steps forward. Joy is everywhere because she knows how to savor the everyday miracles, antics, and joys of her children in this moment, exhaustion and all.

Alicia calls up from only God knows where the patience and focus that is called for right here and right now, and stretches to make room to accept her shortcomings, her boredom, her irritations, and her weariness. Grace carries Alicia, Connor and all of us through the ‘unexpecteds’ and wonderings that shower us each day. Beyond that, we get to choose.

Although the next mile marker is on the horizon, in sight and we are getting close, we must focus on our feet deliberately, meditate on the sound of each step, each breath, and be her now. Please don’t let go of their hand yet.

So, with great antici-patience, we all continue to vision Connor running with his little brother, Carson, in their own back yard in Alaska at just the perfect time. Until then, we breathe, we pray, we welcome all the wonders of life.

In Joy, Rhonda 360.385.5850

Here is Alicia’s UPDATE ON CONNOR:

Hello to all,

I hold my breath every time Connor has a sniffle, falls down, or complains that something hurts. Yet with each day that passes, I am grateful that Connor has become a curious, energetic, and inquisitive normal two year old. All the signs of the amazing journey he has been on have faded and although my fears will never be completely gone, I am learning not to let them overpower my daily life.

The last few weeks have been hard. We are all looking forward to going home and as time gets closer the days seem to go on forever. Both boys got a stomach bug a couple of weeks ago and are just now starting to get back to normal. This hit Connor worse than it hit Carson because of his weakened immune system. Over the last 2 weeks, Connor has lost about 3 pounds from not wanting to eat and not being able to keep much down. Connor had a doctors appointment today and we were all hoping that they would say we were free to go back to Alaska but his blood tests and weight were not quite where they would like them to be. The doctors are reasonably certain that his weight drop is due to being sick and that it is just taking his body a little longer to get back to normal. Therefore, they are postponing giving us an exact date until his appointment next week. They would like to see his weight go up and some of his other labs a little more stable before sending us home. If everything looks better next week it is a good possibility that we could be home before the end of the month!! Even thought this is not exactly what I wanted to hear I want to be in the best place for Connor. When God feels it is time for us to be home He will make it happen. So until then we will patiently wait until next week and pray that Connor’s appetite continues to improve.

The encouragement that continues to surround us is unbelievable. I just added up all the Alaska Airline Miles that we have received just from everyone using our phone number when checking out and it is over 20,000 miles. That is enough for a free airline ticket for Steve! Thank you all for your support.

All our love, The Dunham’s Steve, Alicia, Connor and Carson

Please pray: Connor appetite/weight will improve Everyone will remain healthy We will be able to return home soon.

Some of you have asked what it all of this feels like from my perspective. It is hard for me to explain the feelings you get on a daily basis but I found this article that I feel does an excellent job of explaining it.

What its like to have a child with cancer… Author Unknown

Picture your child sitting in the middle of the street. Picture yourself in your home watching your child from the window. Everything inside you wants to reach out and save them. But you can’t get out, all you can do is watch and pray that God is watching over them You see them fall and cry for you to make it all better. But you can’t get to them, they can see you and see your tears. And maybe hear your voice through all their tears. You pray God will keep them safe. You hear a car in the distance, but never know how far away it is, some days it seems really close other days even closer. You know that at an moment that car may come and change your world all over again, in a split second you can be back to were you were when this all started or worse yet, the fight may be over. Some days you start to feel a little more “safe” and back up from that window, walk over to the couch and sit down, when just then you hear that car again and in a second you are one with that window again, all those fears you tried so hard to put aside are back, more intense this time, feeling guilty for having let your guard down. It makes leaving that window the next time that much harder. We want to keep them close at all times for fear of the unthinkable. At night when you leave their side to go to bed, you take one more quick peek at them to make sure all is well. You lay in your bed hoping to see them tomorrow, not wanting that day to end, for as hard as it was that day they are here with you, and tomorrow is filled with the unknown, every day, night after night these are our fears. We are exhausted in every way. Our prayers from one night would fill God’s book a million times over. All you can do is pray to God to spare them, let them be safe. From that window you see the fear in their eyes, their hopes of the future, such a small child sitting their all alone, surrounded by love, but alone ,fighting so hard, not wanting to let you down, for they are very smart, they know our sorrows. Seeing your child sit there ,wanting to help with all your might, But knowing in the end its them and their bodies that must do all the work, so much to ask of such a little person. You’d never let your child sit there in the street, knowing that they could be taken from you at any moment, you would not just sit there and stare at them and pray to God to save them, you’d pick them up, wrap your arms around them and hold them forever, keeping them safe. Yet that is what us parents of children with cancer are asked to do every day. Let them sit there and watch and wait and pray, pray hard. Yes, I believe in God, but that doesn’t stop my mother instincts to want to do something to help them. How do we put everything we learned as parents aside, and simply hand it all over to God? How is it decided which child shall live and which child will pass on? Why is it that some children struggle so very hard and win their battle only to have it return with much more vengeance? Why do some children sail right through their treatment and then die suddenly? How are we to make sense of any of this? With each clinic appt. brings the possibility of a relapse, no matter how great they look or how wonderful they feel. If only we could judge their health by the way they look on the outside. We are suppose to protect them, to keep them safe from harm, who said cancer could make all the calls? I never agreed to that, I am their mother and I will fight for them, with every ounce of my being. Cancer may be calling the shots, but it will not win this game, not with my children, not with any of our children, we are so very weak, but so very strong, this bravery we have we get from our children, our little heroes, fighting every day with all their might… Pray for them…………

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