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Joshua's mother is keeping us updated on his condition and activities. Check here to find out how he's doing. To go back to the main page about Joshua and to read or write comments, click here.

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A Very Special Update
June 29, 2012

Joshua's mum Vera sent us a very special update about Josh and one of his heroes... We thought it should have its very own page. Click here to read the update and leave comments to share in the excitement!

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From Joshua's Mother
Summer Update: June 15, 2012

My dear MJ DOT family!

For months I've been meaning to update Joshua's page on here
but kept putting it on halt. Problem being...
I always think I need to come up with something "big"...
like a "novel" of some kind!

WRONG!

The "big thing" is the fact that Joshua continues being well
and getting stronger
and that your wishes, prayers and thoughts still work
and do miracles!

With that dreadful day coming up again... June 25th...
and all the heartbreaking memories of 2009
making their way back into our minds, souls and hearts...
we also have the memories of Joshua's diagnose... cancer...
and the beginning of chemo horror.
2009 ha[d] truely been a challenge.

Before we all get lost in our sorrow over losing Michael
I wanted to show you Joshua, like he is today!
Besides the pain and tears and the fact
that we miss Michael more than words could ever tell...
take this for comfort:

Through Michael I met all of you
and because of Michael we learmed how to love and care for others...
and through this love you all came together to pray for my dying child... people of all religions, colours and races... as ONE...
and thanks to that power of thought, prayer and love
(and the help of doctors, medicine and the love of our LORD)
32 months later,
Joshua is now a 15 year old handsome teenager!

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LOOK WHAT YOU HELPED DOING ~ ACHIEVING
How can I ever thank you all enough!?

I can't... so I just say I LOVE YOU
~ more than you'll ever know
and I thank each and every one of you,
with all my heart!

Oh... and Josh sends his YO BRO, THANK YOU's, too...
TEENAGER :)

Take care, GOD BLESS... and if you like...
I'll tell you a little BIG story next time.

Lots of love,
Vera & her boys xxx
***

From Joshua's Mother
February 16, 2012

**God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today!
Use one of them to say THANK YOU!**
Dear MJ family of ours!

We have a million reasons to thank our Lord!
The clinic called with wonderful news last night.
No bad cells, no cancer!
Joshua's two and a half year long battle against Leukemia has been officially declared "successful"!
Over! Healed (for the time being)!
Our love and thanks go out to every single one of you who supported and prayed for us!

GOD bless you & yours! ♥

Love ALWAYS!

Vera & John,
with Joshua "the Brave"
***

From Joshua's Mother
February 4, 2012

Dear all!

As I'm addressing this to everyone... family, friends, acquaintances... there won't be a personal message included... just a heartfelt plea, going out to every single one of you who know of our story... Joshua's fate, his long, hard battle against cancer, his courage, determination and faith.

THIS IS IT!

On Tuesday, February 7th 2012, Joshua will undergo his ~ hopefully last ever ~ bone marrow punction. Ever since they gave us the date for it this agonising fear is creeping up on me again. The torturing memories of "what was" ~ vividly, clearly, intensively ~ robbing me of my sanity... or so it seems at times! This fist, permanently punching my guts... those hands, strangling me... this huge weight on my chest that is taking my breath away, paralising me... it's all coming back.

What if... if the unbelievable becomes reality again? What if those demons get a hold of us again, only to pull us under once more? What if this world makes another emergency stop to kick us off for the second time, off and out into this big black NOTHING, this space between heaven and hell we know so well... WHAT IF???????

Then... there'll be tears, screams, doubts, fears, anger... and then we'll FIGHT! Sure we will... but WE DON'T EVER WANT TO GO BACK THERE!

Destiny has a mind of its own though. Wish-fulfillments are not always on its agenda! We keep witnessing the horrors of fate... our dear friend, who keeps falling short of well deserved health, over and over again... the parents who had to burry their children... there are many, too many, who fight the same fight as us and share the same fears!

I know... anything can happen, ANYTHING!

Therefore ~ and because I am a believer and know it has helped us in the past ~ I would like to ask you to pray for us, for Joshua! For a good outcome of the test, for "no more cancer cells", for the chance to continue with his healthy life! It doesn't matter what you believe in, what religion you follow... but to know there are people thinking of us, praying for us and sending positive energy, that alone is priceless!

We were priviledged to benefit from global support before, during the worst time in our lives so far. You helped us getting through this and we are forever grateful! Now I'm "inviting" you to be with us "in spirit" for this (final?) test!

Dear LORD... please!

FAITH ~ LOVE ~ HOPE... Love Vera (+family)

***

From Joshua's Mother
Christmas 2011

My Christmas message 2010, updated...

Christmas 2009 we only had one wish
For our son to heal and beat all demons.
Christmas 2009 brought it home to us.
A painful lesson, realizing that nothing matters once you've lost your health!
Christmas 2009 we weren't sure if Josh would live to see another festive season.

For last year's Christmas and Christmas 2011, we only had one wish again.
For the second time running it looks, as if our biggest dream is about to come true!
Again we got the greatest gift of all.
Another year for Josh and us!

Uh oh... and there is it... CHRISTMAS!
Totally unexpected, out of the blue!
Isn't fair, is it?
Because the rest of the year everybody's always so organized, right?
Right :)

Are you stressed out over buying presents and arranging big family dinners?
Who to invite and who to leave out?
Are you fed up, finding no parking spaces anywhere, running through busy shopping streets, feeding those vultures who want nothing but your cash?

And then there are those who would have every reason to be...

stressed
depressed
devastated
crying
angry

but instead they're hopeful, grateful, humble and brave.
And that is because they learned what really matters, the hardest and cruelest way there is!
They have a child, suffering from cancer!

So when this year you want to complain...

... about the food being "not good enough"
... about getting the wrong presents
... about the TV programme
... about the family you don't want to spend time with
... about someone not getting in touch
... about the weather

Then think about Joshua's Christmas 2009!
Think about the children and their families,
who will be spending this Christmas in that place...

... where one is thankful if the child eats one spoonful of soup
... without being sick
... where one is glad when the drip isn't chemo, but medication of some sort
... where sleeping three hours is considered "a good sleep"
... where every visitor is welcome
... where one only hopes and prays the machines show signs of life!

Each and everyone of those families would gladly swap with you, but you would never swap with them!

Be humble and thankful.
Anyway... what is Christmas all about?
Why not give a present to the one who's "responsible" for it.
Simply by being kind to one another.
And guess what? It's for free! :)

Spend "quality time" with your loved ones!
Next time you want to say "not now... later"
~ STOP ~ Think!

Remember there might not be a "later" later.

Don't wait for life to teach you the lesson, we so painfully, brutally had to learn!
So far we've had an happy ending, but others didn't!
Neither do we know what's around the corner!
Neither do you!

So here's us ~ wishing you all a peaceful and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
May it be special ~ filled with love, light and magic!
May the NEW YEAR bring you nothing but good!
Health, luck, joy and happiness!

But if fate has other plans for you, dark and painful hours, days or years...
We wish for you to get the love and support and help we received every day throughout our ordeal!

Thanks to those who walked with us...

through sunshine and rain,
heaven and hell,
light and darkness,
faith and struggle!

We couldn't have done it without you!

*L*O*V*E* Vera, John & Joshua

***

From Joshua's Mother
December 19, 2011

Dear MJ family!

Regularly I apologize for taking ages to write an update and always do I promise to do better next time, but the only thing that's for sure is... I fail miserably. Only this time I outdid myself. I wrote a huge update in October, ready to send before we were off on a four week break to the island of Sylt for a family REHAB. Well, I didn't. Neither did I send it later on... every day something else came up to prevent me from sending it and now look at the date... DECEMBER?! Dear me...

Let me see... what have we been up to since I last wrote?!

Over here families who have a child suffering from cancer are entitled to a four week family REHAB. We were lucky to get a place on the island of Sylt, one of the most beautiful places in Germany. We were there from October 12th till November 9th and what an I say? 47 families, all having been through the same ordeal as us... an odd situation. But at least one never had to explain moods, tears, fears... they were all too familiar to everybody.

The thing I enjoyed the most was not having to cook :) Breakfast, lunch, dinner... everything was there and that for four weeks. Bliss! Josh went to school (only an hour a day though), we had various sports classes we were able to attend but everything on a voluntary bases, nothing was a "must". We all did different things and really enjoyed it.

Look... Josh found his own GIVING TREE :)


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"Stranger on Sylt" :)


And the SEA! OMG! I want to live by the sea! It's the closest I've been to heaven, I'm sure of that. It is breathtaking... the sound of the waves, the smell, the view... simply amazing. I walked "my" beach for hours, every day, in every weather... and I miss it so, so much!


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Came October 28th I took Josh to my favourite spot on the beach. Remember... October 28th marked the two year anniversary of the most horrifying experience ever, the day they told us Joshua had cancer. So we drew the word "leukemia" in the sand and waited for the waves to wash it away! When they did... it was like this huge weight being lifted off our shoulders! Can't explain... but as we stood and watched we prayed for the sea to take all bad away, once and for all!

 

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November 3rd also meant the end of Joshua's two years medication. Two years of chemo therapy over and done with, once and for all (please)! I remembered when they had told us it would take two years if everything was going to plan... I honestly believed we'd never get there! But we did! THANK GOD!

 

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Throughout our stay there was one thing nagging me... a burning desire to fulfill one of my dreams. In 2005 I have had a very nasty accident while riding a horse and ever since I never went back on one. I grew up with horses, they were my life and now a piece of it was missing. So on the last Sunday of our stay I gathered all my courage and went for a ride. Not any ride, nooooooooooo... a two hour beach stampede! My heart was racing, my knees weak at first... I felt like a kid again :) With pieces of apple in my coat (to bribe my horse) I met my partner for the day... LITTLE UNCLE... LOL, yes, that was my horse. And we got on like a house on fire! It was one of the best feelings... ever. Galloping along the beach... wind on my face and in my hair and the sound of the horses... and stupid giggles from me I guess... oh oh OH... it was wonderful! I so want to do it again :)

 

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The doctors are still very pleased with Josh, he is still "on target"! They'll do another bone marrow punction in January and that will finally decide things. Will we dive straight back into hell? Or will we get the ALL CLEAR and walk into the unforeseeable future, hoping for the best? Prayers and positive thoughts are still welcome! And always will be! Bless you!

Not only for Joshua. Tragically his best friend Daniel is not well. Our REHAB was overshadowed by the news of Daniel fighting for his life. His fourth lung surgery had gone awfully wrong and he was literally fighting for his life in intensive care. He won that fight but his cancer keeps coming back...

Lately life has been one constant struggle...

always torn between pleasure and pain.

But we've had fun days too...

Tobias, the German POP IDIOL winner of 2006 met up with the kids again, which was great fun...

 

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... and Joshua also met mad Irish twins JEDWARD, which made his day as he is a big fan of theirs :)

 

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I also had a moment of TV fame last Thursday :) I'm sure you've all heard of Mr José Carreras, one of the best tenors in the whole wide world. He too suffered from Leukemia many, many years ago. So he formed the JC Trust and once a year, two weeks before Christmas, he hosts this huge TV show with loads of stars to collect money for research! While we were on Sylt a camera team turned up at our clinic and asked parents and kids to participate in a flashmob, alongside Germany's most famous TV ballet. Yeah right... very amusing! But they were serious. The song to perform to was PAPI by Jennifer Lopez and the choreography was so difficult. None of us wanted to make fools of ourselves but in the end they persuaded us to give it a try. We practised for hours (I was in the group with a really yummy dancer, haha) and when they finally filmed it... our minds went blank. I can now understand all these people at casting shows, forgetting the lyrics when auditioning... it just happens.

Still, we had fun and when it aired onThursday it wasn't too bad. The ballet danced live while we were shown on a screen in the background, not all the time but 3 little snippets. That was our little input for the good course. And... by the end of the night Germany had donated SIX MILLION + 500 THOUSAND Euros for Leukemia research! Amazing. Josh gave 50 Euros, too! Bless!

I found the show online, if you use this link

http://www.ardmediathek.de/ard/servlet/content/3517136?documentId=9047000

and go to minute 27:52... that's us :)))

One last story to tell. My little brother took part in GERMANY's GOT TALENT. OK, lots of people do and most of them sing, like my brother did, but Stefan is handicapped. Not only does he suffer from a brain tumor, he has also got Tourette Syndrom. He cannot walk like we can, he throws his legs, arms, head and shoulders about. He stumbles, he pulls faces and it tortures him. People stare, laugh, point... and Stefan suffers from headaches, pains in his neck, back and body... and heart :( So when he told us he was going for GGT we were worried. What would happen if he tried to walk onto the stage, what would happen if the audience started laughing? Music had always been his remedy and once he starts singing... he is calm and in control. Well, to cut this short, he went, sang and people loved him! I cry everytime I watch the video! Here's the link for those who want to take a look/have a listen, I know it's all in German and it all starts off with an advertisement... but it's worth watching :)

http://www.clipfish.de/special/supertalent/video/3680908/supertalent-2011-stefan-gertler-singt-home/

If you have a minute, check out the FACEBOOK page I do for him and LIKE it :) Thanks!

http://de-de.facebook.com/pages/Die-offizielle-Stefan-Gertler-Fan-Seite/261524360555252

Now Christmas is just around the corner again... feels like only "yesterday" that I wrote my last X-mas message... and the message is still the same... don't get stressed over CHRISTmas, it's not about you... and HE does not want any presents, big meals and fuss!

RELAX... be happy and humble and SLOW DOWN!

We wish you and yours a wonderful, blessed and peaceful Christmas. Love, light, hope, faith, health and happiness throughout the New Year! Everlasting thanks to each and everyone of you for being the best support and light at the end of our tunnel for more than two years now! We couldn't have hoped for more!

We love you dearly!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL... and Michael... thank you for touching so many hearts and souls, we are benefitting from that LOVE you sowed!

HUGS... Vera, John & Joshua xxx

***

From Joshua's Mother
August 3, 2011

Dear friends!

I know it has been a while since this page was updated. I'm sorry if anyone felt neglected or forgotten. Rest assured that neither was or ever will be the case.

After such a long time in almost isolation it came as some kind of shock getting back into a "normal" routine. Suddenly I had to combine two worlds. The regular trips to the clinic, the therapies, tests and precautions... on the other hand the return to "life". As easy as it seemed for Joshua, it was - and still is - very trying for me! While Joshua is just eager to do everything he had to miss out on for so long, I see all the dangers lurking everywhere.

There are times when I think I cannot cope.

But life is treating us well at the moment and we are grateful! There are some side effects from the heavy chemo therapy that are of concern but only slightly still. We'll worry more when need for it occurs.

Joshua has had his last chemo on July 1st and is heading towards the finishing line. In November they'll stop his oral medication and two or three months later they'll do a final bone marrow punction. If he's still alright then and still in remission, he'll be announced "healed", with another 10 years of check ups and observation.

There is so much to be grateful for... and we are! But there's also so much grief. We burried three kids and everytime we do us parents stand together; crying, wondering whose kid it is going to be next...

Unfortunately Joshua's best friend has had two relapses already. He is still in good spirit and fighting his way through countless of therapies and lung surgeries but it is heartbreaking. And only God knows what it would do to Joshua if we lost him...

So we are taking each day as a present and use it to the fullest. We are in fact rushing about like mad (within Joshua's limits, of course)!

We've all had a very moving moment. A moment we've been waiting for for so long, esp. Josh. He's been back in football training for a while but on June 2nd he finally returned to the pitch, playing for his team! Big moments, many tears, happy tears! First I cried when his team mates gave him the No10 shirt, what a wonderful gesture! Then I cried when my boy finally walked onto the grass... and the past 21 months appeared in my mind... the day he was diagnosed, the schock, the agony, the surgeries, the chemos, the suffering... and there he was... doing what he loves doing most, amongst his friends and cheered on by many. That was all too much for this old mothers heart, I tell you! We've had a wonderful day which was even topped when he received the award for his undying courage and determination to walk through hell and back into his (soccer) life. All trainers of all teams unanimously voted Joshua BEST PLAYER of the tournament! It was a day we'll never forget!

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During our Easter break we finally went back to England to see Mum (-in-law). The ferry ride to Hull took 14 hours and was amazing. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to go on a cruise, one of these days! We spend eight great days with family and friends and Joshua's highlight was definitely seeing Manchester United live at Old Trafford. Their Foundation had given us four free tickets, lucky us! Fortunately ManU scored in the last minute, otherwise a good day could've turned sour after all.

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Another highlight of this year was getting tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest final in Duesseldorf. I've been to hundreds of concerts and festivals, but I've had never seen anything like this, ever! Joshua had so much fun, which was the best part!

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Another tick on Joshua's "to do list" was made in May, when we went to the sea side. Just in Holland, but it was great fun. Looks like 2011 is the year of wish-fulfillments :)

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We got invited to Ringo Starr's birthday bash in Hamburg on July7th which was very exciting, highlighted by his gig the Sunday after... a wonderful, lasting experience!

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Now we just returned from a family visit in Munich & a few days in Austria. And of course we visited the memorial in Munich! DOT POWER :)

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Many more ticks to do on his list yet... because one never knows what's in store for you, us particular.

School is good too, Josh has settled back into his "normal" life and is ever so positive!

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A lot to do, one of the things being celebrating Michael's birthday with the lovely Marijke from TMC and her team on a party boat in Gent/Belgium, on Sunday, August 28th (yes I know his birthday won't be before the 29th)! Looking forward to meeting fellow DOTS there :)

We are still experiencing so much love and support and we've made so many great friends. I'm delighted to say we've met a few more DOTS and our family is steadily growing!

We are blessed to have you in our lives!

THANK YOU!

Much LOVE & LIGHT ~ Vera, John & Joshua xxx

***

From Joshua's Mother
March 24, 2011

Dear MJ family!

It's been a while since I updated this page and I'm sorry. Life doesn't always go as planned as all of you are very well aware of.

Joshua is doing ok. Still fighting a nasty cough and blocked nose - for four months now - but worse could happen. We are happy with what we've got. One could even say we are leading a pretty "normal" life again ~ school, soccer training, meeting friends...

Tragically we lost another little soul to this demon called cancer. Simon, Joshua's eight year old friend from the clinc, didn't make it. Having faught bravely against his brain tumor he lost his fight three weeks ago. One of the reasons we stayed "away" for a while.

We are in the clinic again tomorrow, for a punction and chemo. And here we go again... hearts pounding fast, guts hurting, fear creeping up on us! GOD willing everything will still be ok.

We are sending you all love, hugs and kisses ~ and healing, loving vibes to the people of Japan and everybody in need!

GOD BLESS ~ Vera, John & Joshua xxx

 

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From Joshua's Mother
January 2011


Dear friends!

Thank you so much for all the heartfelt Christmas, birthday and New Years messages ♥ They were happily received and much appreciated! Bless you all!

It had been Joshua's wish - when he was really poorly in 2009 - to spend the festive season in Bavaria if he was to live to see it. He did and so we travelled down south to celebrate Christmas and our new beginning with family and friends.

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Christmas Day was particularly special. Not only being the 25th of the month... but we visited the MJ memorial in Munich and met with Iris and Bettina from the MJTP. Very special moments were spent there, on a special day with special people. A memory we'll treasure forever!

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Last year I spent my birthday next to my sons hospital bed, watching him fighting for his life. In fact December 30th, 2009 had been one of the worst days during his treatment.

This time I received the most precious gift, absolutely priceless, second to none! Spending my birthday with a happy, lively Joshua.

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In the hope that it'll stay that way I'd like to grab this opportunity wishing you & yours a happy, healthy and blessed New Year 2011. Make the most of it!

Thank you for your help, love, support and friendship throughout this trying time and beyond! We are forever grateful!

During the worst time of our lives we learned what it really means to be rich... once you have faith, love, hope and...

... FRIENDS. Thank YOU for being one of them!

Love Vera, John and Joshua, my hero ♥

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From Joshua's Mother
December 19, 2010

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Last Christmas we only had one wish
For our son to heal and beat all demons.
Last Christmas brought it home to us
A painful lesson, realizing that nothing matters once you've lost your health
Last Christmas we weren't sure if Josh would live to see another festive season.

For this Christmas we only had one wish yet again.
This Christmas it looks as if our biggest dream is about to come true!
This Christmas we got the greatest gift of all
A second chance for Josh and us!

So this is it, X-mas 2010!

Take time out to reminisce.
Is it worth getting stressed out over buying presents, arranging big family dinners?
Who to invite and who to leave out?
Is it supposed to be like that?
Running through busy shopping streets, feeding those vultures who want nothing but your cash? It's no fun, go on, admit it.

To put a sparkle in your loved ones eyes might be easier than you think.
Sometimes it's the little things that matter ~ quality time spend together!

Next time you want to say "not now... later" ~ STOP. Think!
Remember there might not be a "later" later.
I'm not trying to lecture anyone. This is my Christmas gift for you.
A heartfelt piece of advice that might save you some bitter tears in the future.
We've been there. Learn from our story and count your blessings, daily!

Here's us... wishing you all a peaceful and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
May it be special, filled with love, light and magic!
May the 
NEW YEAR bring you nothing but good! Health, luck, joy and happiness!

Thank you for all the support throughout our ordeal.
We couldn't have done it without you!

*L*O*V*E* Vera, John & Joshua

*he's always watching over all of us*


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From Joshua's Mother
November 17, 2010

A year ago today Joshua had just begun the fight of his life. We all were and we did that with all our might, passion, love and desperation, lovingly supported by the team, friends and fans of the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. From day one YOU helped carrying us through the darkest hours of our lives so far.

Being
a DOT was great, being a DOT in Michael's heart was even greater... but the greatest was yet to come!

Today the one and only portrait with the one and only artist, David Ilan, and the sweet Michelle Easter entered our world (our home) for real. Words fail me to describe the feeling... so I'll let Joshua's face do the talking!

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Three hours we talked, laughed, ate, drank, joked, stared at the portrait

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and enjoyed each other’s company. John, my mom, yours truly (me), Josh, Michelle, David & Michael... well, in the shape of the portrait but it felt like him being there :)

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Besides the DOT drawings (even my mom has got a special DOT now) we had two more highlights. David showed Joshua how to draw with the technique...

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... and after that they both rocked the house! WII guitar and drums came out and it was heart melting to see the two boys (yes, they just were like two little boys) jamming away. BLISS!

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Thank you for your time, your heart and soul, the DOTs, the laughs, the company. 

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 GOD BLESS!

Vera, John & Joshua xxx

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From Joshua's Mother
October 10, 2010

 

Dear friends!

Hamburg also OFFICIALLY announced Joshua "in REMISSION"! 

All other tests today were good, too. For NOW he is on the mend! The only thing missing is the operation to remove his heart/broviac catheter. It was planned for Wednesday but has been brought FORWARD to Monday!

We are happy, releaved, though not "out of our heads" about it all but thankful and humble!

Thank you all for sending healing vibes and powerful prayers!

YOU are partly responsible for this miracle!

How can we ever thank you enough!?!

Josh is already enjoying things he had to miss out on for almost one year, like going to McDonald's! Little things one tends to take for granted but means so much to us now!


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God bless you and yours!

Vera, John & Joshua xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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From Joshua's Mother
September 23, 2010

 

My dear friends!

The clinic called, telling us that at least at their place NO CANCER CELLS were found in Joshua's bone marrow! We are still awaiting the results from the main hospital in Hamburg (that can take up to a week) but things look good!

I'm sort of "speechless" right now so excuse the lack of words... I think it hasn't sunk in yet.

Thank GOD, thank YOU, thank MICHAEL, thank our ANGELS! For prayers, love, support and healing magic!


We could not love you any more!

*L*O*V*E* Vera, John & Joshua xxx

 
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From Joshua's Mother
September 20, 2010

Dear Friends, 

You may have read this already, either on Facebook, MySpace or the MJTP but still... here it comes again.

THIS IS IT! Tomorrow is Joshua's BIG day. Our big day! The final test... to hopefully end the intensive therapy, once and for all. Round about 8.30am German time they'll do the all important bone marrow punction so we are asking you to think of us, of Josh, more than ever before maybe! Pray for us and send him some powerful energy!

It won't mean he's healed forever but it could be "for the time being" and that would be the HUGE step, back into normal life and everything that goes with it! Still another 12 months of chemo pills and four minor OPs but Josh would be able to go back to school, play football, meet friends, go out and LIVE!

Be with us tomorrow! THANK YOU!

Much *L*O*V*E*


Vera, John & Joshua xxx

 

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From Joshua's Mother
September 11, 2010

 

Dear friends!

For us the countdown has started. Finally Joshua's blood results are on the way up which means the all important bone marrow punction is near. Next week, the week after at the latest!

While Joshua is so excited to get it over and done with I'm so scared! For Josh it means only one thing ~ getting back to "normal" life. But it's more than that. It either means heaven or hell. Either he goes into 12 months of oral chemo therapy or the whole intensive scenario starts all over again. God forbid!

No point talking about it now, whatever will be will be. I'll let you know once I have the exact day and then I'd like of you to send some powerful energy our way. Say a prayer, light a candle... just don't burn your house down :)

The past few weeks have been good. Joshua's hair is growing back, he is eating well and getting fitter by the day. He's looking forward to starting football practise/training again (he reckons his team needs him) AND is looking forward to going back to school! A year ago I wouldn't have believed this :) We visited his home school last week to meet new teachers and visit his old school mates. Obviously Josh was a bit sad to say good bye to his old class but no doubt they'll stay friends (and get in trouble again in the future) but all in all Josh is looking forward to a new start.

You've carried us this far ~ please stay with us now!

Thank you all for walking in Michael's footsteps!

*L*O*V*E* Vera, John & Joshua xxx

 

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From Joshua’s Mother
August 14th, 2010

 

Dear all!

Just a quick update at 2 am in the morning.

I'm at home, trying to get my head around the happenings lately. There have been great moments, as well as awfully sad ones. We are constantly walking the line between heaven and hell.

First things first... today, to Joshua's HUGE disappointment, he was officially banned from all activities for yet another 2-3 months by his doctors. Needless to say he was FUMING, screaming "blue murder" and I was very disappointed too... but my priorities lie with our child's recovery.

He was awfully weak after the first part of his - hopefully last EVER - block of chemos. It took him four instead of two weeks to get back on his feet and his body was totally worn out. Due to the delay everything had to be moved to a later time.

Thursday he developed a really high fever that had us in the clinic by night time. It was a scary situation but under control. They kept us in, gave him a blood transfusion today and finally announced him well enough to receive his last big chemo tomorrow, followed by chemo injections Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and...

THE LAST ONE WEDNESDAY!!!!!

How long have we been waiting to say that...

However, the doctors warned us to take things slowly. They said they've seen children battling through chemo, then dying from an infection due to lack of immune system afterwards. I will NOT risk that! Unfortunately that means that the benefit party will go ahead, but without Josh and that we won't be going to Best in
Holland to see the HIStory statue. It will just have to wait.

I'm so sorry for those who have planned to be there on the 29th in the
Netherlands. We will have to wait till November now till we meet, either in Best or for a shopping trip in Venlo (as we only live 30 minutes from there).

As for the 28th... I only had three people telling me they were thinking of going, no one wrote in to say they were taking part in a MJ flash mob or dance on stage or karaoke so I guess there's no loss. As I said... the event WILL take place, it's just that Joshua won't be allowed to go.

And to all those who asked whether they can donate money... NO! You've all done enough and there's absolutely no need! But BLESS YOU ALL!

While Joshua & John are in hospital as I write this I'm trying to get my head around one of the most shocking news we got yesterday. My friends little boy has got no chance of healing. They said he'll have weeks, a few months at the most! It was one of the most helpless moments... to have his mother in my arms, crying. There was NOTHING I could do... so I just held her and cried too...once again becoming frightfully aware of the place we've been trapped in for the past 10 months!

No words...

Amongst all the bad things there was also something incredibly exciting. But as I don't think it's fitting right now I'll keep this for next time.

Please keep praying for a successful ending to the intense treatment and for REMISSION in about 2-3 weeks time when they'll do the last and most important bone marrow punction. EVERYTHING depends on that!

God bless you & yours...

*L*O*V*E* Vera xxx

alt

12.08.2010

This is for my wonderful boy ~ I love you, Joshua!

The world is changing
and time is spinning fast
...it's so amazing how you came into my life
I know it seems all hope is gone
I know you feel you can't be strong
and once again the story ends with you and I

And anytime you feel like you just can't go on
just hold on to my love
and you'll never be alone

Hold on
we can make it through the fire
and my love
I'm forever by your side
and you know
if you should ever call my name
I'll be right there
you'll never be alone

Hopeless to describe
the way I feel for you
no matter how I try
words would never do
I looked into your eyes to find
as long as love is alive
there ain't nothing we can't make it through

Anytime, or only for a while
don't worry
make a wish
I'll be there to see you smile

Hold on
we can make it through the fire
and my love
I'm forever by your side
and you know
if you should ever call my name
I'll be right there
you'll never be alone

Anastacia - You'll Never Be Alone

 * * *

 

From Joshua's Mother
July 2010

 
Dear all!

I know an update is long overdue but sometimes it's hard to find the right words. I often think it's not fair to burden you with sad stories - and there are many - but as you wonderful people support us so lovingly it's only right to keep you posted.

The past nine months we've seen the whole picture of a cancer ward. A life changing experience. It's been tough again lately. Joshua's best friend had a relapse, which shook us up a lot, and little Jasmina lost her leg in order to save her life. Still, she is so very brave and an example for us all.

Joshua hasn't been too well. We've been told they'd increase the treatment towards the end and that he'd suffer... and they were right. It was heartbreaking to see him deteriorating again. Josh had just started to look really well. His hair had grown back, he was full of life and even started jogging and riding his bike again. What bliss!

It wasn't to last. The past 12 chemo therapies really knocked him off his feet again. Within days we had it all ~ the bald head, the sickness, the aches, pains and tears... and my frustration. There were days when Josh couldn't even get up the stairs on his own and I thought he'd never play soccer again ~ which was his passion.

The incredible heat didn't help either. With neither the hospital nor the houses over here being air conditioned Josh suffered extremely, esp. when undergoing treatment. So for the first time he developed fever, which had us back in the clinic a few times, mainly at nights.

We could've, should've almost be done by now. If everything had gone to plan. If...

As I write this we are at home, awaiting better blood results to enable further treatment. The last block of 11 chemos. Fingers crossed we'll start next week! We could be through with the intensive 60 chemos (!) at the beginning of August. Then another two weeks till they check his bone marrow for remaining cancer cells. If he's still in remission we'll begin the year of oral medication, which also means getting back into a normal life routine, slowly and carefully. After that it's another 10 years of hoping the disease will never return!

One step at a time, let's concentrate on August first! :)

Before I go I'd like to mention two more things that involve DOTS in Germany and Holland (and every DOT that would like to take part).

On August 28th, 2010 there will be a charity event in Mülheim an der Ruhr/Germany, for Joshua and other kids, suffering from cancer. It'll be a huge all day family party "thing", with music, fun, games... and hopefully a tribute to our dear Michael. For that we need YOU, his fans. Those who are willing to perform a dance on stage, start a flash mob, whatever. I know there were so many capable dancers for THRILL THE WORLD and we'd like them to get in touch with us. There's not too much time to organize it all so please spread the word!

It is very likely that Joshua will be able to attend the event which will be the first time for him in public since being diagnosed! Wouldn't that be magical?

On Michael's birthday, August 29th, my little family will be going to Best in Holland to visit Michael's HIStory statue at McDonald's. I have already arranged to meet a few DOT friends there and Joshua's very excited about it all. So calling all Dutch DOTS... join us!

Time to say good-night. But before I do, let me thank you all again, forever and ever, for being there for us, in all the different ways! Whether it's notes, messages, comments, emails, letters, postcards, gifts, phone calls, visits and prayers ~ it all helps! You have carried us through this trying time and we can never thank you enough!

God bless you & yours! Thanks to Michael for bringing us all together!

*L*O*V*E* & MJ *M*A*G*I*C*

Vera aka Faith & her boys xxx

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
Mother's Day, May 9, 2010


Dear YOU!

I'm sorry for the silence, I simply haven't got much strength left. I'm burned out and tired.

Joshua is seven months into his therapy and he is doing well. He is strong, brave and determined. Everything that I'm not. Oh, I'm determined alright but I'm frightened. I can't shake off pictures/visions of the worst scenario without having any acute reason. It is just this nagging fear this disease might strike again, a paralyzing feeling we might lose our only child.

People telling me "you mustn't think and feel that way" does not help. I know all that! But the more I tell myself to stop, the more I panic. I need to get rid of the shadows and enjoy the good days and moments. If only I wouldn't think so much...

Three months left of the heavy treatment. We are ready to face it.

One thing I'm certain of and that has something to do with all of YOU! After recent talks with Joshua's doctors we know they are very surprised about the positive outcome so far. They told us they never expected Joshua to respond so well, they told us Joshua's kind of leukemia wasn't a "simple" one and that he was doing miraculously well under the circumstances.

I'm not sure if it's just a miracle or the power of prayers, love and support coming from all of YOU! It's the whole package, I'm sure.

So we are back to square one, thanking the Lord, Jesus, Michael and his army of DOTS & angels from the bottom of our hearts!

I believe having YOU by our sides is making a big difference and if it's not too much to ask I'd beg you not to stop praying for Joshua! Please continue to send positive thoughts and prayers our way. You set something magical in motion, please keep it alive!

If I was an artist and had to draw a picture to show what was happening here... I'd draw a beautiful, thin but strong web that was spun all around the earth by all kind of people of every race, every colour, every age, a web of prayers, love and music, a web that was there to protect Joshua from falling off the face of this world too soon, to catch him when he falls and to rock him gently when he feels weak and to throw him back up on his feet over and over again... and above it all I can see the smiling face of our Michael, approving of those who keep his legacy alive ~ *Y*O*U*!

*T*H*A*N*K*Y*O*U* now and forever after!!!

Except for the UK I think it's Mother's Day almost everywhere in the world today. Today must be the most precious one I've had in 13 years. This is the Mother's Day I treasure the most, the one I'm most thankful for! There were times I didn't think I'd see today, not with my child giving me a hug and a card and a kiss. But Joshua did all that and my heart just burst.

To every mother out there ~ God bless you & your precious ones and to those who are mourning a child or a mother ~ I hope you find comfort and strength.

*L*O*V*E*

Vera, John & Joshua

* * *


From Joshua's Mother 
April 8, 2010

Dear MJ family!

I owe you another update, sorry for taking so long!

We are now almost half a year into the treatment. Funny that I always say "we" and "us," as it's Joshua who's enduring all the physical pain. Still, we are all in this together.

Josh is doing a great "job." He's brave, tough, funny, strong! If ever I was looking for a hero... I found him right here waiting... our son!

There have been good and bad moments since I last wrote.

We lost one of the children on our ward. It was a little girl, six years old, called Marie! She had cancer of the kidney.

Marie's funeral was very, very sad, but beautifully done! It was a Russian/German service as Marie's parents are from Russia. There was an ocean of flowers around the tiny casket, two sweet pictures of a smiling, healthy Marie on it.

We did a LOT of singing, really a lot, which felt good as those songs, both Russian and German, were full of hope and love. They were "happy" tunes! There were a lot of kids in church, all of them carrying a rose. The speeches and prayers were touching.

John and I were the only parents to be at the service, the others couldn't/wouldn't face it. I had my doubts too, but thought we couldn't turn our backs in Marie's parents darkest hour! After all, we walked this rocky road together, all those days and nights in hospital, the fears and the pain.

I am so glad we went! It was the right thing to do! Marie's parents were so grateful to see us and it left us sad but calm!

Joshua was doing fine after his last treatment. He was out a lot, walking, being very active. He ate loads and gained strength.

We've also had a visit last week that lifted everybody’s spirit! I had contacted Tobias Regner, one of the winners of the German POP IDOL, who we've supported ever since his win in 2006, and asked if he'd find it in his heart to visit the children and brighten up their day for a bit.

It took less than a month for him and his kind manager to sort out a visit, which took place on March 26th. Tobias asked NOT to involve the press, as he was NOT looking for publicity, but had only one reason for coming ~ helping!

So they arrived, two guys, one guitar and lots of time. Tobias & Volker stayed for almost three hours and the kids LOVED it (so did we, the parents)! There was so much laughter, giggling and singing going on in our room... MAGIC! You had to be there to understand. There are no words to explain, the vibes were just right! Just look into these eyes and see the smiles. Bless you Tobias!

Though Tobias asked not to involve the press, he never said not to involve friends and family :) As I consider you all to be just that ~ our beautiful friends and caring family ~ I'd like to introduce him to you.

For those who are interested in checking out his music ~ watch this:

Tobias third single COOL WITHOUT YOU (from the movie OPEN SEASON)
http://www.viva.tv/Videos/Detail/id/1124626
(ignore the 15 seconds advertising before the song starts)

POP IDOL final, Tobias singing PURPLE RAIN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN0WBzT6TzA

POP IDOL motto show, Tobias singing HOW YOU REMIND ME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__fHL96PG2Q

And last, but by NO means least, his new (German) single IRGENDWO DA DRAUSSEN (somewhere out there)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wKUHETt4Fg&feature=related

So, what do you think? He's not only a great singer, but a really nice, warm hearted, kind and caring person who so deserves some recognition. Joshua "loves" him to bits :) Did you like his music? Then why not drop him a line and sign his guest book. It's all in German, but easily done. All you need to fill in is your name. Email and homepage is optional. Write your text and before you press the EINTRAGEN button (=submit) you got to fill in the spam box (a number). Don't worry, Tobias is very educated and speaks fluent English, so go ahead!

The link to his guest book is

http://www.regner-musik.de/index.php/gastebuch/ 

PLEASE remember, it is Tobias' guest book and the messages should mainly be about him, his music and his big heart.

Back to my brave boy... Josh was allowed home in time for Easter, which was great. I went to sunrise service at 6 a.m., decorated the house after that and picked my boys up around noon. Josh had just finished another round of five chemos. He also had a very important bone marrow punction done Wednesday last week. Still waiting for the final results, but those we've had back ‘til now were very promising! Thank God!

So that's us, happy to be home, grateful for all the love and support we're receiving from all over the globe and looking forward to learning more "lessons of life." Amazing how much there is out there that we are blind to.

Big hugs! Hope this finds you and yours well and happy!

Love Vera & her boys xxx

* * *

From Joshua’s Mother
March 16, 2010

Good Tuesday morning to one and all :)

Just wanted to let you all know, that Josh sailed bravely through his block of chemos last week and has been home since Saturday. Come Sunday, he was out with his dad, kicking a football around for the first time since that dreadful day in October. I stood there, crying ... out of JOY!

Thanks to you for every message, comment, prayer and word of comfort! I can only always repeat myself. We couldn't face this without your love and support, at least not as well as we've been doing so far.

GOD bless you all!

Now I need to use this opportunity to reach out to "someone" in Australia! A few days back, Joshua was being presented with a HUGE parcel by the hospital staff. It had come all the way from Oz and was filled with *M*A*G*I*C*

Two great posters, a fantastic T-Shirt, a clock, a DVD, a CD and two books! All of *M*I*C*H*A*E*L* of course :) It felt like Christmas, all over again. We were stunned!

Ever since, I've been trying to locate the sender  ~~ "alittlesomethin4michael" team! I found their TWITTER account, but no email address, but then I noticed they were following my updates on here.

Dear alittlesomethin4michael-team... thank you sooooooo much for this generous gift and the heartwarming thought behind it! I am somewhat embarrassed accepting so many presents, especially as we will never be able to make it up to you – and all the others for that matter – but you touched our hearts deeply! Joshua had just redecorated his room and changed it completely, but the clock and posters are up!

From our hearts... we love our MJ family!

Vera aka Faith xxx with John & Joshua

* * *


From Joshua’s Mother
March 7, 2010


MAKE A CHANGE ~ a lesson to be learned

Five months into Joshua's therapy, I'd like to look back. Just a quick peek as we have decided to look and move *F*O*R*W*A*R*D* and nothing "but"!

I came across an article the other day. It was about the situation we are in and someone saying "Don't ask WHY, maybe ask WHAT FOR"

In my previous "rambling" I mentioned I had my own theory as to "why" or "what for" and I'd like to share this with you today. It's not just a theory, it's a lesson I learned and a lesson everybody should spend thoughts on.

Take a look at the things we fight about. The things that upset us.

A missed soccer match, a substitution that doesn't seem fair, a missed goal or penalty, a TV programme that accidentally doesn't get recorded, being late for an appointment, a pair of shoes that don't fit, someone not paying enough attention, a cancelled gig... make a list of things that upset you and THINK ABOUT IT!

School played an important role in our life. Well, so it should, but it is not "everything"! Being my child couldn't have been easy. Maybe I constantly tried to make up for my own failure at school by pushing Joshua to extremes. Exams, homeworks, projects... I pushed and pushed and pushed and nagged and nagged and nagged. The most awful things I said to Joshua in the progress, the "evil" even tempted me to raise my hand more than once.

I never NOT loved my child and I always made sure I told Joshua so but still I couldn't control my fits all the time.

Often I hid in my room, crying my eyes out, hating myself, telling myself that I was an awful, bad mother and the past year in particular I prayed and prayed "Dear Lord, do something... ANYTHING... to make me a better mother. Do something to make me STOP putting pressure on my child!"

HE did!

Remember ~ on October 28th, 2009 our world suddenly stopped turning. In fact, it stopped and kicked us into space... the space between heaven and hell! It was the day a huge invisible monster grabbed us and ripped us to shreds. It was the day I will never ever forget, not a second of it, for as long as I live!

Countless of times I asked myself if my praying for a change had brought this on. Even worse... I wondered if this heartbreaking result was necessary to stop me and my ranting?! What does this say about me as a mother?

In deepest disgust and shame I hung my head... for days, week, months... till today! I apologized to Joshua so many times that he put a stop to it a while back, telling me to put it to rest.

The secret is to grab the opportunity given and to prove the lesson has been learned this time! Make a change!

"Look @the (wo)man in the mirror!"

I've had letters and messages thanking us - me, John and Joshua - for teaching them a lesson. How amazing is that? If everything happens for a reason and if we are on a mission... maybe this mission has got more meaning than "simply" beating cancer. If others take something positive home with them, just by reading our story, then we might be doing something right?!

I did not ask for my child to become ill and fight for his life, but I did ask for a change that would last. It will last, no matter what the outcome will be like.

We won't ever be the same again.

"Man In The Mirror" ~ by Michael Joseph Jackson

I'm Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life

It's Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .
I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place

We might not change the whole world, but are determined to change ours and in the progress maybe touch others. What bliss. Message received, Michael, thank you!

Love Vera, John & Joshua
xxx

* * *

From Joshua's Mother
March 4, 2010

This is us, Vera, John & Joshua.

So sorry for taking like "forever" to update you on the latest happenings. Life is hectic, busy and mad. There is so much I need to do ~ sometimes I feel I'm heading toward a nervous breakdown. Better not!

Anyway... I've got good news. Last time I wrote Joshua was suffering from really bad side effects again. It took him 11 days to get back on his feet. We then spent three days at home - good days, I should add - before we had the next three chemos.

His whole attitude towards the treatment was different, he was determined to NOT become ill again. Everybody was convinced he wouldn't make it without side effects, but guess what? We've been home for five days now and he's doing really well! What a relief. What a gift!

As soon as he's strong enough they'll continue with the treatment. We are reaching the half way line of the "heavy" therapy! One "baby step" at a time.

We'd like to thank you all for your undying love & support!

Much love, God bless!

Vera, John & Joshua
xxx

* * *

From Joshua’s Mother
February 11, 2010

At the beginning of this month, we went back into hospital to continue the treatment. We moved into our new room, together with an eight year old girl who immediately fell in love with Joshua :) Her name is Jasmina. Bone cancer. That's how it is on our ward, daily.

Monday was just check ups and preparations. Chilling, as Josh calls it.

Josh had two minor OPs Tuesday morning plus his first chemo. Everything went well. They removed more bone marrow and tissue to look for cancer cells.

It was Wednesday morning that hurt, mentally. They came in with the "killer chemo MTX" (the one that brought him so much pain and sickness at the end of last year) and seeing the sheer horror and fear in his eyes broke my heart. He cried and cried and it was very difficult to calm him down.

Somehow we managed to take his mind off. The ward therapist came in and challenged him to his favourite dice game, which gave me time to pull myself together. The rest of the day was busy with school, watching TV and moving rooms, as another girl, Anna, moved in and that was definitely too much woman power for Josh.

Anna is another Leukemia case, just one year younger than Josh and four months further into the treatment, so Josh is watching her very carefully... so am I!

We moved in with 19 year old Daniel, Joshua's best buddy... and together they were trying their best to drive me up the walls! Despite the age difference, they get on like a house on fire. Daniel had bone cancer and just finished his treatment! God bless him!

The night was short and constantly interrupted by beeping machines. At 10am Thursday morning, the MTX chemo was through, after a 24 hour run, and you could clearly see how relieved Josh was. The side effects never show straight away though … that happens 4-7 days after.

One of Joshua's doctors came in later in the evening and said "Good news, no cancer cells were found in his bone marrow!" THANK GOD! But they can come back and there might still be micro cells that are cancerous. That's why the treatment takes so long.

Feeling quite relieved and happy, I left our room to look for my new friends and I found them, one in tears, the other looking awful too.

They both had bad news. Anna, who had been cancer cell free before, has had a relapse. And little Jasmina might lose her foot and part of her lower leg. We also learned that one of "our" girls (a beautiful 17 year old) has got about five months to live...

I almost felt guilty for feeling good ... though I didn't feel good after all that... and knowing Anna was not doing as well as we thought shattered some of my high hopes.

One more chemo Friday, then we went home Saturday, hoping for a week at home!

Joshua didn't last long, he became ill from those damn side effects within 24 hours and I took him back into hospital on Monday morning. He's been bad ever since, just lying there, not eating, not talking, not smiling.

John and I are tired, fed up and disillusioned.

But we'll see this through! Together! With your support, thoughts and prayers! God bless you all!

Much love from the 3 of us! xxx

* * *

From Joshua’s Mother
January 23, 2010

My Michael family!

For the past 30 minutes I've been trying to write you a note but tears got in the way. Geeez, you lot get me crying like a baby in no time!

But they are happy tears, tears of emotions, triggered off by the *L*O*V*E* you all shower us in continuously!

I can only repeat myself time and time again... but what more can I say? What else can I do? Maybe my tears and the joy and freedom you give me and my family is living proof to you that each and everyone of you is doing a wonderful job keeping our heads above water and our hearts beating.

I keep trying to imagine how proud Michael would be, of all of you. I can picture him smiling... I'm sure crying, just like I do the moment I read the notes, messages and comments. He'd be moved... and at peace in the knowledge of how lovingly his family of fans and friends have picked up his work and continue it.

THANKS to Michael, for being such a wonderful teacher! Now in death probably even more so than while he was alive. Because then people let HIM do most of the work. Now YOU took over, maybe without realizing but it is MAGIC! To us, John, Joshua & myself it is. We feel blessed to benefit from the love Michael sowed in each and every one of you beautiful people!

Not in a million years did I expect this. I never thought it could be possible! Words keep failing me. The amount of tissues I need when I go to the MJTP site is ridiculous :)

A few weeks back someone said I was very tough, brave, strong. That made me think.

I never considered myself a brave, strong person. I can easily cry, I am very emotional to the extend that I've been called "hysterical" and "paranoid" at times. I also had to undergo therapy just after Joshua was born. It lasted five years and was necessary because I couldn't let go of the fear of losing my child.

Almost sarcasticly funny, isn't it? All of Joshua's life I feared what actually really happened to him, to us. So NO, I'm not brave... and I'm certainly not fearless.

When I write to you I try not to go overboard. What use is it to anyone? I learned A LOT! How can I explain?

When I first heard the news I tried to SCREAM... but no sound escaped my mouth. I started to cry but there were no tears. It was frightning. 

The first week I was convinced we were going to lose our only child. I was certain about that. Every night I saw myself walking behind a little white coffin. I went through the funeral a thousand times. I lived that nightmare day in, day out, night in, night out while watching Joshua in his sleep. I kept staring at the machines, listened to the sound of his heartbeat, to the sound of the drips. I watched the colourful poison slowly flowing into his fragile, little body. Night after night I sat beside him, holding his hand, wondering what it would be like to feel it for the last time!

For hours I used to snuggle up to him, smelling him, feeling him, trying to suck in as much as I could... to be able to remember him if...

The thoughts and the agonising pain a mother feels in moments like this NO ONE can understand or imagine. That's the doubtable priviledge of someone who has lived this nightmare!

My heart goes out to EVERY parent on our hospital ward and all over the world who has lost, is losing or is fearing for a child!

Death has been my constant companion. My pets, my dogs, my horse ~ my heroes, Bon Scott, Freddie Mercury, Michael ~ my family, above all my father 25 years ago ~ my friends, LOADS of them, very young too. I accompanied so many, through illnesses, pain, all the way to the end and WHY should the story be different this time? Even my son's name ~ JJ ~ is the result of someone close to me dying and Joshua carrying his name as a tribute.

Besides Joshua's bedside the little chapel on the hospital site has become my most visited place. I prayed till my knees and hands bled. Not really but it felt like it. I cried and prayed and cried again. Lit hundreds of candles. I feel safe there... and taken care of!

When I turned to God and Jesus in December 2004 I often wondered why. It was so intense, the urge to go to church and learn and pray and be there. I didn't understand, no one did, then I had my own theory. I thought it happened because something awful was going to happen to me and God was building my strength up. Although I expected myself to become ill (which I did but pulled through).

Lots of people then asked me how I could believe in a God that allowed all these terrible things happening in the world. I haven't got an answer to that, I only have my own theory yet again. There's the GOOD and the BAD and it's a constant fight between the two powers. The GOOD doesn't win all the time, not in OUR lifetime... but it WILL in the end! And yes... I started wondering if I'd turn my back on the Lord if anything happened to my child.

Fortunately NO! I didn't! It gives me strength, and hope. I'd be a mess without it! And besides my belief I get power from my FRIENDS! Bless you!

Back to me being brave, strong, tough... I once heard a little voice asking if I wanted the ugly face of this desease be the last thing to remember, or whether it wouldn't be better trying to make each and every moment precious and the best we can. And that's exactly what I am, we are trying to do.

If the worst scenario happens, if we lose him, we will have good, happy, mad, crazy, loving and exciting memories of the last months, as well as the painful ones!

So if I come across as brave, tough, strong... then maybe I am, sometimes, for my child, maybe I have grown to be that. But at the same time I get very, VERY scared.

Whenever things are bad I amaze myself how calm I can become, as long as I'm around Joshua. I can also only sleep when I'm lying next to him, when I can hear him breathe or feel his warmth. I go mental at home. I sit on my couch all night, watching TV till I fall over and sleep. But as John wants to be with Josh too we need to share the sleep overs. Main thing is Josh has always got one of us by his side and if he wants to be left alone, we leave him alone ~ which hardly ever happens though.

Am I rambling? Oh dear, I guess so. I've been meaning to write all this down for ages... so there.

To end this on a happy note... despite the bad day Joshua's had on Thursday he has had a fantastic 13th birthday! I had spent till 4am decorating the living room (he loves that) and for the first time in weeks he was up and well in the morning to unwrap presents and read his cards. We cracked up laughing when Josh tried to blow out his 13 candles... because there weren't 13 candles by the time I lit them but a massive fire wall! Trust me trying to burn the house down, haha! I posted a photo on FACEBOOK for those interested :)

We couldn't throw a party as he wasn't allowed many visitors, but he had a selected few and with those he had fun. His glorious laughter filled the rooms ~ and I'm crying again! DEAR ME!

*clears throat*

Even his math teacher turned up with the most amazing present from his classmates. A 10 meter long letter and a photo collage. A photo of each pupil and teacher, holding up a letter/sign, which then read: "Joshi we miss you so much!! Your class 7c"

I'll go into history as THE MOTHER THAT ALWAYS CRIED! :) *running out of tissues*

There you have it, those precious memories we are collecting daily. Not "IF" but to be told to Joshua's children, our grandchildren in years to come!

That's the plan!!!!!! Are you listening, my Lord?

AMEN

I LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS MICHAEL DID!!! Faith aka Vera xxx

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
January 14, 2010

Dear Jerry, dear friends!

Sorry... I cannot write much right now. My health is playing up, the happenings of the past three months are taking its toll.

Joshua is fine, he sailed through his last block of chemo and was very brave! He completed five therapies in three days and we were allowed home Tuesday. If he stays stable we can stay here for another 15 days which will be great as it's Joshua's 13th birthday on January 22nd!

Please be patient with me, I need to get back on my feet.

Much love, Vera aka Faith & family xxx

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
January 7, 2010

Dear friends,

Time flies when you're having fun. It's our last night back home. 40 hours just wasn't enough :(

Joshua and us had a fun packed time though. We went for a walk through the snow (just what he had wished for) and celebrated our Christmas last night. He especially loved the SUPER SOAKER that he got from a certain special lady from the tribute site, but was pleased with every gift and card! Thanks to everyone who thought of us.

Today we went shopping as Josh wants a new room for his birthday. It won't be ready for him on time, but the excitement picking wall colours, furniture and ornaments was fun enough. Lifted his spirit.

At 8.30 tomorrow morning, we'll get picked up and driven back to hospital. They'll do all the tests and preparations to get him ready for another chemo block, which will start Saturday and goes all the way through ‘til Monday night. Monday will be tricky as it's a high risk chemo he's getting. It can cause dangerous allergic reactions, so he will be watched all the time. Prayers much appreciated :)

Will keep you posted... in the meantime THANK YOU!!!!

Much love from us to you all ~ Vera, John & Joshua xxx


* * *


From Joshua's Mother
January 3, 2010

 


Dear MJ Family!

During the New Year may you have...

Enough happiness to keep you sweet.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrow to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you happy.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough wealth to meet your needs.
Enough enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow.
Enough determination to make each day better than the day before.

Wishing you & yours a wonderful, happy, healthy and blessed New Year 2010!

 

God bless!

Love Vera, John & Joshua xxx

* * *

 

From Joshua's Mother
New Year's Eve 2009


My wonderful family!

I just read 
Valmai's NEW YEAR's message and was very moved by it! This says it all so beautifully - "Michael will always be in my heart, but I have let go of his hand, so he can walk without the burden of my grief to hold him back." These are the words I was struggling to find. So true too! We need to let go in order to give him the peace he so deserves! THANK YOU for your heart, Valmai!

I'm holding on with all my might though... to the hand, the whole being of my beloved Joshua! Praying that 2010 brings us new hope, a new life, new health and a future together as a family!

Some of you are in 2010 already, we've got 30 minutes to go, and others still have to wait hours. I can't wait to see the back of 2009, a year that has brought so many people such incredible pain and sorrow. Some of that sorrow cannot be undone, but there's still room for  miracles. We are hoping for one.

The last weeks have been horror. Joshua became sicker and sicker with each passing day. He gave us a real fright today by spitting blood and screaming in agony. But they pulled the tube and now he is up, watching TV, talking and feeling much better. THANK GOD!

Whatever the outcome of our journey will be... we have experienced such love, warmth, support and healing vibes and prayers from so many wonderful people on this site. There are no words to tell you what it means to us.

THANK YOU with all our hearts! We couldn't love you more!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! Love Faith aka Vera with John & Joshua xxx

 * * *
 

From Joshua's Mother
December 29, 2009 (20 minutes until midnight)

Saying Josh was fine would be telling lies, but he's definitely better.

After they put this tube all the way down into his stomach (I only know the German word it "Magensonde"), the constant sickness stopped almost completely and he was able to get some sleep. So was I.

Then we had another scare in the middle of the night when they thought he had pulled out his BROVIAC Catheter, which could've been fatal.

For those who do not know what that is, check this: 
http://surgery.med.umich.edu/pediatric/clinical/patient_content/a-m/broviac_placement.shtml

This morning they did a bone marrow punction first, then x-rayed his chest to see if the main tube of his BROVIAC was still inside his heart. After an endless wait, so it seemed, we had the all clear! THANK GOD!

His bone marrow was sent to the main clinic in Hamburg again and we are now awaiting results for tomorrow. A good outcome would be my BEST birthday present ever!!!

Speaking of which: this is weird, almost cozy. We are the only patients on the entire ward. Obviously nobody wanted to be here for Christmas or the New Year. Neither did we, but we had no choice. So I'm sitting here in the big room, our Christmas tree lit, looking great, JJ snoring next to me, doing my own birthday countdown. I have got two presents to unwrap and a little bottle of bubblies. You know what... this place almost feels like a hotel :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE... 20 minutes...

Anyway, as soon as Joshua's mouth/throat/stomach inflammation gets better, and, if the results are good, they could start the next chemo block. We are already seven days behind. I'd really like to have a few days at home with him first *sigh*.

Night night... HUGS x

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
December 27, 2009

This has been the worst night of my life... so far. Joshua has gone from bad to worse. He was being sick every two hours and he was screaming the hospital down. Any idea what it's like hearing your child yell out to GOD, asking why he has left him and what he did to deserve such pain? I was in bits. Tried to keep calm, just holding him, trying to comfort him but little good did it do.

He is now on five different drips and they gave him something to sleep. We are all dreading the moment he wakes... afraid he'll be sick and in agony again. The inside of his mouth, his throat, stomach, everything’s sore, in bits.

It was sad missing Christmas, it'll be my worst birthday ever on Wednesday and it'll be lonely seeing the New Year in but... I'd give ANYTHING for my son to be without pain! PLEASE GOD!

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
December 23, 2009

Wishing you peace at Christmas!

Joshua described his perfect X-mas scenario to me during those long and sad nights in hospital. He told me what he'd want the most: walking through the streets, gazing at the lights and looking through shop windows and most of all... SNOW! When I saw the picture below my heart missed a beat. That is exactly what Josh was on about.

See how small wishes become when facing real agony and desaster! I pray that next year, somehow somewhere, Joshua's dream will come true for him and us!

God bless you & yours!

Love Vera, John & Joshua
 

alt

Wir wünschen Euch ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest.

Auf die Frage, was er sich am meisten zu Weihnachten wünscht, beschrieb Joshua mir Folgendes: er wollte durch schneebedeckte Straßen laufen, sich an den vielen Lichtern und aufgeregten Menschen erfreuen und in die geschmückten Schaufenster schauen.

So klein werden Wünsche, wenn man das Wichtigste verliert, seine Gesundheit!

Vielleicht wird sein Traum nächstes Jahr wahr! Wir beten dafür!

Gottes Segen Euch und Euren Lieben.

Vera, John & Joshua

* * *


From Joshua's Mother
December 21, 2009


Just back from hospital. I had to take Joshua in today, there was no other way. He was losing too much weight, being sick all the time and suffering from severe headaches.

His dad John is staying with him tonight to enable me to finish things at home, just in case a little miracle happens and he's allowed home for Christmas Eve! I doubt it though...

Josh is very weak, but what is worse, he is very depressed! He hardly talks, never laughs anymore and that is breaking my heart.

No more news for today. Just this: What some people may not know... the heavy chemo treatment will continue 'til July 2010 and, if he gets there, the softer treatment (to stabilize him) goes on 'til November 2011!! So even if he has good moments... it will be an awfully long, painful and difficult road!

Sorry so short, SO much to do!

Big hugs and huge THANKS!!!!

Love Vera & family xxx

* * *

From Joshua's Mother
December 18, 2009


Joshua’s been really unwell and doing poorly this week. I don't know what to do anymore. The chemo has finally kicked in, a bit later than we all expected (and for a while I had hope he'd be fine throughout the treatment), but now he is staring into the ugly face of his illness.

He suffered bad back and tummy aches ever since his last surgery and Sunday night the sickness started and it hasn't stopped!!! The most worrying thing is that he's losing weight rapidly and he is reaching the point where they consider feeding him through a probe (if that's the right word?)! Today he has pain in his moth, which is a side effect too. All mucous membrane is inflamed. OH GOD!

Yesterday they told him they might start treatment on December 24th, Christmas Eve, which is THE day of Christmas for us over here! Nothing beats Christmas Eve and that was the only thing he was looking forward to. Now he is sort of giving up. He cried that they were robbing him of everything that that he has had enough.

And we are just starting this journey, which will go on till November 2011... if we get there!

I read all the messages and, as always when hearing from the members on the tribute site, I'm almost speechless!

Sorry I have to dash off... there is so much to do!

Much much love to you & EVERYONE! Keep praying.

Love Vera & family xxx

* * *

From Joshua’s Mother
December 13, 2009


My MJ family!

I am having such a strangely GOOD day today! I feel blessed having such wonderful people around me, I wish I had words to explain just HOW MUCH this means to me... and Joshua! Sometimes words aren't enough though. My heart is full, I'm almost happy. Do I have to feel guilty for feeling this way?

Josh is lying next to me sleeping. He looks fragile but still gorgeous. What a precious gift! I'm looking forward to just being there for him as soon as I finished my last shift at work next week. I will make the most of every single day!

We've had fantastic news, the news we've been praying for weeks now! Josh is responding well to the treatment and what's more important... all the other clinics that are involved in his case confirmed the good results. He started with 95% cancer cells in his bone marrow. Two weeks ago he was down to 20% and a few days ago they only found 1,5%!!! We are on target, we are right there where doctors wanted him to be. All the prayers were heard and answered and my heart is overflowing with gratefullness, love and hope! Not only to God and Jesus Christ, but to all those helping and supporting us. People like YOU!

I know we are just at the beginning of our journey, which is a long and painful and unpredicted one. Everything can still happen, nothing is for certain. But right now, as I "speak" I do feel hope for the first time. In the beginning I was convinced we wouldn't make it. Today I feel I can breathe and smile and have faith.

How do I thank people? Esp.those here! How is it possible that people I do not know personally can have such a positive impact on our lives? How is it possible that I feel so close to you and others? What a gift! What magic!

So please know that when I say THANK YOU ~ I do mean it and do feel it with every viber of my heart!

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend!

Much much love and hugs... Vera aka Faith xxx

* * *

From Joshua’s Mother
December 10, 2009


It’s the middle of the night and I should get some sleep, but it's the only time I get to write mails.

Joshua is the bravest kid I know... but then again ALL the kids on the ward are AMAZING! And so are their parents and I guess ... so are we.

It is heartbreaking, devastating and unreal at times, seeing your child suffer that way. But he is doing such a brave job!

Six surgeries and six chemotherapies are over, he was not well yesterday and today, tummy and back pain.  Having your child cling to you, crying MOM HELP ME... that is something I do not wish on anybody! But he was OK tonight. Chemo today, another 24 hour chemo tomorrow and another chemo Saturday... I'm dreading the next days.

His hair is finally falling out and I'm SO sorry for my baby. Telling him it will grow back is no comfort to him right now.

On the good news, he started with 95% cancer cells in his blood, he was down to 20% two weeks ago and yesterdays OPs showed the cancer cells are down to 2%! This doesn't mean he's recovered fully by the time he gets to 0%. The treatment WILL proceed for two years!

A long way to go.

Thank you all for all the love and prayers!!!! They are working and we are so SO grateful!!!

God bless you all!

 

Love Faith ~~Vera xx 

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