Give to the Gralls
Many of you know, and some may not, that my brother in-law, Caanan, was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. He had been having episodes for nearly a year where one side of his body would go numb. After seeing many doctors, and finally specialists, he was sent for an MRI a month ago which revealed a glioma. Though initially they were told that the tumour was inoperable, they met with a neurosurgeon who is confident he is able to operate. The surgery is scheduled for May 24th, 2016.
Caanan is self employed as a cartoon artist and is also a stay at home parent to my 2 and a half year old nephew, Elias. After surgery, Caanan will likely be recovering until the end of the summer (3-4months) and being that he is self employed he will not receive any government assistance during that time. Our hope is that we can lessen the financial stress Erin and Caanan will face as we know it is already an extremely emotional and stressful time. Eli will need extra childcare and Erin will continue to work as a Registered Nurse, but their income will be reduced significantly without Caanan working.
Anyone who know Erin and Caanan, know how incredibly generous they are. They would probably hate the idea of us starting this campaign, but are the first to lend their help and support to friends and family in need and we want to do the same for them. Many of you have undoubtedly been affected by their generosity. Erin is ALWAYS starting meal trains, GoFundMe's, and donating her time and resources to anyone she can help. I was saying to my parents, literally days before Caanan's dignosis, that they must be so extremely proud of my sister as she has the hugest heart and never even questions whether or not to help someone. If she can, she does. She and Caanan had just flown me to New Hampshire with their air miles as I was struggling post-partum with our son and needed the help and support of my parents and sister back home.
Erin and Caanan's families are helping in any way that we can. Caanan's mom has come from Australia to help with Eli and provide support before and after surgery. We are all finding ways to provide support to them through this process but are asking for your help as well.
Please consider donating if you can. If you are unable to make a financial contribution please send love, positive energy and prayers, for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.
Thank you with all of our hearts!
The families of Erin, Caanan and Eli.
Erin here. Sorry for the length of time between updates!
In the past month things have gone far better than we expected--so much so that it's hard to believe it all happened at all! Caanan is back to work, has been for a few weeks now. He is still having transient issues with numbness and he says his drawing isn't quite the same as it was (I can't tell haha), but overall he's feeling really well and considerably better than we had planned for.
In mid June we met with the radiation oncologist who offered two options: to treat with 6 weeks of radiation and a year of oral chemotherapy, or to do nothing now and wait to see how things progress. The tumour is a stage 2 oligodendroglioma, which is pretty good news--of all the brain cancers to get, this one is the slowest growing and responds the best to treatment. Caanan chose to wait and watch for now, as we both believe that it would be easier on all of us to treat later when Elias is older (hopefully at least a 5 year interval but from what we are reading, closer to 10 years is a reasonable expectation). This next year he will have an MRI every three months and if everything stays stable for that year they will decrease the monitoring. Eventually it will progress--either by growing back slowly and needing a second surgery similar to the first, or by growing back as a stage 3 tumor (more aggressively) and needing both medication (chemo & radiation) and surgery. We are hoping for a good long interval until either of those things happens.
In a few weeks our biggest support, Caanan's mom Laurene, will head back to Australia and we'll be doing a lot more of our own housework, childcare, and laundry--we are all going to miss that help immensely, it's allowed us to move through this whole experience with a lot more support and confidence than I thought possible. There have been too many lovely things given to us, said to us, thought about us, just incredible amounts of grace coming our way. We are so grateful to all of you.
From the bottoms of all of our hearts, thank you so much!
Love from Erin, Caanan & Elias.
It's about half an hour to May 24th and I should be resting up but I don't feel like I'll sleep. Even though I can barely type right now.
This dumb thing in my head (not my brain, the other bit) has thrown me right off the tracks in the last few weeks, even throwing in one last seizure today to remind me what I'll be missing out on (I hope).
Already, work has been affected, because I was meant to have all this stuff to my magazine editors by today and it's not done. Even though I thought it was. Dreamt it, or tricked by the tumour, I don't know, but either way, it's not good to fumble so badly. Tumour or no tumour. So far they've all been an understanding bunch and even sent me Get Well Caramels, but lets see how far understanding goes.
As I go under the knife tomorrow, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has lifted a lot of burdens for us these last many weeks. I don't know what we did to deserve it but I expect it has something to do with Erin. And people wanting to see how Max ends.
You just can't help shake that, "if it's going to happen, it'll happen to me" feeling, so let's see how this ends first.
I have posted a few cartoons visualising my fears of what could go wrong. Please enjoy them while I go and sweat through some pillows.
I'm not one to throw around the "love" word very often because I feel like it doesn't need to be said all that much, and be the default setting for everyone in the world anyway, and you know what? Maybe it is!
Love to you all!
(But cartoons are better.) :D
Thought I'd update--2.5 weeks until surgery and the humour is strong in the household! Caanan has composed a few wickedly funny sketches featuring his surgeon, and half the conversations end with "it's because of the tumour." Elias is happy as a pig in mud to have THREE adults doting on him and Caanan and I have been able to get some couple-time courtesy of the extremely loved "Reenie" who is making our lives an incredible amount easier. Your much-appreciated donations are what are making it easier for her to stay as long as she needs to (extending medical insurance, changing flights, etc) and for that we are incredibly grateful.
I'll update again soon but I wanted you all to know that by hook or by crook we will pay this forward at every opportunity we get. Thank you.
All the best.
I'm glad the fund raising is going well. All the best with the surgery.
The donation amount you enter is in Canadian dollars and the name that pops up is "WPY*GIVE TO 855 469 3729" so I was COMPLETELY confused. Hope you're feeling better.
Good grief that is supposed to say guy.
That is just so great. What a cute little gut you have.