Colin Loves Tractors Follow Colin's progress through treatment for a brain tumor

August 14, 2017

The Future Awaits

The seasons have flown by in a time lapse blur, flashes of the momentous and the mundane gliding by with relentless speed. It should come as no surprise that Colin has continued to carve his own way in the wilderness, one that nobody did or could have predicted. Following the September news that the tumors had exploded and that his brain was swollen with edema, he continued to improve clinically. The police work seemed like a magical balm, and maybe it was, as the days and weeks slipped into months.

Colin Hayward Toland's 10th birthday party, Saturday at Stewart Park. Photo by Simon Wheeler

Birthday Party Silliness. Photo by Simon Wheeler

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October 15, 2016

The Exquisite and Fragile Joy of Life in Uncertainty

Filed under: Death,Interpreting MRIs,Local Color,Post-Neurosurgery — Mom @ 11:55 am

Fall has arrived, carried on the sharp wash of cool air streaming through the open window in the morning. I wish I could push it back, force the leaves to turn green again, and will summer to stay in place. Time is not our friend, and the change of seasons is yet again a reminder of the puniness of human desire to bend the world to our bidding.

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Community Policing at Mrs. Washburn’s First Grade Class (Northeast Elementary)

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September 10, 2016

The Perpetual Outlier

Colin has had a wonderful summer and really relished being at home. Most significantly, he has enjoyed a renaissance of himself: he is engaged, motivated, curious and vibrant. If Colin finds an adult to buttonhole in a conversation, his engine will start and keep going. On our return from Memphis, he consumed the entire flight from Philadelphia to Ithaca regaling a new friend on a variety of subjects. The real resurgence started shortly after leaving Memphis and has only continued since then.

Colin Takes on the World

Colin Takes on the World

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June 22, 2016

Lucky 13

Colin has completed 13 of 30 radiation treatments and is more than halfway through the portion of treatment (20 sessions) that involves the whole brain and spine. This is our lucky 13, lucky in so many ways. We are lucky to be here at all and witnessing the joy of a child who had been slipping away from us only a month ago. We are lucky that he is cruising through treatment and cooperative with the process.
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May 29, 2016

Same as it Never Was

Clouds ascend like sculptures, backlit by the setting sun. Wispy pink columns stand in dramatic array, the clump on top of one stack embellished with a viciously straight contrail that angles upward like a laser beaming from a cyclopean eye. It is a tiny thing but still audacious enough to pitch a galactic battle against an unseen enemy. The day closes over the Mississippi, with stormheads threatening their bounty of rain from the south. Colin and I have left the gentle wash of music and companionship of old friends on Mud Island, a sanctuary of gentile life only a stone’s throw from the urban grittiness that awaits patiently on the east shore of the mighty river.
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September 11, 2015

Decisionation

The sky was muddy, a diffuse and dark reddish brown the disappointing color of light pollution, not an emerging dawn. It was no kind of sky within which to find clarity. Two days before, a sharp waning crescent hung in the sky, a cat’s claw poised to grab Venus, which hung like a winking fat jewel in the eastern sky. Then, Orion had greeted me abruptly in the south when I opened my door, the only constellation I could rightly make out in a tepid but clear sky. In the course of a short run, that bright figure faded into barely perceptible pinpricks, but the hunter still stood vigil. (more…)

September 4, 2015

Autumn’s Arrival

Leaves are starting to fall off the yellow poplar in the back yard, a tree I love for its huge waxy-plastic seeming flowers and the wide tulip-shaped leaves. The season is starting to turn gently, the weather still summerly but the yellowing leaves around the neighborhood serving as a reminder that school starts next week and life returns to that normal cycle. Except that it doesn’t, not for us. We are currently on a decision making hold, but the cascade of events that will follow looms ahead heavily. (more…)

August 30, 2015

Plans and Perseveration

Saturday morning was a lazy one, but I determined to hit the loop inside of St. Jude’s campus before it got too hot for this Yankee girl to even consider it. The sun was already insistently warm before 9 am, but I figured I had enough time to squeak in a reasonable run before it became unbearable to my delicate constitution. The previous 24 hours had been full and draining, leaving me an exhausted heap curled around Colin in the blessedly comfortable bed at St. Jude’s Tri Delta House on Friday night. He had asked me to snuggle with him and I happily obliged, but in the morning I woke up still wearing Friday’s clothes. (more…)

August 28, 2015

Declaration and Decisions

Going into surgery, we knew that we would learn valuable information that would drive treatment decisions. The surgery itself promised to be rather ho-hum, endoscopically performed through either one or two holes, and resulting in a very modest recovery time. The anxiety wasn’t about the procedure itself but the findings. (more…)

March 10, 2015

Homeward Bound

Tomorrow morning, Colin and I return to Ithaca. A follow-up MRI today showed no residual tumor or suspicious areas: our first honest-to-goodness gross total resection.

His recovery has been nothing short of astounding. After walking out of the ICU 24 hours after entering it, they were ready to discharge him except he needed to start a medicine to prevent clots while in the hospital.

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