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


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.

June 8, 2012

Counting the Years

After the absentee winter thawed into spring, Colin returned to Memphis for his four-month check-up. This visit marked two years from the end of radiation and a juncture I hadn’t dared contemplate when we were still at St. Jude. We are also nearing his fifth birthday, simultaneously the third anniversary of his diagnosis. These milestones have snuck up on us, with the pleasantly mundane realities of daily life overshadowing the gravitas that cancer tends to impose. (more…)

November 17, 2011


Before launching into the latest long-overdue update, I want to post information about the 2011 St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk that is taking place across the country this weekend. We are going to New York City on Saturday, November 19, to support the hospital in a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. If anybody can join us or participate in one of 80 cities across the country, we encourage you to do so. Also, please consider a donation to St. Jude (our fundraising page). Not only do we know from personal experience what an amazing place it is, but independent research demonstrates that St. Jude is a quality charity. The hospital received a top rating on Charity Navigator because it has proven that dollars donated equate to dollars spent helping the kids. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…


After getting news of another stable scan at the end of June, we returned home to start off a busy summer. (more…)

September 7, 2011

Summer Kick-Started with a Scan

Even on the cusp of summer, Memphis is unforgivingly hot, but the weather is nearly irrelevant when you’re back for check-ups at St. Jude, which we were at the end of June. (more…)

June 12, 2011

Full Circle

Colin returned home, nearly a year from the completion of radiation and two months short of his fourth birthday, with a good scan and no trach. (more…)

September 19, 2010

Put Me in, Coach

As Colin’s trajectory moves unevenly but steadily upward, we have also been taking him out into the world to finally do what he could not a year ago. (more…)

May 23, 2010

Survivor: Target House

There is no immunity challenge, and Jeff Probst doesn’t sit us around a campfire to discuss who is next to go, but living here is beginning to feel like a warped version of the Survivor reality show. (more…)

May 10, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is billed as an opportunity for fathers and children to express their gratitude for the other 364 days a year that mothers devote to their families. (more…)

May 4, 2010

Winding Down*

Our family’s time at St. Jude is drawing to a close. (more…)

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress