An Open Message to Wes’ Warriors


You.  You are one of Wes’ Warriors.  Someone coined that term a few days ago, I don’t remember who, but I like it!

Just by taking 5 minutes to read this, to visit this blog, to be a member of the Facebook Group Wes Is Kicking Cancer, you are one of Wes’ Warriors.

You are vital to our lives.  We don’t know what we would do without all of you.

After we learned Wes had cancer in his left eye, to the point that he has little to no vision in that eye, on that fateful Friday (9/7/12) I had to make a lot of difficult calls to tell our closest friends and family what was happening.  How do you say that to people?  How do people react?  There is no right or wrong.

By Sunday, 9/9/12, a lot of people knew what was going on.

So when we went in for more testing on Tuesday, 9/11/12, it was you that helped us get through that day being told that the cancer was in both eyes and the rough MRI reading showed the pineal gland was enlarged (the pineal gland having a tumor is what would make this trilateral retinoblastoma rather than bilateral, and is a much more devastating diagnosis).

I felt that all of your positive energy, positive thoughts, well wishes were holding us up, keeping us from falling all the way to the floor flat on our faces.  Like we were crowd surfing.  It was life-saving to us, to know that there was this barrier between us and the absolute bottom.

Then on Thursday, 9/13/12, things started looking up!  We had gotten news on Wednesday that the final read of the MRI showed that the pineal gland was enlarged but well within the normal limits and there was no indication of trilateral retinoblastoma at this time!  On Thursday, there was a lot of positive cosmic energy surrounding us.  13 is my husband’s lucky #, and his sister’s lucky #.  We were assigned to room 13 in the pre/post-op area for the day on Thursday.  In that room, there were two ceiling tiles that were painted by kids – both of those tiles mentioned a place in Michigan (Lake Michigan and the Mackinaw Bridge) and we have a lot of family ties to Michigan on both sides of our family and have some great vacation memories together of trips to Michigan.  Those tiles could have been from any state or had no mention of any state, but they were from Michigan.  And when we thought about it, Wes’ birthday has a 13 in it as well (1/31/12).  As I said, lots of positive cosmic energy.

Thursday he got his Hickman central line put in.  I was really nervous to see him after the surgery, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The doctors all said things went great.  He also got a lumbar puncture to check his spinal fluid to be sure the cancer hadn’t spread.

Friday was covered in another post, but just to summarize the overall feeling of the day – every doctor and nurse we came into contact with loved Wes and had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards his prognosis.  Some of it was in what they said, some of it was in what they didn’t say.  His lumbar puncture was clear, and we had a path to follow to get him through this.

And this is where you come in.  You held us up, prevented us from utter despair from Friday to Thursday.  Now, now my sense is that you are behind us, pushing us, willing us to keep moving forward.  Helping us finish this marathon.

We are floored that so many people are caught up emotionally with us – crying when we cry, laughing at the videos of Wes dancing and playing in the hospital.  And telling other people!  We have people on multiple continents and all across the US rooting for Wes!

We will stay up on the blog and keep you all posted on what is going on with Wes each day.  Tomorrow I will post about what Wes’ exact treatment plan is.  Jake is going to work on getting a map up to show where all of Wes’ Warriors are from.  Is there anything else you want to know?

And keep those t-shirts coming!  The first t-shirt quilt is done and Wes loves it like he has never loved another blanket.

Check the Facebook Group Wes Is Kicking Cancer – fun videos and pics of him over the last week are on there.  I will continue to work on getting them on here as well.

Thank you.  Thank you for riding this roller coaster of emotion with us.


About grabafriend

I am 34, a mother of one sweet little 6 1/2 month old baby boy, wife of a social worker, trainer/walker/provider for 2 wonderful dogs, volunteer foster home for a Min Pin Rescue (, co-owner of two doggie daycares in Madison WI (, and part owner in a giant behemoth of a pontoon boat. Yep, think that's all the labels I can affix to myself. I am blogging about my journey to get in the best shape of my life from 9/1/12 to 10/1/13, and bring my friends along for the ride by asking them to pick a month and focus on some healthy activity with me.

8 responses »

  1. Angie and Jake, I’m Nate’s mom, Vicki. I just wanted to let you know that our entire family is praying for you and Wes. As a mom and gramma I can only imagine your pain and fear for your baby. I know God has a plan for all of us, we just don’t know what that plan is. Praying and having a positive attitude is best!! I comnend you on both. Wes’ story has touched so many and gives people hope.Having an ill child sucks, but Wes could be the one they find an end to this nasty illness!!! From all I seen and read you guys are beautiful people and good things happen to good people. I love your blog with all it’s pain, honesty, and love. Keep the faith and be strong, lots of people are praying for your family.

    • Vicki – thank you for raising such an amazing son. Nate is a vital part of our lives. See today’s post for more comments on how I will never be able to thank Nate enough for what he has done for our family. And I know you helping with his girls is a big part of why he can do so much for our businesses, so thank you for that too.

  2. Hi Angie, Jake, and Wes,

    We’ve never met, but I’m proud to be one of Wes’ Warriors.

    I love the idea of Wes’ Warriors. It’s important to always remember that you’re not alone in your fight. You’ve got the docs and nurses and aids and OTs and Child Life staff and techs and everyone at the hospital. You’ve got family and friends and colleagues. And you’ve got people you never met who are rooting for you.

    You’ve also got the families who’ve been there. My son was treated for rhabdomyosarcoma at UW about 16 years ago. (He’s doing fine now.) It’s not an experience I’d wish upon anyone in the world, but you’ll get through it somehow. Try to remember that when things are at their worst.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Wes’ Warriors will be there.


    • David – thank you for sharing this story of survivorship. Hearing these stories is so heart-warming for us and bolsters us to continue to think positive. Thank you for being one of Wes’ Warriors!

  3. Go Westley! Keep on fighting! I wish you the best of luck! You are very strong little boy! I love you very much. Kathy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s