Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Chad, thank you for giving your best to me and our children always... for loving me with your whole heart despite my failures. Thank you for holding me up when I can't stand... for letting me sob on your shoulder for days...for making me see the positive side of everything...for forgiving me when I don't deserve forgiveness....for being an amazing father...for providing for us... for fighting for our marriage over anything else..and for seeing a beauty in me that I don't see. Our children are blessed by you, I'm blessed by you, and you bless the Lord in your daily walk. Couldn't be more thankful for the man who God chose for me. I love you! Happy Birthday! Philippians 1:3 " I thank my God everytime I think of you".
As an update on Clayton. He's doing great this week. I can see in his little face that the chemo is taking effect and he's probably pretty low with his blood counts. But, he has played 2 flag football games, earned 3 dog tags at school for reading MANY books, played nonstop with his brother and is feeling well and fever free. I'm so very grateful. He is insisting on coming home after school and wrapping dads gifts and making Dad's birthday cake "By Hisself:)" The only explanation for how he's handling this is God. I am amazed by the angels that surround him keeping him safe and well and keeping his heart positive. There is no other explanation, friends.
I will tell you that we had his hearing tested last week. He is only having a mild loss in his right ear, which the audiologist believes is temporary because of some fluid on his ear drum. We are so grateful. We have been assured that he will probably lose most of his hearing in his right ear due to radiation, but it would happen as he grows. So far, we are not seeing a huge loss. Also, he had a follow up with his Kidney surgery (unrelated to cancer). The tests are not showing that the kidney is functioning completely as it should be. We have decided that since the Lord gave us two kidneys and he is in no danger, we will cross the kidney bridge after we are done with chemotherapy. There is no emergency here, and we are told there is no harm to him in waiting to review this in a few months.
Thank you to all of you who continue to lift our family up in prayer. We are forever grateful. So very very grateful.
Friday, September 21, 2012
|Crazy hair day|
|Caroline, my 7th grade Volleyball player!|
Earlier this week, as I was laying awake trying to figure out how I'm going to be at Clayton's flag football game, Cort's out of town Baseball tournament, Kate's dance exhibition and Caroline's out of town volleyball tournament ALL ON THE SAME DAY, and all with one kiddo that will be weak from chemo, I found myself feeling discouraged. I want to be AT ALL of the activities, but it can't be so. Chad and I just can't be at all four places, as much as we both want to. For some reason, in our house whichever activity Mom attends... that child is considered "the favorite" by his/her siblings. Yes, talk about pressure. What my kids don't understand is that I go with each of them in my heart, and my mind has no favorites. They are all four precious gifts to me who I treasure.
This journey our family has been on is not one I wish to ever repeat. EVER.. It has really pushed me to my limit as a mom, a wife, a Christian and as a friend. It's reminded me that I am only one person, one mom who needs Godly friends to help me through. It has reminded me that being a mom to a child with hurts is a privilege that I must embrace. I've learned that I can't do it alone. It's made me so grateful for the amazing man and dad that stands with me and beside me everyday helping me keep the ship afloat. It's made me know that what my mom always told me must be true... "Anything that is worth anything takes effort.. if it doesn't take effort, it's probably not worth it". I've learned that when that test turned pink telling me the good news of a new baby... it truly meant work. It meant that my heart would never be the same and my world had changed for the much harder, but better. It meant bearing their burdens... always!
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The past couple of weeks, I've been hearing a lot about trials. I've read and heard many hard stories of people going through trials, feeling hurts that seem impossible to deal with, and feeling lost in a sea of uncertainty. I am NO expert.. in fact, I need the trial discussion worse than anyone, so I guess I am going to use this moment to make myself feel better too.
As I look back on my life, I see many hurts and trials I've experienced... most of them too personal and hurtful to discuss in this public forum. Just know, I've been down a few roads and felt many things that strangely make me relate to many different people. As I was walking through each trial separately, I've thought... nothing will ever be worse than THIS.. Well, as you all know, last February my list of "lifetime trials" got trumped with this BIG experience with my precious child. My heart broke, my spirit died, my eyes filled with tears and my love for the God who has always helped me up DID NOT CHANGE. Yep, you read it... Did I question Him.. you betcha! Did I get mad at him? YEP! Am I STILL mad sometimes? Sure Am... But He has always been MY God and I've continued to be able to feel His presence through my agony.
I honestly dont think that God "Allows us to endure trials". I just can't believe that, and I've heard many people say "Why would a God who is Good, do this?" Trust me, I've been there and still am there sometimes... I believe that God doesn't "allow" the trial, but He surrounds us while we're "IN" the trial. I just can't believe that God "Allows" a child to have cancer or a Christian Man to suddenly fall away from God and leave for another family or A mother to suffer depression severe enough that she sees her life as meaningless and only worth ending or a family to experience the heartbreak of losing their teenager in a car accident, I will just never believe that God would see a child suffer and "allow" it. But, even with the question of how the trial became and why... the answer being one I may not know until I approach His throne in heaven, I still know that He gives us the ability to persevere and grow and learn through it. I am trusting in His promise in James 1:13 " Blessed in the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. " Let me say for the record, I am NOT thankful for my trial.. I do NOT count it all joy... I am NOT feeling "blessed that the Lord chose Clayton to grow and learn through this".. (yes, this has been said to me). I'm still mad, still discouraged, still afraid like I've never been before, but somehow I am trying to find God within my circumstance, hand it over to Him (as hard as that is) and trust His goodness to shine in the end.
The little song "He is Good" also has a child saying this verse very animated in the middle.. I'll share "Psalm 145:8-11... The Lord is GRACIOUS and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to ALL. He has compassion on ALL He has made. All you have made will praise you, Oh Lord. Your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom... speak of your might." My hope and prayer is that through all of this and through the experiences that are to come.. that all FOUR of my children would grow up, know of the Goodness of the Lord, trust in His hand of healing and protection, and fully grasp the gift of His faithfulness through all circumstances. Four healthy kids remembering this moment of God getting us through the trial, and forever being grateful for his Goodness.. That's my prayer.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Friends, I AM AWARE in a way that I hope none of you will ever be, and I wish I never was. I was aware as I was on my knees in front of EVERYONE at Texas Children's begging God for no cancer in Clayton's body. I was aware the moment I signed off to allow my son to have treatments that could cause death, hearing loss, future cancers, blood transfusions, nausea, hair loss, no energy, no immune system. I am aware when I look at the dark circles under his little eyes, when I hear him cry in his pillow at night, when I see him THRILLED to get out of the car for school because he's allowed to be somewhere. I'm AWARE. Ask any of my three older children about childhood cancer. I promise you, down to my 9 year old, they're more than aware too.
I'm sure most of you have no idea how little funding is really given to childhood cancer research. It's incredibly discouraging. It's unacceptable and unfair. We need to be aware.
I spent an hour Friday arguing as a heartsick mother with Clayton's doctor just begging him to tell me there is something besides this awful chemo that will save my son. Questioning him on how they can NOT know.. in a frustrated moment reminding him that my son is NOT his, so he can't possibly say what he'd do if it were his son. You see, we were discussing the idea of lowering the dosage of one of Clayton's three chemo drugs. Some small study is being done now to see if lowering the dose of this particular drug would be successful and still help prevent recurrence. This is important because this is the main drug that RAISES Clayton's chances of acquiring leukemia later in life. So, I was left with two choices, lower Clayton's drug based on a new study and possibly raise his risk of reoccurence, which we've been told is much harder to cure than first time diagnosis, or continue on his current protocol and continue to put his body at risk of leukemia later down the road. Wow! Yes, Friends, I'm AWARE! I'm aware that not enough "research" has been done to help our doctor and Chad and me make this decision. I'm aware that there is currently no way to PREVENT cancer.
I get discouraged at the things we worry about in this country. I know that politicians, with the help of many American people, will spend tens of millions of dollars on the upcoming presidential election. Let's be honest, I'd say 95% of us know who we are voting for already, so why all the expense there? I'm also aware of ridiculous funding our country recently spent on a study of Mars... seriously, Mars is more important that my child's life and the lives of many others? It's concerning. Be AWARE.
About a month ago I was sitting at Cook Childrens watching two nurses clad in protective gowns and gloves administering chemo to my baby through his IV . Just during this time, I was reading conversations all over the social media extentions about who is or is not eating at Chick Fil A and how awful and terrible these people on either side are. Really? Does anyone else see that our focus is off here? It's frustrating to say the least.
All I would ask you to do is take part. Be aware. Go to Chilis this month. They are taking donations for St. Judes research hospital. Give a little. Find one of Alex's Lemonade Stands in our local stores. Give a couple of dollars. Find a research relay to run in....Run, Walk, or support someone who is. I'm just asking us all to take part in this. You never know when it might be your child, your future grandchild, your family. With four kids, I have the potential to have many grandchildren. God forbid one of them would ever face this, I'm praying and trusting that our country will have come up with something better then.. Something that could PREVENT this.
Well, sorry about my soap box. I don't usually go off on these things, but the Cancer Awareness month makes me excited to hope that we're actually AWARE. I know the parents of those children who were not as fortunate as Clayton and who have been made whole and healthy in heaven are far too aware.