Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's DONE... on with the fun!

  This past Friday night Clayton, Kate and I headed to Cook Children with a car full of hats and books and all of our overnight "fun" stuff.  Our car was decorated celebrating Clayton's last chemo and the school had just sent him off with lots of praises and thanksgiving school wide given over the announcements.  We were ready to get Chemo number 14 over with!
   We arrived at clinic and learned that too many kids had been admitted earlier in the day with neutrapenic fever, and there was not a room available for Clayton on the Oncology floor.  We immediately panicked, then called in our prayer warriors.  We drove to a nearby friend's house and had a great dinner while Clayton played with some of their children.  After a few hours, I decided that we better be a little proactive.  Kate and I had decided that we were NOT leaving Fort Worth without chemo. SO... we packed our stuff out of the car, walked up to the Oncology floor, begged saying that we drove from Waco, and camped out on the floor with all of our bags until a room became available.  Thankfully a sweet little girl finished her blood transfusion, her room was cleaned, and in went Clayton. He got a big room with a great view of the helicopter pad (a boys dream).  Unfortunately he didn't get to enjoy it long.  He fell asleep at 8:00 pm, just 30 minutes after we
 were given a room.  His chemo was started at 2:00am and it was done.  We were finished right there as he slept.  It was over.  The last poison had gone in his body... it was over! Praise the Lord!
    As usual, he woke up feeling pretty crummy, as you can probably tell from his pictures.  BUT, he insisted on delivering his hats and books to the children on the floor.   He wasn't about to leave until it was done.  So, Kate and I loaded a cart full of all of his goodies, dragged the IV pole along and went room to room
 delivering all of the sweet donations.
   The first room we visited was a new friend named Faith.  Wow.. were we EVER not prepared for the blessing we were about to receive.  We walked in and this gorgeous little girl with Osteosarcoma talked to Clayton and insisted that SHE pray for him before we left.  Wow.. here I was thinking I was going to go around sharing blessings and prayers, and here sits this darling 9 year old, in a hospital during Christmas, who was smiling, happy, and determined to pray for Clayton.  After she prayed the most gorgeous prayer for our boy celebrating his victory, we were able to pray for her.  BLESSING!!! WOW!!.  Please continue to pray for Faith.
   On we went to the other rooms.  We met so many sick kids.  Remember I said the floor was full.  This sweet little boy with the Baylor cap chose these items.  This picture was taken about an hour later when I walked by and he was wearing his BU hat and reading his new books.  LOVE IT!
   We also met Aliyah.  She's a GORGEOUS 16 year old also with Osteosarcoma.  I had the opportunity to get to know her mom a little and pray for Aliyah.  Kate enjoyed talking with her and
 comparing school stories, etc.  Then we met Logan. He is a precious little 2.5 year old who was having his SECOND chemo treatment, so he's a new diagnosis.  He also has Rhabdo and his parents are exactly where we were in March.  It's a hard hard place to be.  And then we met Kylie.  Kylie also has Rhabdo, but her's in not responding to chemo.  Please keep her family and her in your prayers.  Really all of these kids.  They are REAL.. they are hurting.. and families are going through things that we can only imagine as our worst nightmares.  Please cover them with prayers of grace, mercy and healing.
     We finished passing out the books and hats and Clayton got finished with his medicines and we headed for home.  We were welcomed by many friends and family in front of our new house.  How exciting to celebrate new beginnings all the way around.  So thankful for our prayer warriors and our community for loving us, reaching out to us, and holding us up.  SO so thankful.
     Our family went on to have a great Christmas Day.  Clayton is feeling great.  He's playing with neighbors and just being a kid.  Please pray that he stays healthy as he is still significantly  immune suppressed.  He'll have blood work tomorrow that I'm certain will show him dangerously low.  We'll pray for a strong come back and head out to Disney Jan 2-8 to celebrate with Clayton.  After we return, he'll have his end of treatment scans January 11th at Cooks.  We appreciate your prayers that he will remain Cancer free. Forever.  We are forever grateful for God for everything this year.  So so grateful.
   There are so many things this year that could have gone the other way.  So many things... but honestly, a path was made for Clayton that we can't explain.  While the treatment was so difficult, there was alot that could have happened that didnt.   It's a miracle, actually.  Clayton had minimal side effects and just continues to handle the entire circumstance like a champ.  While God is my ultimate hero,  Clayton is up pretty high in my book... right along with his siblings who handled life with grace and courage this past year... Not to mention my sweet husband that dealt with all of this, worked hard and carried us through.  May we continue to walk in His grace as we stand by Clayton to pray that he is cancer free FOREVER!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Clayton Wins

Wow!  Today is December 19th and my baby is scheduled for his LAST treatment on the 21st.  I can't believe this day is here.  We made it.  We made it with flying colors.  We are still married, we didn't kill each other, I'm not still balled up on the floor... WE MADE IT.
   Tomorrow Clayton will go for his blood counts to insure that he can receive his chemo on Friday.  It is very promising because last week his counts were amazingly high.  We are hopeful and excited to get this done.  Make no mistake, it will be a chemo just like the others.  He will feel sick, which will be combated with our antinausea regimen. He will get low counts again making him immune suppressed, and he'll be tired, BUT.. he'll be done.  Praise be to God.
   I remember the night we returned from Texas Childrens Hospital right after diagnosis.  I  cried the whole way home from Houston, hadn't slept in three nights and was just in a place I've never been before.  I remember walking in the backdoor and Kate saying, " Wow, Mom.. You really need some sleep."   I remember getting a precious amount of calls and texts and thinking that I needed a solution to keep everyone informed and ready to pray specifically.  At that time, I just couldnt face the fact that my baby, innocent and beautiful needed a Caringbridge.  Surely not MY son.  I couldn't do it, so I did what I knew to do and started this blog.  Without hesitation, I sat down and immediately wrote.. CLAYTON WINS.  This was easy for me.  I grew up with my Dad being a HUGE Chicago Cubs fan.  I still hear Harry Carey's voice saying " CUBS WIN CUBS WIN".. In my mind, without hesitation.. I needed to believe that Clayton would win.  He would be a survivor.. a success to medicine.. a testimony of the Lord.  He would WIN.  I also remember thinking, but NEVER saying out loud that Clayton Wins either way.  If he won by receiving the kingdom of Heaven too early, I would be the Loser, not my Precious.  So, either way CLAYTON WINS.  How grateful am I that Clayton WON on this side of heaven.  He's here, he's mine... he's well, he's whole, he's a testimony to God's healing power and I am FOREVER grateful for the gift of my son right now at this moment!
    So, we'll go on Friday, get that last dose of poison that saved his life. I will pray everyday and every moment  that he never has to experience the wrath of cancer and chemo EVER again.  I will still beg and still plead for continued healing and for my son.
   Come celebrate with us on Saturday.  It's a surprise for Clayton.  We'll be lining the street and ready to cheer Clayton in after his last treatment.  We expect to be home by 2:00.  We'd love to make him feel like the champion that he has been to us.  We'll be outside our new home in Woodway and welcome anyone and everyone.
    I said from the beginning that the Lord promised me Good.  He did.. The Lord promised Good to me.  I will rest in His goodness for holding me up, pushing me through and most importantly, covering my son.  Praise be to God.  Hope to see you all on Saturday.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Joy of the Lord...

Family Thanksgiving Picture
 Clayton Wins Books for Cooks...Woodway 1st graders
  This morning my little Clayton got up laughing and so excited about his day.  We have an elf on the shelf, Elfis.  I highly recommend this elf for those of you who have trouble getting your kiddos out of bed.  Each night "Elfis" gets into some kind of trouble and it's Clayton's job to find Elfis and see where he's hiding.  Last night he made a landing strip and tried to "fly" all of Clayton's Star Wars ships.  Anyway.. my little guy  got up so excited about his day.  He was singing, talking all about his field trip today and so excited to wear his Santa hat to school for Santa hat day.
   Today is his very first field trip.  He missed last year's kindergarten field trip because he wasn't allowed to be at school then.  So, today, his trip to the Mayborn Museum will be his first official school field trip.  Also today he had his weekly bloodwork at Hillcrest.  He hopped right out of the car skipped right in to the lab, got poked, said goodbye and skipped his way right on out... without a care or worry in world.  Let me just have a mom moment here... There is something to be said for a kid who can face what Clayton has faced and is facing and can skip about life like he's just thrilled to be able to participate.  I could sure learn alot from him.  Whoa is me... seems like that is the thought process I continually fight in my own head just knowing what my precious faces.  But, the kid himself who is enduring the trial always has a smile, tells jokes, sleeps soundly and just enjoys every single moment of being a kid.  It totally makes me think of " The Joy of the Lord is my Strength"  Nehemiah 8:10.
 So, today.. I will join Clayton on his field trip, holding my breath the entire time because his blood results came back showing his white count extremely low.  I will be there standing between him and any germ that tries to come near him.. Just kidding.. we all know that the precious angels that the Lord has assigned to Clayton surround him in a much better capacity than I ever could.  So thankful for those angels.
     Please pray that he stays strong, makes counts for the 20th and is able to say "Adios" to chemo forever.  So amazed that the journey is almost over.
   Just sharing some pictures.  These are the sweet nurses at Cooks Waco that have given Clayton his weekly Vincristine which is now OVER.  Thank you ladies, for your service to our family. Above is a picture of Clayton standing next to the tree covered with all of the donations his first grade friends at Woodway Elementary have given for Cooks.  Clayton is helping head up a drive to provide new books and hats to the kids that are in the hospital at Cooks Oncology.  Thank you to all of the families participating.  Clayton is so proud!  We love you.
Santa Hat Day

Saturday, December 1, 2012

One left..

 Just a quick update tonight to say that Clayton DID do chemo yesterday.  It was almost as if God said, "Ok.. You trust me, now let's go".  We got an unexpected call yesterday morning about 8:40 from the H/O clinic.  Dr. Heym, our oncologist, had studied Clayton's bloodwork himself and decided that his counts were in fact going up and he could come in for chemo.  This allows Clayton the chance to be done with chemo before Christmas and still make his Make a Wish Trip in January.  We will still have to see if he makes counts on Dec, 20, but we are hopeful.
   So, yesterday I prepared like a mad woman with 30 minutes warning to get our stuff pulled together and be in Ft. Worth by 11:15.  It was tricky, but we did it.
Nutcracker welcomes Patients
    The evening went very well.  When we got to the clinic and the doctor reran labs, he saw that Clayton's counts were rising.  That certainly made me feel much better.  He made it through clinic,  enjoyed the darling Christmas decorations, played with Cort, watched a magic show, built legos and received his second to last chemo.  We got discharged this morning.  His Nana joined us for a pancake breakfast, Clayton's choice, ... then, Clayton left to hang out at home with Nana and we went on to watch the Midway Panthers win AGAIN in the playoffs.  Kate was dancing and she did great.  The game was a treat for sure.  Now we're exhausted, but glad to be one chemo closer.  Thank you all for your prayer and for our friends who stepped in at the last second and helped me with the others yesterday.  Thank you thank you.
    As a quick prayer request.  A precious family that I have met through this journey needs your prayers.  Melinda is a fellow cancer mom and her Sweet little Hannah recently finished her therapy for Rhabdo.  She is healing great and is cancer free. PTL.. Just this past week, her family was told that their precious daddy has a brain tumor.  He has had surgery and the family is awaiting results, but are told it is most likely Glioblastoma.  This sweet family has 6 kids and I know they would appreciate our prayers.  I can't imagine their situation.  Thank you for lifting them up.