Saturday, December 21, 2013

He makes ALL things new

 Today marks a year.. ONE year since Clayton had his last dose of chemo, one year since he slept overnight in a hospital room, one year since the nightmare somewhat ended.  PRAISE THE LORD!
   Last year on this day, we were finishing up at Cook Children's and ready to face Christmas and the new year a free kiddo.. and that's what we did. We just took life by the horns and have been living it.  So thankful.
   So much has happened since that day.  So many great amazing moments that before cancer happened, we would have taken for granted.  Clayton had a great trip to Disney..Clayton played baseball and won the city championship..Clayton GREW HAIR.. Clayton's bone marrow returned to normal, with normal counts.. the list goes on.  Our son played flag football, went on a cruise with no worry of illness, plays basketball, enjoys neighborhood friends, sleeps in his own bed without fear anymore.  HE IS FREE.
   It's taken me almost a year to accept those words.. we're free.  The nightmare of what Clayton went through haunts me everyday.  I have dealt with unimaginable fear of the cancer returning.  But, as many told me during the journey.. It does get better.  I am now.. a year later.. able to see that it's okay.  We're okay.  We made it.  As a friend told me last week, you never really understand  how God's grace carries you through until the unimaginable happens to you and you have no choice but to trust in HIS grace.  Then, He steps in and does what His word has promised.. He MAKES ALL THINGS NEW.  
    I have dealt with some guilt regarding Clayton because we have cancer "friends" who are not okay, who are not receiving God's healing, are not able to live free right now.  We love and pray for them daily.  We have "friends" who have had another family member diagnosed as well as their child, they have lost dads, they are still in treatment.  It feels unfair.  It pains me for them.  I have no answer for that.  I just have to know that God is in control.  HE WILL MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. To our friends still fighting, we love you and pray for you daily. We hold you very close.
   As I step back and look on our family's walk, I wanted to share some ideas on how we all can minister to people hurting.  See, as a family/mom/sibling/sick child, when you are in the mist of trial, you don't see things like you normally would.  You are stricken by sorrow, fear, hope, despair.. you are just not yourself.  The world kind of stops and you are emotionally different.  Please understand that when someone you know is in a trial, things that used to matter suddenly dont so much. We had close friends that let us down. It felt like they abandoned us. We had not so close friends bless us beyond measure.  We lost friends and we gained new friends.  I actually had a friend tell me they "Didn't have time to read Clayton's updates".. WOW... Then, we had amazing friends reposting and calling the community for prayer. We had random churches around the country sending us words of encouragement.  We had meals when needed.  I would encourage us all to see a need before it's mentioned and meet it. Listen when your friends need an ear.  Give grace to teenagers when they aren't themselves because they just can't see their mom cry one more day.  By the way, they won't tell you that.  They will paint a picture that it's all hunky dory... that they have no fear.. that they are perfectly fine.  They are not. Send a note of encouragement, tap the mom on the back in the store just to say we're still praying, and most of all, just love on them.
   Last week I was in Old Navy and the clerk asked the customer in front of me if she'd like to donate a dollar to St. Judes.  She said no.  At first I was mad, then I thought.. you know, I may have said no too two years ago.  If you have an extra dollar.. say yes. It's just little things that all add up.  My experience has certainly shown me how lacking I have been over the years in truly caring for people.  It's kind of nice now to take off the "we need you" hat and be able to meet the needs of others now.
   We are so thankful for all of you who held us up, prayed us through.. and still do, love on Clayton, cry with us, encourage our teenagers, bless my husband, rejoice with us in the victories and who boldly share the testimony that God created through Clayton.  HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!  And aren't we grateful!  Clayton's next set of scans will be Feb 5th.  He will then go every 4 months then every 6months, then once a year.  We firmly believe that Clayton will walk cancer free for the rest of his life... in Jesus name.


Friday, August 2, 2013

It's all good!

   I'm telling you what... I would never wish follow up scan day on ANYONE! Oh.. this day. Praise the Lord it is over! There is nothing and I mean NOTHING more gut wrenching then sitting by the phone and waiting anxiously for a doctor to call and tell you if you child's cancer is back or not.  It is a terrible sick feeling.
   Praise the Lord... our son remains CANCER FREE!  We are so thankful and so grateful we just can not put it into words.
   Today we arrived at Cook Childrens, with all 4 kids, at 10:45.  I was driving crazy and rushing hoping I wouldn't be late.  We got there at 10:50.. there was traffic, ok?? and then we waited and we waited and we waited.  At 12:45 we saw our doctor.  Two hours after our scheduled appt. time.  We had a great visit.  He said that if he didn't know Clayton's history, he would never even know he'd been through so much based on his blood work results and the appearance of his ear canal.  He says it looks great!  He also promised to call us by 6pm with the results.
   We took Clayton down to the MRI machine and as usual.. he handled it like a champ.  He picked his movie, Underdogs, and laid back as still as possible for 1.5 hrs.  He is a HERO, people.  Totally amazing.  I'm always so proud of his maturity.
   Well, we leave and 8:00 rolls around, and I hear nothing.  We are still waiting.. starting to feel sick, starting to assume the worst.  I've built up in my head that he is planning treatment options before calling me...Chad agrees that I should place a call in to the on call doctor.. I mean, if I'm not sleeping, surely he shouldn't be either, right ?  Turns out, our guy is ON CALL!  Whoo hoo... I leave a message and wait and wait.... no call.  9:00... I'm sorry.. I'm calling again.  By this time I'm just sure it's bad news.  I'm feeling sick, I'm crying, and it's just bad.  I call again.. within 10 minutes he calls and tells Chad the good news.  His scan looks identical to the scan he had last time.  No changes.. no masses, just some inflammation around his ear drum which is to be expected after 28 doses of radiation.  HE'S CANCER FREE.
    We are so thankful, but I do find myself frustrated that I worried so much instead of just resting in the Lord's promise that He gave me early on that He has healed Clayton and has promised good for him.  Fear is just sooo overwhelming when it comes to our kids.  Right this second, I'm listening to a little carefree boy singing in the bathtub.. happy and healthy.. Funny thing is,  to this moment, he has not asked me the results of his scan.  I love his childlike faith.  I love this kid! This momma is going to sleep thankful and glad today is over!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy 8th Birthday, Clayton!

Gorgeous sunflowers in huge fields near our house
Yesterday was the big day!  Clayton turned 8 years old!  So excited for him.. he's had another birthday cancer free and is stepping into a new summer in full health.
   This year for his birthday he decided, along with a little help, to ask for donations for Give Kids The World Village in lieu of gifts. It was so fun to see his friends and their families step forward and donate over $200 in Clayton's name to GKTW.  Give Kids the World is the darling little village made especially for Make a Wish kids.  It hosts many many children and their families each week to provide them with a special place to stay while they visit Walt Disney World and the surrounding areas in Orlando.  GKTW provided our family with an amazing villa to stay in, delicious meals, an darling atmosphere full of Disney and Universal characters, fishing, mini golf, carousal, nightly parties, arcade and most importantly to Clayton, FREE ICE CREAM ALL DAY.. even for breakfast! So thankful to have a boy who is willing to forgo his friend gifts to give back... and equally as thankful for the kids willing to give.

   This past week brought back some feelings that I wish never existed.  Clayton has been swimming in the pool every day and suddenly started complaining that water wouldn't come out of his ear. For Clayton, complaining is mentioning it once.  He does not complain.  Even at 8 years old, he's probably learned that a complaint means a doctor visit and worries from momma.  For this momma, I immediately started panicking, yet trying to hide it from Clayton.  After a couple days of watching him tug and pull, I called our ENT and took him in.  Turns out his ear was NORMAL, but did have infection in it.  It was cleaned out, drops were administered and this momma was breathing again.  Clayton was pretty happy to have that ear free again.  I have noticed that he doesn't use his right ear to talk on the phone, and possibly does have some hearing loss in his right ear.  Sometimes he repeats secrets a little off, but we were told he would have hearing loss there after all his little ear has been through. I'm trying to accept that it is ok, but pray for minimal loss at the same time.
     As we approach another week of summer, we are so thankful and so blessed and just ecstatic that our child had an eighth birthday.  Of course, we believe and have always believed that God is healer, the giver of life and our sustainer, but it becomes even more evident when we actually have birthdays to celebrate the life that the Lord has granted our sweet son.
Notice the red cheeks!  So thankful for the healthy look!
   This week Chad and I are going to Hawaii for a vacation together.  Our kids are scattered about.  Clayton will be staying with his cousin and also will finish playing in the City Tournament representing  Midway on the Blue Jays team.  The girls are in Louisiana and Cort is friend hopping for the week. Please pray for a refreshing time for all and safety in travel.  As always, please pray that our baby stays CANCER FREE forever and can live a long healthy life that allows him to walk in faith always, share the GREATNESS of the Lord and be an inspiration to others.  The Lord has big plans for this kid.  I'm So honored to be his Momma! Next set of scans, AUGUST 2nd! Believing for CLEAR!

Friday, May 17, 2013

See.. It's not just field day to me..

  A year ago today I woke up at Cook Childrens Hospital.  Clayton had been given overnight chemo and woke up feeling terrible.  This was one of the Post chemo mornings that he was throwing up and crying so loud from his room that the nurse was summoned without the use of the nurse call button.  I remember watching his sweet little bald head leaning over the toilet and praying out loud over him for the nausea to stop.  I knew that after the nausea quit, he was headed across the street for a radiation treatment that would make him feel terrible all over again.  My heart ached... everything in me cried and I am telling you, I hurt like I have never hurt before.  I remember committing to my older kids earlier in the week to drive back to Waco to be with them on field day.  I pried myself away from Clayton and left him in Ft. Worth with my  mother in law who was thrilled to be able to help.  I cried THE WHOLE WAY TO WACO and showed up just in time to watch Cort run in the relays with his class... still crying.
I remember sitting there watching the other kids participate and wondering if Clayton would ever get that chance.  My mind went where no mother wants it to go.  I started looking at the other kids and once again asking God.. out of all of these kids.. Why mine?  I remember being just plum mad that my son was at the hospital fighting for his life instead of enjoying his field day.
     Can I please share with you that today.. A YEAR LATER... not only was my son well and at school, like he has been all spring, but he was playing, running, being competitive.. full of life and energy.  My son was "just one of the kids".  He was sweating, cheering, running, pulling, and laughing.  My son was WELL.
   Today I sat wearing big sunglasses wiping tears from underneath.  So thankful.. beyond words.. that my son is miles away from where he was last year.  You see, for me, today was not just a hot track day where we go watch relays and balls being thrown.  Today was ANOTHER moment that I treasure, appreciate and will be grateful for.  Today was a day that reminds me of the miracle of prayer and healing... a HUGE day of thanksgiving to the Lord for restoring my son to full health.  The Lord promised me Good.. He promised me that Clayton would be good.  I am so beyond thankful that today, as I sat with mascara all over my hands from wiping my eyes...I was able to see first hand that promise from God in a way I never could have imagined last year.  I guess I'm not going to be a normal mom EVER again.  I will always be the mom that cries at the events... just thankful for the day... thankful that my son is "just another kid".. with a testimony.  

Cort's first swim in our new pool after a hot field day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


 Just giving a quick update here. So happy to report that life at the Castle house seems incredibly normal. I love normal!  The kids are busy playing baseball, volleyball, cheer leading, dance squad and's busy and puts many miles on the car, but I'm so thankful they are ALL healthy enough to do their thing!
   A couple of weeks ago, Clayton had a brain MRI which came back perfectly normal! Praise the Lord! He has no evidence of disease and his bloodwork was normal. HUGE thanksgiving! He will continue to have these scans every 3 months for 5 years. His oncologist says his chance of reoccurrence is slim based on the staging and location of his cancer, but it's still a possibility. Also, Rhabdo is a cancer that does sometimes show up again several years after remission...So, the black cloud looms over us, but we are thankful for the bright light of the Lord that shines over that black cloud. Today I am blessed with four healthy kids, and that is absolutely enough for me.
     One of my children recently asked me why I say "Isn't God so good"  after Clayton got cancer. To him.. this just didn't add up.  Why did Clayton get cancer?  Why do you say God is good when Clayton got cancer?  Shouldn't we be kinda mad that this happened to us? Why didn't God just heal Clayton before we even knew he was sick. Where was God when the tumor was forming?  Wow!  Hard Hard questions to answer.  Many of those things, I don't understand myself, but I know that God continues to stand with Clayton and all of us and gives us a promise of a GREAT hope and future.  For me.. that makes our God AMAZING! Some things we just don't understand and I believe we may never understand.  But what I will do is insist that our testimony remain firm that the Lord is our rock and our fortress AND our healer!
    On Friday, May 3rd, Clayton will have his port removed from his chest. It's an outpatient surgical procedure that should take 10 minutes. We are having it done in Waco, so we are hopeful that it will be uneventful, and put the final exclamation point on this journey. We rest in the hope that Clayton is cancer free forever and will never need a port a cath again!  May we never, ever forget the goodness of the Lord!

Class Field Trip

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013

   This weekend was such a great time.  It was the opening day for Midway Little League, where both Cort and Clayton played their first games of the season, and it was Easter.  Such a great time of year and a wonderful time to reflect on the testimony of God's goodness.
    I was just watching Clayton playing ball outside with his bestie, Reagan, and thinking about how he hasn't stopped once all weekend. He's been smiling, happy, just loving life... every minute of it.  I'm SO GRATEFUL. I just can not tell you how I look at my life and think about the gratitude I feel right now.  I guess it takes the darkest moments and the Lord walking you through them, pulling you out, and allowing you to see the small things in life that make a heart just over flow with thanksgiving about the things you used to just expect and take for granted.
     We are approaching Clayton's first set of scans this month.  They are on the 16th at Cooks.  He will have a Brain MRI with contrast and a chest xray.  Rhabdo has a bad tendency to travel to the lungs and he will continue to have chest xrays along with his MRI every 3 months.  When we get the news that he continues to be cancer free, we will arrange having his port removed.  His port has not been a problem for him, but it hinders him from being able to water ski or play on the lake, and requires him to head to the hospital if he gets any type of fever.
    Clayton is a kid who has totally put the past behind him, and doesn't revisit what happened and where he's least not out loud.  His hair is back, his energy is back with a bang, and his heart feels calm.  I'm just once again BEGGING God to keep him cancer free.  It has almost been a year since we learned his cancer was gone.  Of course, most of that year was spent on treatment, but we still count it as time without cancer.  Please pray with us for clean scans on the 16th.  I can't even imagine having to tell Clayton that he's fighting again. Please consider resetting your alarm for 6:16.  We would covet your prayers. To ask for another request from an honest mom.. I have dealt with fear and anxiety my whole life. It has been a life long struggle.  Please pray that I will not fear the worst for the rest of my life, and that I will be able to walk with authority in the Lord's word that He wants Good for Clayton and the rest of us. That as soon as my stomach and heart approach fear, my thoughts will rest in the Lord's promises and the healing power of His name. Pray that I will remember the vivid images that the Lord gave me at the beginning of my nightmare of Clayton as a young adult.. healthy, smiling and free from disease.  Thank you so much for following us in prayer.  We are so grateful!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Defining moments and realities

   Well, it's been a while since I've written.  There is a reason for that, which I'll get to in a moment.  I thought it would be a good time to see a little compare and contrast here with my little man.  Here is a picture of clayton on his last day of chemo passing out the hats to all of the children.  I never, ever saw how bad he looked that day.  I guess my mom eyes had either disregarded it, or just looked past it to enjoy the victory that day brought.  The picture next to it is Clayton last weekend at Cort's baseball tournament... with great bone marrow, full energy, eyelashes, eyebrows and some hair.  He really has more hair than is shown.  The sun kind of washed him out a little.  So thankful that he is healing, and being brought back to full health.
     So, for the reason I have had to take a break... My heart has had so much on it that I wanted to share and write about, but honestly, I think we finished treatment, did Christmas, moved into a house, made the one year from diagnosis and looking back just hurt too much.  It's like if I just keep looking forward, then I can pretend that the past didn't happen and that we are free and clear.  As you all know, this is not the case.  We are certainly cancer free now, and we trust that we will remain that way, but the nagging voice of reality reminds me that the fear and truth still remain... that this is something Clayton and all of us will be facing for a good long while.  It's just so much easier to not revisit it, put up a wall, and act like the door to the past is locked and there's no key that opens it.  And with Clayton having his hair grow in and his color back, people don't obviously notice him as a "cancer kid"... which makes it easier to go around town and be normal...which is nice.  However, I will say that I still look for every single opportunity to share his testimony.  To let people know that Clayton is my little miracle and a picture of God's grace and healing.  In that way, I do feel sad that Clayton blends in because the opportunities seem fewer.
     As February 9th approached, I did relive the day that the clinic called and asked to have Chad and I come in without Clayton.  I remember the exact item of clothing I was folding, what I was wearing, where my kids were, how it felt when my knees hit the ground... oh... I remember every second of that day.  That day was a HUGE defining moment in my life.  Probably  the biggest.  It forever changed how I appreciate life, how I deal with my children, what I place as most important, what I truly believe about the Lord as my father.. healer... and His arms that hold me... it has forever changed me.. It also brought in me a fear so great... a hurt so deep.. and a type of pain that I didn't even know existed.  Somehow, when I look at this little face now smiling, shooting baskets, asking questions, laughing, arguing, playing baseball and all the things little boys do, I just want to see what's right in front of me... not whats behind and not even what the future MIGHT bring.  I just want to enjoy today and be thankful for it.   I want to just be happy and so grateful for my little lobster.. (Clayton played Larry the Lobster last night in his school play)... I just want to rest in today and continue to BEG God for a cancer free forever.
   I know we all have things in our past, situations that defined us and maybe not in the way that we want to be defined... Maybe we don't want to be that divorcee, the widow, the young mother..... The CANCER MOM..maybe we define ourselves by what we do for a living, the money we have, the house we live in... or the kids we're raising.   One thing I know for sure is that my God knew my defining moments before they happened... all of them.. He knew the precious moment when my husband chose me as his bride, He knew the moments my babies were born, He knew the moment my precious would face cancer. He knew.. He also knows our future.  He knows the defining moments to come.  He knows what Clayton's future wife looks like, what his kids will be named.. He knows.  I just rest in that today and pray and BEG for continued health and promises of good.   Please continue to pray for our family, for Clayton's continued health, and for all of the kids dealing with cancer and other terrible illnesses.  God is Bigger... Clayton is proof!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Relaxing in His goodness..

   The past couple of weeks have been amazing.  I almost don't know what to do with myself...besides pack boxes, make decisions for a brand new kitchen and bathroom, sell our current home and keep up with four kids.  Ha!  I just feel so thankful to be free from the chemo and the stress that comes with the blood work that is required of a child in cancer treatment.
   We did get the call from Ft. Worth that Clayton's next set of scans is April 19th.  We've already marked the day off on our calendars and are prepared to once again see that our little man is cancer free.
    Clayton is doing fantastic.  I can tell that he is full of energy in a way that he hasn't been in some time.  He's playing, laughing, joking and just being the little guy that he was before he dealt with Rhabdo.  One of the fun things that he and I used to do before his diagnosis was go to the yogurt shop and have a date.  He'd get his cup and fill it full of Cookies and Creme and Strawberry yogurt and then top it off with every cookie and candy on the topping bar.  We'd sit down and he'd polish it off as we visited.  I have always loved that he enjoyed that... Well, the week after he got his very first chemo, I was trying to bring back some normal and took him to the yogurt shop.  He excitedly made his favorite combination, took one bite, and ran out the door throwing up profusely.  I remember holding him, telling him it's okay, clicking him in his booster seat and quietly crying the whole way home.  To me, that was just one indicator of what all was to come. The harsh changes and reality that were before us.   Somehow we found a new favorite thing, enjoyed the days that he felt great, and forgot all about Yogurt.  Well, friends.. this week, he asked to go back to the yogurt shop.  After tasting all the flavors and thinking it over, he went right back to his old favorite.. cookies and cream and strawberry.  He polished it all off, and continues to ask to go back.  I know it sounds trivial to some, but this is just one example of him coming back to his "old" self and picking up right where he left off. It sure did my heart good!
    A few weeks into the beginning of Clayton's chemo treatment, I had another cancer mom ask me if I was "ready to mourn the loss of the little boy Clayton was"  ... she said that he would have lots of problems and probably never be that happy go lucky little ball of energy.  At the time, that was my biggest fear and those words bit right through me.  I will tell you all..he is BACK and he has not missed a beat.  I don't attribute it to anything other than God's hand all over him.  He has NO problems at this time from his treatment.  He runs and plays basketball..all four quarters.  He is smart as a whip. .. he HEARS... he jokes.. he has an incredible sense of humor, like his daddy, .. he TRUSTS God!  He is even starting to get little eyelashes and is growing some hair.  He is a MIRACLE.  I find myself answering questions about him every chance I get and just bragging on our God... our God that heals, protects, holds and promises good.  Oh.. I just want people to know!
    We have truly felt blessed as a family.  Our current house that we have loved and are moving out of got a contract on it before we even listed it on the MLS.  We got an incredible offer and are actually closing in a couple of weeks.  God is blessing our family.  He's still walking beside us and taking care of us.
   Through this journey, I have had the opportunity to meet many families dealing with difficult, heartbreaking situations.  I beg you all to pray with me for these kids.  The same God that continues to hold Clayton is with them and loves them too.  He is capable to do amazing things for each family.  I don't always understand why God answers our prayers differently.  Why Clayton did so well, yet other children are still suffering.  I don't understand it and never ever seems as unfair as it was that Clayton had to even get cancer.  There are just no answers, but I KNOW that God wants good for them too.  Some names for prayer are Abby, Ethan, Krista, Olivia, Brooke, Logan, Reid (who just finished his treatment.. YAY), Aliyah, Faith, Hannah, Kinsley.. among many others.  Please pray with me for these kids and for continued health in Clayton.  We are so thankful for the prayers of His saints!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Make A Wish Trip 2013

   Wow!  I don't even know where to begin!  The past two weeks have been like a whirlwind of emotions, fun and busy!  What an awesome week at Disney!  I can not even begin to tell you how the Make A Wish foundation and the Give Kids the World Village bless families.  I just almost can't put into words what these awesome companies and volunteers provide for these Wish kids and their families.  It exceeded any expectation I had or ever dreamed would be awaiting us.
   After we arrived in Orlando, on a flight provided for us, we were given an amazing rental van to drive all week.  It was brand new with only 4,000 miles on it.  We then reached the village, which is just moments away from Walt Disney World Resorts,  we were welcomed by precious volunteers who showed us to our villa.  It was a large two bedroom two bath with a full kitchen and even already had snacks in the refrigerator.  A large meal was provided to our villa and we were off to sleep.  The next day we were given 3 day park hoppers to Disney, 2 day park hopper at Universal, a day at Sea World, an offer for Free pictures using the Disney photo pass, a pass to allow Clayton and his party to the front of every line at each park, free parking, and a large check for our daily expenses.  WOW!  Talk about amazing.
    The village itself is adorable and caters to Wish kids. There are not just cancer kids.  In fact, I only saw one other bald child while I was there.  But, whats important about this week, is NO ONE asked Clayton about his diagnosis.. no one mentioned his illness.  He was treated just like any other kid anywhere.  It was freeing, exciting, and an awesome start to a cancer free life.
    At Disney and Universal, The wish kids are given VIP treatment.  Workers are trained to cater to these kiddos.  The kids wear their wish pins, and the employees actually seek them out for special moments.  At Crystal Palace, a restaurant that offers meeting with Pooh and Friends, Pooh chose Clayton to lead the "Pooh Parade".  Ride attendants would allow Clayton to sit where ever he wanted on the ride. The characters made a special effort to give Clayton and his family an amazing visit offering special pictures and moments.  Several times we'd be getting Clayton's pictures with a character only to turn around and see the people in line crying or extending their best wishes for him as we walked away.  It was precious!  It was definitely a week he and we will never forget.
   Please remember to support the businesses that allow these kinds of great things for kids.  The Make a Wish Foundation is amazing and will forever be a charity we give to... as well as Give Kids the World.  Give kids the world is ALL volunteer and donations.  They provide each family a villa, 3 meals a day, ice cream all day, drinks, snacks, amazing nightly carnivals, putt putt on site, fishing, arcade, movies, carousel rides and many other things.  Sweet volunteers love kids and give their time and effort for them.  Precious!
   As for how we are feeling.. Well, Friday Clayton endured a bone scan, MRI of brain and ear, CT scan of lungs, and a chest xray.  We are amazed, grateful and blessed to announce that they were all NORMAL.  Praise the Lord.  Our little guy is officially not only done with treatment, but Cancer Free.  I can't put into words what kind of feeling that is for a mother.  It is almost like I don't know what to do.. I don't remember who I was before Cancer... I don't know how to go back to disciplining Clayton, telling him No, making him do his chores, etc.  I'm sort of kidding there, because we didn't let him go free totally, but we did learn to cater to Clayton just trying to make his life easier.. Now, he's so excited to just be "Clayton".
    His next visit to a clinic will be in 6 weeks, but only to have his Port flushed.  He'll go in 12 weeks for more scans just to be sure that this ugly disease does not return.  After a clean set of scans this next time, he'll get his port removed.
    We've come a long way and we could NOT have done it without all of our friends, and family and without our precious Lord who walked along beside us.  Thank you all for everything.  Thank you for the meals, for buying and wearing Clayton shirts, for the bracelets, for the carpool rides, for the shoulders to cry on, for treating Clayton so wonderfully, I just can't express what all we feel as far as gratitude.  Our cup overflows.  I had the flu last week, but you know what, it was NOTHING.  I felt horrible and was very sick, but it was nothing compared to the heartache and hurt that I've dealt with the last year.  My heart is healing, although it will always ache for what my baby went through... and will continue to go through over the next 5 years of followup, but the knowledge that he is free and clear TODAY is all I need to face tomorrow.  God has been faithful and He will continue to be.  Friends, God is Good ALWAYS.  Even in things we don't understand and maybe never will.  I promise you, He is good and He does want good for his people.
    I am always glad to share Clayton's testimony and encourage anyone who may be hurting and suffering through a difficult road.  Please allow me to do that.  Love to all of you..