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..