Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Family Update and Payer Requests


(Family Picture Taken in September -two weeks before diagnosis)

When we first received the diagnosis of cancer for CJ, I immediately remembered a friend who had recently battled breast cancer. I remembered the news of her cancer spreading fast and her saying she felt the need to be selective about who she shared the experience with. Who she 'allowed in' so to speak. I understood, agreed with and respected her decision. I was blessed to be of those she allowed in. I share this with you to say that in my overwhelmed state of receiving the diagnosis for CJ, I told God I was going to be selective too. I decided I would walk through this selfishly choosing who I would let in and what was best for me. I knew as soon as I said it something was amiss. Little did I know at that time that He would be calling us to live this out in the open before the world. I could not have fathomed doing this and putting our lives out here like this at that time. I assure you it has been selective, but it has been Gods select, not mine! We are amazed at how many people CJ has touched and thankful for those of you who have prayed for us and for those who have shared with us how this has affected or encouraged you. Your testimonies cast light on the mountainsides as we walk through this dark valley, and it draws our attention upward.

We have been asked by many of you about our family and the prayer needs for each of us. We are humbled that you are willing to pray for us as we battle this cancer in our home and in our lives. As most of you know, we are a homeschooling family of 6. Alibrandi is our oldest and only daughter who is 12. CJ is 9, Brett is 6 and Corey is 1. Our biggest challenge as a family has been trying to balance the needs of each child while still making the right decisions for CJ. We are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in all of this, yet coming to realize that we have a new 'normal' and it is just taking time to adjust to it. CJ's health concerns require much of our attention but we also have concerns about the other three children. We have to be in tune to how this is affecting them, how to discern their needs and provide them with a sense of stability throughout this ordeal. We have been offered all types of resources, programs and counseling to assist the siblings. This only reiterates to us how damaging this can be for some families. We are learning that many children suffer life long and sometimes delayed symptoms as a result of this. We are grateful for all the programs available to us and may find ourselves taking advantage of some of them in the future but we strongly believe our greatest resource in this is prayer. So we humbly yet boldly ask for these specific areas of prayer for the siblings of CJ as well as ourselves.
Alibrandi has been a complete blessing to our family. She is everything I have ever hoped to be and she is only 12. She is God fearing, obedient, quiet, gentle, honest, faithful, submissive, pure, and silly! She is a product of God's amazing grace in my life and evidence that He gives you way more than you deserve. Her faith and witness and dedication to God's word astound me. She has faithfully read God's word daily for four years. Daily for four years! She has never missed a day! That is incomprehensible to me and I live with her. I sometimes look at her and think, "Who is this young girl and where did she come from?" Certainly not from some broken vessel like me! I was always thankful for her but I am even more thankful now. I remember once wondering why God gave me a girl first. I thought it would be good for her to have an 'older brother'. I don't question anything anymore. His ways are perfect and beyond figuring out. And having her through this trial has helped our family immensely. She never complains about anything we ask her to do. She completes her school on her own and on time. She is a huge help with her 3 little brothers and has been so kind to CJ. She has faith in his healing and has a quiet trust in God I wish I could grasp. Although I trust in God, mine is much more vocal and I seem to wrestle for every ounce of ground I gain. She just accepts and steps forward. The main thing I sense in her at this time is the need to do some of the things that she enjoys outside the home. One of the things she is passionate about is horses. Therefore, we have tried to be intentional about taking her out to be around horses whenever possible. This provides her with a form of release and she is able focus on something other than school and doctors appointments. My prayers for her are endless as my only daughter but I would ask for specific prayer for her that she would be open with us about her needs as they arise and that she would be strengthened as her responsibilities have increased due to this new 'normal' we are experiencing.

Brett is our 6 year old. Although Brett is our fun loving, carefree, non-stop, playful child, he seems to be struggling more than any of the other children. When we first settled back home from the hospital he had long bouts of crying tears that just flowed and flowed. No explanation, just tears and aching sobs. Chris and I just sensed a need for him to 'get it out'. He is at a tender age that is too young to fully grasp everything that is happening, but old enough to know something is wrong. He hears the conversations, hears the prayers. sees the tears and then has to comprehend all he takes in. He told me recently he did not want his brother to have cancer anymore because he wants to be able to play and wrestle and do all the fun things they used to do together. The changes in our home and lives have been more of a noticeable disruption to his routine than any of the other kids. The crying spells have eased but we still see he is easily overwhelmed and has difficulty communicating what he is feeling. Therefore, our prayer requests for him would be that he is able to communicate effectively all that he is feeling even if he does not understand it himself.

Corey is our busy and engaging 1 year old who needs constant supervision. He is in the full throws of obedience training at this age and that takes time, focus and patience on my part that is not as available as it was for the others. My prayer request for him would be that he would have an obedient spirit and a patient mommy. I must add that as challenging as he is, he is an unbelievable gift to our family at this time. He has the luxury to not have a clue that his brother is sick and just goes about life as a normal one year old. It is a blessing to have this little person who is clueless and carefree in regards to cancer in our home at all times. His ignorance is like a breath of fresh air when the tension sets in.

CJ has done amazingly well throughout this beginning phase of his treatment. We credit that completely to the Lord and to your diligence in prayer for him. He is able to complete his school work and his devotions and spend time enjoying the outdoors when his energy level allows. We have seen an increase in his obedience as well as a more playful spirit. We realize much of this has to do with not being in the amount of pain he was in prior to his diagnosis. Our hope and prayer is that he would remain strong and pain free. Our prayer needs are for continued healing of the cancer cells and continued health and protection against illness. We have recently become more aware about the risk to his internal organs from all the chemo he is receiving so we ask for specific prayer for his heart, liver and kidneys to remain unaffected and protected from the chemo. Please add this specific request to your prayers for CJ.

Chris is the amazing leader and provider of this family and home. He is my best friend and has been the love of my life since I was about 9 years old. It took him about 10 extra years to catch on but he finally did. He is the greatest gift God ever gave me besides giving me his own Son. One saved me from eternal death and the other from self destruction. Any and every good thing produced in me has come from those two men. He has an amazing burden on his shoulders in the area of responsibility to leading a wife and shepherding four children and I sense that it has increased tremendously since CJ got sick. My prayer for him would be that he realize the burden rests on God and not him. That he would always remember that God's yoke is easy and His burden is light. It is only when we try to rest it on our own shoulders that it becomes too heavy. In light of a phone call he received from the doctor today, I would also ask that you pray for his wisdom and discernment in decisions that need to be made in regards to CJ's treatment. The phone call notified us of more changes being made to CJ's treatment plans including squeezing in two more Spinal Taps and Chemo injections in the next 10 days beginning tomorrow. As well as a possible change in protocol for future phases of CJ's treatment. We pray these changes are God's leading and will bring about a better end result for CJ in regards to recovery and relapse as well as protection from toxicity. We ask that God give us peace in accepting these changes and wisdom to know when to resist them.
As for me, I just pray that God would equip me to be the mother and wife He would have for this family and home. My life is at His disposal. I have always dreamed that one day I would bow before Him and hear ,"Well done my faithful servant." I can never seem to add the word 'good' in there as the scriptures do. The word good does not belong to me, but if I could just stand before him faithful........Dayenu. (it would have been enough).
Thank you for your prayers. Your prayers for our family have surrounded us and hedged us in on all sides. I used to think the calm I felt was the eye of the storm but now it seems it is the wall of prayer that is surrounding us, strengthening us, and protecting us in the storm.

"Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place."

2 Chronicles 6:40

24 comments:

Heather said...

I love you guys! I will continue to pray without ceasing!
Heather

shawn said...

We are praying. Thank you for the updates Dawn. Love you all.

shawn said...
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faith2pray said...

Thank you! God hears your prayers and we are crying out to him as well. Keep standing and praise him for all his faithfulness!

Anonymous said...

DAWN ALL THE PRAYERS YOU ASKED FOR YOUR FAMILY I WILL FOLLOW THROUGH ON AND PRAY FOR EACH AND EVERYONE ONE OF YOU!! I WOULD LIKE TO WRITE A LITTLE ABOUT YOU FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT DON'T KNOW ME I AM A FRIEND OF DAWNS AND FEEL LIKE I KNOW HER INSIDE AND OUT AND I AM VERY HONORED TO BE A PART OF HER FAMILY. I AM SO PROUD OF HER HONESTY AND THE WAY SHE HAS OPENED UP ON THIS BLOG AND LET EACH AND EVERYONE IN HER PERSONAL LIFE. AT ONE TIME THIS WOULD OF BEEN VERY UNLIKE HER SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN VERY PERSONAL ABOUT HER FAMILY. DAWN MY FRIEND YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOTHER AND WIFE AND MY PRAYER FOR YOU IS THAT YOU KEEP UP YOUR STENGTH AND FAITH THROUGH THIS STORM YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. YOU ARE ALWAYS IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS WE GO BACK MANY MANY YEARS THE BOND BETWEEN US CAN NEVER BE BROKEN ALL MY LOVE ALWAYS PAM. HELLO CJ I AM GLAD YOU ARE ENJOYING THIS COOL WEATHER WE ARE HAVING! KEEP STAYING STRONG LOVE YOU!!!

Melinda said...

Dawn,

Thank you SO SO SO SO much for keeping us all updated on how you guys are doing and how we can pray for you. This blog is such a blessing and I know it doesn't just happen.

When you said "just pray that God would equip me to be the mother and wife He would have for this family " I was reading this blog thinking....Dawn, you are SO perfect for the job of wife/mom to this family even in the way that you write and update us all on your other kids lives and how we can be praying for them. What you have done to keep us all in the loop, to be praying, and to be informed is completely AMAZING! thank you thank you thank you

I miss you guys like crazy and I pray for you ALL constantly (even cute little Corey who doesn't seem to have a care in the world unless you don't give him enough food for dinner ;)

Love you guys!!

~Melinda p

Melinda said...
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Erick said...

Hey CJ,

Thank you very much for the drawing you made for me. I put it with the other one you gave me. I appreciate you taking the time to color for me and I will always keep it up on my wall at work. Thanks for another smile. You are a friend I admire for always having a smile and bringing joy to others.

I pray for you every day as well as your family.

May the force be with you. (o:

-Erick

Enzo said...

Dawn, Chris, CJ, Allie, Brett, Corey

We are all here for you and will continue to pray for your specific requests. As usual Dawn your praise and requests were greater for your family then yourself. You have been and are a wonderful mother. This normal is not really normal yet you are pulling it off somehow. Your entire life is dedicated to God and your family and I can't think of one thing that you want for yourself that doesn't include that equation. I think you will hear, Well done, GOOD and faithful servant. I know that is what one would expect their Mom to say but I mean it.

I agree so much about Alibrandi. She is so sweet and pure. I remember when we went to Disney World for the kids first trip. I think that was just three years ago. (They started late). Anyway we went to the park late one day to stay for fireworks and the parade and stuff and it looked like we might not get back to the hotel before midnight and Alibrandi was desperate to get there before as she couldn't miss doing her devotions before the day ended. I couldn't believe it. She is so faithful that she pushed us out of Disney World so she could praise God and wouldn't allow herself an excuse to miss. She is a great big sister to her brothers. So anyone that is going somewhere fun with their daughters or kids please give Dawn a call and see if Allie can join you for a few hours. I'll do the same.

Brett is having a hard time and it is sad that all the changes are affecting him so much. I know he feels his security is shaky when Mom and Dad are often at the hospital with CJ for all day and overnight stays. He is at a vulnerable stage and I know that all the prayers that have helped the CJ, Dawn and Chris will help Brett if we lift him to God.

CJ is constantly in our prayers and I pray that he doesn't have any secret worries that he doesn't share. I am so amazed all the time after a tough week of this treatment, that chemmo, this spinal, that I go and find him laughing. Thank you God. Who would have thunk it?

Chris, Dawn is correct. You can't possibly carry all of this on your shoulders. You have to give it to God and trust. I know you do and even as I write it I know I worry all the time so I have to do the same. Your wife adores you, respects you, encourages you, needs you, confides in you. Your children do think you are Superman like when they were little. Keep up the good work. God will heal your precious boy and you will rejoice all the days of your life.

Corey, What a joy. Thank God for him.

I also want to encourage everyone to stay committed to this family in prayer, in service, in friendship and in your love. You are answering prayers and I pray that you will not drift away. This is a long haul and we need all of you. I know Dawn and Chris find their strength from your support and CJ feels so blessed to have you praying for him as well.

I love you guys.

Grandma

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

As I read your post, I echoed the words in prayer! Thank you for showing me just how important prayer is in our lives. I love you and will continue to meditate in prayer regarding your requests today. I think God has shown us ample times just how POWERFUL He is. Including yesterday, when He protected Corey! He protects us more than we will ever truly know here. My prayers are for CJ's healing, Chris's surrender, your strength and obedience to be renewed, Brett's peace, and Corey's continued bliss and comfort to the family, with just a little "taming" for your sanity. And let's not forget our "Allie", God thank you for her. She is amazing and has been such a blessing to our family. Thank you for protecting her and saving her last Easter. You have great things planned for these George children. They are clearly your children. Dawn and Chris have surrendered them to you and they have opened their arms up to you. Thank you Lord for letting me witness such Glory! Please continue to keep your protective arms arounds them. Pour your healing love over CJ. I pray because your hear our prayers and they will be answered. I love you, Lord. Thank you for showing me time and time again who you are.

Amen, Love your daughter, Jackie

Yvonne said...

I recieved your bracelets on Monday and immediately put one on. It is a beautiful reminder to keep C.J. and your family in prayer as well as all children battling cancer. It also is a witness to others as I share your faith and strength in Jesus ( thank you for sharing ) God bless you and God can and will move mountains!

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn, CJ and Chris and Allie and Brett and Corey,
I love you all so much and I miss you too. I can't tell you how grateful I am not only for your mom's words here on this blog, but the pictures!!!! How I love to see all of your faces so much. It is truly awesome to me. I get to see you all so clearly everyday. Allie, I love you and I miss you and I can't wait to see you all next month. I will keep praying to try and light the mountainsides of your dark valley. That was an awesome way to put it, Dawn. Really.
I love you,
Aunt Tammi

Anonymous said...

Dear precious George family,

You are a light on a beacon hill for the world to see how a family can trust the Lord in the midst of trials. Thank you for your continued example! I have a verse that will hopefully encourage you: Isaiah 40:31..."Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." You all are definitely in a marathon. Know that you are prayed for by many, many people and that the Lord Himself is rooting for you and cheering you on!

Love, Jeanne Joiner

Sonia said...

Dear Dawn, is really beautiful to see the open you are with all of us, showing all the insights and reflections you have made, because this storm you and your family are suffering. I know that all of you are very good people and my family and I remembered you as kind and lovely persons. My girls remembered so much Allie, she always had been a sweet girl, she is a cousin for them, because you, Paula and I wonted them to be so, they enjoyed so many Christmas a vacations where they really had very good times together. CJ is the beautiful young boy we left two years a go, gentle and kind, that is hard to believe he is going thru such an illness and hard treatment. All of us are praying for what you ask, and we hope in God CJ, You, Chris, Allie, Brett and baby Corey will go thru successfully, because you are wining this battle one day at a time.
Lots of love from all of us.
Sonia, Antonio, Alejandra y Andrea.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

Just wanted to let you know that you all are in my prayers and now I am thankful to have "special specifics" to pray for. I also feel I have to let you know, that while all of your blogs "touch" me, this one really moved me. You are such a selfless mother, wife, woman. What a humble servant you are. Again, I am humbled by your faith. I will continue to open my heart and to ask God to lead me to the place where I have such faith. Thinking of you all, often.

Amy

Anonymous said...

I will continue to pray! Putting the bracelet on each day while we were away helped to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. :) Thank you for the update and specific prayer requests for us to lift up on your behalf.
Dawn, you are the perfect wife and mother for your family and I thank God he has given you to them, and them to you, and all of you to us. You have inspired me as I have watched you and your desire to have Christ as the center of your home no matter what that took. You are the apple of God's eye and a great example for us all. THANK YOU for being willing to bear your heart for all to read. Look up to the Lord who is your shelter and your strength. To Him be the glory.
VG

Martha Rivero said...

When I first read CJ story it touched me immensely, I am praying for CJ and all your family everyday, it is true what you said about being selective, and how God select in his wisdom, I believe that God selected me to know at the right moment CJ's story, thank you for your prayers for my nephew, the tumor is reducing slowly, we hope in God everything is going to be ok. Thank you knowing you and your family has been a true blessing.

Love

Martha

Anonymous said...

When I first read CJ story it touched me immensely, I am praying for CJ and all your family everyday, it is true what you said about being selective, and how God select in his wisdom, I believe that God selected me to know at the right moment CJ's story, thank you for your prayers for my nephew, the tumor is reducing slowly, we hope in God everything is going to be ok. Thank you knowing you and your family has been a true blessing.

Ily(Hearts) said...

Hi George family,
Our prayers are with you. I added to CJ's bracelet his heart, liver and kidneys. This way I will not forget. As for the rest of the family you guys are always in my prayers now they will be specific. I love you and thanks for praying for me and my family in this hard time we are going through.
Blessings,
ILY

Janet said...

Hello George Family, Thank you for adding specific prayers for each family remember. When I pray, I pray specifically for CJ and the family as a whole, but now I know what each one of you need right down to little Corey. What a blessing you guys have been to me and so many. You are a wonderful example not only spiritually but also as a family. Please let me know if you have any specific needs I can fill so I can be a blessing back to you. Remind me to talk to you about horses. The Mahfoods miss and love you.

Anonymous said...

C.J. you don't know us and neither do we. We heard about you through your grandma Paula. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. As you said in one of your poems, "God has a reason" for what is happening. You are an intelligent, creative and smart boy. You can and will pull through this! It is obvious through this blog that have a lot of people who love you very much. All of that love will help you heal. We'll be praying for you. You have a big heart and a nice big smile. You may be going through rough times along with other children and we would like to give you an opportunity to share your smile with other children at the hospital. We're going to give your grandmother small tin cans filled with goodies...one for you and two others for you to give to other children at the hospital. I guarantee you that this will bring joy not only to their hearts, but also to yours. As we said before we haven't had the pleasure of meeting you, but we feel compelled to say that we love you and want for you to know that you have two other people rooting for you. We will pray lots and lots. Have a quick and speedy recovery. Remember that God loves you.
Alan Montero and Paola Sepulveda

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing. You don't know how many people have been blessed and held up and helped by your obeying God. But God knows and He knows what He has in store for you and I am claiming outstanding blessings for CJ like you've not seen before and also for the rest of the family. God is faithful....
Love you and hope everyone there has a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Love & Prayers,
Mary B. & Family

Anonymous said...

Blessed George Family, We continue to pray and pray! We love you and join with countless others in giving thanks to God for the testimony that you are, and are becoming! Dawn, His goodness is so richly draped over you and your family. You cannot manufacture your own, but oh you have accepted and are walking in the beautiful and luminous goodness of your God and Savior, Jesus Christ! You bless and challenge me with each update, thank you for surrendering to God's selection process! We are lifting you each up, with gratitude for having specifics to pray for, and please know that we love you and carry you in our hearts throughout each day. Thank you more than you can know for the witness you are! Mattie, Hugh and Caedmon.

CeCe said...

Hi George Family,
Tears welled up in my eyes when I read about Brett. He is so young. I am so glad Corey is in your life. He is most definetly a blessing. I miss you guys so much. You guys have been a blessing in my life. I am so glad that we moved down here before CJ got cancer. Theo wants to meet ALL of you really badly! Okay, prayer time!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please let Alibrandi be able to open up to her parents and tell them what she needs. Please help her faith in you grow even more then it is. Please help Brett to be able communicate effectively all that he is feeling even if he does not understand it himself. Please help Corey to be able to chear everyone up, and not get annoying. Please help CJ to be able to fight anything bad that is going on inside, and that the other organs will not be touched by the chemo. Please help Mr. George realize that God is incontrol, and that God has the burden, not Mr. George. Please help Mrs. George, to be patiant.
Amen

I have to go now! I love you guys!

In Prayer,
In Christ,
In Love,

CeCe