Thursday, November 13, 2008

CJ Update..... And a Change in Protocol


After a week of rest from all chemo this week to allow CJ's blood counts to come back up we are back at the hospital for a scheduled overnight admission. Due to the decision that one of us needs to be with our other kids whenever possible, Chris was staying home with them today. CJ and daddy had a difficult time separating from each other this morning as they have been spending a lot of time together lately. Daddy has been sleeping in CJ's room each night because our 6 year old Brett has had a cold and we wanted to keep them a little distanced. This has allowed Chris and CJ to talk and have some special time together. It also allowed CJ the opportunity to ask his dad a serious question. CJ was seemingly sad last night and Chris asked him what was wrong. CJ said he had a question but did not think daddy had the answer. Chris pursued it and eventually CJ said, "Why do you think I got cancer daddy?" CJ was right, his daddy did not have an answer but through tears he encouraged CJ that God did have an answer and we could trust God with that answer even if we don't know what it is yet.
Sometimes we don't realize CJ is thinking about it as much as he is until he shares what he is thinking with us. The other day he told me that he wondered why God would allow a boy who loves to be outside and loves to play sports so much to get cancer instead of a boy who loves to be inside and play video games. Little insights like that show us just how much he actually ponders the whole situation. Thankfully, he always seems to ponder everything in light of God's Sovereignty and seems to grasp that concept fully. Honestly, even if he never gets an answer as to 'why' this happened but he grasps the Sovereignty of God, he will be just fine.

Anyway, as I was saying, these two kindred hearts had a hard time separating this morning but once I pried them away from each other, CJ and I were eventually off and on our way. CJ was scheduled to have a spinal tap to check his spinal fluids and a chemo injection into the spine. My mother eventually came to see us and was with me during the spinal. She got such a kick out of CJ as he was put to sleep. He looked straight at her and gave her a wink not a split second before his eyes closed. It was priceless. This was my 4th spinal tap so I am getting used to seeing CJ put to sleep and immediately seeming fragile and small once they curl him up on his side and prepare his back for the needle. But having my mother in the room for the first time allowed me to see it again through fresh eyes and reminded me of all the apprehension I felt the first time I stood and watched this procedure done to my child. Seeing how tense she was made me realize how relaxed I was in comparison and I thought...I can't believe you actually get used to this after a while. I bowed my head to pray and felt my mom searching for my hand so I held hers as I prayed for CJ. I raised my head to watch CJ as I prayed and then the doctor said, "It's okay to look grandma, see the spinal fluids look clear." My mom hesitantly raised her head and watched the remainder of the procedure through squinted eyes. This reminded me of how I squinted the first time I watched this procedure as if somehow I could take in less of what was happening if I squinted. CJ slept off the remainder of the medicine as we stood over him saying how thankful we are for how well he is doing. When he woke up I said, "Hey there, you are finally awake." And he said, "I've been awake, I was just too tired to open my eyes."

He is receiving chemo through his port tonight and tomorrow. He will be released sometime tomorrow afternoon(Friday) and continue on chemo via home health for the weekend followed by another round of home health chemo in a week for four more days. At that time, we will be at the end of phase 2 and entering into phase three. Initially, we were told CJ would have high doses of a chemo drug called Methotrexate during phase four. It was going to be such a strong dose that it would require a counter drug to salvage good cells and also require 3-4 night stays each time it would be administered. This would have been repeated four times over 50 days. Today the doctor explained to me that we will be placed on a new arm for this phase of CJ's treatment. I won't go into clinical trials and studies and the many arms of those studies at this time because it is an overwhelming amount of information. But I will say we are extremely grateful for those studies and all the children and families who were in them in order to determine what treatment would be best for future patients. When a child is part of a clinical trial, that child does not necessarily benefit from the study being done but the children who come along in the future surely do. CJ's treatment would definitely fall into that category as one who is benefiting from those who have gone before us in these treatments. We are extremely thankful for that!

What does this have to do with CJ? Well, we were told today that studies show that the high dose Methotrexate children did not fare any better than the gradually increased dosed children. All Leukemia kids have already been switched over to this new protocol for this phase of their treatment. CJ"s doctor recommended that although CJ is Lymphoma he should be too. What difference does this all make? Well, thanks to this change in protocol we will no longer be in a phase that requires the high dose and therefore will not require the countering medicine or the 3-4 night stays at the hospital to administer it. He will now receive it outpatient once every ten days for 50 days and be able to go home that same day and recover at home in between doses. His dose will gradually increase as his counts and health allows. This is extremely good news for our family as it reduces the amount of time spent in the hospital and that we are all separated.

Unfortunately, even after the week of rest to allow CJ's blood counts to come back up, his hemoglobins were still borderline. They will check them tomorrow morning and if they have not come up he may need a transfusion before he is released. We are praying for adequate counts and yet thankful for the means of replenishment available to him through transfusion if necessary. We are praying for sustained counts and yet prepared hearts for whatever is best for CJs long term health. We are also asking for prayer for CJ's quick recovery to a head cold he has come down with. We are asking that it not interfere with his treatment and that his body be able to recover quickly from the cold without complications.

Thank you for your continued support of our family and most importantly your prayers for CJ. We are so thankful this blog allows us to involve you in his treatment as many of you have told us you feel like you are able to go through this with our family because of the blog. We are extremely thankful for this avenue of communication but most importantly that it allows us to immediately get our specific prayer requests out to all of you who are battling through this with us in prayer!

FURTHER UPDATE: CJ is just finishing up his blood transfusion and already feeling more refreshed. He received it well with no complications or reactions. We are grateful for this means of replenishment and for whoever the donor is that provided this blood. We are looking forward to going home within a few hours.

23 comments:

Amy Derrickson said...

I just want you to know that we pray for you all daily and you are constantly in our hearts. At night when I pray with the children, I first ask them what we should pray for. The first thing out of all of their mouths (even little Ethan) is "CJ!!"
We love you,
Amy

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn,
We will pray for those counts today!
Cindy s.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I will continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you again for making the time to share your life. Wilma

Heather said...

We will be praying for you CJ. We love and miss you so very much. Your Daddy is right, we may not always understand why something has happened but we can ALWAYS trust in GOD!!

There is nothing, no circumstance, no trouble, no testing that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has come past God, and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT purpose.
Alan Redpath

I know and believe that with all my heart CJ! We have already seen God's hand in this and I believe the best is to come!
I love you my little buddy!
Aunt Heather

Anonymous said...

I have not had the pleasure of meeting you or your beautiful children, I know Chris through my husband Chris Hodges who works with him. Please know that as a Christian and a mother, my prayers are with you as are the prayers of my family. God bless you all. Lourdes Hodges

Anonymous said...

Hey you guys, Carolyn Harris said to tell you guys she is praying for CJ and the rest of you and be sure to say "Hello." She asked how CJ was doing with it all and it was great to share some of what your blog has said to encourage her to keep praying and know that you all have hope and peace even during the more difficult days. She can't say enough how special CJ is and that he was one of her best students. Apparently because he took the memorizing scriptures so seriously and was a kind and caring young man.
(You still are CJ and I am glad to know you and your family. We will continue to lift you up in prayer. VG)

Ily (hearts) said...

HI Guys,
Sorry I have not written lately, going crazy this last week with homeschool and soccer. Anyways I want to thank the Lord for allowing Cj to get his treatment this week and I am putting my trust in Him, that Cj's cold and counts will get better. Thank you Lord for this wonderful family and the strenghth you give them. Cj we are praying for you and we LOVE you A lot. Even though you may not know "why" just remember you are in HIS hands. Once again we love YOU.
The Figueroa's

CeCe said...

Hey George Family,

It was so nice seeing you all together the other day, and I look forward to seeing you ALL again soon! We are praying! Okay, I don't really have much more to say, so I will pray.

Dear Father God,

Please help CJ's head cold just go away God, and please just let it NOT interfere with anything. Please let the Georges get all that they need God. Please let CJ's blood counts get back high again God, and please let him NOT get a blood transfusion. Please let his tumor just disappear, and let the doctors know that they will not need to give him anymore chemo. Please let the chemo go good Father, and please help him to not get sick, and none of his family get sick either.
Amen

CJ, even if you don't know why you got Cancer, God will always have a good reason for it. Trust in him!

Love you guys,
In Prayer,
In Christ,


CeCe

grandma colleen said...

My beloved family, I felt like my heart stopped and I reminded my self to breathe while reading the blog. Everytime I feel that I have reached a point that I am strong, I'm not. My heart just breaks for C.J. and the thoughts and concerns he must have buried in his heart, that he has'nt spoken of yet. What a strong grandson he is, strong in his belief that God is good and loving, and has C.J. by the hand in all of this. I see one good thing that comes from this, all that C.J. is going through right now, will help the next child with their chemo treatments,one child helping the next till there is a cure. Dawn and Chris you are both wonderful parents, continually lifting C.J. in postive spirtual truths as well as prayer. God has given you both strength of heart that you both probably never knew possible on you own.(But by the Grace of GOD.) C.J. one day all of us will know the why's of Gods plans and purposes, but until then we have to keep believing in him, trusting him,having a BIG faith in him, and believing all of his promises to us. C.J. and the rest of my family, I love you with all my heart, I pray for you continually , I KNOW OUR GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN ALL OF THIS AND I KNOW EVERYTHING IS IN HIS HANDS, HE LOVES US WITH PERFECTION, AND HE HAS MERCEY ON US. In the beautiful name of Jesus, I ask for healing for my sweet C.J. grandma colleen

Anonymous said...

Dearest little CJ: I hope that you are feelng a little better tonight..after the long day yesterday and the blood transfusion. Hopefully you received strong nourishing cells. Yes little man; Daddy doesn't have the answer. Only God knows why some people get cancer but it is a good question. I'm guessing it is to make them stronger for their endeavors in life; and I have a feeling you are going to be the strongest and most spiritual one yet. Love you and miss you lots, Aunt Penny
xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

hey cj i hope you are doing well i miss you a lot i wich you could come over and we could play that game when joey is the mummy and we have to find him and cj.s would film us with his flip.your freind Annika

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,

Dawn,

I have never been much of a computer gal. But, this blog has given me a new respect for just how useful and godly even a website can be used for when you put God first. Your selflessness in your willing to share and write, that takes time from so many things, is so beautiful. It is like receiving a gift from God that "made it" because His child actually followed through with His request and did not allow obstacles to get in the way. Hence, a blessing was carried to so many of us that got or took the opportunity to read this post. You really allow us in. The pictures are priceless to my spirit! My heart is so warm.

I miss you, Sis! My head swims with questions I want God to make clear to me or help me understand, too. I really need to start writing them down. I have never been much of a journal gal either. But, I think I am going to start. Actually, this blog has really been my first journal encounter that really worked for me and has allowed me to see the benefits that can come from it.

Well, I love you guys and will continue to pray for CJ's healing and blessings to continue to pour forth on all of us involved and seeking Him. This experience has connected us, everyone that posts, reads the post, immediate family, close and distant friends and relatives, in a way we never connected before! God Centered! I really feel God is showing us how all of our relationships should be through this experience.

I love you.
Your sister in Christ,

Jacks

Enzo said...

It was a privilege for me to be with you and CJ at the hospital. I feel so fortunate that I can be included during this time. Yes, you are correct that once CJ's procedure started I couldn't believe I was standing in the room watching. I thought I should faint or something but that I better not so I sucked it up. As soon as I got my senses I could hear your prayers so I closed my eyes and reached for you. Our CJ looks so very vulnerable when he is asleep on the table. So small, so still. I will never forget the wink he gave me on his way out to sleep. I was so happy about that. I couldn't believe that the nurse was actually using the phone during most of the procedure. I wonder what goes on when parents aren't in the room. I guess for what her role was it was okay but for me, I wanted every eye, every hand, every sense focused on CJ. He woke up happy which I liked and those liquids did look clear coming out of the spine which the doctor seemed to like.
When I went to bed the night of CJ's transfusion, the song, Nothing but the blood of Jesus, kept going through my head. I just kept imagining CJ being replinished by the blood of Jesus and it felt secure and right.
I did feel so badly for Chris while I was at the hospital that day. Like Dawn said with 4 children they need to split themselves but how do you do that? Chris wanted so badly to be in two places at one time. Just like Dawn would of had it been in reverse. That is one of the reasons I am so grateful that CJ will not have to spend those additional 20 nights in the hospital that were scheduled. Praise God for that. I love you guys.
Mom

Anonymous said...

CJ, His eye is on the Sparrow and I know He watches over you..I pray for a peaceful and restful night, so that the entire George family may be renewed in strength and spirit. Isaiah 43:1-3 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Rest in the Lord...We love you guys..The Cooke Family

ily(Hearts) said...

Cj we are praying for you. I am very thankful to everyone out there that donates blood. I encourage everyone that reads this to go out and donate blood. It makes a difference. Thank you Lord for making Cj feel better with this blood transfusion.
XOXO
THe Figuero's

Alibrandi said...

Cj,
Bro, being with you at home is so wonderful! To see you being joyful and just be silly sometimes makes me want to just be silly. I love you so much buddy and I am very proud of the strong young man of God that you are!
I love you and I am always right by your side,
~Sissy

ily(Hearts) said...

Hi George Family,
Just checking in today to check on you. How is CJ's cold? GOD willing he is over it. If you get a chance please give us an update.
XOXO
ILY

Anonymous said...

Hi,

What a beautiful medal CJ!! And your smile is just the best! Love the picture with you and the dog. Diego, our Golden is so big now that when he sits on Ana all you see are her eyes peeking out! We hope you are all doing well and over the cold. We are so happy to hear that you can be mostly at home for the next phase of your treatment, there is no place like home. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you

Love

Nicole Alberto & Ana

Anonymous said...

Hello CJ!! I'm so glad the blood transfusion made you feel better and probably gave you more energy! I love the pictures your mom is putting on the blog, especially the ones with the dog in bed with you. Isn't it awesome how God gives us animals to love and comfort us? If we were there, we'd be giving you big, long hugs every day. But since we're up in Virginia, we'll ask the Lord to hug you with His love and peace, and we will keep praying that God will heal you and make you well. We love you, CJ, and we miss you!!Hey, guess what? It snowed tonight - just a little, though - not enough to make a snowball out of. Also, I found an old picture of you and Brett standing next to Uncle Terry's yellow corvette in our driveway. I'll scan it and send it to your mom. We love you, CJ (and Dawn, Chris, Allie, Brett and Corey!) Love, aunt karen

Mom R said...

Joining you in prayer for your precious son, CJ. You don't know me, but I know Karen as she taught my daughter piano and both of my girls Biology. Lifting you up to our gracious Father just now. Eileen Rife

Anonymous said...

Dawn,
Scott and I dedicated this song to CJ, and I've sent it to fellow homeschool moms asking them to pray for CJ. One, Eileen Rife, is a published Christian fiction author and counselor. She read your blog and wrote back that your ministry is powerful and effective, and it's obvious what a mighty thing God is doing through you and your family. Your blog also encourages my dad - he'll never post a comment, but he is my mom's caregiver and deals with frequent hospitalizations, ports, central lines, home IV's, etc. He has had his faith strengthen when reading your blog! Only God knows the number of people who you have helped because they've been given the privilege of praying for CJ and your family, and they read what God is doing in your blog. They then know that God loves them, too, and will work in their lives. Terry and I are sooooo very proud of you and Chris - you have thwarted what Satan meant to destroy you with by giving yourselves and CJ to the Lord wholeheartedly. Who is stronger than the Lord? And who can wipe away every tear and loves CJ more than anyone else can? What a great God we serve. Please give CJ a big hug for us, and tell him we love him, and we love you!! Aunt Karen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1T7jPXxqs0

Break the Mold said...

Aunt Karen,

It means so much to hear you say that you and Uncle Terry are proud of Chris and I. You were our first Christian mentors and you pointed this messed up young wife and mother in the right direction 12 years ago when we came to visit you in Virginia. You don't know fully how much your words, faith and example molded and shaped me in those early years and how I clung to hope because of your words to me. Thank you. Chris and I love you both. Thank you for dedicating that amazing song to CJ. I hope everyone copies and pastes the link to view it.

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn & CJ:
Hi guys! Sorry that I haven't posted in a week! I have been reading and praying though! I wish I could get Travis to shave his head, too. Maybe when we come down for Christmas we can get him to do it! That would be awesome! Thank you so much for the school pictures, too, they are just beautiful. I can't believe how big you guys are all, especially Corey. I think he's just as cute as a bug! I bet he's a handful, too. I miss you guys all so much.
All of my Love,
Aunt Tammi