CJ had his treatments on Monday and Tuesday. And he experienced his first allergic reaction to the medications. It was completely unexpected since he has received these meds before. It gave us a little scare but we were able to manage it. It was a reaction to his double shots he received on Tuesday in his legs. He has to have the shots administered at the same time, so they have two nurses come in the room and do it simultaneously. CJ got two of his favorite nurses which was a blessing because it actually cuts his anxiety down quite a bit when he has someone he is comfortable with. They started teasing him by telling him they each do it better than the other. He thinks this is funny. They tell him to tell them which leg hurts less after they are done. Then Lotsy came and started playing the harmonica. Then his friend Jia came and started telling him silly ways to handle the shots. It was quite a sight as we were all crowded around as he got his shots...........here are some pictures.
Ready set go....
Daddy, Lotsy and Jia entertaining CJ while he gets his shots and Corey checking CJ's legs for swelling.
He did well receiving the shots and had no immediate reaction. He was a little nervous right before but whenever his friend Jia is around it is really impossible for any of us to feel sorry for
ourselves. He is a walking miracle and still has a huge battle ahead of him.
Lord God, I beg you to be with this boy and his mother. Help me to share your son with them regardless of language or culture barriers. Send your people to care for them and sustain them. Help me to do for them faithfully as others have done for me and my son.
CJ was held for an hour after the shot to see if there is any reaction before they let him leave. When we got home he was completely exhausted. For the first time since the treatments began, he fell asleep and took a 3 or 4 hour nap. When he woke up that evening we noticed the reaction. His lips were completely swollen. He looked like a he just got out of a boxing match. We knew he was having an allergic reaction but he said he felt fine, had no trouble breathing and his tongue was not swollen; only the lips. So we called the doctor who said to give him benedril and then take him to the Emergency Room. After administering the meds, praying, and watching we decided against going to the ER. The benedril worked quickly and we saw no other reaction. We are so thankful God allowed us to catch this reaction and avoid a trip back to the hospital. I realized CJ was asleep for the first few hours he was probably having the reaction and we would never have known if he was having a serious reaction or not. Thank you Lord for your presence and watchful eye on CJ even when ours are not available.
The next day was New Years Eve and we celebrated here at home. We let CJ request a new years dinner. He chose pizza and spaghetti. So pizza and spaghetti it was! We lit off fireworks in the back yard for the kids, sat around our fire pit and read letters we prepared for each other. We watched the ball drop at midnight and toasted with sparking cider! It was nothing extravagant, but we were together and I could not have asked for anything more.
As I look back over the year, I can not believe all that we have experienced. It began with us selling our land in Virginia and letting go of a dream to move to the mountains. I have heard the expression that when one door closes, God opens a window. But I think that is backwards. I think when you wait on God and seek His will, what appeared to be a door is actually the window. As the window closes, God throws open a door. He did that for us when that dream was replaced by the fulfillment of another. ....being baptized by immersion in the arms of my husband, after witnessing him be baptized in the lake in the back yard of our home. He also closed many other windows and opened many other doors for us. We grew and learned a lot as the year progressed. CJ's health and anxiety issues were our biggest battle throughout the year and yet we still never would have imagined we would end the year with a child battling cancer. It is an eye opening realization that as we begin this new year, none of us know where we will end up. Chris and I did not finish off this year like we planned. We did not end where we thought we were headed. But to have accomplished all our plans and yet be apart from God's plan for our lives, that would have been a total failure. We will still set goals and chart our course for this new year. We will make plans and we have hopes and dreams. But if it ends there, we fail. We must take those goals, charts, plans, hopes and dreams and lay them before our Father and surrender them to Him. Not our will, but His be done! That is the making of a successful year!
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
We wish you all a happy new year fully surrendered to Him who determines our steps. We thank all of you who have come along beside of us during this time. So many of you have helped, encouraged and supported us in so many different ways. We thank everyone who has bowed their knee before the throne of grace to ask for mercy for CJ. These prayers have given us strength and I believe God has responded to the cries of His people and had mercy on CJ in return. Please continue to intercede for him in this new year. He is only 3 and a half months into a two year battle of chemotherapy. We have three more months of active chemotherapy and we are praying to enter the maintenance stage at the end of that on schedule in full remission! Pray God will continue to pour His mercy on CJ in healing physically and growth spiritually.
I will leave you with a quote from CJ. The other day he was playing and suddenly he said, "Mommy, you know what hell must be like?"
I said, " What?"
He said, "I think hell is like living in a world of regret."
I think that says it all! I am going to take CJ's advice. Not only for my place in eternity, but for here and now. I will not live in a world of regret thinking of all the things I did not accomplish this past year or all the mistakes I made over the course of it. I will chose to receive God's grace and mercy and look ahead to what His plans are for me in this coming year. Then I can truly say to you without regret.....Happy New Year.