Monday, January 19, 2009

Comfort in the Valleys


Where we are:
Today is day 41 of a 57 day phase and CJ received the final dose for this phase of the treatment! He did well and is now home relaxing. Praise God! We were told to bring him back Tuesday morning just for counts. I assume the concern is that he could need a transfusion of blood or platelets so they are going to check his blood and see how he tolerates this increased dose. We are praying he tolerates it well and remains free from the common side effects. By the grace of God he has made it this far with no mouth sores or severe side effects to speak of. We are amazed at God's grace towards him and thank you all for your constant prayer covering him. Please continue to pray he suffers no side effects and fervently pray for his organs (particularly his liver) to remain unaffected and healthy.

What's coming:
Day 57 will end this phase on Feb 4th. We are grateful for the 16 days between now and then for CJ's body to process this medicine and recover from any affects. He will then go into 're-induction/re-consolidation' which is somewhat like repeating the beginning phases of his treatments. The doctor mentioned today that this will be his toughest phase and then he will enter long-term maintenance. We have had our eyes set on maintenance knowing he will only need to be seen about once a month and will receive most his chemo meds at home, but when the doctor said this would be his toughest phase coming it jolted me back to reality. The reality is we need to focus on getting him through this next phase strong and well before we set our eyes on maintenance. It will be a 7 week phase that will be "tough" because he will be at the hospital 3 days a week again like he was in the beginning. He will be receiving new medicines, strong medicines, multiple shots, and it will include a hospital overnight and home health chemo. At that time, I will be beseeching you again for prayer to cover us as we pass through that 7 week valley.

Where we've been:
As I sit here tonight and process how far we have come and how far we have to go I find myself feeling as if I am passing through the mountains. We began by entering a dark unknown valley surrounded by many hills. At times it seemed as if the walls of the mountains were narrowing in and the path was dark except for a few steps ahead. At other moments in the trek, there were beautiful rays of light that shone down on us to light our path. Even a rainbow would peek through now and again. Then there would be a break in the valley and we would find ourselves in a wide open expanse enjoying the fresh air, the still waters and the beautiful view. Now, I see the path narrowing and leading us to a new valley. A 'tough' valley. I don't know what challenges and obstacles lie ahead, yet I am comforted that we have the experience of having walked through the previous valleys. We gained strength and knowledge in those valleys that will help us through those ahead. We were comforted in those valleys by a covering of prayer and our Father's constant presence. As the hills loom ahead in the distance and there is a temptation to wonder where our help will come from, I am reminded that "my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth"! There is comfort in the valley. Along with the great psalmist David, I am reminded that even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for He is with me. His rod and his staff will comfort me. I also take comfort in His promises. I was reminded today that even if I forget them, or I do not know them, He does not forget the promises he made towards me. He keeps them regardless of if I know them or not. And regardless of whether a little boy of 9 can fully grasp the promises His Lord has made regarding His life, they are still his promises too and the Lord will not forget. "The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." Psalm 145:13b So we will cling to His promises as we enter the valley. And we will come out victorious shouting praises to our great God and King.


Speaking of promises:


Psalm 121
I lift my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you-
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm-
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh what a blessing and reassurance God gives us through David because he had such a time in the valleys. As I started reading the first of your message Psalm 23 came to my mind immediately that God does give us peace and He does lead us through the valleys - with the key emphasis being on the word, "through." At this time of being unsure be reassured God is still on the throne and still knows where we all are. We have been praying for a miracle but more than that we are praying for you and the rest of the family as you progress through these valleys step by step for God's perfect peace, for healing, for grace,for His knowledge and wisdom in each situation. Sorry, didn't mean to preach. God is just so good! Especially in the hard times as we grow. Our prayers are with you as are our hearts, tender with love and care about CJ.
Love and Prayers,
Mary B.

Poppa Jerry said...

Dawn and CJ, Poppa loves you with all his heart!
As always, I am encouraged by your total dedication and courage toward fighting this cancer...it will not beat our efforts and prayers as we ask a loving and caring G-d to guide these doctors as we follow their plan for CJ's climb back to good health.
On that note, we can not let up on our prayer vigil for this goal...so I ask all of our friends, loved ones and readers of this blog to again recharge their prayers for the Doctors and CJ as he, after the brief interlude, enters into that new and agressive program.
Dawn, you know your dad has never been one to quote scripture but at Shabbot service Saturday were were in Romans and I read "Hope does not disapoint us, because G-d has poured out His love into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:5
Thank you Dawn, Chris , Allie, Brett and you too little Cory for all the hope you bring to our CJ...you make quite a team. I love you all very very much. Poppa

Tammi said...

Hi guys, I saw that you have a new post and I am dying to read it, but I can't right now because I am working really hard today (as usual), but I love seeing CJ's big super awesome smile, just a totally awesome smile! Hey . . . don't ya'll have some pictures of me with C.J., that we jsut took at Christmas time that you may put on here, too? That would be super awesome as well! I love you and I miss you all, especially all of you (ha ha - I miss you all so much!) I am going to take some time and read the BLOG tomorrow when my boss is not here! But, I type really fast so I am putting a "Hello, I Love You" comment in the meantime!

Hello! I Love You!
Aunt Tammi

Sonia said...

Hi Dawn and CJ, is a strongh battle what you are figthing, but you are full of hope and love. Keep going, we keep praying for you and thanking God for the beatifull smile that CJ shows to all of us.
Love,
Sonia, Antonio, Andrea y Alejandra.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I finally am able to read your messages. It's been about 1 week, yet it seems like so much more. It was very good to read that CJ has been reacting well to all the medication and to see that radiant picture of him. We continue to pray for you all as you end this phase and enter the new one. Keep that special smile CJ!
Love
Nicole Alberto and Ana

Anonymous said...

Lord,

Thank you for protecting CJ from the horrible side effects that could of occurred during his treatment thus far. I wonder how you do all that you do with each and every one of us all over the world with such personal details. Luckily, I do not have to know how you do it, I just have to have faith that you CAN and WIll do it. You have shown yourself to me in so many ways, especially lately, now that my focus is on you. Please keep showing me your miracles, grace, and mercy through our CJ. It is in Your Name I ask these things.

Amen

Dawn,

I can not wait to see the miracles, grace, and love He will bestow on us through this next journey. You and your family have been a tool for Him to shine His glory. Stay deligent. Stay strong. And when you are weak. Seek Him. I will continue to pray for CJ and your family. I do believe that all of our prayers are helping and that the Lord loves to hear them. Please continue to let us know your prayer requests.

I love you.

Jacks

Anonymous said...

CJ, we are joining you in praise and thankfulness to God for protecting you and caring for you and your family through your treatments and we continue to lift you up to our Heavenly Father as you enter this new phase of treatments.
with love,
The Sedanos

mefea said...

It's been amazing to watch all that God has been doing and now to see where you're headed. Although the path seems better lit we can never forget to rely COMPLETELY on Christ through prayer and submission to whatever he brings. We never cease to pray for you guys in the GOOOD times and the BAD!

Love you!

~Melinda p

Martha Rivero said...

Hi George Family!

I praised the Lord that CJ is ok! Today very early in the morning, I was in the room with my daughter fixing her up, and I was also all crazy looking for all the things I need before I walk out the door, I woke up at 5.45AM today, to study God’s word and pray for all the people that are at the moment going through a lot of difficulties, this prayer was for CJ and my nephew too, but also for my mother’s best friend’s brother that I don’t know personally, he is having a open heart surgery today, and she asked me to pray for him and for all her family which are at this moment are going through the dark valleys of the unknown as Dawn mentioned in her beautiful post, but I have learned to know my Lord, and I know how good and merciful he is, and if there is 2 or 3 praying for a cause his presence will be with them, and he will answer us and comfort us even going through those dark valleys of the unknown. Well to make just the story short, I was on my knees praying, I get up, I went to see my daughter, she was in the restroom, she had CJ’s bracelet in her little hands, and she gave it to me as she knows I wear it every day, my heart got full of hope and gratitude, because I know now that God does not abandoned us ever, he is there, he faithfully reminds me of his love for me, he is faithfully watching CJ, and reminding me of CJ’s prayer’s requests, and many others requests I am getting, which I have to write down not to forget any of them, half of the people I pray for, I have to mention I don’t know them personally, but my heart is humbled that I have the opportunity of going on my knees for them, this what makes us growth in Christ, pray for others, help others, love one another, Thank you for the post Dawn, I open your blog page everyday just looking for an update, and my heart rejoice every time I read that CJ is doing fine, and he is happy, and getting better each day.
Love you guys, I will keep getting on my knees for CJ’s complete heal. Thank you again for the update!

In Christ,

Martha

Enzo said...

Dawn,

It is amazing to think of how far CJ has come already. I tend to get nervous right away when I hear about the next phase or complications but this time I said to myself, no, I won't do that. I have to praise God for where we are today, for the healing He has provided for CJ so far, for the relatively minor side effects compared to what he could have had so far and praise Him for this time now and ask for more special treatment for CJ now to protect his liver and blood counts because of the high dose of medicine he just received and to plead that during the next most difficult phase to date that CJ does well, that all the prayer warriers keep praying on his behalf, that the side effects will be minimal or none at all and that the medicine will finally finish the job, rid his body completely of all the cancer cells and let CJ sail into the long term maintenance phase. I'm thanking God ahead of time for all of these blessings and miracles.

So many people in the family have had colds, flus and thank God that CJ has not been exposed to them or gotten sick. Thank God that the rest of the George kids have stayed healthy enough too. Thank God for Dawn and Chris and the healthy meals they are providing for the kids and all the kind people that help. I'm sure when CJ starts going back to the hospital 3 times a week you'll need meals again. When that time comes I'm available and my neighbor Pam has also volunteered a day so we'll get it going.

Martha, what a good servant you are to pray for all these people you never met and your love for CJ and his family. I appreciate it.

Grandma Paula

Martha Rivero said...

Hi Paula,

I have to second your daughters Dawn and Jacky in what they said that nothing dwells good in them only him (Christ, our Lord) well nothing dwells good in me either, just him, my Lord, my good and merciful God, I love him so much, he knows my love for him is infinite, now he lives in me, isn't that amazing?? I had gave him my heart, my love for others is just a tiny thing compare to what God has done in my life, I am not very good at preaching or writing, or even remembering bible verses, but God is teaching how to seek him, how to be in constant communion with him, as Dawn mentioned in her last comment on the last post to Anonymous “how to take his cross and surrender my life every day”, his love (God's) which reflects in my life and make me love others as myself, I praised the Lord that your grandson and your daughter had been such a blessing in my life. I do love them, my heart. My prayers are with your entire family and you, thank you Paula for your comment. You guys are not alone, you guys can count not in our good God, but in many of us too, not only with our prayers which is the most important, but anything you need please you can surely count on me, I will do my best, and it would be a pleasure to help.

In Christ always,

Martha

Break the Mold said...

Hi Martha and friends,

I am so extremely grateful for your prayers. Your gift of mercy and intercession has benefited my family. I am humbled to know that you are up at 5:30 am praying for my family when I am sound asleep in a warm bed. This is an area it takes consistant discipline for me and I am ecouraged by your comments to grow in this area. Thank you for reminding me that it is a privelege and an honor that I can come before the Lord and pray for others.
It reminded me of something that a gentleman said to me in an email when this all started. He had made a donation to CJ and I sent an email to thank him and he said, and I quote..
"I once read helping others is not just a duty, it’s a privilege. I am grateful to have the means to offer something, even if it is a little as a few dollars and some heartfelt words, prayers, and love." Chris Lenz

I have been guilty of placing prayer in the duty category and have failed to remember it is a privelede. Too many mornings I fail to respond to that still small voice calling me to come...
Sometimes I wake up and picture Him sitting out in the living room on my couch waiting patiently and lovingly for me. Would I really roll over and go back to sleep if I knew Jesus was sitting there waiting to share Himself and His blessings with me? What is amazing about Him is that whether I make it to our spot on the couch at 6am, 7am , or 8am, He is there with the same warm smile and open arms ready for me. So what difference does it make what time I come? The difference is that if I come at 8am I cheat myself out of precious time spent alone with my Lord. All too soon 4 little people are up and all have needs to be met too.
I am so glad for Saints like you who God granted the gift of prayer and mercy. I am a grateful recipient of your gifts. Thank you!
Dawn and family

Anonymous said...

Dearest Dawn & Family, Thank God with all your hearts that CJ has progressed thus far so well. Which is so amazing that he still has that 1,000,000 watt smile. He is now entering a more difficult phase and as we all hold our breath and pray, let God hold him tight and protect him from any and all negative side effects. I pray for him every day and every night and as I lay my head down I pray that God gives him comfort as he progresses on this most difficult journey. You've come a long way already, just remember it always seems darkest right before the Dawn.
Love you lots,
Aunt Penny
xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn - hello precious CJ!
It is great but not surprising to hear how well his body has been reacting to the treatments. I will be in prayer as you all are taken through this next stage. CJ is amazing and I know with his strenght wound tightly with our Lord and Saviour - he will get through this. Thinking of you and CJ often.

God Bless,
Wendy

Anonymous said...

Well CJ, I'm glad you got to skip the chemo today, even though you did have to have your port accessed. I know that hurts because each time my mom had her port accessed, her feet would come off the floor. I'm going to tell you a funny story about your uncle Terry, but don't tell him I told you - shhhh...When he was stuck with a needle a month ago by a nurse, he almost passed out, and the nurse put a cold wet washcloth on his head to keep him from fainting. We laughed about it when he got home, but if big strong men don't like needles, that shows you how very, very brave you are at only age 9!! Unky would rather eat bugs! heehee