Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Room in the Inn (or hospital)


It has been a long and interesting week for the George family. It started when we celebrated our daughters 13th birthday on Wednesday. We took her horse back riding, out to dinner and ended the day with a family movie about a little boy who wants to ride in the rodeo. I chose this movie because we took her to her first rodeo last week to celebrate her birthday. (She is our horse fanatic). Not ten minutes into the movie The Ride, there was a scene where the little boy was in the bathroom after a rodeo because he was sick. As he was throwing up, CJ leaned over to me on the couch and said, "Mom, how much you want to bet that boy has a bald head under that cowboy hat?"

I said, "No, I don't think so. I read the cover of the box and it did not mention anything about a boy with cancer." Dad was up off the couch looking it up on the computer within seconds. Sure enough, the little boy was bald as a bat just like CJ and had cancer. I can not tell you how many times this has happened to us since CJ got diagnosed. Let me just say, you watch a movie like that in a whole new way once you go through something like this. I guess our options are to jump up and turn it off, but I can't imagine the message that would send CJ. So you watch it in a surreal sort of way and hope the boy doesn't die in the end so you won't have to have that conversation, again. I don't want to ruin it for anyone who wants to see it because it is a good movie with a great guest appearance by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, but lets just say we prayed a little harder that night.

Then, for the second time since this began, I found myself standing at a friends house watching my daughter and her friends have a great time after having spent the first part of the day watching my son get chemo at the hospital. Those are the kind of days you feel like the morning was last week and not just a few short hours ago. I sat there and watched the kids have a good time and thought, is this real? Am I the same mom that sat next to one child' s bedside in a hospital while he cried tears of fear when they accessed his port, and now I sit and watch another child giggle with joy at a party with her friends. As a mom, I experience the gauntlet of emotions along with my children. When they suffer, I suffer. When they rejoice, I rejoice. I suffered and shed tears for CJ as he cried while I held him when the nurse accessed his port, yet I rejoiced and giggled as I snapped pictures of my happy daughter with her friends. Needles to say, after a truly roller coaster day like that, I collapsed exhausted not sure of what I feel. One thing I do remember feeling that night is thankful. Thankful that all my children were under one roof, home in their rooms, tucked in their beds, asleep.
________________________________

With CJ's last scheduled overnight admission for chemo officially behind us, I truly hope and pray that was the last time I have to sleep in my bed knowing my son and husband are sleeping in a hospital across town. That is an extremely difficult and helpless feeling because when he is there I have to convince myself that he is where he needs to be, yet everything in me believes he belongs here and not there. Besides, we will always have a room for him here!

We arrived at 8am on Friday for the admission only to discover they did not have a bed or room available for CJ. What is interesting is I actually thought about this on the way to the hospital. I was praying for CJ to have a nurse he was familiar and comfortable with. We even talked about having his port accessed at the office instead of when we got the room. Then I thought, what if there is no room? But I reasoned to myself, surely they will have a room ready for a scheduled admission. They know he is fasting for a Spinal Tap and would need to be processed quickly. My reasoning failed, when not only was there no rooms available at the hospital, but we were even removed from our room in the doctors office so they could give that to another patient. We made our way to the waiting room that was filled with the smells of freshly popped popcorn that he couldn't eat. They apologized profusely for the inconvenience. However, I did not feel inconvenienced. A little sorry for CJ having to smell the popcorn and not be able to eat, but not inconvenienced.

After scrambling and trying to find him a bed with no luck, they decided to send him over to Pediatric Ambulatory to get started. We made our way there and although usually busy, this time it felt like we were entering a bustling city not a small pediatric unit. It was loud and packed with people with different illnesses, disabilities, languages and cultures. Multiple TVs were blaring, people were in and out, kids were yelling, parents were arguing. We were on sensory overload.

We were told we would have the Spinal Tap there and be sent upstairs as soon as a room was available. After having his port accessed which was quite emotional for him, the Spinal tap didn't actually happen until close to 2pm. When we finally got started and CJ was put to sleep, my heart sank when I realized that in all the chaos we forgot to put the EMLA (numbing creme) on CJ's back. The nurse apologized profusely for her oversight. But I wasn't upset with her. After all, I forgot too. They assured me that although CJ would not remember it, he would certainly squirm more without the creme on. They all held him tightly as the needle entered his back and he certainly 'squirmed' as they said he would. I don't think I will forget to put the creme on again after seeing that.

He woke up shortly after and we made our way back out to our cubicle to await a room. As time passed, they decided to do his chemo there as well since there was no room in sight. Little by little all the patients were cleared and sent home. (This is a unit that closes at night) The place began to empty out and quiet down as we waited and finally rested. Hours ticked by and soon we were the only ones there. I began to wonder where we would end up for the night if they did not have a room. They apologized profusely for the inconvenience and let us know they had not forgotten about us. I did not feel inconvenienced. I think they were surprised I wasn't more agitated by that time. But I knew something they did not know... I knew we were right where we needed to be. No, it wasn't what I expected when we came for an admission, but it was what I asked God for. I was convinced He sent us where He knew CJ would be the most comfortable with familiar nurses and surroundings just like I had prayed. He knew where we were. We were not alone and certainly not forgotten. As I lay there in the quiet and held my son, I began to think about a time when another mother entered a bustling and noisy city full of different languages and cultures. There was no room for her or her son either. I imagined how the hustle and bustle must have slowly turned to a quiet calm when the city slept and she finally held her son in her arms. And although it wasn't where she expected to be when the day began, God knew exactly where they were. And she knew she wasn't forgotten.

Hospital admission behind us, CJ is home now and that's all that counts! Or is it? I have started to catch myself when I use that phrase "all that counts' and at the same time hearing a voice inside me whisper 'is it really'? Is the here and now all that counts? Is realizing the ends of the means all that counts? Is getting to the finish line all that counts? Is getting over the next big hurdle all that counts? I would have to say I know that is not true. It actually counts how I handled the delays and the inconveniences at the hospital. It counts what impression I left on the people and nurses around me that day as the obstacles came. It counts whether or not I trusted God during the trial or just made it through. I am realizing what happens in the valley does not stay in the valley. It counts! I really want to make this time count because it is not just about finishing but finishing well that counts.


Prayer Requests: Please pray that CJ will once again maintain his blood counts at safe levels until we reach the end of this phase. Please pray for him to stay healthy and protected against infection. So many people we have been in contact with have been very sick and we are trying to balance our exposure to others with wisdom and fear. Please pray that the chemo will do it's job and only it's job and that all CJ's organs will remain healthy and unaffected by the medications. Most importantly, pray that CJ will continue to draw near to the Lord through regular reading of the Word and daily quiet time with the Lord. The other day he came to me and said, "Mom, do you remember the other day I cried a lot and was afraid about my port? Well I had skipped my devotions the night before because we were up late for Allie's birthday. But I feel better now that I started again" He related the increase of fear to his time away from listening to the Lord speak to him through the Word.

27 comments:

faith2pray said...

Thank you Father for the strength & wisdom you give the George family to know that you are always with them. Thank you allowing them to walk this season of life that you may be exalted & glorified in every way. Thank you for making them yours & NEVER failing to do more than we could ever imagine. You are a GREAT God & I praise you for your faithfulness!

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

What a beautiful, touching connection you made in the post. Thank you for sharing the experience with us. And your right, there is so much more that "counts" that we don't give proper attention to. I can truly see God talking through and to you. The closer you get to Him, the clearer some things seem to get.

I love you and will be praying for your requests.

Love,

Jacks

David Bush said...

It's great to hear that you don't have any more scheduled overnight admissions! I'll keep praying for you guys!

CeCe said...

Dear Mrs. George,

Whenever I read this blog (which I am sorry I don't read it more often), I always get encouraged. I just read the previous one, and I wanted to keep going back and back since I missed so much! But instead I wanted to post a message. After I will read more.

I am so thankful for you putting this post up, because it just encouraged me to try to not get discouraged when inconvenience or displeasures happen.

Ok, I think it is time for me to pray. This is my favorite thing to do when I post on this blog.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We know that you are the only one that can heal CJ. The doctors do not have the power to heal him. They may help, but you are the all powerful! God, we pray that the chemo only touches what it needs to touch God. Thank you for the trials that you put before us God.
Amen

Ok, I have to go eat dinner now. Love you guys!

In Christ,
In Prayer,
In Love,
Celeste

Enzo said...

I was at the hospital with Dawn and CJ for about 4 hours Friday morning and like Dawn said, there weren't enough rooms in the office and the Pediatric Ambulatory Unit was full let alone the beds were all taken in the hospital. Walking from the office to Ambulatory Unit I noticed how much CJ had to limp because of the last round of chemmo he had. I looked around and saw one bald head after another, brothers and sisters playing while their brothers and sisters were receiving chemmo, nurses, doctors, my grandson's chart with big bio chemical red tags all over it and I could only take short breaths. I was imagining all the kids up in the beds that were taken in the main hospital and kept wondering how in the heck are there so many little kids with cancer here. As the time came closer for CJ's port to be accessed his sadness increased and my heart wanted to bust and as the nurse came in to access it I stepped out and could hear him crying, could hear Dawn talking him through, could see the clown's shoes while she was playing the harmonica for him to distract him and cried. At the same time I was thanking God for this place, these nurses, this clown, this daughter and grandson. When we were in the office Dawn was presented a spread sheet with CJ's next phase. In my mind you need a Master's Degree to understand this spread sheet but Dawn began explaining it to me. I could feel the sadness in her as she realized how much more extensive it was going to be than she anticipated. At least 10 different medicines a day, keeping the blood counts at a below normal level and the doctor telling her that CJ would be able to start "blending in". Blending in? What does that mean? We'll still know that he is battling cancer and I really hope no one forgets as he starts to blend in. I know the prayers are everything and the reason he is doing as well as he is.
I know what Dawn means when she says you have two rough days like that and then you go take your 13 year old daughter to a party and you are laughing and speaking with others and you feel like your life is some kind of movie. It doesn't feel real. Praise God that Dawn has enough energy for all 4 of her children and tries her best to fulfill all of their needs, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I love you guys.
Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn and CJ,

I am so glad that this part of the treatment is almost over. I know that means the start of a new phase, but I am so thankful that CJ is doing as well as he is.
I cant imagine the emotional and physical rollercoaster you must all be on. As you say though you are never alone. Not only is He with you at all times, but so is this immense flow of prayers and love from all you friends and family.. and that will never stop.
Lots of love and prayers,

Nicole Alberto and Ana

Janet S said...

Dawn, you handled every setback with much grace. Praise God he gave you peace that He was and is in control. It's good to know you won't have to go through that again anytime soon, if at all. We pray for CJ's continual healing and praise God for protecting his good organs, keeping him strong physically and spiritually, and protecting him from pain.
We love you all.
The Sedano family

Ily (hearts) said...

My friend what can I tell you that will be different than all the other times I write to you. Once again thank you for sharing. I look forward to your blog. It feeds me, in a way that only God knows how to do. It is definitely food for my soul. Even though you walk thru the valley I know you are never alone. I thank God for your willing heart and I pray that I too can be a blessing to you as much as you have been to me.
CJ we love you and miss you. I really want you guys to come over and swing and play in the tree house. God willing that will be soon. Cj you are always in my mind and prayers. I always wear your bracelet, it has NOT come off my arm nor will it until you are 100% free of cancer. Buddy you are my hero. I always speak very highly of you and I always let people know that your strength comes from the Lord. Keep up the great work.
XOXO
ILY

Anonymous said...

Dawn and Chris,
Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts with us (Chris, I know that even though Dawn writes, you edit, so we know you are both talking to us - you make a great team!) Your faith in God's love and care is amazing and humbling to us! As you go through one of the hardest trials any family can endure, you continue to point your children to the Lord in all things. Good for you!!!You are teaching them that God is alive and real, and you are showing them how to handle fears and uncertainties. You are also showing them what truly counts in the Lord's treasury...People! I know I speak for everyone who reads your blog - you have our admiration, our respect, our gratitude for your witness, and most especially, our love and prayers! We love you!! aunt Karen

Anonymous said...

Oh God we cry out to you..and you hear us. Suffering children are safe in your arms..There is none like You..We praise you for your loving care for CJ. And we ask that you increase his faith. While he goes through this season may he be a blessing to those around him who might not know you. We also ask for his complete healing. May there be a sweet time of rest in the coming days for George family..Amen "The Cookes"

Anonymous said...

I am 67 and years ago when I was 18 and before there were strides made in the medical field, my youngest brother had leukemia. It was a hard thing to watch and at the time I didn't know how my mom made it through. She said that what was happening now would affect young people in the future as the doctors and scientists learned how to deal with things. As I read of what CJ goes through, my mind and thoughts go back to those days. God is a GOOD God and knows just what we can or cannot handle and as my brother says, the focus is that we are going "through" these things. We don't stay in them. Please be reassured there are lots and lots of prayers and wishes for you and your family and especially for CJ. God knows where we are at and how we are dealing with what is happening. I am sure he would say to that brave young man of yours, "Well done, my boy." May your days be blessed and see God's healing touch. On CJ but also on family emotions. We love your family and are praying.

Love,
Mary B. and family

Alexa said...

Dear Dawn,

I am encouraged to see you write about your day in the hospital and your inconveniences as just "where you needed to be". Just where we need to be... to put it mildly, can feel so uncomfortable sometimes, but fighting it just makes us miss the lesson, the blessing , the people that God has put in out daily paths.

Peeking into your day and seeing the surreal things you have to do makes me think that we all probably have surreal moments, but don't realize it. Celebrating the birthday of a precious child and then comforting a precious hurting one...what chiastic structure :-)....How do we as women deal with complete opposites? Only God can make such a day make sense and only He understands how He has made us emotional, full of feelings, and yet prepared for the work He sets before us.

Thank you for sharing your day, the tremendous way in which you glorify God and don't give in to your circumstances. Thank you CJ, for even though you are so young and going through such difficult trials, you continue to give your burdens to God and you allow Him to shine through you, like a bright star. I admire how brave you are.

Praying for all of you and especially for the continual protection of CJ's organs, body and mind.

Much love,
Alexa

Anonymous said...

Away in the Unit, no hospital bed,
The little boy CJ lay down his sweet head.
The stars in the ceiling shone brightly above,
All painted by cancer kids with love.
We love you Lord Jesus, Oh please hear our cry,
And bless this boy CJ, We praise you on High.

Grandma Paula

Tammi said...

Dear CJ and Dawn,
I love you guys so much. I love and miss you so much. Everytime I see the BLOG update in my mailbox I get so excited to see what news you have to relate even though I know it already from Mom and Dad, I just love the way you write it and relate it to a story from the Bible. I love the way you related not having a room in the hospital to not having a room for Jesus Christ to be born. That was awesome, it brought tears to my eyes. Its amazing how you can maintain such a peace beyond understanding throughout all of this and I know you are thankful for this trial, just like the Bible tells us to be.

CJ, I'm sorry that you are limping, I hope that you feel better soon. I love you and I miss you very much. Did you get to see the pictures in Alibrandi's photo album that I made her for her birthday? I hope you liked 'em. You were in a lot of them, too. I miss you and I think of you always.
Love Aunt Tammi jo.

P.S. Every time I see Chuck, he always has two Pray For CJ bracelets on his right arm. He never ever takes them off. I can tell that he even takes a shower with them on because they are all faded and sort of swollen. He never takes them off, ever.

Anonymous said...

You are such a great writer Mrs. Dawn!
Thank you for updating so faithfully :]
I will be praying.
ditto ditto ditto every word Mrs. Jackie said!
much love,
Andrea-

Break the Mold said...

A few people were asking what time we finally got a room that night....I guess I forgot to mention it in the post. Sorry for that but I try so hard to not make the posts too long. If you only knew how much I cut out as it is to make them that long...I must have cut that out of the end.

After 8pm that night, the wheeled us upstairs to a room that had just become available. This nurse also apologized profusely for the all day delay. But as I said, we did not feel delayed. We were happy to have a room by that time and prepare to rest for the night. Daddy came up shortly after that to sleep with CJ so I could go home and get the baby down and be ready to come back in the morning.

CJ got his chemo on Sat there and we were discharged a little after 3pm. I rushed home to bake pies with my daughter and was sitting at the party by 5pm. It was surreal and refreshing all at the same time.

His home health nurse came to the house Sunday and Monday to administer the chemo here. He was so happy to have the port de-accessed after the chemo was done that he immediately went outside to play.
He tires quicker but at least he still gets out there and runs around a bit.
Will update soon with where we are headed for the remainder of this phase and what maintenance will look like. As my mom mentioned in her post, we were a bit surprised at all that is included....

However,

"(I) will have no fear of bad news, (my) heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:7

poppa jerry said...

Dear Daughter,
With all that transpires in your daily work, you still always make time for your old dad.
First off, thanks for sharing Allie's birthday dinner with me. She is an awesome child of the Lord...beautiful and bright...she just shines.
But the film we watched together after the dinner was, as you said, surreal. I would glance over at CJ and wonder what he was thinking as he snuggled closer and closer into your loving and protecting arms.
Even with the outcome (I won't spoli it either) I prayed on the way home that CJ would have only good dreams that nite.
And, thank you for the William Young book "The Shack". It was a wonderful read. I couldn't put it down. I did notice the parentheticals and question marks, here and there, left by your 'foot prints'! I guess that the one quote "Faith never knows where it is being led, But it knows and loves the ONE who is leading" summed it up for me. Thanks you again my daughter.
Now, I still don't know how you do it all. I know that it's50/50 inspiration and prespiration. All I can say is you are truly a light to us all. What a blessing you are.
I love you, Dad

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.>>>>>> No matter what is going on in our life GODS words to inspire us are always there in the bible. Isn't he just so awesome. So my prayer for you C.J and the rest of the family is that GOD will refresh you with joy and engery and that you will continue to run and play outside everyday and enjoy your brothers and sisters at play. You ar SO lifted in prayer my little warrior.

Anonymous said...

CJ,

I too, along with Ily, Uncle Chuck, and Uncle Harold have NEVER taken off the pray for CJ braclet. I love wearing it. It helps me feel close to you. I love seeing it on Uncle Harold, too. I know it is just a material item. But, to me it is an outward sign of an inward action, feeling. I am sure there are many more people out there that never take off their bracelet. We love you and are praying for you.

Aunt Jackie a.k.a. Jacks

aunt char said...

hi everyone, i hope you didn't think i forget about you. but my computer had a virus and it has been down for about 2 wks. you guys sure have had some trials lately--i don't know if i could keep up with all that is happening, but i know you all have much strength and faith-and that's what carries you. just wanted to let you know that all of you are on my mind always and i pray for
all of you. i hope cj liked that
little booklet that lila made for
him.she was upset that she didn't
get to see him, but next time she
comes over i will have her jot a
few lines for cj and maybe he can
write back
love you guys,
aunt char

Anonymous said...

GODS perscription for today, Exodus 23:20 See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.>>>>>>>I love all of you so much and your in my prayers lifted high into the heavens to the throne of our Jesus.

Break the Mold said...

Daddy also has never taken off his bracelet. And he refuses to have longer hair than CJ so he is constantly shaving his head! :)


It really is neat to see the bracelets on people. They really are so much more than a fundraiser. When I see them on people I think of CJ and it makes me think he is remembered.

I love seeing one on my pastor on Sunday mornings when he preaches. I don't know why but it makes me feel like CJ is part of the service when I see all the blue bracelets,even though he can't be there yet. Thank you all! We CAN NOT WAIT to get back in church as a family. That will be a huge day for us.

We are aiming for Palm Sunday April 5th (CJ'S 10th BIRTHDAY) as our first day back as a family. That would be so awesome. PLEASE pray his counts come up enough for us to go. The next week after that is Easter Sunday and we DEFINITELY want to be there as a family for that. It would be GREAT if we could have lots of family and friends there to celebrate with us. Not only Easter, but CJ's milestone of entering maintenance and coming back to church. You areALL invited! We meet in Miami Lakes Middle School at 10am! It would mean a lot to us to have our whole family there for CJ's birthday and especially on Easter Sunday.

Thanks for wearing the bracelets. Thanks for supporting us by buying them. I have a ton left if anyone wants one I would be glad to send some your way!

Love,
Dawn

Martha said...

Hi Dawn,

Thank you for your email! My heart is aching for you and CJ and the family, but at the same time what a great example of strength you are giving us. The faith, the strength, and the trust in our Lord it really counts! I praise the Lord that we can trust in his good will. I will pray more and more for CJ’s blood counts to be up all the time. Also, I always say when I pray for CJ and my nephew to please just let the Chemo do its job and only its job, I have always pray for that in specific point without you referring to it or me reading it, I am sure that the Holly Spirit guide us in our prayers, my sister too is always asking to pray for the same point, and she explains to me over and over how important it is that the chemo do only what it has to do.
I love you guys, my thoughts and heart is with you always.
Your sister in Christ,
Martha

Elena, Jessica and Emily Rodriguez said...

Dawn,

Thank you for faithfully posting.. We continue to feel the Lords arms around your family and CJ. We are blessed to know you and share in this journey with you. Thank you for being an open book with us.

Rodriguez clan..

Break the Mold said...

Martha,

I understand completely why your sister prays for that and stresses its importance.

The chemo it a necessary evil in so many ways. It has the potential to save and destroy. It has the potential to heal and damage. We pray earnestly for it to do 'its job and only its job' not only because we constantly see, read and hear what this necessary evil can do to them now, but we worry about all the 'prolonged side effects' of chemotherapy as well.
When moms of cancer kids pray for the chemo to 'do its job and only its job' we are praying for the present and the future as well.
Keep praying.
Thank you!

To quote my special 11 year old friend Cece, "We pray the chemo touches only what it needs to touch God." Now and forever!

Sonia said...

Dear Dawn: Gives me hope that you are so reflexesive about every detail around you, looking for signs of God presence, it is the good way to flow with all the situation and the “inconvenience” that put you and CJ in the place you have to be in. It doesn’t avoids you from the suffering, the pain, the fear, but helps to find the sense of it.
What Paula wrote touched my hart and made me cry, I felt how deep is the affliction you are feeling, and it seems so long time, I can’t believe all of this began in September, it doesn’t feel like six month it seems more time.
We always keep on praying for CJ and all of you, to keep the strength, the hope, and thanking God too, because CJ is making it so good in every step of the treatment.
Thank you too for keeping this blog up dated, so all the people who love you and can not be around easily can find de news about you.
Big kiss to every one.
Love,
Sonia, Antonio, Andrea y Ale.
PS: Happy birthday to Alibrandi she is becoming in a beautiful and very nice young lady.

Anonymous said...

Deuteronomy 33:12 The beloved of the Lord rest in safety, the High God surrounds him all day long,the beloved rest between his shoulders.>>>>>>> I find that scripture so peaceful and assuring to know that we rest in safety between GODS shoulders. WOW!!!!! Not only does he hold us in his hands but we rest there also. I love you Father, keep Cj> in your care and protect his body from any danger the chemo could do. I thank you in the name of our beautiful loving Savior Jesus. You are lifted in prayer as always.