Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When You Didn't Know by C.J.

This is a poem CJ wrote for his grandma right before he went into the hospital.
He recently gave it to her so we decided to share it with all of you who have asked to hear more of his poems.

To: Grandma Paula

When I was driving my go-cart and you were cheering,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When my mom told me you were taking me to the movies,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When my mom told be we were going out to eat with you,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When we were going to your house,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When my mom told be we were going to your work,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When I was writing this poem,
You didn't know but I was smiling.

When I was giving you this poem,
I was smiling and you saw.
Thanks for making me smile.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday, September 28

Steroids make you hungry! Just ask CJ. All he does is eat and eat and eat. They told me this would happen but I did not realize just how much he could eat. It is strange and refreshing to watch him eat so much because for the last two or three months he has struggled so much with eating because of his stomach always being upset. He still looks really good (like himself) just a little pale. We took him outside in the front yard a little to get some fresh air since it was overcast and not too hot out. He took his sling shot with him and shot some rocks into different targets. It was nice to see him do something he likes to do and would typically do.

He surprised the whole family yesterday. He asked us all to sit down because he had something for us. He pulled out a bag I did not recognize and said he wanted to give a gift to each of us because he has been the one receiving all the cards and gifts. He said he wanted to do it to say thank you for all we have done to take care of him. He also got one for Melinda and grandma who took care of the house and kids while we were in the hospital. Of course he had an accomplice in this since he has not been out of our sight or had time to go shopping. He asked my mom get the gifts and wrap them for him. She sneaked him the bag. This is so like CJ. He loves to give to others. He definitely finds joy in the giving more than the receiving. I find it amazing that he can focus on others even while he is going through so much himself.

He has spent the last two days in the house writing thank you letters to his friends and family. And I mean beautiful letters, not thank you notes or cards...letters. He will sit at the desk for hours writing to others. He writes with an eloquence I did not even know he was capable of and I am his teacher. I am more honored to be this boys mother than I ever have been. I don't know why God afforded us this privilege. I don't deserve it.

CJ has appointments this week Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the pediatric ambulatory outpatient unit for various chemotherapy. Please pray that his blood counts stay up. We are asking God to destroy the cancer cells while protecting his healthy cells. Please God let it be.

We are also asking for continued prayer for wisdom for us as his parents. We are struggling with how much to read, research, and consider. We have stayed off the Internet thus far knowing our hearts are just not ready. Some emails I have received have opened floodgates of emotions I was not prepared for so I have had to wait. Yet we know at some point we need to jump into this with both feet and do the research necessary to stay on top of his treatment and become part of this new community of people we now find ourselves in. I don't think the reality of it all has set in yet. I heard myself tell someone recently that CJ has cancer and the words didn't form properly on my tongue. It sounded so foreign to say that I couldn't even recognize the sound of my own voice as I said it. Chris doesn't say it at all and doesn't like to hear me say it. I think God is still tending to our hearts, but a part of me feels like precious time is being lost that I should be reading more or learning more. We just can't, yet.

We humbly ask you to persevere with us in prayer. We are grateful for each and every one of you that has stood by us these past two weeks. We rest in our saviors arms first and foremost and then we rest on the abundance of your prayers lifting us up.


Chris and Dawn George

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday, September 26

The eye of the storm.....
...that is what it felt like for the most part on Thursday evening and most of Friday. If you are from S. Florida or any coastal state that experiences hurricanes you know what I mean. The eye of the storm is a state of calm that comes after experiencing the intensity of the front part of the storm. When you enter the eye it is easy to convince yourself the worst is over. Things seem calm and almost normal. But it is only a temporary reprieve from the second half of the storm still yet to come. I had this eerie sense all day. CJ was home, we were all together, he looked almost normal, and it almost seemed like it was just a bad two weeks and all would be fine now. I wanted to believe the worst was behind us. But there was this underlying awareness that it was only temporary. We were only in the calm of the eye.

The calm quickly faded on Friday afternoon when we had a mold specialist come look at some mold we found in a second a/c unit we have in our house. He said we would have to tape off half the house for a minimum of 4 days and treat the rooms and the air that was affected. We had to rip out the a/c unit and dispose of it. And now we have to make a decision about how to replace it in the best possible way for CJ's health. Do we just replace the old unit with a new unit and risk the same thing happening again or do we put in a whole new system that would require building a closet and soffit and adding vents? It seems ridiculous, but this is turning out to be an extremely hard decision to make in light of CJ's situation. Everything is examined through a different lens than before. Where we would have considered cost, now we consider air quality. Where we would have considered quality of work, now we consider how to have it done the fastest and have the least traffic in the house as possible. Where we would have considered how it will look, we now consider how it will effect CJ's overall health.

The doctors told us the first month is going to be the worst for CJ as his counts are going to drop. He needs minimal exposure to people and airborne dust, germs, and mold. I just can't comprehend why this is all happening now. I keep looking at the rooms taped off and smelling the detergents they are using to clean and thinking about the construction that would need to be done to replace this with a new unit and wondering...Why now? How? What if? I know those are questions I should not be asking and the answer is for me is to submit to whatever decision Chris makes and trust God with the results. But my spirit is unsettled and even confused that it is even happening at all right now. I want to be able to just take care of my son and spend time with my family and feel 'safe' in our home. I don't want my thoughts, let alone my time, divided between CJ's care and appliance or home repair and cleaning. Why is it that I can trust God with my son's cancer but not with the air conditioning? God is just as concerned with the air conditioning and CJ having clean air to breathe as I am, right? I am sorry for venting my frustration but I know I can not adequately share my feelings without sharing the circumstances we find ourselves in today. I know I must not focus on my circumstances but on the God who is in control of all.....from cancer to broken air conditioners and mold.

Now for what you are actually reading this blog for.....CJ had his first appointment today through the pediatric ambulatory outpatient center. He had a spinal tap and chemotherapy. During the waiting period, which was a couple hours, he spent all his time writing letters to his friends thanking them for their support, gifts and prayers. He stayed focused on others and it seemed to help him remain calm instead of be anxious. (Sounds like a lesson for all of us.) They allowed us to stay in the room for the spinal tap which he was put to sleep for. I had my head down and the nurse asked if I was okay and needed to leave the room. I told her I was praying. This caused her to open up to me later about the fact that her own daughter had cancer and went through the same treatments. She really helped us understand a lot and told us that although the first few months would be the hardest it would get better. She understood a lot of what we are going through not only from a nurses perspective but also from a mother's perspective. I thank God for allowing her to be our nurse today and her obvious fondness for CJ blessed us.

I also wanted to share a story that happened at the hospital on the day we were discharged. There is a clown named Lotsy Dotsy who works full time at the hospital. She is an incredible lady and I am in awe of her for what she does on a full time basis working with kids and families in their most distressing moments. Anyway, she had spent over an hour with CJ the day before while Chris and I were in with the educator. My mom told me they had an amazing visit and CJ was very open with her and they even read her CJ's poems off the blog. My mom said the clown had to hide as she began to cry. Well the next day, while we were waiting to be discharged Lotsy came back. She came to tell CJ that he had such an impact on her that she knew she would never be the same. She told him that after she left his room she knew she would be a better clown and a better person because of him. She said her whole day was brighter and she told others how he blessed her. She told her mom that night she had a great day because she met a special boy named CJ. She also told us that she is in the process of writing a book and CJ's story would be in her book. Chris and I just sat there kind of dumbfounded at all she was saying. We were not there for the original visit and although we heard it went well this was quite a surprise to have a clown come back just to tell him this. She works with hundreds of kids a week and CJ stood out to her and God used it to make her a better clown for the next sick kid she may encounter. What a blessing.

Chris and I wanted to specifically thank all the local people who have blessed our family by providing meals these last two weeks. We are so very grateful. I can not imagine having to think about cooking right now during all this and I am so thankful my family has not had to live off junk food these past two weeks. Not only have you fed us but you have fed us well. We will never forget your kindness to us in our time of need.

We would like to ask for prayer for continued healing for CJ. Please pray for the chemotherapy to attack and destroy the cancer cells but for the healthy cells to be protected throughout this time. We will continue to post on CJ's progress and thank you for staying steadfast with us in prayer. As CJ sleeps restfully, I'll say goodbye for now.

Captivated by Christ,
The George Family

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On the way home......Wednesday at 6pm. Praise God!

A note from CJ.....

Hi everyone I've been reading your post and I can't believe how many there are. YOU GUYS ARE GREAT. I thank you all so much for praying for me. Isn't God wonderful !!!!!!!!!!! Your comments make me happy and laugh when I am sad. God has showed me that He will give you the grace for every day, so if your scared or worried just remember that. I have learned that when you pray and people pray for you it will help calm you down. So I thank you for all your prayers. Well I am getting ready to go home so I will post again later.
Your brother in Christ

Wednesday, September 24

CJ has been "unhooked"! This is a good sign. The doctors are monitoring how he does off of all the fluids in the IV and if he continues to do well he can go home (possible today). His blood work came back and the levels look good. The expected changes are happening but we take comfort that it means the chemo is working in breaking down the cells.

More importantly, his spirits are lifted and I am beginning to see signs of the typical CJ. Like yesterday when I got to the hospital he was sitting in bed writing thank you letters to people he wanted to thank. That is like CJ! He was also trying to straighten up his hospital room. That is like CJ! He was asking about his siblings at home and saying how much he missed them. That is like CJ! He had his head down because of severe jaw pain and I said what's wrong and he said "I'm just praying." That is like CJ!

We are excited at the prospect of getting him home today. We are anxious to have our family together and not be separated. Yet, if I were completely honest there is an apprehension about taking him home as well. Here at the hospital they are coming in every 2 hours to take his temperature and blood pressure. They are monitoring his pain and side effects. They check his blood levels daily here and hand us a printout of all his levels. It's tempting to take comfort and place security in those numbers and read outs. Yet I take must remind myself my hope and trust rests in the Lord and His care for our family. I know we need to be diligent in his safety and exposure at home yet I must remember this burden does not rest on me. It rests on Christ. We are just instruments God is using to care for CJ. I pray he gives us all the wisdom we will need to take care of CJ and make good decisions. James 1:5 says, "if any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

So, it is our hope that we will post the next blog from the house. Our immediate prayer needs are for continued good blood counts. We are asking God to miraculously sustain CJ's white blood cells and platelets during this time. Also, CJ has to be back here on Friday for a spinal tap and more chemotherapy. He will be put to sleep for the spinal tap but hopefully we will be able to go home that same day. Please continue to pray with us for his quick recovery. We know God is able and the prayers and cries of His people reach His ears and hears and heals from heaven.

Here is a quick elementary lesson in chemotherapy to help you understand what CJ is going through:

The cancerous cells are fast growing cells that have basically gone haywire in your body and are not doing what normal cells do. No one knows why this happens.

Each drug in the Chemotherapy has its own side effects and risks that have to be monitored. The chemotherapy is a combination of really strong medicines that go into the body and attack the fast growing cells. But chemotherapy does not know the difference between the bad cells and the good cells in our body and it just attacks all fast growing cells. Your hair is a fast growing cell and that is why many chemotherapy patients lose their hair. Your saliva is a fast growing cell and that is why chemotherapy can cause pain and sores and many problems related to that. And more importantly, the blood inside our bone is also made up of fast growing cells. Your blood is made in your bones and it is made up of white cells, red cells and platelets. They will all be attacked by the chemotherapy although they are good fast growing cells. Platelets are what allow your blood to clot and when these are low you can have uncontrolled bleeding; that is why CJ can not do sports, or activities that can cause any sort of injury internally or externally. Your red blood cells carry your hemaglobins and that is what carries oxygen to your blood and throughout your body and to all your organs. This is why chemo patients are more tired and winded and fatigued and can become anemic. Platelets and red blood cells can be transfused if absolutely necessary which means they can be given to him through IV. But your white blood cells can not be transfused. These are important because these are the ones that help your body fight infection. When they are low you are at a higher risk of infections and have a harder time getting well once you are sick. This is why we need to be extremely diligent about his exposure to people and germs during this time and monitor the amount of visitors according to his blood levels.

Now that you have the basis idea of what we know at this point, please lock arms with us in prayer for CJ's protection and healing!

Amazed by His Grace,
The George Family

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, September 22

CJ's little heart finally burst forth all its bottled up feelings today. The dam of emotions that has been building up finally broke. Not that he hasn't cried a lot and struggled all week at what is happening, but today he seemed to begin to grasp the seriousness, longevity and the consequences of the situation. I think in some way Chris and I really did too as we sat down with the educator today for the second half of our training. The first half of our training was the other day to learn the different medications the first part of his chemotherapy would consist of and what side effects could surface. Today's training was about what we need to watch for, how to prepare our home, and what we need to do or, more accurately, not do once we take him home. Much of this was expected but much of this was also a shock and creates a huge sense of urgency to protect CJ as much as possible during this time. I won't go into detail right now about all the do's and don'ts because they are many and we are still processing it all.
As for the heart of a 9 year old boy though, all it took to burst was to hear he could not play sports anymore until this was over. As I mentioned before, CJ loves sports. He was devastated to realize he would not be able to participate in those things he loves while he is going through this. This lead him to finally give voice to the tears that so desperately needed to flow. He punched and kicked and moaned and struggled to accept these circumstances. At first I couldn't see why he did not understand that this was only temporary but then I realized this burst of emotion was about more than sports. He was accepting the fact that his life would be different for a long time. A child can not grasp the idea of 6 months or a year. They just hear no. So we held him, tried to encourage him, prayed for him, and allowed him to vent his frustrations. Then, in time, God's peace began to wash over him and that smile that can part the darkest clouds came back. We encouraged CJ to see this time as an injured athlete would see a rebuilding season. With hard work, determination, and dedication he can focus on rebuilding and strengthening. We reminded him that very often injured athletes come back even stronger and faster then they were before an injury after a rebuilding season. I find it interesting that we were able to use athletic terms to help encourage CJ through this difficult time since the Apostle Paul also used athletic terms to encourage fellow believers to persevere through difficult times. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul uses the Olympic games as a metaphor when he says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." So we too used the perseverance of an athlete to motivate him to stay focused on his recovery and healing.

We also got the results from the PET Scan today. Instead of a decrease they actually found more tumors higher in his abdomen than they previously saw. I will admit my spirit immediately plummeted upon hearing this and hearing the doctor use words like "extensive" tumors in his body. These words ached in my chest as they settled upon me. The temptation to question why fought desperately to creep to the surface but I stayed focus on the fact that although the results are not as we were hoping or praying for, we know God is asking us to still trust Him.

On a lighter note, we were told that if CJ continues to respond well to the chemotherapy he will be able to go home in the next couple of days. So we set our hearts on that goal. Please pray with us that he will continue to defy the statistics and recover from chemotherapy quickly and without complications. Ask God to protect him from fevers and infections as these are the most serious risks at this time. Chris and I are seeking discernment and wisdom in all the decisions that need to be made to prepare the home and family for CJ's arrival.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Romans 12: 1-3


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday, September 21

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
He answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalms 20:1-7

This psalm was shared with us today by dear friends and mentors to us. We wanted to share it with you today because we believe God is doing exactly these things for us. He is answering us in our distress. The God of Jacob is still protecting us today. He has sent us help from his sanctuary in the form us all of you who have come along beside us in prayer and fasting and intercession, serving and encouraging. He has accepted our sacrifices of a broken and contrite spirit. We are believing He is and will give us the desires of our hearts or He will change our hearts to desire His best for us. We are shouting for joy when He is victorious on our behalf and we lift up the name of the Lord our God. Yahweh! We know He saves His anointed and answers our prayers from heaven. We accept chemo and doctors and medicines yet our trust is not in them but in the name of the Lord our God. The Great I AM.

God has granted us so much in this last week. We have much to rejoice and be grateful for. We are thankful for all of you who have 'mourned with us as we have mourned and rejoiced with us as we have rejoiced'. (Romans 12:15) Today we rejoice as CJ's blood work came back today with the LDH levels reading high. That is good because that means the chemo is working and the tumors are breaking up. Praise God! His cancer is already responding to the treatments and the doctors have assured us this is a good sign. He is responding well and if he continues to respond well he may be able to go home within the next two days. We were elated at that unexpected news as we were previously told minimum a week. But we are on God's timetable and not the doctors. God knows the desires of our heart are to have our family together again at home so we can walk through this as a family. We are not sure we are emotionally or educationally prepared to take a child home who is on chemotherapy but we are told we will know all we need to know to be and able to monitor and take care of him and we are trusting God to provide the strength, discernment and wisdom we will need. Please rejoice with us as we celebrate a good day for CJ as he had minimal pain. They did not change the port needle or give him the shots we expected so today became a day of rest and recouping for him. We walked him up and down the halls a lot and even got him "unhooked" for a little while and took him downstairs to the gift shop. He tired quickly but it was a nice change of scenery and good to see him up and walking around. On days like this it is easier to cling to hope and healing. We know there will still be many more difficult days to come and we are called to cling to that hope and healing even on those days yet we welcome the days of rest God provides.

Many of you have asked about the PET scan results. We have not heard anything yet but are still praying they will see such a significant decrease in the tumors that it will shorten his treatment. We also must diligently pray for CJ's protection during the chemotherapy and ask that you join us in that. From what we are learning, once the chemotherapy begins to do its job of breaking up the tumors, the major risks become all the side affects and complications. As I previously mentioned we are asking for a miraculous resistance to the chemo for his other organs and his blood levels as it does its job in breaking up the tumors. Thank you to all the prayer warriors that are battling this right along side us. We are amazed at how God is moving the hearts of His people on CJ's behalf. And even moving the hearts of those who have withheld their hearts from Him. God is so good. He has planted a love for CJ in the hearts of people who don't even know CJ personally. That is not something that can be manufactured because you read a story that affects or saddens you. We are humbled at the outpouring of love and ask you to continue to be steadfast with us. Thank you for loving our son. More importantly, thank you for loving God's son. I want to share with you a perspective God gave me to help me through this difficult time. During a time when CJ was in pain and I was begging God to heal my son and relieve his pain, God pressed on my heart that it was His son and I began praying that God would heal His son and relieve his pain and I thanked him for allowing me to take care of his son while he goes through this.

Before I log out for tonight we have had it heavy on our hearts to thank someone in particular. We were going to do it through a private email but decided our lives have been an open book up to now so it would remain that way. Many of you may not know this person but will be blessed by reading our sincere thank you to him.

Mr. Miguel Medina,

We want to personally thank you for your leadership of the worship team and the worship time at our church. We need you to know that your faithfulness and leadership has played an important role in preparing our family for this very day. You have lead us in worshiping our Lord with our whole hearts, in truth and in full surrender. You have filled us with the very words of God and His holy Word that are now sustaining us through this extremely difficult time. Your dedication and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed by God or unused. He has used you tremendously in our family to prepare us for this day. In the most difficult week of our lives thus far, our hearts have meditated on the words you have spent hours laboring over and so faithfully leading us in. Thank you Miguel and family for your sacrifice.

With sincere gratitude,
The George family.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday, September 20

I began a post last night after a long day and just couldn't form the words to express my feelings and thoughts. Yesterday was a long, hard day. CJ was in pain or sick most of the day so it was difficult to focus on the things that needed to be done. He did the PET scan in the morning but that was extremely difficult with his pain from the port surgery and spinal tap surgery. The spinal tap is causing him back pain and headaches. The PET scan was in a different building so we had to go outside to get to it and when the sunlight hit our faces it was like a warm hug from heaven for a brief moment. I remember walking behind his wheelchair praying God would use the rays of the sun He created to bring nourishment and healing to CJ.

The most difficult aspect of the day was sitting down with the doctor as they confirmed his diagnosis. Due to the fact they found no tumor cells in his bone marrow it is diagnosed as Precursor B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Stage 3 They went over his chemotherapy with us. She told us he would be on a two year chemotherapy plan. I immediately felt the air deflate out of me. Two years, two years, two years kept going through my head. Based on the day he had, I kept thinking, how will we make it two years like this. Chris reminded me I need to focus on one goal at a time. So we are trying to focus on the goal of getting him through his first week of chemo and getting him home.

We would like to ask that you all pray for his strength and even his pain tolerance to be increased due to all he is dealing with. Chris and I would like to ask for wisdom in dealing with all the decisions and difficulties that seem to arise and wisdom in dealing with CJ as we tell him different aspects of his treatment. We are struggling between the balance of compassion and sternness with CJ when it comes to things he needs to do to get better like eating, walking, etc.

I want to share something CJ said yesterday in between his moments of pain and crying. He said, "Mommy, do you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the book of Daniel?." And I said yes. He said, "Well, you know how they wouldn't worship the false god and they got thrown into the fire?" And I said, yes. He said, "I think God is asking me to be brave". I reminded him that they were not alone in that fire because a fourth man was seen in the fire with him and that he is not alone as he goes through this fire. What was amazing was that I had just read the comments and I knew my sister posted about that very bible passage but CJ did not know it yet. When I told him that his Aunt Heather had thought of that too it surprised him and hopefully confirmed for him what God is asking of him. I wish I could say that the rest of the day he was brave but I can't. He was scared, sad, and defeated much of the rest of the day. But those moments remind us he is still battling and seeking God in this. I tell you this to let you know that when you let us know what God is bringing to your mind when you pray for CJ or think of CJ we cling to it and are strengthened by it. We are then able to get the focus off ourselves and see from a slightly bigger perspective. When we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed and not understand God's purpose in this and begin to question why this is happening we read the comments and see how God is using this in so many lives and it helps us through. Thank you for the openness and humility that many of you are having in your comments about what God is showing you, reminding you or convicting you of . Please persist in prayer for CJ's healing. We are asking God to allow him to be a miracle case of healing from the chemo. The chemo will melt away the tumors but in doing so it will also affect so many other areas and organs and we are asking God to protect his organs and his blood throughout this process. I know Jesus Christ used his very own blood to save my son from eternal death and I am asking Jesus to now use his very own blood again to sustain my sons blood during this time.

When God permits His children to go through the furnace,
He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat.
His loving heart knows how much and how long.

-Warren Wiersbe (1Peter 1:6-7)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday, September 18 Post Surgery

The surgery is finally behind us. CJ sleeps. I sit and stare at him as I type this is utter amazement at all that has happened to us in less than a week. We have been told the surgery went well. His port is in. They took the bone marrow out of his hip for testing and the fluid from the spine. He also had his first chemo injection directly into his spine. We are thanking God for a successful surgery and praying for a restful night with no discomfort or complications. Please join us in prayer for those very things. Please also join us in thanking God for our answer to prayer for a safe surgery. As He hears and answers our prayers, He also delights in our thanksgiving to Him. I immediately am reminded of the time Jesus healed 10 lepers (Luke chapter 17:11-19) and after seeing they were healed only one man came back praising God in a loud voice and threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him. Jesus said, .."Where are the other men? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? Then He said to him, rise and go, your faith has made you well." Please join us as we throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus and thank Him for His answers to our prayers.

I know many of you fasted today and went to the prayer meeting and I thank you from the depths of our hearts for your sacrifice on CJ's behalf. For those of you attending the prayer meeting in the morning at the church as well as for everyone else that is praying with us we are asking for a specific prayer. Tomorrow at 10am CJ has a PET scan. They inject him with dye and scan his body to light up all the areas the cancer is and the different tumors. We are asking for a miracle of healing to take place that reveals itself on the PET scan. We are asking and thanking God in advance that they will see less tumors than they did originally. We are asking the He melt away much of the tumors even before tomorrow. We are asking for the doctors to be surprised at the decrease they see.

The other prayer requests we have are that the spinal fluids and bone marrow taken today will reveal no evidence of the disease there and therefore leaving this a lymphoma. He begins chemo tomorrow through his port and we ask for no side effects or complications that would delay his release. Particularly no fevers! We know we are asking for a lot but many of you have asked us to be as specific as possible so you will know how to intercede. Our thank you is beyond words.

We would also like to let all of you know that we read your comments to him each day. Today, prior to his surgery we read him the newest comments along with 25 hand made cards from Ms. P's 2nd grade class at Somerset Academy. This truly lifted his spirits. He immediately went from being nervous and sad to uplifted and smiling. We encourage you to keep placing comments on the blog if your heart leads you to do so. CJ enjoys each and every one of them. These comments also encourage us as his parents. To see the outpouring of prayer and love for our CJ just completely overwhelms us with joy and confirms for us that this is a God thing not a cancer thing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please know that as you pray for CJ, we are praying for all of you. We are thanking God continually for all of you and your prayers. We are asking God to bless the fruit of your sacrifice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday, September 17....pray for tomorrow

Well, we come to the end of another day. Thank you Lord for your grace to sustain us. We have read through the comments and read them to CJ and we want you to know we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love towards our family. We are moved at what God is doing amongst His people. We want you to know we have a desire to respond to each and everyone of you personally but of course we just can't. We also want to return all phone calls but we have to be careful about how much we talk in front of him. He is aware of what is happening and knows pretty much everything that is going on although he can not understand it medically. We try to explain it in terms he can understand. He does know he has cancer and that he is having an operation tomorrow to put in a port to help him receive medications to kill the bad stuff. He is very nervous about this so we are leaving it at that for now. We have noticed that the more we talk about it the more nervous he becomes and the more we step out of the room to take calls the more he wonders what is going on. So please forgive us if we can not return your calls immediately. But the messages mean a lot to us and let us know we are not alone and people are still praying for us. Your prayers have become like the air we breathe for us right now. We feel like we would suffocate without them.

Today we had a good report and we thank and praise God for a clear brain MRI and clear chest CT scan. Thank you Lord. CJ also had a EKG of his heart today and a sonogram of his heart. We teased him before the procedure about what they may find inside him and he said it would be cool if they could see God living in him. Then when we went for the sonogram and she pulled up some pictures on the screen and said "Look those are the four chambers of your heart". Well there it was.....A cross divides the four chambers and you can see it clearly on the sonogram.

Other than those two tests, today was a better day for him. No pain, the rash is less itchy and the tests were pain free and quick. Tomorrow, on the other hand, is the big day. He will have the operation we mentioned before about the port being put in. They will also take some bone marrow out of his hip or back bone to determine if this is Lymphoma or Leukemia. The kind he has are very similar and can only be determined with the fluid from the bone marrow. If they find it in his bones then it is Leukemia. If not than it is Lymphoma. He will also be getting his first injection of chemotherapy tomorrow directly into his spine while he is under. I can't believe I am typing this stuff. It seems surreal. Please pray for us to be strong for him.

Friday he has a PET scan of his whole body that maps out exactly where everything is located inside him. This is more for future comparison than for right now. But they need it. Furthermore, we were very disappointed to hear he won't be going home this week like we thought. He will be starting his chemotherapy Friday and they will monitor him for at least a week before they send him home provided he has no fevers and side effects that prolong the stay. We have not mentioned that to him as of yet because we don't want to crush his little spirit before the surgery tomorrow. Please pray with us fervently that he will receive the chemo well and not get fevers and reactions that delay his release. Ask for God to have favor on us and allow him to heal as painlessly as possible and with no further complications. We want to walk through this as much as possible as a family together and being separate is very difficult. I can not describe how torn I feel between being with CJ and my daughter and two little boys at home who need their mommy. Thank you to all those making it possible for me to be with CJ during this delicate time. I am also so so so thankful for the amazing husband God has provided me with to lead me through this difficult time. He has been so strong for me and especially for CJ. Please pray for God to sustain his strength as he leads us through this. We follow him as he follows Christ!

Wednesday, September 17

This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. That is so hard on days like these but I press on and say Praise the Lord oh My Soul. Who Am I to understand Your ways...who am I to give you anything but praise.

CJ had his CT scan late last night and his MRI of the brain early this morning.. We specifically need prayer for clear results. We are thanking God in advance for those very results. We need prayer to guard our thoughts and hearts as we wait. It is so hard to sit and wait for the results. CJ is struggling today mainly with his stomach and his rash. Please ask for relief in those specific two areas. He is praying for relief for his stomach right now.

I need to send this lap top home with Chris so Allie can take it to class but I wanted to let you know where we are and what are prayer needs are. We don't think we can get through this without all of you and your prayers.

We are humbled at how far this has reached and how many people are praying for CJ. God has moved the spirit of His people to pray and I ask that you continue to persevere in prayer. He promises us that when His people who are called by His name, humble themselves and pray, he hears them and turns to them and heals their land. I will claim that healing for the disease in this land that is attacking my boy.

As hard as this is, I want to share with you that since CJ was little I have prayed God would use him mightily to lead many to Him or back to Him. In my heart I always knew that what I was asking for was not for a life of ease and would lead down difficult roads. I am overwhelmed at what is happening but I am trusting in Gods faithfulness.

I wish I had the time and space to write and tell you how many ways God prepared us for this day. He prevented us from moving two years ago away from this city that has one of the top hospitals in the nation for this treatment. He brought us to a church home where we have a family of support that is like nothing I have ever seen or heard of. They are truly living servants of Jesus Christ and His people. We love you and thank God for bringing us to you at Palm Vista. He has given me and Chris parents that are walking through this with us every step of the way. He lead us to start this blog months ago and we were never quite sure why. There are so many little things that point to His sovereign hand in this. I know this has been filtered through His sovereignty as hard as that is sometimes to comprehend and accept. He is even continuing to press on my mind certain individuals who I have been praying for for a few years now. Especially one who God has pressed on my heart and mind. I know they are reading this blog and I just want you to know that even though we are battling this, I am still in prayer for you. God has given me the grace to continue to pray for you and asked me to not give up even now. May your heart and eyes and mind be opened to the amazing love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who willingly gave His own life as a ransom for many.

Tomorrow will be the big day. He will need to be bathed in prayer continually. He will be having the operation for his port, the bone marrow samples, spinal fluids and possibly a spinal injection and anything else they need to do while he is under. He may even start the chemotherapy as early as tomorrow. We are still hoping for a release at the end of this week or early weekend by the latest.

Continue to pray with us. Thank you to all the people that are fasting today, tomorrow and/or Friday. May God honor your heart as you seek him through fasting and prayers.
By Gods Amazing Grace,
The George Family

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday, September 16

It is now 5:30 on Tuesday. We have a small update and some prayer requests. The complications we had to deal with today were a rash that is all over his abdomen and back that is very hot and itchy. No one can quite determine what is causing it. He may be allergic to the lead drapes they placed over him yesterday during his tests. He has been on Benedryl and Calamine lotion to hep relieve the itching but it is really painful and annoying to him. Please pray for him We met with the oncologist today. He could not exactly tell us what cell that CJ has but he did say it was not a sarcoma cell which we were hoping it would not be. Praise God! It is called a small blue cell tumor. Of that type there are a variety of types of cancer it could be. They are doing the necessary tests to determine. We are still praying for a lymphoma that would be highly receptive to chemo. We will have an answer tomorrow. What we do know is that CJ does need a CT scan of the brain and an MRI of the chest/lungs and abdominal cavity. They want to see where else this may have spread so they can diagnose what stage he has. We are praying for a negative result and no further spread or findings of tumors anywhere in his body. We are asking for prayer tonight for just that as he will be going in a couple hours for the tests. Please, please, please join us in prayer in asking our mighty God to contain the tumors to the pelvis area and kidney area where they are now. We also ask that God would begin shrinking them now even before the chemo begins. Please seek God for that result as well.

CJ had an episode of being overwhelmed when a doctor walked in and mentioned the port she was going to put in and we had not mentioned that to him yet. We are trying to focus on one day at a time with him. He knew he will be taking very strong medicine to help him get better but he never asked how he was going to take the medicine so we left that for later. Anyway, we had to explain the port to him that will be implanted in his chest or neck on Thursday. It will be where they will administer the chemotherapy. After a good cry he is better now and playing the x-box daddy brought to the hospital. What a great idea! Thank you Justin for giving it to him. This is a great blessing to us since it looks like we will be here until the end of the week.

One of the most difficult aspects of this process so far for me and Chris has been the waiting on results from doctors. The temptation to allow anxiety and wandering thoughts to come in is actually physically painful. Please pray we would be strong for CJ.

PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD...THE Oncologist just came and said it IS Lymphoma! Thank you Jesus! We give You all the glory honor and praise for this result and answer to prayer. He said they don't know which one yet but it is Lymphoma. Even the doctor seemed relieved and delivered the news with a smile. He said CJ will be getting the CT scan of the chest cavity tonight and the MRI of brain tomorrow. He also said that Thursday while CJ is in the OR for the Port to be installed he will probably go in and take some bone marrow from his hip, take some spinal fluid from his spine and possibly inject a medicine directly into the spine if it is a certain type of Lymphoma that would benefit from that. That will all happen at the same time so he will just have one large Operation instead of 3 separate.

Please join us now in prayer as we thank our heavenly father for this result. We honor and praise your name Almighty God. Continue to show yourself mighty. You are worthy of all honor glory and praise now and forevermore. Thank you for showing us favor and allowing this to be Lymphoma and not sarcoma or the other possible cancers. Continue to heal my son!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, September 15

We have the biopsy behind us now. We are praying they got enough samples of tissue to not have to go back in. Please join us in that prayer. Thank you to everyone who is interceding for us. We need it. He was tempted to fear and anxiety before the procedure and we had to turn to our faith and trust in a Sovereign God to sustain us. We read Philippians 4:4-8 to him as he was waiting.. "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in all things through prayer and petition and with thanksgiving submit your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." and also Psalm 62:1-2 "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." That helped soothe him (and us).
The biopsy went well. He had a CT guided needle biopsy. They went in through his back and into his kidney and took out a sample tissue from the tumors there. The recovery was actually a little worse than the procedure as he dealt with nausea and pain. Thank you to everyone who held back on visiting today so we could walk through this procedure with him. He had to lay completely flat for 7 hours after the surgery and not move at all so he would not have been able to have company. We originally thought we may go home today and have a few days before we find out what type of cancer this is but they may find out as soon as tomorrow and that may change things. Please pray with us that this will be a easily treatable form of cancer as some are more receptable to Chemotherapy than others. We are also still asking for complete healing and miraculous removal of the tumors but we have accepted that God may heal him through many different ways. We are willing to walk through that healing trusting Him to do whichever would bring the most glory to our God.

The doctors have also requested a Brain Scan to check for anything there. This was a shock to us but we see the wisdom in it as he has been checked pretty much everywhere else. I ask you to boldly intercede in this area for a completely clear scan of his brain. We are asking God to contain the tumors where they are and stop any further spread of them. Please agree with us in prayer for this.

Chris and I want to thank all of you sincerely for your prayers. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our little guy and our family. We can not believe how many people are praying, sincerely praying, for him and us. This has spread to several states and even several countries. People are telling us they are waking up in the middle of the night and praying for CJ. That is the God using His Spirit to move you to intercede. Please continue to boldly ask anyone you know who would be willing to join us in prayer or add us to their prayer chain. James 5:16 says to "...pray for eachother that you may be healed.
As I typed this we had a sudden interruption of CJ experiencing intense pain and vomiting. This is the worst it has been. He was crying out to God to take his pain away. He raised his hands in the air and through tears asked God to heal him. He said "I know you hear me, I know you never forsake me, please help me, please take this pain away" His dad and I were so moved and overwhelmed just watching him beg his heavenly Father for help. We were begging God to answer him, to answer us. He kept crying out loud to God in front of the nurse. The nurse administered some pain medication and anti nausea medication and he continued to cry out to God in tears and pain as he waited for relief. When that relief finally came which seemed like forever he collapsed back on the bed. His daddy said the pain medicine is working and CJ said "no daddy, it was God" and I heard him whisper "thank you God for taking the pain away". He is now asleep. I am sitting here stunned by what I just witnessed and participated in. I don't have the words. My heart is aching. Please pray for my CJ.
A broken mother clinging to her God who is near to the brokenhearted.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thank you and Update

Thank you all for all your warm responses and comments. We have read each and every one to CJ. We wanted to update you on the latest as of today. He did very well today. He is a little tired and still dealing with the back pain but we saw lots of smiles, heard lots of giggles, and he sits here in front of me a happy boy who feels very loved by all his family and friends. We thank each and every one who has come in these past two days to encourage him and spend time with him. As tiring as it is we know it is an important part of this process for him.
We did not get much new information today but we got two new pieces of information and both were good news. We are rejoicing and thanking God in each no matter how small. The first was that the chest X ray that he took yesterday came back clear so it has not spread into his lungs.This was expected but we rejoice for the positive result none the less. The second is that the biopsy scheduled for tomorrow will be done with the less intrusive of the two procedures we were looking at having and for that we also rejoice. I can not explain it medically at this point but basically he will be put to sleep and they will remove enough sample tissue to send off for testing. He will then recover from the procedure and hopefully go home tomorrow. Based on that, we are asking that you hold off on visiting tomorrow until you hear further from us. We will post results about his recovery as soon as possible to let you all know how he is doing.
We thank everyone who has offered to help and asked how they can be of help to us. The first and foremost need we have is your prayers. Pray for him however God leads you to intercede. Right now his immediate needs in prayer are for him to not be nervous about the procedure tomorrow and for it all to go speedily and well. Second, we have been told and are realizing this is going to be a long road for CJ and our family. So I ask for your perseverance along side us. Please press on in prayer even when we are just waiting on results. Please press on in encouraging us. And please be patient as we wait to see what our practical needs will be. We won't know until we get the results of the biopsy and know what his treatments will be.

Our church has asked for a voluntary church wide fasting and prayer from Wednesday to Friday. If you feel lead to participate we would encourage you to do so. There will also be a time of group prayer at our church office Friday morning beginning at 6am or Thursday night at the Mahfoods home beginning at 7:30pm. If you need information about how to get to their home in Pembroke Pines please call Dale or Janet Mahfood at 954-450-4328. Our church website is www.palmvista.org for directions to the office in Miami Lakes.

CJ is sitting right here and I am asking him what he would like to say to everyone. So here it is..."Thank you for all your prayers. The have calmed me and helped me have joy. Please pray for our family and for tomorrow's tests."
Love, CJ

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pray for CJ

We want to thank you all so very much for your prayers for our precious CJ and our family. We are in desperate need of your prayers to intercede for us and to sustain us. We first confess that we have often failed you very people in prayer many times. We have often received the email requests for prayer or the reminder of someone in need of prayer and then forgotten to pray or allowed the cares of daily life to choke out that need. Or in our business we have offered a quick prayer and then left it all up to a Sovereign God and did not really spend the effort to really intercede for our brothers and sisters as we should. We humbly ask every one's forgiveness for this yet we boldly ask you to still pray for our CJ. Please cry out to God and intercede for him and for us. Please ask, beg and plead with us as we cry out to God to strengthen him and to heal him.

As many of you know, during a routine MRI for chronic back pain a mass was found in his pelvis that wraps around his spine. He was immediately admitted to the Emergency Room and then transferred to the Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital in Hollywood for further testing and evaluation. He will undergo a biopsy on Monday September 15th that will determine the type of tumor this is. After meeting with many different doctors we were told this has also spread to his kidneys. They are already fairly certain this is malignant and the biopsy will determine what form of cancer he has. We are asking God for a benign result of the biopsy even though we have already been told this is not likely. But our God is not a God of likeliness, he is a God of certainty and all his promises are yes and amen. If that is not in His will we are asking for God to have mercy on him and allow it to be an easily treatable form of cancer that responds to medical intervention as opposed to the aggressive kind that does not. I beg you to agree with us in prayer for these same results.
As I type this my heart is torn and my mind is fighting accepting I am talking about my own family, my own son. Yet I know I must do this and ask as many as are willing to pray with us.

I thank you God for not sparing you own son yet I beg of you to spare mine. I know that is unfair and I don't deserve to ask you for that but I stand on your promises that I can boldly approach your throne in freedom and confidence and submit my requests to You. So I do and I bow and beg you to heal my son.

We will try to continue to post updates on his progress here on the blog so people can find out what is going on and hear about the healing God brings to him. May God bring Glory to His name through this.

You may feel free to leave comments for him and they will be read to him to encourage him to be strong.
Chris and Dawn George
and the rest of the George family
on behalf of CJ

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mother and Son Poem

CJ and I wrote a poem together while we were at the hospital receiving chemo. I told him I would dictate a line to him about how I felt and he could dictate a line back to me about he felt. I think you will love how it turned out as much as I did.

Dear Son With Love To Mother:

My precious son; my heart aches at all you are going through,
If I could take your pain away I would.

My dear mom; my heart aches at all you are going through,
If I could take your pain away I would.

My precious son; I wish I could protect you from words like
Cancer, chemo, and complete blood counts.

My dear mom; I wish I could protect you from words like
Cancer, chemo and complete blood counts.

My precious son; as I watch you struggle to be brave,
My heart swells with pride and love for you.

My dear mom; as I watch you struggle to be brave,
My heart swells with pride and love for you.

My precious son, I will be by your side every moment,
We will walk through this trial together.

My dear mom, I will be by your side every moment,
We will walk through this trial together.

My precious son, may God grant you the peace that passes all understanding;
Remember His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

My dear mom, may God grant you the peace that passes all understanding;
Remember His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

I love you CJ.
I love you too mommy.