Monday, December 29, 2008

The Other Side

CJ received the third round of the increased dosage of chemo today for this phase. His blood counts were in a safe enough range to continue and they did not feel his head cold was a problem since he has not had a fever with it. His check up went well and he is at home tired and resting this evening. I enjoyed spending some time alone with him at the appointment. I especially enjoyed watching him talk to his nurse Kathy today as she administered his chemo meds through his port. As she was administering his medicine she told him that she used to get the same kind she was giving him when she had cancer as a young girl. She also told him about all the new medicines he gets that she never received because they were not invented yet. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 13 (over 35 yrs ago) and had her leg amputated because that was the protocol back then. She also experienced chemotherapy and shared much of that with CJ today. It was amazing to hear her tell her story as I watched her administer chemo to CJ. I wondered if she ever envisioned herself on the 'other side' of the chemo when she was just a teenager receiving it herself. I was amazed at how God allowed her to experience both sides of the medicine; first as the recipient and now as the giver.

We recently got to experience something similar. We found ourselves on the 'other side' of something we would have never envisioned ourselves on. Our situation was reversed. We were on the giving side first and now found ourselves on the receiving end. This has been an extremely humbling and emotional experience so I hope I can adequately explain. I might need to give a little background first though to help it make sense so please bear with me a moment to give you our 'church background before I share further.
Chris and I have had the privilege to be a part of three great churches in our 14 years of marriage. We were married at Holy Cross Lutheran in North Miami and attended there for the better part of 10 years. We have many memories here and grew immensely as young Christians during this time. Chris served as an elder here and I participated in various ministries. To make a long story short, we thought we were moving to Virginia, tearfully said our goodbyes to our church family at Holy Cross, and visited a local church on our block during the waiting period. What was supposed to be a couple months turned out to be a year. Then the acceptance and realization that we were not moving and would have to make some decisions regarding what would be our home church. We had also grown to love this little church called North Palm Baptist Church and the people we met there. Should we stay here? Should we go back to our original home church that was filled with so many memories? It was an agonizing time for us in many ways because Chris clearly sensed God saying no to both those options and yet did not seem to know what God was leading us to. And I was of no help as I was just wanting a place to call home. God did a major work in our hearts during that time, and after much prayer He then lead us to our present church Palm Vista Community Church in Miami Lakes, which I thank Him for every day! I give you this background because I know many people leave churches on bad notes but I want you to know that Chris and I love all three of these churches and the people there. God has used each one in our lives in different ways to prepare us for this trial. He has also used each one to carry us through this trial. Each one has come along side us in prayer, support, and love and we are extremely grateful.
That history shared, I think you will get a better picture of why this experience has been so humbling for us. While we were at Holy Cross we served on different ministries in different ways over the years. One of the ministries we grew to love as a family was the Thanksgiving Basket Ministry. I assisted a friend who lead it one year and then stepped in to lead it when she earned a well deserved rest after many years of leading it faithfully. This ministry provided full Thanksgiving meals and more to over 200 families in need each Thanksgiving. Most were in need financially, but many were our elders and shut-ins who were alone. After fund raising, purchasing and organizing food, building boxes and compiling lists, we would organize a mass day of pick up and then we would deliver the boxes to the ones who could not pick up or we chose to bless spontaneously. This was my favorite part! I loved piling in the car with the boxes and the kids and delivering a box to a needy family. Sometimes we would spend time with the people and I know those are memories my kids and I will have forever.
Another ministry we grew to love and participated in was Christmas Caroling. At Holy Cross, we would pile in cars and split into 4 or 5 or 6 different groups and then caravan throughout North Miami and Christmas Carol at specific homes where our elders, shut-ins, and sick were. We would pile in their yards and sing carols to them. I loved doing this and when we attended North Palm Baptist we did not hesitate join them as well. This was a little different because we experienced caroling throughout our own neighborhood to our very own neighbors.
Okay, now for the humbling part. I don't know how often a person gets to stand on both sides of the same ministry like we experienced. Often, a person will go back and bless others in the very area they were blessed in their time of need. I have experienced that myself and it is a full circle and rewarding experience. But this was different! God brought us from the side of giving to the humbling side of receiving. That is exactly what our family experienced this year when Holy Cross showed up at our home to deliver not one but two Thanksgiving Boxes. I can not adequately express the range of emotions we experienced. Never, in all the years we spent at Holy Cross, all the homes we delivered boxes to, would we ever have dreamed we would be on the receiving end of that ministry. It is a full circle like I have never known. It went beyond receiving a blessing for me; it was a needed lesson in humility. God brought me to my knees in repentance and removed the scales from my eyes with that one act of kindness. I lead and loved that ministry, but in my heart I often judged who should and shouldn't receive a box. After spending hours upon hours raising funds, making calls, collecting food, organizing, filling boxes, etc., I would then judge when someone showed up to pick up a box driving a certain type of car or wearing a certain type of clothes. I would judge when we would get to the address of delivery and pull up to a beautiful home with nice cars in the driveway. I honestly and regretfully would! And I am so thankful God allowed this to happen so I can stand on the other side of that box and receive an undeserved gift for the simple fact that God decided to bless my family through this church and their willingness to serve others. I hope as you are reading this you can feel even a tenth of the emotion I felt that day. Picture yourself on the other side of the window the next time you hand money out of your car to a homeless person. Picture your children on the receiving side of the gift when you donate toys to a local charity. Please hear never know when you will be on the other side of the blessing! It was the farthest thing from my mind when I filled boxes with food or sang silent night to a sick person. I told you before in a previous post, I believe God is teaching me a deeper level of authenticity. I don't know any better way to experience it than that. To stand and receive what you once gave. To be able to know both sides; the blessing and the need. To be able to empathize in a deeper way than I ever thought possible. It was a humbling and a painful reflection of my heart; but it was full of compassion and mercy for God to do that to me.
To drive the point home and be sure He completed His sanctifying work in my heart in this area, God brought both of these churches to our home to Christmas carol to us. North Palm came early in the month and sang to us in the very neighborhood we walked with them last year at Christmas. Did I mention humbling yet? Then, this week, 100 people from Holy Cross stood in our yard and sang songs of joy to our family. It was all I could do to stand there and hold back tears as the very group of people we used to go caravaning around town with stood in our yard and sang Silent Night. My heart was anything but 'silent' that night. It was alive with repentance, confession and then filled with God's bountiful grace and mercy as once again, I stood on the 'other side' of the blessing.
Thank you Lord for this experience. I know this will make me a better servant and I will be better equipped to serve your people faithfully because of it. I will always be able to picture myself on 'the other side'.

On the receiving end:

Thanksgiving Boxes.............. Christmas Carolers 2008
On the giving end:
Christmas Caroling in 2005 with Holy Cross..CJ Singing Carols to the sick

Thanksgiving Basket Ministry 2003 at Holy Cross
Allie, Brett, CJ and daddy filling and delivering baskets

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Heart Full of Faith

I apologize for not getting an update out sooner. It requires uninterrupted time that is a precious commodity around here. Thank you for all who have asked for an update.

CJ had his appointment yesterday and his counts were in a safe enough range for him to continue with the increased dose of Methotrexate. This phase of his treatment calls for him to receive a gradually increased dose of this very strong medicine every ten days for 57 days. This will be dependent on his blood counts and side effects. As the doses increase, he will be more susceptible to experience side effects so we ask for continued prayer in that regard. The effect he experienced most the first round was nausea and vomiting. We were able to get that under control and are better prepared for it after this round. It seems car rides increase the nausea and overpowering smells of food. We took him to a small family restaurant for the first time last week and as soon as the food hit the table he threw up. So we packed up and left and realized it was too soon and probably a bad judgment call on our part. The side effect we are most trying to prevent are painful mouth sores common at this stage. Please plead with us for protection against this, especially with Christmas right around the corner!

A couple weeks ago, we attended a Christmas party for cancer patients and their families. This party is called 'Love Jen' and is hosted annually in memory of Jenn Masi who died of cancer at age 14 about 20 years ago. CJ was very affected by this party. Although he had a great time, he was always aware that the party had Jen's name and that Jen was no longer here. He asked a lot of questions about her. He thought a lot about her and her family and what it must have been like for them. Then, when we were at his appointment yesterday, Mr. Masi, Jen's dad, came in to meet us and say hello. He had heard how much CJ loved the party and what it meant to our family to be able to go together. He spoke with us for a little while and gave us a beautiful glass heart that says Love Jen on it. It was nice to meet him and be able to say thank you. All throughout the day CJ would ask to see the heart and hold it. As he worked the heart in his hands I could see that he was also working the idea of death in his mind. He would stare at the heart and say, "It's really sad isn't it?" Eventually, he started to ask questions about death. What do I think it is like, do I think it hurts, does the person know they are dying, and so on and so forth. We were able to talk through many of these questions both factually and spiritually and he seemed to be content with the answers. He decided that my best friend's husband who is a hospice chaplain has the hardest and saddest job of all. He also decided that Jen's death was sad but that her memory was sweet. He was impressed that her life continues to bless others even decades beyond death. What a victory that is! Last night, as we were tucking him in, he brought up the subject of death again and seemed to quietly ponder the idea. It reminded me of a conversation he had with me one morning on the way to the hospital about a month ago. He suddenly said, "Mom, would you want to die a regular death or die for a cause?" It caught me off guard and I thought about it for a moment. I guess most of my life and most people I know have said, "I want to die peacefully in my sleep at a ripe old age." But the more I thought about it and the more I grow in my faith the more that seems less appealing. So I said to him, "I would rather die for a cause if it would bring glory to God and draw people close to Him, what about you?" He said, "I would rather die for a cause." We continued to drive and that was the end of the conversation and the subject of death, until yesterday. As we enter into the season of celebrating the birth of our Savior, I pray that his little heart and mind would not be burdened with the idea of death, but that he would have a heart full of faith. I pray that he would rejoice in the fact that the only death we needed to fear, Jesus already accomplished on the cross in our place. And one day: "...the saying that is written will come true, 'Death has been swallowed up in victory'." As it is written, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1 Cor 15:55

We also attended church this past Sunday as a family for the first time since this all began. Even though CJ was not feeling 100%, his counts were borderline, and he was nauseous, we decided to go based on faith and trust God with the details. We had the strong desire to be there together as a family and see everyone face to face. It was so great to be with our sliver of the body of Christ and to worship with all of you corporately. There is something irreplaceable about God's people coming together to worship and praise Him. It had been way too long! But, in all honesty, there were some downfalls from being away. Our little one, Corey, who is 1 and 1/2 completely forgot how to 'go to church' and how to use his 'quiet voice'. He can not seem to understand why we go from 30 minutes of clapping and singing and praising to complete silence. Then, during the teaching, he found a camera in my purse and decided Pastor Pino must be up there performing on stage and he started yelling "geese, geese" over and over which of course stands for 'cheese'. Needless to say, we are a little rusty in that area of training due to our time away. In a moment of frustration and embarrassment I even thought, what are we doing here? And yet, in my failure to trust God to work through my inadequacy as a parent, He never ceases to amaze me with His faithfulness and timing. The message was straight from God's mouth to my heart. I should have been the one pulling out the camera and capturing the moment. For anyone, who like myself, struggles with joy at this; 'the most wonderful time of year', I would strongly encourage you to listen to this message. Our lack of joy would be evidence of our lack of faith and attempt to receive the Spirit by our own good works. And as the apostle Paul (and my pastor) so pointedly reminded us... "You foolish Galatians (or in this case Floridians) who has bewitched you?" Gal 3:1. I captured that message. Not with my camera like Corey wanted to, but with my heart. It was a needed reminder of God's complete work in which I can not add to.
As is typical, our enemy was quick to be about his business and seek to steel joy from my home this week. But Chris and I are standing our ground. We have raised our swords and shields and are fitted with the armor of God against which the enemy can not stand. As he flees from our home (briefcase in hand)..."we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character; and character produces hope." Romans 5:3

To hear the sermon.....and be here.

Our biggest challenge as a family now is making decisions in regard to this time of year. What holiday parties to attend and how often to see friends and loved ones (especially the ones visiting from out of town). This is not only the holiday season but also the cold and flu season and that is constantly on our minds. CJ has 5 little cousins and 4 aunts and uncles in town that all want to see him and play with him and we struggle with the weight of those decisions. Please pray for discernment and a shield of protection for CJ against illness. We realize he may be doing well but if anyone else is sick it keeps him away from his family and friends. He has struggled lately with his inability to see people and attend events.
We want to thank everyone who was helping us look for a second vehicle to use to get to and from the appointments and all who have offered to help. We think we have the matter solved at least for a while. My step father had open heart surgery last week. While he is recovering, he is unable to do some of his hobbies. He needed to free up some space in his driveway so he generously offered to let us use his truck until he needs it again. This solved our problem for the time being. We are extremely grateful for his generosity. Thank you Enzo! And thank you everyone who was keeping their eye open for us!
We also want to thank everyone who has continued to provide meals for us to cover the dates we have appointments and hospital visits. It has been a real blessing to our family and we give thanks for each of you and your generosity to us.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CJ's Star

CJ's counts were up and he was able to begin phase 3 of his chemotherapy on Monday. It began with a Spinal tap, some new chemo meds, and a review of his case with the doctors. It was followed by two shots in the legs on Tuesday that are administered simultaneously by nurses. Pet Scan results are in and it confirms what the CT Scan said. There is some mild lighted areas on the Pet Scans but no reason at this time to think they are new tumor areas. They think they are either continued improvement of the original tumors or post-treatment inflammation. They did express that CJ may never have clear scans because of scar tissue that can be left behind so we learning to let go of our desire to hear the words "all clear" knowing that there may always be some residual scarring. Yet we are still seeking God for complete healing of not just the cancer but all effects of the cancer as well.

Therefore, we charge in to stage three confident of continued healing and thankful for all of Gods grace in CJ's treatments. We are asking for prayer for continued protection against toxicity from the chemo and from painful side effects that are common at this stage.

I have shared with you before about how emotionally draining and painful it can be to be at the pediatric ambulatory unit for hours upon hours each week. But I have longed to share with you this feature of the pediatric ambulatory unit for some time. It is a feature most of the rest of the hospital actually knows nothing about unless they have been down there so you are getting a rare glimpse into a unit at the hospital not seen by many. It is a wonderful feature that brings comfort, hope, joy, smiles and even color to a very sad and depressing unit; but not until you get past its powerful implications.

The Real Sistine Chapel:

While studying the great artists with my children, I remember once reading that stepping into the Sistine Chapel and looking up at ceiling at the famous paintings of Michelangelo, "creates feelings of passion and an overwhelming sense of history." Those who viewed this masterpiece also relayed that looking up at the chapel ceiling provides a glimpse into the mind and heart of this great artist.

I could not even imagine what this must feel like until I walked into the pediatric ambulatory oncology unit at Joe DiMaggio for the first time. When you first enter you are confronted with feelings of passion and you embrace an overwhelming sense of history as you look up and see the ceiling tiles covered in paintings done by kids who frequent this unit. It is quite an overwhelming sight because you realize each and every tile represents a child (and a family) whose life has been touched by this life threatening disease.

I remember thinking at that time 'I don't want my child's name up there'. I know now that my thoughts betrayed my feelings which were, 'I don't want my child to have cancer." Nevertheless, I couldn't take my eyes off the ceiling. I kept reading the tiles and wondering about each child and all that they went through. Were they still in treatment? Were they cancer free? Did they win their battle with this devastating disease? I saw the name of a child I knew.....Pat Padraja is the son of another police officer who had recently battled Leukemia and is in recovery. I remembered seeing him a year prior at a friends house during his treatment. At first, I kept focusing only on Pat's tile and staring at his name. I kept telling myself, 'he's doing okay now, he's doing okay now, he's doing okay now'. I just kept repeating this mantra to myself. Seeing his tile actually brought me a ray of hope at that moment. I did not want to focus on the other tiles yet because I did not know who they were and where they were. The reality that many of them may not be 'doing okay now' kept creeping in. In time though, I began to take it all in. It really is a stunning sight. It is art at its finest. An expression of a child at the most intense moment in their life. Somehow, the child leaves not only their name on the ceiling but like Michelangelo did, they also leave a small glimpse into their life and heart through these simple tiles. My heart was grieved and yet oddly encouraged by seeing this collage of names suspended from above. I knew each and every child represented above me left a lasting mark not only on this ceiling, but on the lives of those who knew and loved them.

The child life specialist noticed us looking at them and asked us if we would like to paint a tile. I thought, 'No' but somehow said 'yes'. So we spent the next couple hours painting our very own ceiling tile. We stared at it for a long time not sure what to do. Many kids had added the things they loved like sports. Others painted scenic pictures, and some simply painted their name. We thought about it for a while and then began painting CJ's name among the stars. As I watched CJ paint I was reminded that it is the Lord who "determines the number of the stars and calls each by name." And just as the Lord knows every star by name, he knows CJ by name. So we named our star CJ and placed his name in the center of it to remind us that he is tucked firmly in the center of God's loving hands which created those very stars.

For the next couple of weeks we visited the unit for treatment and CJ's tile was always sitting on the floor, leaning up against a wall. That is when I realized I actually did want it up on the ceiling because I found that it bothered me that it wasn't hung. It felt incomplete. Before long, it disappeared into an office until a place could be be found to hang it. I figured it would probably get tucked away in a corner or back hallway where no one would see it much since ceiling space was limited. But just like the Lord has done with CJ's cancer from day one, it was placed out in the open for all to see. I had to smile as I realized his tile would literally shine down on the nurses and doctors everyday as they treated patients.

I pray that this simple ceiling tile will not only bring hope and encouragement to other patients as they visit the unit, but I also pray his star sings praises to the Lord as it is suspended from above just like the stars in the heavens do.

Praise the Lord,

Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him all his heavenly hosts,.
Praise him sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Psalm 148: 1-3

Pictures of the ceiling.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sharing CJ's Story

As you all know from reading CJ's story, one of the most difficult aspects of a cancer diagnosis for this 9 year old boy was learning he would not be playing sports during his treatment. All sports equipment got packed away but we did not have the heart to take down his basketball hoop. That makes these pictures we just received all the more special. This is our neighbor Daan sharing CJ's story and bracelets with Dwaye Wade and Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat. It is strange to see Dwayne Wade holding one of CJ's bracelets since CJ has a model of him in his room. My kids became a Wade fan when they read that he chose the number 3 to symbolize his faith in the Trinity. We are Alonzo Mourning fans because of his faith and work with Athletes for Hope. He, among other fine athletes, has used his blessings to bless others, and that is something we all need to learn to do more of. This is the amazing part...CJ also chose the number #3 for his go cart for the same reason as Wade. Our other son, Brett has #33 on his cart. This symbolizes the age of Jesus when he died. When you put them together you have the phone number for God. Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me to and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." And guess what number Alonzo Mourning wears. You guessed it....33. God is so amazing. He is in the most minute details. It is no accident it was these two men who my neighbor encountered to share CJ's story with. We are so amazed at God's hand in every detail in regards to CJ.

Thank you Daan for caring enough about this little child to share his story.

Dwayne Wade holding a pray for CJ bracelet!

Alonzo Mourning receiving a Pray for CJ bracelet.
And he put it on! Thank you Mr. Mourning! You just made this 9 year olds day! Nothing else you put on today is more valuable in Gods sight!

Even these pictures flooded us with painful memories of the past. CJ attended the Miami Heat Basketball camp in the summer of 2007. His stomach was in severe pain and he struggled to get through the week. He was very excited about the camp and we just thought it was a stomach bug or nerves. At the end of the week the coach writes an evaluation on each child. They point out positive aspects of the child's performance and give pointers. CJ did well but the coach also wrote, "Sometimes it seems like you are not having much fun". This always stood out to me because CJ is so outgoing and friendly. I realized he must have really not been feeling well for the coach to have noticed. Looking back now, it is amazing CJ even was able to complete the week. Who knows what was beginning to develop in his little body considering that one year later he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma. He is my hero!

Here is CJ at the camp in June 07:

CJ in his Wade jersey at camp.

CJ receiving his evaluation from his coach.

And there you have it....33:3 .....Sorry folks, but at this point we are way beyond coincidences!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scan Results

Beginning Phase 3 is on hold for CJ's as his counts were too low to begin. He will go back to the hospital on Monday to test his CBC's again and see if he is ready. His red and white cells are slowly coming back up but not enough to start the new chemo. His platelets however, are down. I hope these three days will allow his body time to recover enough to not only begin phase 3 but to begin it strong.

We were given the results of Tuesdays CT Scan today. I think everything is the same. No new masses detected and still near complete resolution. I wish I could explain it better but I think it may be best to just copy the impression of the radiological findings here. Here is his impression summary...

"Near complete resolution of the adenopathy and soft tissue masses seen previously. The chest is normal. The liver is normal . There are some lobular changes in the kidneys which may represent some fetal lobations versus subtle areas of scarring. No renal lesions are identified. There is improvement but not complete resolution of the perirectal fat infiltration with a small amount remaining to the left of the rectum and in the presacral area. No other abnormality is identified."

So there you have it. There is some more improvement but it is not completley gone/clear yet. There is no seen adverse affect on the other organs and for that we thank and praise God. I wish I could explain the fancy technology, but I can't. I even looked up some of the words to try to but I only got more confused. I look forward to the PET Scan results for further confirmation of the above findings. Although we are thankful for the present results, when I read that it does not speak life and healing to me. So I made my own impression summary:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11
"Because he loves me"says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:14-16

I like my findings much better, don't you. They speak life and healing to me! I feel better already just typing that. I should be a radiologist! I am pretty good at this. I know you all probably think I am losing it. But I think I am just really, really tired and a little saddened by all that is around me at the hospital. The words of the medical field can be cold and impersonal. That is why I love to wash it all down with scripture. The words of God are warm and personal and breathe life into my bones. I pray they will also breathe life into CJ's bones right down to his cells. Wow, wait a minute! Consider Hebrews 4:12 with me for a moment..."For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow..." Wow! That verse sure comes alive when your child is actually suffering in his joints and marrow. Can you think of a double edged sword that divides right down to the bone and marrow? is a scalpel. A physicians knife! Used with precision and skill . And yet, we have the Great Physician with the most precise scalpel of all.... His very own words. So there you have it, my impression and findings are much more precise.

Prayer requests:

Pray for CJ to rebound in his counts as well as for all the family to rebound in strength and rest. It is easy to grow weary as the storm rages and the battle drags on.

Please pray for Chris. He is sick with a head cold. He is struggling because he is terrified of getting CJ sick. It really is unbelievable because he is the one who has been an absolute germ freak since this all started. Actually, I take that back, he was already a germ freak before, now he is paranoid. Seriously though, he is struggling because he can not kiss or hug CJ at all. I think it has almost been a week since he has hugged, kissed or cuddled with him and I know that must feel like an eternity. Mostly, I believe God is trying to demonstrate his sovereignty and control to Chris once again. He has tried so desperately to be in control of all forms of germs that CJ may come in contact with but I think he was in need of a fresh reminder that he is not in ultimate control. I think God is asking him to trust Him not only with the big issues but the little details as well. So far, no one else has gotten sick. We ask for that to remain so and for Chris' healing and humbling.

He had an interesting encounter this week I would love to share with you. For those of you who know Chris, you know he is extremely private. As you can imagine, this situation has challenged him to share very personal things like never before and God has blessed his openness immensely. He was at a car lot this week because we are still in need of a second car to go back and forth to appointments. Well, he explained to the salesman what we were looking for and why we needed a simple, inexpensive car to go to appointments. The man immediately said, 'You just met a man who goes to mass every morning to pray." He prayed right there on the spot in the car lot with Chris and they were able to share their faith with each other. Chris gave him a bracelet and he said he would continue to pray for CJ. This really encouraged Chris and I pray he will continue to be bold in sharing himself and his faith with others. I thank God for placing that gentleman in that spot that day to encourage Chris.
We also thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Thank you for the calls and comments asking about the results of the scans. Sorry I couldn't get this up sooner, but my editor (Chris) fell asleep. It will be posted as soon as he approves it! I look forward to sharing with you a very special feature of the pediatric ambulatory unit in a future blog and pictures.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Links to Newscast

For anyone who missed it here is the full story that played on CBS 4 news. Don't forget to go to Jim Robinson's blog and tell him what a great job he did! He was fantastic with CJ and even added a link to this blog from his blog.

News Clip:
Jim's Blog is...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tune In....

As CJ was getting his CT scan today at the hospital, Lotsy Dotsy, the hospital clown, walked in the room. As soon as he heard her voice behind him, he strained his neck to see her with a big smile plastered across his face. I was so relieved to see that smile because he has just endured a painful process of getting an IV in three different veins until they could find one that worked. It wasn't pretty.

Lotsy played the harmonica for him as he got his scan and then she told us she had good news. Channel 4 was on their way to the hospital to do an interview with CJ and Lotsy! It is meant to be a heartwarming piece about a boy and a clown and how that clown helps this boy get through some of the most difficult days spent at the hospital battling cancer.

We were all very excited about this news but I noticed CJ began trembling. We thought he was cold but he was a little nervous when he heard about the interview. When the journalist, Jim Robinson, showed up, CJ was completely at ease. We were all so impressed with this man as he interviewed CJ. He was fantastic and made CJ very comfortable. It was like sitting down and talking to a friend. At one point, CJ whispered in my ear, "Mommy, why does TV movies make journalists look so mean? They are really nice." I had to laugh because I realized why he was so nervous at first.

The interview went great and we are excited to see how the piece turns out. It is scheduled to be aired on Channel 4 between 5 and 7pm tonight! Be sure to Tune in! It will also be on the Channel 4 web page at in case you miss the TV one or do not live local. Mr. Robinson said he will put a link to this blog from his blog so I strongly encourage all the blog readers to check out his blog at and read the article on CJ he wrote and let him know you appreciate this piece. I would love to see him get a flood of response from this piece. Then he will be sure to follow up with CJ's story in the future and we will make more people aware of children battling cancer.

Don't forget to pray as we anxiously await the results of today's scans. We know they got good pictures and we are praying that means good and 'clear' pictures, with no sign of any further disease. He is also scheduled for PET Scans on Thursday after his chemo. Please pray with us that the tumors will be completely gone and not just "nearly" completely gone as we were told before.