Friday, February 27, 2009

Cheer Up

As usual, the anxiety began around bedtime last night. Knowing he had an appointment today, CJ started to get nervous and express his reluctance to go. We did the usual tap dance of encouragement and pep talks to remind him of how far he has come and how close he is to maintenance. But this time I added, "Why don't you come sleep with mommy," thinking that would help. Now don't get me wrong, CJ sleeps with us many nights but usually it is after an appointment when we want to keep a closer eye on him or as a weekend treat. This was the night before an appointment and boy was it an eye opener to me as to the level of his emotional turmoil in regards to these appointments. He slept so fitfully and had a constant audible whimper that sounded like a wounded animal. We continued to reassure him until at some point, like 4 am, he finally slept quietly.

Regardless of the restless night, CJ and I headed out to his appointment in good spirits in the morning. He had high hopes that I was certain were going to be crushed. You see, this afternoon was the annual strawberry picking field trip with our church and he really wanted to go. On top of that, his sister is celebrating her 13th birthday by attending the rodeo this weekend with some friends. He was crushed when we told him he could not go. To alleviate his frustration, and admittedly, to buy some time, we told him we would ask the doctor if he could go to either of these events. Chris and I were sure his blood counts would be down and the answer would be a resounding no. But at least we could let the doctor be the "bad guy" and let him break his heart instead of us! Just kidding. (Well, sort of.)

We got blood counts and met with the doctor and to our surprise, he said yes! Since both events were outdoors, the doctor felt it would be okay. CJ could not only go to the farm to pick strawberries with his friends but attend the rodeo with his sister for her birthday as well. This was great news! We rejoiced that his blood counts held well enough to allow for this, and then received a firm warning from the doctor that they would soon drop due to his level of chemo intake. Warning noted, I looked forward to the afternoon far far away from the hospital and out in the open picking fresh strawberries with the family.

With something to look forward to, we settled in and seemed to be doing great until it was time to access his port. He immediately began to get tense and his anxiety soared. I reassured him repeatedly and reminded him how smooth it always goes. And sure enough, it went smoothly. Typically, once it is accessed he bounces back to his usual self. But today he decided to feel sorry for himself for a while. I tried to cheer him up and encourage him but he told me I just do not understand what it feels like. I gave him a bunch of pathetic excuses of what I do understand and tried to shake him out of it. He continued to feel sorry for himself! I tried to cheer him up with the wonderful art of distraction. He continued to feel sorry for himself! I tried to cheer him up with the wonderful art of humor. He continued to feel sorry for himself! I tried to cheer him up by reminding him of what great news he just received. He continued to feel sorry for himself! I admittedly tried bullying him into cheering up, but he continued to feel sorry for himself. So I gave up! I basically told him if he wanted to feel sorry for himself that was fine, but I was going to celebrate the good news and enjoy my book. So I stopped talking and went back to reading.

Apparently, shutting up was all God was waiting for me to do so that He could minister to CJ's heart. I read in quiet for about 10 or 15 minutes and suddenly CJ said to me, "Mommy, can you shut the door and pray with me to thank God for the good news?" Humbled, I shut the door and listened to my sweet son thank God for the good report he received. While he prayed, I silently confessed my inability to know when to just shut up and let God do His thing.

With the doctor on our side now, we convinced him to speed it up so we could get out and actually make it to the field trip he was allowing us to go to. We left excited and picked up the rest of the family to head to the farm. I enjoyed watching CJ and his siblings pick the strawberries and visit with his friends. I admit that as I saw him surrounded by people I began to cringe at the thought of what we were exposing him to and wonder if we made in mistake in even asking the doctor. I am already worried about all the possibilities of exposure at the Rodeo and wondering how I will keep him protected in such a large crowd. But to witness him receive a good report and be able to turn that into thanks and prayer to God, makes it all worth it.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:28-29
Prayer Requests:
Once again, we can not thank all of you enough who have persisted in prayer with us. We are so grateful and truly believe it is making all the difference in his blood counts and immunities. We ask for continued prayer for his body to tolerate the level of chemo he is receiving. We pray for the chemo to 'do its job and only its job'. He is also having some joint pain in his legs and we are praying for this to discontinue and correct itself now that he is off the steroid. The steroid has caused swelling and his hair is beginning to fall out again. Although expected, all these changes are hard for him to watch. Please pray he will remain strong both physically and spiritually. Thank you for your continued prayers.


Unknown said...

I sometimes feel sorry for myself and I surely do not have one good reason too. I can't imagine CJ not feeling sorry for himself. Even in his sleep he is struggling and it just means that he has a full grasp of what is going on, what is at stake and how damaging this disease is and can be. I pray that God will keep ministering to his spirit. I know grown men that hate to see their hair fall out, what little boy wants to deal with that. His joints hurt and he has seen his friends walking one week, on a walker two weeks later and then the Mom carrying them on the 4th week. He knows full well what those joint aches can turn into. I'm so glad you were able to go out in the afternoon yesterday and I'm very happy that it looks like CJ may be able to do the rodeo. We all forget that CJ is pretty much on all the time lock down. A ride in the car with his Mom to the hospital is mostly what he gets to go out and do. Please God let this phase go quickly so CJ can start having more little boy fun. I prayed a lot for him in the night last night and I will step it up even more.

I've had a cold for 6 days so far and am complaining that it hasn't gone yet. What a jerk I am.

I love you guys.


Anonymous said...

I was so encouraged to see you all at the Strawberry Farm this afternoon. As I watched you take these pictures of your family, I thought to myself, "What a picture of God's faithfulness."

We continue to pray.
Love you, Ody

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn and CJ,

I was going to see if I could fix the post I left yesterday because I know it didnt make any sense and was happy to find a new one. It really strikes me at how when you look at CJ's pictures his smile just lights up the room. One would never imagine that he is going through so much. I am so glad you could go out in the afternoon even if it made you a little nervous. A day out in the fresh air with friends and family can do wonders for the spirit!
We will continue as always to pray and keep you in our thoughts

Lots of love,
Nicole, Ana, Alberto

Anonymous said...

CJ, we were so happy to see you yesterday. You look good. We are praying for you!

Psalm 121 1-3
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Anonymous said...

C.J. and Dawn,

I was reading Psalm 28 as part of my devotional on Thursday and I felt that this part was for you.

Blessed be the Lord because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.
Psalm 28:6-7

God bless,

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ,
I am glad to hear that your blood counts are good. It was good to see you at the berry picking. We are praying for you!!!! Remember, GOD loves you unconditionally and will protect you.

Psalm 136:2
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.

Your friend, Noah

Anonymous said...

It was great to see the whole family on the strawberry picking field trip! I have a friend whose brother-in-law works with Chris and arrived as you were leaving so she was bummed to not get to meet you all (she prays for you too). Dawn, it is always a balance I face between trying to protect, teach and guide my children and knowing when I am getting in the way of the Holy Spirit. I will continue to lift you all up in prayer, for healing and wisdom as you seek God one day at a time.
With love, Vonda

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the update. Kevin is really looking forward to spending the day with his cousins! I just showered him and am getting ready to drop him off in a little while. I will continue to pray for CJ. As it is apparent that the prayers are working! What strength and bravery you guys are exhibiting, even in those scarey moments. My eyes are wide open to the fact that if this type of thing can happen to CJ, that anything can happen to any of us! We need to be thankful that God is on our side and He will see us through our darkest hours. CJ is an amazing witness to me. I am so thankful for him. He is in his last phase of treatment. I can not wait until he is in maintanence or remission. God has been so faithful. Thank you, Lord.


Anonymous said...

grGod's blessing, Big Man. We are so proud of the way you are handling this and how brave you are. We love you and are praying for you not to have any reactions from the chemo, that it does its job and lets God get on with doing His job. "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Love and Prayers,
Mary Boggs and family

Anonymous said...

Dawn and CJ i just wanted to let you know that I still stand amazed at your strength. I know it comes from God and only God. He is so good to us , even when we think He is not watching or listening to our hurts and prayers. He is always there for us. I am praying for you and your family . I hope
CJ did ok after his strawberry picking and the rodeo. Tell him soon he will be well enough to ride a bull himself. Love you all !!!
Jean Mosley

Mitch said...

Good to hear that CJ is handling the chemo with little set-backs. I'm keeping an eye on you guys, reading your blog EVERY time, and praying for him every night before I go to bed. I love seeing the pics of him enjoying life. I was amazed as well that he was able to participate in so many events this past winter. I know it hurts for the events that he has missed and I hope he continues to relish the moments of fun. I've shared your blogspot with the 5 Team in Training runners that I'm mentoring this season. I hope you don't mind. I told them that if they would really like to make that "connection", then reading your blogspot would definitely help them to understand and be motivated to accomplish their mission as a TNT runner. Thank you again for your blogspot. It reaches out to others in so many ways. Peace, love, and hope!

Anonymous said...

I loved seeing the pictures of your strawberry picking. The berry Corey is eating looks as big as his mouth!!You have some huge strawberries in Florida! But then again, you have the good oranges, too. Well, I'm sure you'll hear from Aunt Heather and the kids, but we got SNOW today after church. So far we have about 3-4 inches, so Maleena, Marissa and Carlos will be able to sled tomorrow. I'm sending a picture to your mom's e-mail for you to see the snow. In the picture, Lindsay's horse is standing there with her blanket on looking at us. Misty loves the snow, too - she 'fights' with it. So you send me some of those juicy strawberries you picked and I'll send you some snow! hee hee I love you, big man, stay strong! Aunt Karen

Anonymous said...

Dawn and CJ,

I thought about you a few times during the twins birthday party today. I thought of how hard it must be that CJ has to miss out on many events right now. I was sad not being able to invite your family to join us for a fun afternoon. At one point I remember watching the twins bounce around in the Rocket Ship with all their friends and I had a quick moment of thought. I felt thankful that as of now my twins are healthy, but sad for your little boy. We gathered around and took photos and I told the twins the pictures were for us to give to CJ. I was proud of them for actually responded to my request, usually it is a huge battle to get them to sit still and smile. After a long exhausting day I went on the internet to read your blog and my sad heart is now full of joy. I'm so thrilled that you were all able to have a fun family day picking strawberries!! We will continue our prayers for CJ's health and we will pray that you will be able to have more days such as this weekend.
Thinking of you always.
Love, Bill, Kristi, Demi and Dylan

mefea said...


I know that feeling. At times you don't even want to be comforted because you just want to sit and wallow in the pain and self pity. I think we all do that, sometime physically, sometimes just mentally. Thanks for your example of how quickly you were able to get out of it! What a gift from God. In a time when you of all people could go inward and say "you just don't understand what I'm going through"'ve striven to remain joyful, relatable, and grateful to God for every little gift he gives you.

I will continue to pray for this to be the case for you and that through gratefulness that you will experience much more JOY and PEACE even through the difficult times.

We Love you CJ!!!

~Mindy p

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn & CJ & Allie & Chris, Brett & Corey,
I am so glad that you all got to go and pick strawberries together! What a wonderful yummy treat! How excited you all must have been to go to the rodeo with Alibrandi and celebrate her birthday. Travis said to tell you all that he wishes he could be there for Alibrandi's birthday too and to send big hugs and kisses to you all and to tell CJ especially that we are still reading your Mommy's prayer requests and praying them everynight. We love you and we miss you very much. P.S. Did you know that CJ's birthday this year is on Palm Sunday?
Love Aunt Tammi Jo

Vanessa Marie Fernandez said...

What a wonderful blessing!
I am continuing to pray for you CJ and your whole family! It encourages me so much to hear how you are battling through your self-pity and fear. I am battling those same things myself, and sometimes I just don't want to battle them anymore, but I know that God is the one fighting my battles for me, and it really encouraged me to read about your faithfulness in the midst of your own battle.

love you!


Anonymous said...

1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.>>>>>>>>>> When we cast our burdens upon the Lord, we acknowledge our frail humanity, and we trustingly submit our cares and concerns into the hands of the One who holds the future. No burden is to heavy for his divine understanding. No anxiety or problem is too complex for his keen discernment and ultimate solution. Remember, he cares. (mahlon Gingerich) Praying that C.J.s cares and worrys will be whisked away by knowing that God will take this from him. It is so hard to really grasp the love he has for us for, we think and feel with human brains, but if the bible says he wants our cares and burdens cast on him, then he truly does and we must be obedient to him. C.J. you are a very wise and Godly young man and all of us are learning from you everyday. God Bless you sweetie. I love you all so much and you all are always being lifted up in pray.>>>>>>>>>I LOOK TO YOU IN EVERY NEED,AND NEVER LOOK IN VAIN;I FEEL YOUR STRONG AND TENDER LOVE, AND ALL IS WELL AGAIN. THE THOUGHT OF YOU IS MIGHTIER FAR THAN SIN AND PAIN AND SORROW ARE.>>>>>>>>>samuel longfellows, 1864

Anonymous said...

"We cannot judge G-d's goodness by what He does. We must judge what He does by His goodness. We cannot understand many of
G-d's actions, but we can be sure that from the perspective of eternity they well make sense. Meanwhile, we must trust G-d and contine to worship and serve Him."

Anonymous said...

Matthew 7:24-25 So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obey them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not FALL, because it was built on rock.>>>>>>>> Your faith and family are built on this rock, it will not crumble or wash away in your storm. The rock is strong solid and unmoving so you will not be washed away by your trials. This reminds me of a verse from an old song>>>>>On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.>>>> Your lifted in prayer as always to our precious Jesus(our rock). you are very loved.

Anonymous said...

Im glad CJ was able to go picking, i know what fun that can be,.
im glad his counts were up thats such good news.
I think that the way CJ wanted to thank god for it was so amazing, and so cool. he is a sweet, brave boy dawn, and i will continue to pray for you all

much love adn light from Amber

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,
Glad to hear all is well. We are also rejoicing that Cj's counts were good. We will continue to cover him in prayer. I am soooo HAPPY that you guys went to the Rodeo. We did that last year and it was a lot of fun. I am sure Allie had a great time. Please send me some pictures for the yearbook of both occasions. Hope to see you guys soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ,

Hang in there kiddo. Praying and thinking about you often. Can't wait to see some more of your Jiu Jitsu!

You are a blessing and inspiration to Amy and I. You haven't met my wife Amy yet, but you will someday. I think you'll like her:) We definitely want to come down to see you and the family when we get the opportunity.

Stay strong and know that God is in control... He is sovereign over everything, even the tough and hard to understand things! With much trial comes great reward. Love ya, CJ

Anonymous said...

Dawn and CJ...our family will be praying for everything at the hospital to go smoothly tomorrow. I know God will be right there with you and you will come back with a great testimony. Praying for your healing and for God to direct the medicine straight to the bad stuff as He protects and guards your heart and all your good organs.
the Sedano family loves you mucho.