Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Especially in an MRI Machine!

CJ had the MRI on Saturday to try to determine why he has been limping. This was difficult for him because it was an MRI, on September 12, 2008, that lead to his diagnosis and changed the course of his life forever. On that day, what should have been 45 minutes became four hours, two MRI machines, and dye injections before being transported to Joe DiMaggio for an unexpected 17 day stay. I think that day was fresh in CJ's mind as we made our way to the hospital Saturday morning.

CJ's greatest fear however, was the injection of the contrast they use in order to obtain clear pictures. He remembered that the last time he had it, he immediately got physically ill and began to throw up. He anticipated this happening again and was highly anxious about it.

For Chris and I, the fear was more related to what they would find. Although it was not what they were looking for, we knew that if there was any sign of new disease in the area of the pictures being taken, they would see it. We knew there was a possibility we could soon be hearing that dreaded 'R' word all parents who have children with cancer fear.......Relapse.

Unlike the original MRI where Chris and I were able to go in together and be there for CJ and each other, this time, God ordained it that only one of us could go in. I assumed He was not only teaching us individual lessons but protecting us as well. I made that assumption when I was in the room with CJ during the MRI and I saw how eerily similar, or 'exact' to be more precise, the room that I was in was to the one on that unforgettable September day. I knew being in there would have been extremely difficult for Chris. Every detail was the same. Every sound was the same. The smell was the same. The instructions were the same. I could only trust and hope that the outcome would not be the same.

Seeing CJ lying in that machine was more overwhelming than I expected. I knew I had to pass the time in a positive way so I began to pray and recite scripture. I did not have a Bible with me so I was going over the verses in my head. Since I was also distracted thinking about CJ, I would repeatedly get lost and have to start all over. I came up with a really interesting version of the book of James in that first hour. Let me just pause here and say, there is no better way to pass time than reciting scripture. It is just like reading in that time flies by when you are doing it. If you have something that is difficult to get through, whether it be doctors appointments, dental appointments, exercising, walking on your treadmill, or getting through a Sunday Sermon (just kidding on that last one) try reciting memory verses! It will be over before you know it and you will have a renewed mind and spirit to boot!

Even though I knew that CJ could not hear me over the overpowering sounds of the MRI machine and I could barely hear myself, I knew the power of God's word was there regardless. I did start to wonder at one point how I must look to the technicians on the other side of the one way glass. For those of you who don't know me personally, I am quite expressive and every now and then I realized I was adding facial expression to my verses. Once I got that under control, by turning my back to the window, time began to pass more quickly. At least for me! CJ, on the other hand, fell asleep. He woke up at one point very confused as to where he was. He began shaking. I stood up to grab his hand to calm him and thankfully he did not try to sit up while still in the machine.

Reaching the end of the first hour, he was pulled out to inject the contrast into his vein. He immediately became upset. He was hot and sweating by now from being in one position for so long. He was afraid it would make him sick. He began to cry. I tried to talk to him and calm him but he was scared. I reminded him of the verse he recently memorized for the National Bible Bee, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Awesome and timely verse in Joshua 1:9.

I said, "CJ, that is a promise from God that He will be with you even in an MRI machine."
And to our surprise, the nurse who was preparing him for the injection suddenly said, "Especially in an MRI machine!"

After this, CJ was calm and able to receive the injection, control his nausea, and complete the remainder of the MRI. Forty five minutes later, we were done and found Chris pacing the hallways and happy to see us. I know he had his own lessons and conversations with the Lord to pass the time during his wait.

To our great joy and relief, we walked out of the hospital that day of our own accord. No sudden surprises or emergency hospital admissions. Since then, we have learned that the MRI was negative for necrosis, fractures, or any sign of new disease! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! This is wonderful news and we are very grateful.

However, although we rejoice in the results, we are still at a loss as to why CJ is limping. To be perfectly honest, this leaves me a little frustrated and reminiscent of those early days when I would take CJ to the ER to be told nothing is wrong and would then go home happy that nothing was wrong, yet still confused.

The MRI results will be looked over by some of CJ's other doctors but at this point we don't expect it to show anything that indicates why he limps. The next possibility is that it is a result of muscle memory from the times he was in pain. This is not unlike a person who has a severe fracture in one leg, is casted for a long period of time, and after complete healing, still walks with a limp or favors one leg out of habit. That assumed, I would believe and hope that physical therapy would be available to him so that it can be corrected.

CJ is also recovering from this whopper of a cold that went through our family. Thankfully, we were able to monitor him at home, control his temperature, keep him hydrated, and avoid a another hospital visit. Thank you for your prayers.

CJ and I will go in tomorrow morning (Thursday) to get his blood counts done and review the MRI results in detail with the doctors. He has a list of questions he plans to ask the doctors. I believe they all consist of when can he do this or that. Please pray he gets some of the answers he is hoping for.

Thank you again for your prayers covering CJ and our family. As we stay the course, we are grateful for all who have stayed the course with us. We have learned huge lessons these past few months and pray that the lessons will stay with us and bring lasting and effective change.

"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. "
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)

I must close this post with the confession that it is extremely difficult to post this positive news for our family when we know that so many other families are not receiving the news they hoped and prayed for. I have learned that many families who write about their journey through cancer, struggle with sharing their good news as they watch other families face heartbreaking test results, relapses, and completion of treatment with the disease still present. Instead, they secretly rejoice while those around them suffer. We understand the hesitation as right now our hearts and aching for the Villalona family who took their little princess Amanda home on hospice. Amanda, as you may remember, is the little angel we met at the hospital that I shared with you about it an older post titled Brave Love Little Amanda is, like CJ, the child of a police officer.

We are grieving with them as we balance Romans 12:15 to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." We take comfort in the fact that they are secure in the Lord Jesus Christ and although they are grieving, they will not grieve like those with no hope, but rather like those who rest assuredly in the hope of Jesus Christ who will gather all those that belong to Him to Himself. Regardless of the outcome, Princess Amanda will be cancer free! Our prayers are with you Princess Amanda

"Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them......Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
(Matthew 19:13-14)

URGENT UPDATE: We were just notified and are sad to announce that Amanda has passed away. We were checking her site daily and yet it always opened to the older post so we had not realized she has already gone to be with the Lord. We were told today that she passed away the same day I posted the above post. This is from the families website: "I wish to inform you that our Princess Amanda earned her angel wings early this morning, 6/30 at 1:47a.m."

We are saddened by the news. I am personally fighting my flesh and forcing it to keep in step with what my spirit knows to be true. My heart is aching for this family. I did not expect this news to be so difficult but Amanda is the first child we have had to say goodbye to since we began this journey. May the God of all comfort draw near to this family and fulfill His promise that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." (Psalm 34:18)

We also miss and constantly remember CJ's friend Jia who left for North Caroliona back in January for a bone marrow transplant. He still has not returned due to endless complications. We love you little man and we can't wait to see you again. Keep fighting and take good care of your mom!


Anonymous said...

CJ I am glad that you have over come you fears and let the Lord do his work. He has touched you and your family in so many many ways and we have all been touched by him to have met such a special young boy and an amazing Family. We have been with you since the begining and we have so learned so much from you as well. We have cried with you, prayed with you and have been amazed in the love and support that surronds you. I am honored to say that CJ has touched a special place in my heart and that The George Family has taught me the true meaning of life. CJ you look so handsome with that thick hair. Let me know when your ready to get a girlfriend and we can set that up (hahaha). Keep up the good work and please keep sharing the beautiful life experiences. God Bless

Anonymous said...


Happy July 4th Everyone.

Anonymous said...

I have posted before but, not often, although I keep updated on a consistant basis in regards to CJ's case. I too, had cancer and have been cancer free for two years now, Thank you Jesus for that blessing. I have one child and another on the way, thank you God for that blessing as well. Mrs. George, because I had cancer I can relate to alot of your feelings, (although from a different point of view) and I often find myself saying "hey I felt that exact same way", when I was diagnosed I asked "why me?" then as I hear of others struggles with this disease I found myself asking the same question "why me?". Then I tell myself that God has a purpose, I may not know right now what his purpose is, but I know there is a purpose. I trully believe God has a grand purpose for CJ. Not only CJ, but you as well. I know you have probably given comfort to some parents that are in the same sitiuation you are in. God Bless CJ and your family.

Martha said...

Dear Dawn,

My heart rejoice knowing that CJ is doing awesomely well, but my heart aches for little Amanda and Jia, I cannot explain how I feel, yet I can say that I thank the Lord for our faith, we as Christians live and walk by faith not by sight, and that is our beautiful hope in Jesus Christ. My heart and prayers goes to your family, and also to those that are not doing well, there is to say we will know the answers to everything we don’t understand today when our savior comes, I really can’t wait!! I love you guys!

Ohh update in my nephew, he had surgery last month, the tumor was 4 x 3CM, he doing fine, the blood counts are good, but due to the chemo he lost all his hair, he will have two more sessions to go, but despite of everything he looks so cute, specially with a bold head, and he is the sunshine of his parents life.

With Love,


Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for good news on CJ's MRI and that his recent illness wasn't something more! We will continue to pray for precious CJ, and we are grateful God uses you to minister to others in situations that only you can truly understand!! We love you! Aunt Karen and Uncle Terry

Anonymous said...

Wow!! God is good and faithful!!
I am so happy for the good news and hope that you would soon find a clear answer to CJ's limping.

CJ I have to agree with whoever said that you look very handsome, in my humble opinion I think is, more than the hair, the reflection of God's spirit in you ;).
By the way, I was missing your has been a while or so it seems.

Love you all and hope to hang out soon
Claudia for the Abeggs

Anonymous said...

Dearest Dawn and Christ and family, Thank you again, as in countless other times, for your God-centered, candid and very moving updates. We have prayed for these MRI results and rejoice with you! May God provide grace and therapy or whatever is needed to re-pattern those muscles to full healthy motion! We miss you guys already and are even more grateful for the updates via blog. We love you and are still praying with you and rejoicing in God's goodness. Yes it is such an infathomable mystery why He allows what He allows, but oh the God we serve. He has befriended those who hated his name. The song in the Come Weary Saints album has been coming to mind often when I pray for you guys... the chorus.. :king of glory, I know you love me, so I will trust you. God almighty, you have saved me, so I will trust you.... How could I not trust my king, the one who has formed me and shaped me. I will rejoice and will sing, for the one who has made me has saved me. May he fill your hearts and minds with those truths as you allow Him to plow the fallow ground and conform you more and more into Christ's image. You are loved and missed!
mattie and hugh and caedmon

Kevin Abegg said...

CJ, Chris, Dawn and everyone. As the verse mentions, we too rejoice with you and will continue to pray for full healing and for Peace, Faith, Hope and Love to be tangibly present in your home. God bless!

Unknown said...

I also had fear before CJ entered the MRI machine again. It isn't surprising how you remembered every exact detail, smell and sound of the room. The most terrifying events in our life are like that.

I've had one MRI and I felt so alone in that machine listening to the sounds, peeking out at the sterile walls, cold. I can only imagine what CJ was going through. It is amazing that you are able to give him enough comfort to stay calm enough to lie still in there.

I am happy that the MRi didn't show anything and frustrated as I know something is off. I see CJ's limp, his little shakes in his hands, how easily he twisted his ankle and hurt himself to know that somehow this healing medicine does have some pretty debilitating side effects. When we went to the movies and I asked him how his ankle was feeling I could feel he was embarrassed to even admit something hurt him and I felt badly. He just said better.

Dawn just keep going forward with your "mommy instinct" to figure out what needs to be figured out and then when you're satisfied with the answers to just accept them and give him the comfort he needs to deal with all of these differences that he has to live with. I'm sure being a little boy and limping around when you're trying to run with your friends and stuff doesn't feel good in side but he pushes and plays and doesn't complain and I love that little boy.

God bless all of you today and our country this 4th of July.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for the update. I missed you guys so much the past three weeks. I am thankful that everyone is healthy now. Happy 4th. I will see you later. Kevin is so excited to get to see his cousins and I am looking forward to seeing and spending more time with my niece and nephews.



Billy Long said...

Chris and Dawn,
Just wanted to remind you that CJ and your family are in my morning prayers each day. I am thankful the Lord allowed me to meet your family. You are a wonderful example of the grace of God which is evident on you. Bless you.

Tammi said...

Dear Dawn and CJ, I am so sorry to hear about Princess Amanda. I know that she is in Heaven now with Jesus and that is wonderful. I'm sorry that CJ is hurting, too. I love you so much, CJ. Your Uncle Chuck said he was so happy to see you last week and that you looked great, too. He also said he saw that you were limping badly and I could hear him praying with Travis for you. I am praying for you everyday, too. I love you and I miss you all xoxoxoxo Aunt Tammi

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am so glad to hear about the MRI yet so saddened to read about Amanda. I got chills when I read it.

Hope everyone one is rid of the cold now and had a great 4th.

We continue to pray and think of all of you, Love

Nicole Alberto and Ana

Anonymous said...

From one Bible Bee family to another, thank you for your testimony that you submitted to Bible Bee Headquarters. Thank you too for your amazing blog and for showing us what it looks like to rely on God moment by moment. Your testimony elevates the power of God's Word in such a tangible way. Thank you for being a light through such a hard time. Praying for you in Michigan.
In Christ,
Amy V.