Friday, October 23, 2009

CJ's Blood Count Results

When CJ had his counts retested today he was even lower than last week. He is now down to a .1 ANC (absolute neutrophil count).

At this time they are stopping all medications he receives, not only the chemo meds. The doctors think the Bactrim (an antibiotic he has taken since day one) may be the culprit and hope by stopping this drug he may rebound. On the bright side, the doctors felt there is a good possibility due to the indication of other numbers in his counts that he may already be on the rebound. I don't understand it all but what I do know is he is lower this week than last, so if he is going up now, it must have happened very recently.

I copied this from a website to help you understand the importance of the ANC:

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) of 1000-1800: Most patients will be given chemotherapy in this range. Risk of infection is considered low. (Mild neutropenia)

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) of 500-1000: Carries with it a moderate risk of infection.

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) of less than 500: Severe neutropenia - high risk of infection.

CJ was somewhere around 269 last week and now is at 189 this week. Therefore, he falls in the Severe neutropenia category and is at high risk for infection. To top all that off, I am sick! I have a severe throat infection that is very painful. I do not like that he stopped the antibiotic while I am sick and in such close contact with him. Having the added concern that CJ is at risk while I am sick has caused me to consider possibly staying away from the home until I get better. We have not made that decision as of yet. As of now we are isolating me from him as much as possible within the house. Please pray I don't infect my child!

As CJ has basically no ability to fight against infection we are grateful to serve a God who has every ability to fight against infection on his behalf. We are completely dependent on Him as we are stripped of dependence on any other means. So let's storm the throne of grace once again and beg for mercy in our time of need.

When Chris called from the hospital this morning to tell me the news of CJ's counts, I went into hyper-disinfect and clean mode before they could get home. All the instructions we received back at week one of diagnosis warning us of all the risks of neutropenia and infection ran through my mind. In many ways, these results put us back to those first days of isolation and separation that we thought were far behind us.

Cancer is really such a cruel and deceitful disease! It teases you by letting you make progress only to regroup, reappear and attack all over again. We recently lost two little girls (both CJ's age) that both went into maintenance and were "cancer free" at one time before this monster pounced again. At the same time, our sweet friend Ji (also CJ's age), who was making progress towards recovery, now faces the set back of a second bone marrow transplant.

I realize CJ's counts plummeting don't qualify as comparable to these situations in any way, but it all demonstrates the cruelty of this disease that lets you think the worst is behind you and then betrays you.

But even as we are surrounded by the effects of this cruel disease we give thanks to God that His word assures us he is unchanging, cannot lie and no deceit is found in Him!

"...(we have) a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time..." Titus 1:2

In regards to my dad, today was a rough day. I dealt mostly with anger and frustration for the massive mess he left us by leaving us this way. So much is unsettled for us emotionally because of the way he died, and then having to deal with so much unsettled legally, is just an added burden. Burden...that really is the key word here. We had appointments with the bank today and emotions are still so raw that it is difficult to 'do business". But it must be done! As we were trying to make sense of the mess, I could not help but think we should not be there and it is all some big mistake. Surely there was an explanation for all of this somewhere. I kept half expecting my dad to walk in and straighten the whole mess out for us.

Based on our experience this past week and especially today, my advice to all of you is to express your wishes to a loved one before they have to make these very personal decisions on your behalf. Write them down and by all means necessary get your will and estate planning in order NOW! The kinds of decisions we are having to make and the disaster we have inherited is not necessary for anyone to go through. We inherited a burden of grief and a burden of legal matters. There are so many ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from this. I realize, it is never pleasant to talk about these matters, but one thing I can guarantee every one reading this is that you WILL die one day, and it WILL be painful for those left behind no matter the circumstances, and the least we can do is make it as easy as possible by settling these issues now. In light of all we have experienced, Chris and I have talked to each of our parents and plan to revisit our estate planning.

Of more importance, please hear me when I say the state of your soul is of the utmost importance in planning your death. Settle that account first my friend! Kneel before your maker and humble yourself and surrender your life to His sovereign control and accept the payment already submitted on your behalf.

Humor me for a moment.....If you broke a law and went to pay the fine, (which you could never cover anyway), only to discover someone already paid it on your behalf, the only thing that can keep you from accepting it is PRIDE. Foolish pride! Humble yourself and accept His payment on your behalf. You could never pay it anyway. And once again, only pride makes you think you can.

After you have settled that account first, then take care of your other matters. Your kids, your home, your investments. Get good advice. Know the facts and the differences between wills, trusts, beneficiaries, etc. You will not only have peace of mind but you will not leave a burden to your loved ones at an already difficult time.

Forgive me for being so forward and I apologize for all my venting on this matter. I realize our circumstances are unique and they bring added emotion and legalities compared to most deaths. But like I said, we will all die one day and leave behind the details to our loved ones in one way or another. Choose the better way! However unwelcome, this tragedy has afforded me the rare opportunity to experience these delicate and difficult matters first hand. If me sharing about our mess can save one family from going through this, then so be it.

As I end this post, I once again reiterate our plea for prayer for our precious CJ. We pray for his physical protection as a matter of high importance, but we also pray for his Spiritual protection as he deals with the outcome of his low blood counts. We see his struggle in submitting to our authority and trusting our decisions whether he likes them or not. He "feels" good so it is difficult for him to wear a mask and be told he can not participate in his playoff games after a long and hard season with his team. He misses them and he misses playing. We understand but we can not change the facts.

Thank you for bearing our burdens once again, and in so doing, fulfilling the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Humbly yet boldly,



Anonymous said...


oh wow you are dealing with so much right now, my thought are with you and your beautiful family.
I can not imagen the stress of it all and how you must all be feeling i hope things get better for you all soon.

XOX love, light, hope and faith

Anonymous said...

It's so hard not to wonder what God is trying to produce in all this, but your hope in Him is all that matters right now. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. May he build your faith beyond measure during this time.
In my prayers,

noah said...

Hello George family,
We are praying for you as you go through this battle. We thank God that He is with you. We are praying for you and your blood counts C.J.

Janet said...

Dawn, I am so sorry for your pain, but I know God is close to you and that He has a purpose for all this. His ways are higher than our ways. Seeing how you are trusting in Him, relying on Him and leaning on Him strengthens our faith in God. The will of God will not take you where His grace cannot keep you and His arms cannot support you. I know he will some day say to you, Well done, my good and faithful servant. Keep looking to Him as he dries your tears and comforts you.
janet s

Anonymous said...

Your family in Virginia is praying - all of us!!!!! We love you!!

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, we love you and are praying for you daily and having our church here pray for you too!! There is not much to say but that He is able and that He is doing....he is working for the good of all of you who love Him so much. You are with us and in our hearts every day.
CJ, sweety we love you and pray that soon you would be able to join your baseball friends!! and do the others thing you want to do right now :)

Love, Claudia for the Abeggs

Resi said...

I am praying for you Dawn, i was just having that discussion with Lenny and Leslie re: estate planning and you exactly mentioned that it can be a burden if it is not prepared well. I am praying for CJ,like you said storming the throne of grace for him and your whole family. He needs to wear mask and you too, esp if you have the throat infection.
Thank you for sharing your burden and your boldness.

Praying for you,

Anonymous said...

The amount of people praying for you exceeds your awareness. May God make you acutely aware of how He is carrying you through this time. We love you.

The Medinas

Mitch said...

Still praying for you and your family Dawn. Thank you for the continued updates on CJ. Unfortunately, his blood counts going up and down is a recurring report that I've heard many times before our group Team in Training runs when we gather to think about an honored teammate. I am so sorry to hear about your father. That was very shocking for me to read and I just teared up thinking about you dealing with all of this. May the prayers of others give you strength at this time and continue to help CJ in his path to healing. God bless, Love,

Elena Rodriguez said...

We continue to lift you and your family in prayers each night! The Lord is Faithful, He Loves you and will sustain you.. Though you walk through the valley of darkness.. Jesus' love lights the way..


Rodriguez Family

Anonymous said...

I always have to read this blog after I've removed my make up for the night....thanks for your passionate plea to have everyone get right accounts with the Lord, and with others because we never know...we are praying!

Unknown said...

I will pray for your son and for your family. God Bless you all.