Friday, October 30, 2009

Thank You for the Cough Drops

After a sudden plummet in counts last week and a complete halt on all chemotherapy and other medications, CJ's had his blood counts done today and they are finally back up. Praise God! They shot up high enough for us to restart all meds again and continue with his chemotherapy schedule. They are actually higher now than they should be for this stage of his treatments so we will begin to try and get them back down to the correct ranges.

What a relief after worrying that every cough or sneeze would infect him. What a blessing after having been bottled up in this house for two weeks that he is free to go! He is hoping to at least be able to play his last game with his team this week! That will be one happy third baseman let me tell you.

Thankfully, we made it through the low counts without CJ getting sick and only one visit to the Emergency Room because of a fever. I was at youth group with Allie on Sunday night when Chris called and to let me know that CJ had a fever and I should head home. After everything that had happened the previous week, I thought he must be joking. He wasn't! After hanging up I remember just feeling frozen in time as I wondered what more could possibly happen.

Chris took him in late that night fully expecting an overnight stay. CJ did surprisingly well. He did not complain or question anything when we told him he had to go to the hospital. I think he has learned to roll with the punches, for lack of a better expression. Or maybe he was where I was by that weak, broken, and sad to even put up a fight or shed a tear.

Once there, they immediately accessed his port and withdrew some blood for testing. After administering some strong antibiotic through the port, the fever had subsided and they allowed him to come home. This was a blessing considering most fevers require a 3 day minimum hospital stay. So we were grateful for the outcome.

As Chris and CJ were getting ready to go to the hospital that evening, the worry coming off of Chris was palpitating which only served to increase my anxiety. I contemplated where God was in all of this. It seemed like life was spiraling out of control. And I am not referring to my control mind you! I relinquished control of my life to the Lord a long time ago and prefer it much better that way. But these past two weeks I began to wonder whose control it was under. Was it under the control of the Lord who is close to the brokenhearted and who has numbered every hair on my head? The God I love and serve who will not leave me or forsake me and is interested in every detail of my life? Or was it under the control of the far off God who the world teaches is out there somewhere but doesn't come too close? As they were packing to leave for the hospital my mind replayed the last two weeks....

....First my dad and his wife found dead; then CJ's counts plummeted to almost nothing; then I became sick with a terrible throat infection at the worst possible time with CJ at high risk; then my daughter's cat was found outside all torn up from a neighborhood animal; then we received news about another death of a cancer child, and another relapse, and yet another one going home on hospice, and now......CJ has a fever and has to go to the hospital. I just stood there feeling defeated and exhausted, asking....God, are you in all this? Do you care? What more can we handle right now?
Even as I stood there thinking it, I had this sudden urge to check my email. It was almost like autopilot. It was almost 10pm, my husband and son are getting ready to leave for the hospital, CJ is getting his port numbing creme on, Corey is wanting to be put down to sleep, and I sit down and check my email....strange! Within seconds I knew why I had checked it. God answered my question and calmed my anxious heart before the thought could take up residence in my mind. Yes, God sends emails my friend! (But just so you know, he makes no promises or threats whether or not you forward them or not to 15 people so don't confuse His with those.)

I sat down and there was only one email. It was from my friend Becky who had served me a meal that week. I had emailed her earlier to thank her for the great meal and to thank her for the cough drops she dropped off with the dinner. You see, I had a nasty sore throat on Thursday night and could not sleep. I asked Chris to look for some cough drops but we did not have any. We always have cough drops! Not this time. Nothing! I was hurting but took some medicine and went to bed. Then Friday I had to handle some banking issues for my fathers estate. I wanted to stop at some point while I was out to get some cough drops but my emotions were still so raw that I could not bring myself to enter a store and face a cashier in fear that I may burst out crying right there in line. So instead I did the banking and went home.

When I walked in the door that evening, the dinner my sweet friend delivered was on the counter and right next to it was a bag of cough drops. I saw them and immediately said, "Cough drops!" as if I had spotted gold. Chris said they were dropped off with the food, to which I replied, "How did she know I needed cough drops?" Chris answered, "I thought you told her."

As I sat down to read the email from my friend, my heart soared as she explained how the cough drops were actually for her husband. She stopped to pick them up for him but had "accidentally" left them in the bag when she dropped off the food at my home. After realizing what she had done, she was too embarrassed to come back for the cough drops so she had to stop again and buy more for her husband. She had NO CLUE I had a sore throat and was desperate for cough drops. It was that word I don't believe in....coincidence. Amazing that just when I was asking God if he cared about all these disasters happening in our life, he answered by saying..."My sweet child, I care! I care about every detail. I even care about your sore throat! I sent you cough drops. And if I care about your sore throat, then I certainly care about your son's fever, your daughter's cat, your dad's death, and your families broken hearts."

Thank you Lord that although I accuse you of being far off and for lack of faith I question your Sovereignty, you still come near to me anyway. Thank you that you don't treat me as my sins deserve. Thank you that you protected CJ from getting sick while his counts were down. Thank you that his counts are back up. And thank you for the cough drops!

Thank you all for your prayers for CJ and our family. Keep praying! Please pray that we will get CJ back on the correct dosages of all his meds so he can complete this last year of chemotherapy on schedule and according to his treatment plan. Please pray fervently that this cancer never comes back. Please also pray for all the kids battling this deadly disease. Brave 9 year old Truman who just had his leg amputated in an attempt to save his life from this disease, and barve Sam who is recovering from his amputation, and Amanda who is now home on hospice, and Ji whose bone marrow transplant failed and is still fighting for his life, the 5 families we know of who already said goodbye to their precious children this month because of this cruel disease, and so many many more. You know, I am really starting to hate this disease. I never used to give it even that much emotion because I did not want it to have any piece of me but I REALLY, REALLY HATE Cancer, and I am becoming thoroughly convinced it is authored by Satan. It is just like him...deceptive, destructive, and deadly.

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Please share it with all your friends and join us in the battle against this disease on behalf of these children.


Janet said...

We're praying, CJ, that God cleanse your body completely of all cancer.
janet s

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Wow! That is so great that your blood counts went back up CJ! We are praying for all of you. We thank God that He is with you through this battle and we pray you would be completely healed of your cancer. We miss you and hope to see you soon.
Noah S.

Anonymous said...

Even though your 'paparazzi' won't be there to take pictures during your last game coming up, we sure had fun watching you play with the 'old' men in the family a few weeks ago. What super ball players you and Brett are!! We miss you and are so glad your counts are back up! Uncle Terry put your autographed ball on his dresser where he sees it every day and thinks of you! We love you, CJ!! Aunt Karen and Uncle Terry

Reta said...

I sit here reading your story and even though CJ is doing better, I still find tears forming for all that your family has gone through. I have cried many times lately for children I don't know that have left this earth after fighting such a courageous battle and there has been too many in the last 6 weeks. I am still crying over my husband. He will be gone 4 months, Nov 4th. It is a nightmare that doesn't go away because of what you have watched them go through for so long. Then there was my father, sister and brother that all fought the same battle and only my brother survived. I couldn't even begin to inmagine after losing all of them to cancer what it would be like to be a parent of a child with cancer. I don't blame God, if anybody, I blame mankind that polleuts this world and the government and big business that make it hard to make or research cancer treatments. I have read of cheap treatments in our countries but our government doesn't seem to want them as they wouldn't be able to make the billions off of them. Just like the medicine for VOD that Seth Harris needed but got too late but then I read where a two year lived that recieved the medicine right away.
You and your family have been through so much but I know you all will make it through it because of your faith and love for one another. I am so glad that your beautiful CJ is blessed to have such loving parents. I am glad that his counts are back up and able to recieve treatment once more.
What bothers me about all the people I have lost and that I have read about is that I think they should all have the same chance to recieve the very best treatment there is in the US no matter what insurance you have or don't have. I know we were one of the fortunate ones that had great insurance and paid probably up to a million dollars for my husband's treatment but we still couldn't afford The Cancer Treatment of America that we wanted him to go too. I just want the best treatment for everyone and so much more research needs to be done for children and it isn't being done and I don't know why. Everybody fights so hard to change things and people still turn their back when you ask them to donate to childhood cancers. They think this isn't going to affect them but it can. Just like it can affect my 7 grandchildren but they don't listen to me.
I don't know why I am saying all this. I am just so tired to reading about all the people and children sufferering and the parents having to watch the unthinkable things happen to the children.
As always I am praying for a total healing of your beautiful son. I also pray that you are able to come to some sort of peace with the passing of your father.
God Bless all of you.

Break the Mold said...

Dear Reta,

I totally understand you....of course only people like you and me can really understand the mess we are in with this disease and the lack of funding and research available.
I am particularly in the same mood as you this month. Watching 5 children die in a succession of 5 days and more within the weeks to come is hard. It seemed like they dropped like flies this month didn't it?
I spoke about it this week at a school after seeing the pink ribbon all over the school. Each kid in there would know what it was for. I want the gold ribbon (childhood cancer) to be like the pink ribbon (breast cancer). I want the same awareness and funding to come.

I won't go into the number comparisons because they will make you sick.. but it is sad. The amount allocated to children's cancer research in comparison to breast cancer and other cancers is obnoxious, not to mention in comparison to federal funding for other programs. The gov't paid more to buy a bunch of broken down clunkers than to save kids lives. Unfortunately, and i hate to say this but until someone other than your ordinary mom and dad's child gets diagnosed I don't know if much will change. But we have to keep on pressing forward and fighting anyway.

I know it is hard Reta...but we have to trust God who is Sovereign above all of this and above all men. He is and always will be in perfect control even when that control makes absolutely no sense to our human minds.

I am sorry cancer has touched your life so deeply. I don't think it is done with mine either. But God has touched us deeper still!

Thank you for your open and heartfelt post. I appreciate it more than you know!


Ily said...

Dear Dawn and Chris,
Once again as I read your post I am short for words. All that I can offer is my prayers. I am in awhh to see the strenghth that the Lord gives you guys. You know this month of November is going to be a difficult month for my family with the passing of my mother in law. But I have peace in knowing that she is with the Lord, but it does not mean that we wont miss her and feel sorrow and pain. My friends just know that the Lord is good to us even when we don't see or feel it. I know this first hand. God bless you all and may the Lord continue to look upon your family. I love you guys!

Kevin Abegg said...

Chris, Dawn, CJ and Family;
We're far away, but praying for you, love you all and are encouraged by the big and small ways we see the Lord is caring for you. We miss you all and look forward to being back there next week. God bless each of you our dear friends.
-Kevin for the Abegg family.

Unknown said...

Yes, we all too often focus on the things going wrong or the negatives in our lives instead of the constant miracles God has placed right in front of us. In your, our, circumstance, it sure does seem like the obstacles are hard to avoid. But, I read somewhere once, "Don't tell God how big your mountain is, tell your mountain how big your GOD is". I love you sis, and am truly sorrow you have to watch CJ battle this terrible disease, you truly are an inspiration for how all parents should step up for their children and help fight their battle. But, the most important thing that you do for your family is put God first and rely on him, I know actions help us and others feel better, but putting your faith and trust in the Lord is the best thing you can do.



Debbie Warnock said...

I really wish there was something that all of us could do to take away all the difficulties you've had to face lately. You're all continually in our prayers that God will protect you and surround you with his tender love, healing and joy. The cough drop story is amazing...God's loving thoughtfulness and care are so good!

Wendy Whitlow said...

Hey my friend. I was so moved by your words and how you so clearly saw what God had shared with you - about the cough drops...that I had to share your link again on the Supernanny site. I wanted them to get the update on CJ...but it was also a great opportunity to recognize my frailties when it comes to questioning our Heavenly Father...but also to share a story of hope. That when we think He isn't paying any attention to our needs...He is there with an amazing grip.
We are hard-pressed on every side...but not crushed.
He loves you and so do I. I am still praying...

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,
I'm glad to know that CJ's counts are up and that you are feeling better. This life is sure full of mysteries. I know that as time passess I understand less but some how I trust in God more. Our journey here on earth is full of twists and turns...sometimes happy turns and sometimes very unhappy turns. But I know that in each situation there is something spiritual or an awakening to our true existence, as Paul writes in the book of Corinthians "Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quiet small and won't last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God's richest blessings upon us for ever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." I know this verse has helped me not to get too overwhelmed when I either see or experience something that seems so unfair and incomprehensible. Dawn, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your joys and struggles,
Your friend,

CeCe said...

When I saw that you were at CC on Tuesday, I was so happy! I will pray that your counts get exactly the perfect hight. :) Love you guys! :)

CeCe! :) <3

Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn,

I am very sorry I havent written before. Sometimes it is so hard to find the words. We want so much to find those special words that will help, take some of the pain away. When those words just dont seem to come, well..

Know that we are thinking of all of you and keep yu always in our prayers and thoughts.

Lots of love

Nicole Ana Alberto