Thursday, April 29, 2010

Least Expectations

In front of CJ's bag at the Relay for Life.
From left to right:
Alibrandi, Travis, Jerri, CJ, Brett and Corey

Right up there on a list of things I never expected to see in my lifetime would have been my son's face on a hospital's campaign letter representing kids with cancer or any other life threatening illness for that matter. Although, I knew CJ had been chosen to represent Joe DiMaggio in their mail-out campaign letter, I did not know when it would arrive and exactly what it would look like. I knew I had seen plenty of them before my own son was diagnosed and but I really did not know what to expect other than the free mailing labels they always came with.
Well, it arrived in the middle of the week, and, looking back, I believe that may have been providential. It landed on my counter smack dab in the middle of a very hectic week of settling two small children into our home and making the necessary adjustments of going from four kids to six kids literally overnight. It came, in the middle of trying to figure out where everyone was going to sleep and where their clothes were going to go. In the middle of endless potty accidents and washing load and loads of sheets and clothes...there it was. In the middle of wondering how we are going to get through this new trial, there lay this reminder of all that we have been through this past year and a half. It was a reminder of the enormity of what we can get through that we may have never thought we could.

That letter and all that it represents came as a reminder of sudden change and God's faithfulness during difficult times. I needed that reminder because once again our family has drastically changed overnight and we are treading unfamiliar waters. No, it is not a cancer diagnosis for one of our children, but it is a huge change none the less. Taking on two small children that have been through so much already is weighing heavily on me.

Believe it or not, I feel a lot like I did when CJ was diagnosed. For one, I have no idea how long I have with these children. Is it enough time to show them all I want to show them and share with them all I hope to share with them? Is it enough time to build the relationships and earn the trust to speak into their lives the beautiful truths of the gospel? As with CJ, I have no idea how we are going to get through each day other than to lean on God's grace. I don't feel equipped to handle this, yet I know God has called me to it, so I wake up each day and do whatever it is He has laid before me. So even though this is drastically different, the feelings are very similar.

Our concerns for CJ in this would be his continued health as he completes his chemo treatments. He is rounding the bend and the end is in sight with only five months of chemo to go. However, we now have one child in the home attending public school. That's right! Talk about treading unfamiliar waters...I am now not only a home-school mom but also a public school mom (so to speak) since I had to enroll my nephew in first grade to complete his school year.

With that, we are extremely aware that we are opening our home and exposing CJ to that many more germs and infections. Although, he is doing well with his chemo and his counts seem to be okay right now, we are aware of how easily and unexpectedly they fluctuate from one extreme to the other. Even though we will just have to cross that bridge when we get there but we would love to know he is covered in prayer regardless.

Also seemingly providential, smack in the middle of this week also lay Poppa Enzo's birthday! The latest reports we received after his most recent scans were not good. We were told "the chemo is not working." Words I have dreaded ever having to hear for CJ and never expected to be hearing for poppa so soon. So the day after receiving the letter reminding me of how far we have come with CJ, I stood before poppa while we had a special time of celebrating and honoring him in both a serious and humorous way.

We will try a new chemo next week and hope and pray for the best, but I can't help but wonder if right up there on that list of things I never expected to experience in this lifetime will be watching my son recover from cancer while simultaneously watching another loved one deteriorate from it.

Thank you to those who have stuck with us and continued to pray for our family. We are extremely grateful.

CJ and Alibrandi with Poppa Enzo


Anonymous said...


We continue to pray for all of you and trust the Lord to give you much faith, courage and strength to walk this path. You are doing an amazing job along with Chris and all the kids. I know your niece and nephew will leave your home some day with grateful hearts for all you have done for them. In the meantime know that the Lord is so very pleased with your service to his call on your lives.

beckyg said...

Thanks for your faithful example of laying your life down for God's call...You are in our hearts and prayers daily, we love you and are so thankful to call you friends...

for the Gonzalez Gang

Billy Long said...

Once more you have written so skillfully and with such annointing. I am sure that any reader will be touched and blessed.
I know the following words from scripture are appropriate for you:
"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister..."Heb 6:10.

"Be stedfast, immovable...knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor 15:58.

May the Lord continue to bless you and Chris and the kids.
Billy Long

Unknown said...

Hi George Family,
We will continue to pray for you guys. I am so happy that Cj is doing so good. May the Lord continue to bless him.
Dawn if you need anything from me please let me know. I am a phone call away. Love ya guys.

Martha Rivero said...


I heard those exact words for my father, "the chemo is no working", I felt my whole world was ending, the doctor sent him home and gave him little time, but God is so powerful and amazing, my dad stills fighting this disease, the cancer has not spread to other organs, it stills in the liver, and I am amazed with our loving merciful God! I will pray for Poppa Enzo, I am praying for CJ and little Susana, and all the kids suffering from this disease.

With Love,


Sonia said...

Dear Dawn is really a complex moment you are going thru, but you can because you have could. Your nephews are there with you for a good reason, everything seems so difficult from the outside that I only can congratulate you, for all the efforts and love that is in all you do. Antonio sow you and CJ at Enzo´s party, and he told me he looks good and happy, we are very glad for that. I´m worried for your mother, I would like to talk to her, but is has been difficult for me, because is not easy to talk on the phone, with my bad English, all what is happening to her now. We are praying for all of you especially at this moment for Enzo, because the last thing you should loose y the hope.
Lots of Love,

Unknown said...


It really is crazy when I stop and catch myself conversating with someone that wants to know whats going on or catching up and I hear myself talk about what's been going on: dad, Enzo, the kids, and then they'll say, "how is your nephew doing?" and I pause and think, wow, so much has happened and is happening on top of CJ's cancer and treatment. But, I know God is steadfast and knows the begining, middle, and end of all of this. I know that any other family could fall apart under such circumstances, but, mom, you, and I and our spouses and children grow stronger and open ourselves up to the lessons and voice of God in all of this. We are victorous even in these circumstances! I am so thankful to have and know Our God and be able to lean on Him and trust Him or I would be a "worldly mess". CJ is our angel. Allie is a rock. Brett and Corey are awesome, energetic little boys growing up in such a God centered home. It is so nice seeing Jerry and Travis and watch you take care of "6" kids, ha, ha. But, I do believe the Lord has a plan bigger than our comprehension. I thik part of this is so we don't concentrate on one thing too long, because we are forced to deal with the next. Things will balance out and calm down, but we will never see that "normal" again.