Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Endings

CJ did well with his chemo and spinal tap last Friday. He was not feeling well at all and I did not think he would be able to get his chemo but his counts came back okay and the doctors said we could stay on course. We took lots of pictures and I even video taped the spinal tap for him to see what he has been through. This turned out to be what we believe is is LAST spinal tap. We have a couple more chemo appointments to go and of course we still take chemo daily at home but the last spinal is a big deal. After the spinal, Lotsy Dotsy (pictured here with him) and the nurses sang to him and brought him a little cake and some gifts. It was very sweet.

He just watched the video of the spinal tap with me and was pretty surprised when he saw the spinal fluid dripping out of the needle protruding out of his back and the doctor inject the chemotherapy directly into his spine. It is one thing to know what was done and hear about it and quite another to see it. He is thinking about letting me post the video but you can see some of his adorable tush in it, so he is not sure if that would be appropriate in case there are some younger blog readers. If we post it I will put up a warning first!

He had a rough but okay week bouncing back from chemo. He still is not feeling 100% from the chronic cough and persistent cold he has had. I guess he will never be 100% until he is off all of this medicine and his blood levels have time to get back to normal levels. I was told recently by a mom that it took her son 6 months of being off chemo before his counts were all normal again. I had not even thought of that but it makes perfect sense.

Here, in the George home we vary to all extremes emotionally. Some of us are excited about the end of treatment and some of us are nervous about the end of treatment. Our nurse (who also had a child battle cancer) was telling me how strange it will feel to go from giving him multiple pills each day and every night to suddenly the very next night....not! I think it will be a relief to not have to think about all the pills and charts and times and doses and refills and co-pays, etc. yet they all make you fill like you are doing something to beat this awful disease.

CJ's dad, Chris, does not like to talk about the end of treatment in any celebratory way since we are not there yet. We want to plan an end of treatment party for CJ but Chris just wants to be sure we get there first. He knew a fellow police officer whose child was on their very last day of treatment and last spinal tap, and got the call that instead of celebrating the end of treatment the cancer had spread and instead of a party they were re-inducting and starting all over. I think that story is always with him and he feels we need to have the scans and hear the "all clear" before we celebrate. So any plans for that will be announced later.

I struggle with coming to the end of treatment because we have so many kids we have grown to care for that will never to get to this point. I could name so many kids that have passed away in these past two years that will forever be etched on our hearts. Tonight, one n particular comes to mind....

Last night, our family sat down together and watched the movie Letters to God. If you have not yet seen this movie it is available for sale now. This is a movie about a young boy with cancer and how God used his pain to teach others to seek God for answers. It hit me again powerfully that what these kids are going through inevitably forces questions to arise in us about God and man, and life and death. Our only hope is that in all of that, those questions would lead people to seek God for the answers. We don't claim to have them, but God does, and He is faithful and will answer the earnest prayers and questions of your heart.

Prior to watching the movie, CJ , his sister and I had already read the book to prepare us so we knew pretty much what to expect. But dad, however, didn't!

Half way through the movie I had this sense that when I checked my emails after to see how Sam Bish was doing (the little boy at the end of his battle with Osteosarcoma bone cancer) , he was going to be free from cancer and in Heaven. Somehow, I just felt it and knew it! I even said to my family after the movie, I am going to check on Sam and I bet he passed away. Therefore, I was somewhat prepared for this as I checked my emails after the movie. However, I was in no way prepared for what I read.

There was an amazing post on their site by their pastor just before he passed. He had shared a story about Peter in prison, and called on the church (all believers) to pray for Sam between the hours of 5pm and 9pm asking God to release Sam from his 'prison' (his body) just as the believers prayed earnestly for Peter in Acts 12 when he was in prison. At 7pm, right in the middle of the earnest prayers of the church on behalf of Sam Bish, God released Sam from his prison of cancer and a failing body in pain. Sam is cancer free and with his Savior! Praise God!

My family read the entry together and were amazed that this post from the pastor was followed up by the one notifying us of Sam's passing at 7pm. God is so kind. As people earnestly prayed asking for God to release Sam, God was faithful and took Him home. I looked back over my shoulder to say something to Chris and he was not standing there anymore. I went to find him and he was face down...praying. It was too much for him between the movie and Sam. He was not prepared as I was because I had read the book first and already grieved for little Tyler in Letters to God and my heart was prepared for what I was about to read about Sam Bish. In my heart, I knew he had passed. I felt terrible for Chris but knew he was where he needed to be for his Saviors feet. And all I could do was let him be there. Before we went to sleep he suddenly spoke, "I thought that movie had a happy ending." I thought about this for a moment and replied, "It did!"

I know we will never fully understand any of this until I get to heaven but our idea of a 'happy ending' does not always line up with God's plan and His idea of a 'happy ending.' I think the happy ending is there when our focus is on Christ and what He gained for us on the cross and not this temporary life and what we have lost. So, yes... Sam Bish is a Happy Ending. His family will have eternity with him and that is greater than any temporary time on earth. I know this is easily spoken from the lips of a mother whose child is about to end treatment and I am not staring at a casket today. But I have experienced great loss and grief in this life. and I cam openly confess that I don't want to lose CJ to cancer, but I can even more adamantly admit that I am more afraid of losing him to the world than I am to cancer. I know it probably sounds crazy so forgive me if I am offending anyone.

I also know that 'survivors guilt', as we come to the end of treatment for CJ, is completely unnecessary, but it is always with me in some way or another. I hate losing these kids! We mourn for each one and their families. Running CBC has afforded us the opportunity to be a part of some amazing lives and each time we lose a child I cannot wrap my brain around it. I just hope and pray that we can continually be good stewards of what God has allowed us to be a part of both directly and indirectly through this amazing journey.

Here is the link to read the amazing posts on Sam Caring bridge Site but be sure and come back to finish this post for CJ!

On a positive note, I can tell you that CJ is excited about the Light the Night walk at the end of his treatment and the fact that he has been selected as an honored hero for the Broward Walk Campaign this year. On Thursday, he spoke at yet another corporate event for an engineering firm Kevin and Schnars. This was an amazing company that was very welcoming to us. CJ shared his story with a large group of engineers and employees there. I hope they went home inspired because CJ sure did.

He is supposed to motivate these teams to boost their fund-raising and he came home motivated. On the way home, he was excited and talking about all his ideas for fund-raising for his Team. He decided to start selling the paper balloons that you would see in stores. He figured he does not have a business but he could sell them and cover his door and the walls of his room. He already started this and we are so proud of him.

Here are some pictures of his door so far. Thank you to those who have bought paper balloons to support Team CJ end of chemo walk....

If you want to donate and have a paper balloon hung on his wall with your name on it they are available for $1.00 (or any donation you would like to make to his Team) I hope and pray he is completely surrounded by these balloons by the time the walk comes in November as a reminder of the many people praying and supporting him. For those far away, you can also donate by sending a check made out to us and we will write a check to Light the Night on Team Bank Day. Or you can go directly to CJ's Team page and make a donation there or even join his team and come walk with us. It is going to be a very special walk for CJ this year!!!

Here is the Team Page for TEAM CJ end of chemo walk!

Note: CJ's End of Chemo Light the Night Walk is November 13th
at Huzienga Plaza in Ft Lauderdale from 4-7pm

If you have a business or a way to sell these paper balloons for TEAM CJ for his end of chemo Light the Night walk please contact me so I can get a pad of them to you. It is so simple. His sister Allie asked her orthodontist and they said sure and started selling them. You can ask any business you frequent often. Don't forget to join his Team and either start fundraising or make a donation to his team that way as well. Please Note .... all the money for Team CJ Light the Night walk will go to fund research for blood cancer cures.

Our prayer requests are that we would continue to walk through this with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. When our eyes our off Him we dwell on our circumstances, we become easily overwhelmed and begin to question all that is happening to us and around us. But when our eyes are on Him and the Cross all else fades away and seems insignificant in light of Him and the glory he Has achieved and secured for us.
It reminds me of the lyrics to the famous hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus....

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look Him full in His wonderful face
And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim
In light of His glory and grace"

Please pray for peace for the Bish Family. We pray that they too can focus on their 'happy ending' when they are reunited with their son in glory and in the meantime the Lords presence will reassure them and comfort them.


Anonymous said...

I am very thankful for being in some little way, part of this journey of yours. We have been inspired, challenge, encourage and overall brought to our knees in prayers to our father in your has been a journey with highs and lows but rich in the eternal legacy of it.

We love you CJ and Georges and we are going to celebrate your life :)

Claudia for the Abeggs

Carmen Behar said...

Thank you for opening your life and your heart! Your posts are always stirring. Thank you for the reminder of God's purpose for us this side of heaven!
Many Prayers for the Bish family, your family and CJ!
Love, The Behars

Anonymous said...

You have such a capacity Dawn, you and your family, to influence many in this world -- I'm so grateful for your Godward focus, It always give me renewed perspective about what is important in life when I read your blog. We feel so grateful to know CJs friendship and your family's friendship these past few years. Thank you for glorifying Him in your blog!

With LOTS of love,
Cindy Schmatjen

Resie Manahan said...

Thank you for sharing your heart & for having such great faith and strong resolve in the Lord. I did see the movie too-I cried & got inspired, challenged & encouraged. I agree with your perspective of happy endings-the eternal joyous, forever God glorifying time with the Lord where there will be no more sickness, no more death, no more weeping & no more sin. Thank you Dawn for your eyes fixed on Jesus & His eternal purposes.
I am praying for you and CJ and your whole family.

Michal said...

I'm so happy to hear that you are doing a little better, C.J! Keep it up! ; )

That is awesome that you are raising money for Light The Night! This post was really an inspiration to me, and I'll continue to pray for you everyday.

P.S. C.J- Your poetry is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

Wow, your latest post has soo much information. So many emotions. So many conflicting questions. So many good answers. It is hard to believe that CJ and all of you and us are nearing the Finish Line of the chemo parts of treatment. I'm pretty sure that this will never be behind you because of the way all the other children have grabbed your hearts and because of the work CBC is doing to help these families. I would love to see a copy of the video if CJ would let me view it. I know I was there with you one time and was amazed at what I was watching and his still little body but I'd like to see it again when I'm sitting down. It is amazing the faith of a family and church body and friends have to actually pray for God to come and take a child. It is almost always the opposite of what we are praying for and it shows how much faith they really do have. God answered their prayers during that 4 hour window which is so amazing too when you think about it. My heart is full now trying to absorb everything about the movie, Chris, all the kids, how they process it and know that it is hard for adults to accept deaths and wonder what all of these deaths of kids they know and care for will affect them in their lives. Please tell CJ I have $30.00 sitting here for a balloon to place on his wall. I love you. Mom

beckyg said...

A big 'thank you' yet again for sharing your life so openly with us. You have like Claudia shared in her post earlier, inspired, encouraged, challenged and best of all, brought us to our knees before our Heavenly Father in prayer on your behalf. What a gift your family has been and is to us. We love you, and continue to stand with you in prayer!!!

for the Gonzalez Gang

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

What a powerful post, yet as I think back every single one of your posts have been so very powerful in their own way. But some leafve me speechless, like this one.
We are praying very hard for a clear result!

Lots of love

Nicole Ana Alberto

Anonymous said...

We love you guys! Thanks for letting us know how to pray for you! So very thankful for God keeping CJ here! Inspiring us as you use this trial as a platform for the gospel!

The Gavilan Clan