Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mixed Feelings

After spending a week in such close quarters with so many kids with cancer and watching many of them suffer the side effects of their medications and treatments, any guilt I was feeling for how well CJ was doing is gone now that we are home and he has done nothing but puke and feel sick continually. He tires easily and is constantly plagued by an upset stomach and struggle to eat.

I looked at him the other day and commented, "you would think he was on chemotherapy or something", which was a lousy attempt at a joke on my part. We have been so spoiled throughout his treatments by his ability to tolerate the medications with minimal side effects that it has been difficult to watch him struggle these past weeks. He does not bounce back after his chemo like before. The anxiety this creates for Chris and I as we near the end of treatment and upcoming scans is undeniable.

I shared in our last entry that one of the things that surprised me most at the family cancer retreat was the families that shared being off treatment and done with chemo seemed to be struggling the most. That is the goal after all, so why is there so much anxiety when we finally get there? There is the assumption that parents who have walked through the journey of childhood cancer and get to that last appointment walk away with a sense of relief and even jubilation. And maybe in some sense they do. I don't know because I haven't walked out of the hospital for that last time yet.

However, that time is fast approaching for our family. Tomorrow (Friday Aug 13th) CJ will go to the hospital for chemo and a spinal tap and intrathecal chemo (chemotherapy injected directly into the spine). This is not his last chemotherapy appointment but it may be his last spinal tap after months and months of this form of chemo and monitoring of his spinal fluids for spread of the cancer. I am not sure what I feel. To be honest, I have a wave of mixed emotions.

I am happy for him that this will possibly be his last spinal tap. I can not even count how many he has had these past two years. More than couple dozen easily. That is over 20 times I have stood there and watched him be put to sleep, rolled on his side, a needle injected directly into his spine to allow the spinal fluids to drip slowly, followed by another needle injected to deliver chemotherapy directly into his spine, then stood over him and prayed waiting for him to wake up. Why would I not be happy that this will be his last time to endure that and for me to stand there and watch and pray over him as the process unfolds. It makes no sense other than to say there is a strange comfort in knowing you are doing something, anything to fight and prevent the cancer from spreading. I have in no way placed my trust in chemotherapy as a means of healing but have accepted it as one instrument God has used in healing my son. Still, words elude me to describe the mixed emotions.

CJ has already began his pre-chemotherapy struggle of surrendering to the fact that he has to go tomorrow even though he does not want to. I have shared with him that it may be his last spinal tap thinking this would cheer him up and this only frustrated him as he cried, "I did not know I was getting a spinal tap tomorrow also." Then I wished I just did not say anything in the first place. Nothing I can say really helps. He just needs to work through the mixed emotions he feels when he has chemotherapy just as I have to work through mine.

Please pray for CJ as we near the end of treatment. His body is fighting this battle right up to the end. It has not been easy and we could not be more proud of him. After two years of chemotherapy, his body is weary and it shows. But his spirit is strong and that is what matters most. He has found rest for his soul by trusting in his savior, and now we need rest for his body.

Please pray that whatever is going on in his body that is causing the nausea and vomiting is just side effects from the treatments and that the cancer will remain in remission for good! Please pray for our transition into the end of treatment next month and clear scans allowing us to walk away from chemotherapy for good. Please pray for peace over our home for Chris and I, for CJ, for CJ's siblings, and for the two beautiful children we are raising right now.

I think in some ways we are all a little weary. Yet, we are also refreshed if that makes any sense. Like I said, mixed emotions and a loss of words to adequately explain it.

Thank you for your prayers. Our thanks could never be enough.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
(Matthew 11:28)


Ann Fuller said...

much love and many prayers to you all! we are not strangers, to this horrible monster.

God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Dawn and CJ

We are thinking of you today and praying that all goes well.

Lots of love,

Nicole Ana and Alberto

Anonymous said...

We are so sorry you're sick right now. we are praying and hoping you feel better really soon! We love you, buddy! aunt Karen and uncle Terry

Nan said...

Dawn and CJ, My mother's heart broke for you as I read this post. I fully understand your mixed-up emotions. And God understands too. Ya'll have given Him honor and glory in all things. There is no way that He could be offended by your fears. Your walk of faith is stepping into uncharted territory now. I encourage you to live in the moment. Don't try to figure out the future, just live in the moment with a thankful heart, walking in the light of His love. I write a daily devotional called Morning Glory. Today's post was about hope. You might want to read it, If you don't get there for a day or two, scroll down to August 13th. The title is "To Stretch Like a Rope". It is my prayer that this will encourage you.

Keeping you in my prayers,
Nan Jones

Anonymous said...

Praying for CJ and your family.
God is good, he is in control and will always be with us on our journey, no matter how difficult or painful it is, I know.
We miss you and love you, we wish we were closer to y'all, it hurts to bond with such amazing families and be so far. I know God has a plan and your family was a part of it.
Always praying,
Love Linda

Anonymous said...

We are praying and excited that you are ending your treatment. We are so sorry you are feeling so sick. Praying for full healing!!! Gavilans

Anonymous said...

Dawn and CJ,

Emily, Alex, Moriah and I drove right past the hospital, probably while you were there getting treatment between 10:30 and eleven. We lifted you up in prayer. We cannot comprehend what you truly face on a daily basis but we do carry you in our prayers. We serve a Big God who does know and we petition Him regularly on your behalf. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into what you face and the privilege to pray for you.

Helping to carry you along the way.
Marianne Kelso

Kevin Abegg said...

CJ, Dawn, Christ and family.
We are praying for you. The boys and I prayed yesterday for the spinal tap and for CJ's "tummy to feel better and the rest of his body healed". We love you all.
-the Abeggs

Kevin Abegg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


I just wanted to thank you for the blog once again. It has been such a blessing and a way for us to stay connected and know the intimate details of this process you all are going through. I am so thankful God placed this blog on your heart and allowed us all in to share this journey with you. I will prayer for all of you and love you all very much.



Anonymous said...

We are always praying for your body to be completely healed of cancer. We are so sorry you are feeling so sick these days, CJ, and we pray those side affects are just temporary and a sign that the medicine is doing its job well.
the Sedano family

Michal said...

Hi, C.J. I found out about your family's blog about a month ago, and I think that you are such a brave inspiring person. I'm praying for you!! : )

Anonymous said...

I agree. It has been so hard the last few weeks and hearing CJ has a
headache, a stomach ache, is tired. He has handled so well the treatment
until now that we forget to give him the extra hugs and credit sometimes for
what he is going through. I pray all the time as I know you and Chris do
that this treatment will be final and nothing will happen in the future. No
matter how confident we are though we see some of the others that have
relapsed and that fear wants to grab you. You have to sweep it away all the
time. Today Enzo goes for his maintenance chemo Avastin. Not sure what
kind of side effects maintenance chemo has or what it really does but like
you said God has allowed this medicine to put Enzo's cancer on the back
burner and he is burning up the neighborhood on his newly designed motorized
bicycles. 2 other guys in the neighborhood are already buying one. He is a
bad influence on the boys!! God bless him and God bless CJ. God bless you.
You sounded so tired last night when you took Alibrandi to the barn to
reward her for babysitting again all day. You had your head filled with how
you were going to find the hours to do groceries and everything else after
that and my heart broke for you. I love you. Mom

Billy Long said...

Hello, Chris and Dawn and all the kids. Great to see you all in the lighthouse photos. You all and C J remain in my daily prayers. Please give my greetings and love to John znd Colleen.
Bless you all.
Billy Long