Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fighting the Good Fight

Today CJ walked in the door of the pediatric oncology clinic for his blood work and physical exam.  As the oncologist examined him I noticed strange things.  Like how far his legs were hanging off the examining table. And how the doctor wasn't really much taller than CJ anymore.  And how confident and comfortable he seems in such a stressful environment where kids are treated with serious and life threatening illnesses.  

But that's not what I was there for.  I was there to see if CJ's blood work revealed what I already believed to be true; that he is still in remission with no serious signs of relapse on the horizon.  Praise God, it did!  

The oncologist ordered a heart sonogram which will hopefully take place in the next couple weeks.  This is to monitor how CJ's heart is handling the "late effects" of the chemotherapy he received during his treatment.  Sadly, many children survive their battle with cancer only to succumb to heart failure or damage to other organs as a result.  There is nothing more sad to me than the child who beats this beast only to pass away because their little body can't handle the cure it was offered.  I always told CJ he would have to fight the disease and fight the cure at the same time. Now we are only fighting the cure and so far CJ is winning!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for the results today.  Please say a prayer of thanksgiving with us for this report and pray for CJ's heart to be strong and filled with nothing but the Holy Spirit!

 CJ has been fulfilling his duties as the National Youth Ambassador for Hyundai Hope on Wheels. The National kickoff in NY city was amazing and he did a great job. He is continuing to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a a representative and spokesperson. He recently gave the keynote speech at the Man Woman of the Year Gala in Ft. Lauderdale for LLS as the Boy of the Year.  I will be posting a copy of that as soon as I am given one as I really want to share with you what God is doing in his young life.   In addition he is committing to another season as the Ambassador/Spokesperson for the Florida Panthers Foundation.  He is really growing in this area and I would ask for prayer for this phase of his life as he seeks to be humble and use the platform God has given him for however long God allows him to have it.  

On a personal note, I want to apologize for not being faithful with the blog and posting CJ's post treatment endeavors.  I have to be honest and confess to you that it was easier when he was sick to share what was happening in his life and use the blog to beg God openly for mercy and beg you all for prayer on his behalf.  Now that he is on the other side of treatment,  I have struggled with sharing his success for two unnecessary reasons that God has recently convicted  me of.  

One reason I struggle with updates is that I have so many friends who don't have a "success story" to share and it burdens my heart and interferes with my thoughts as I post updates so I often find myself deleting them and not posting.  I can't explain it in any way that will make sense other than the term 'survivors guilt' which I don't have but I can't think of a better term to use to define the struggle.  It is more like  'survivors mercy' that I struggle with.  What I have learned is that these very families want to hear how CJ is doing and rejoice with me in his continued healing and success.  They don't resent our survival.  The want to hear how CJ is making a difference in the world pediatric cancer and I was robbing them of that.  Thank you for the faithful parents who bravely shared this viewpoint with me.

The second reason I have struggled with posting is the fear of not coming across as anything but humble and grateful.  But God has convicted me that this side of treatment highlights HIS glory as much if not even more than when CJ was on chemotherapy.  God has shown me that this side was part of HIS plan all along.  We are not making it up as we go.  CJ's continued healing and successes are to God's glory.  His ability to share his story in powerful ways that affects people and creates change is all by the grace of God just as his healing each day during treatment was by the grace of God.  It was wrong of me not to share this with all of you who followed and prayed faithfully.    I do realize that many readers of blogs like this fall away when the "tragedy" appears over but I realize that is to their loss not ours. 

As parents, we are extremely proud of CJ's willingness to share his story.  It is not easy for him by any means.  I truly believe the enemy wants to silence him just as he always has.   We live with him and we watch the struggles he faces and the way the enemy and his flesh try to attack him.  Then we get to see the fruit of his obedience when he shares his story or his faith and we witness others "see his good works and glorify God".  That is where I realize I failed with all of you.  I have not given you the opportunity to see or share in CJ's good deeds and the fruit of what God has done and glorify God with us.   I believe your prayers were instrumental in CJ's healing and therefore CJ's good work is as much your success and the good fruit of your prayers bringing glory to God as it is ours or his.  Many of you have shared with me that you prayed that God would not only heal him but would use him.  These are your prayers being answered.

In addition, from things I have witnessed recently, I have come to realize that CJ needs prayer for this season of his life more than he ever did when he was sick and in the hospital.  There is nothing more difficult than sharing your faith and walking the fine line of "being tested by the praise of man",  or the enemy convincing you that you are disqualified from sharing your testimony.  Therefore, I am not ashamed to ask for whatever prayers I can get for my son.  Of course I love all my children and pray for them all but I have to be honest, I have never seen anything like the struggles and attacks CJ has had on his life so I will unashamedly beg for prayer in that regard.

As parents we are extremely grateful for the role models and friends God has placed in his life.  CJ was able to spend the last three days with his mentor and friend David Booth who is a professional hockey player in the NHL. But that is not why CJ loves and admires him. CJ admires his love for Jesus and openness and passion about his faith.   CJ and David got to spend quality time together these past three days at a Ranch in Florida owned by one of the most amazing families we have ever met who also had a huge impression on our family and faith. 

Much of that time for CJ was spent in a hunting stand or in a small hunting blind where David often encouraged CJ in his faith, in the Scriptures and in his speaking.  David reminded CJ that he has to use this platform that God has given him faithfully for however long he has it. Thank you David for investing in CJ in this way.  Not just with your time, talents and treasures but with your words.  You cannot know how perfect the timing was for this in CJ's life and current struggles.  Everything you did for him was special but nothing means more to us than the words he tells us you shared with him and the encouragement you gave him to trust, follow, and obey God at all costs.  And thanks for sharing the Arruza family with us.  What a priceless gem they are!

So as CJ continues to....  
"fight this good fight of faith" (1Tim 6:12) and "puts on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, he may be able to stand his ground, and after he has done everything, to stand..." (Eph 6:10)

Will you.... 
 "Pray also for him, that whenever he opens his mouth, words may be given him so that he will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,  for which he is an ambassador in chains. Pray that he may declare it fearlessly, as he should."  (Eph 6:19)

                                                                CJ and David Booth


beckyg said...

My friend, I was just thinking the other day about your blog, and how I so missed your posts. Thank you for your faithfulness to keep Him and His Word front and center. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and allowing us to join you from time to time. God has used it mightily in our family from Day 1, and continues to do so. May we all keep fighting the good fight, for the prize on just the other side is so worth it! Much love! Becky for the Gonzalez Gang

Anonymous said...

Just saw CJ on NFL commercial and for reasons unknown the commercial really touched me. Enough so that I did a search and landed here. God bless you, CJ and your family, I have a burden to pray for you all and so pray I will.

In His love.

Heather said...


I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?