Tuesday, January 25, 2011

eight months to the day.

May 24, 2010 we drove our little family of four home from the hospital. It was a sunny Monday afternoon, the start to a new week.

We were headed home to begin our new lives, to find our new normal.

We were scared.


We were overwhelmed.

We had just spent three sleepless nights at Medical City.

Crying, consoling, waiting, praying, holding, hugging, talking, meeting, questioning, Googling.

During that first stay, Jack had five tests, his port insertion surgery and his first chemo treatment.


Cut to yesterday, exactly eight months later.

We drove our little family of four home from the hospital, with an exhausted little boy who endured three scans over three hours.

And the results?


Clean scans! No evidence of tumor or metastasis. The doctor even said REMISSION.

We are so thankful for yesterday. God is good. Although, God would have still been good had we gotten not-so-good scan results, but we are so, so thankful for those good results.

Although this is HUGE, Jackson's journey is not over by any means. We are out of the treatment phase and we have moved onto the scanning phase. His next scans are in April, then July, then October. After that I think the plan is to scan twice a year.

The April scans will be pretty scary (really, they will all be scary, even 20 years from now) because that will be the first set of scans with a significant amount of time since stopping treatment. In April, we will be 90+ days out from treatment. Jack's last treatment was only 20 days ago. I think the April scans will be more indicative of what his body will do from here. I hope and pray that the April scans will say the exact same thing as the ones from yesterday.

With Jackson's type of cancer, the two main concerns are local recurrence and pulmonary recurrence. Statistics show that the first two years are the most risky as far as recurrence goes. After that, we worry less about recurrence and more about the long term effects of the treatments he received.

Here in a couple of weeks once his counts fully recover (they are still fairly low:700), we will begin the process of trying to be normal again. I look at it like re-entry into civilian life...kind of like soldiers that have been at war. There will be some stress and anxiety. We have been so conditioned to be cautious, to be over protective. It will be hard to revert back. We'll have to adjust and go slowly. I'm already nervous thinking about the germs at the grocery store! Although I can't wait to be normal like that again, it will be tough at times. Jackson hasn't been around other people regularly for eight months (except for hospital peeps), so it will be hard on him too. But, as always, he will bounce back fast I'm sure!

We have all been changed by this. I'm pretty sure that the change in us will continue to evolve. We are certain to come across situations or conversations or emotions that we would have reacted to differently eight months ago before Jackson was diagnosed. I don't think you can go through something like this and not be changed though.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers!! Please keep them coming! Specifically, please start praying now for his April scans, please pray for us as we adjust, please pray for his immune system to come back strong.


Could you please pray for this little guy? Here is his Momma's blog and here is his Facebook page. He is going through some pretty tough stuff, but he and his parents are so strong! He is incredibly precious and his little eyes just kill me.

We are so appreciative of your prayers, support and love. We are so thankful.

{Early morning, sleepy boy.}
After I took this picture Ryan said "You know, if our kids ever get famous they will wonder why people aren't taking their picture more. They'll think, my mom took more pictures when I was just sitting around." Whatever! Still snappin away!

{We'd already been there an hour.}

{Watching movies to pass the time in a very small, secluded room while the radioactive solution did its thing. It took about 45 minutes, then he was sedated for his PET. Ryan had to go in the waiting room with Brayden so that he would not be exposed to the radiation.}

{This is blurry, but it was when we were en route to the MRI. His PET and CT were done in a different part of the hospital. I stayed back as we were moving because I didn't want to see his eyes, which were taped shut.}

{We passed the time by coloring.}

{And napping.}

{Jack drinking apple juice and watching cartoons in recovery. He woke up a little wobbly and a little bossy but was happy in no time!}

{Happy, handsome boy! Eating in pj's, in public, at noon = awesome.}

{His daddy recently taught him how to give thumbs up.}

{Just heard "The scans are good!" Promptly stole Dr. G's stethoscope.}

{Thumbs up for good scans!}

{Dr. G is the one who sat us down that first day so it is very appropriate that he gave us the good scan news. Also, he gave Jack a little Hot Wheel that very first day and he did the same thing yesterday. I like little coincidences like that.}

{Jack asked for a monster for his special prize...? This is what Ryan found. We call him WolfMonster.}

{Happy, tired, relieved.}

This is one of my favorite verses. Inevitably, I will be anxious or nervous about the scans to come or Jackson's future, but this verse is a good reminder to think only of good things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I don't want to forget {part two}

It's been awhile. I've got a lot I want to post about, so things will be pretty random around here for a little bit while I get caught up.

The major news is that Jackson is finished with chemo! DONE. I am so amazed by him and all that he has endured over the past eight months. Beyond amazed.

Jackson's first scans since surgery in August are next Monday, the 24th. The PET is at 8:00, the MRI is at 9:00 and the CT of his chest is at 10:00. He should be out of recovery by 11:30 and we have a clinic appointment at 1:00 and hopefully we will hear all of the results by then. We have to be at the hospital by 6:00, so that means leaving by 5:15, which means getting up by...insanely early!

It is sure to be a long day full of nerves and tears. Thankfully, he only has to be sedated once for all of the tests. Please pray that his port access and his sedation go smoothly. Please pray for everyone that will have their hands on him. Please start praying NOW that Jackson's sweet little body is 1000% cancer free! We covet your prayers and we appreciate them so, so much.

So, not much has been going on, but I will be trying to get some things posted here in the next few days. Some are late (Christmas), some are ancient (Halloween...whoops) and some are random but for now I have another "I don't want to forget" list. About six months ago I posted a list of things the boys were doing or saying that I just wanted to remember forever, and reading back over that list I can't believe so much time has passed! These babies are growing too, too fast.

I don't want to forget...

{Jackson edition}

How you have a really impressive memory at this age. You get it from your Momma.

How you are getting really good at recognizing locations {the french fry house aka Whataburger, Daddy's work, Gram's shop}.

How wrestling with Daddy is STILL your favorite activity. You always find energy for that even when I'm certain you had none left.

How good of a driver you are already! The first time you got in your truck, you just took off. Makes me proud and nervous at the same time.

How you don't do anything without including your brother. If you have on airplane pajamas, well then of course baby Brayden also needs to have airplane pajamas on! You don't ask for Momma to get you milk, you say "Can we have milk?" If for some reason Brayden is not with us, you constantly question where he is.

How you like to talk about how God made us. Also, how he made your new truck.

How you have a need to repetitively identify everyone's gender {"Mommy, did you know that you're a grill (girl)? And I'm a boy. And Daddy's a boy. And Brayden's a boy."}.

How you are incredibly grammatically correct for a three year old.

How you have a crush on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders ever since meeting two of them.

How much you LOVE to snuggle and still want to be "comfy and cozy".

How you love playing "Chasing Mice". It's a game you made up and named yourself where Momma and Daddy chase the little mice named Jackson and Brayden.

{Brayden edition}

How you say "beee" for please, "mo" for more {while furiously signing it at the same time}, "go" for here you go and "hol me" for hold me {Jackson would say "hold you" at this age}.

How you will get something you are not supposed to have, but then ever so kindly put it back.

How you say Choo-choo for Thomas, Matman for Batman, Melmo for Elmo and Buh for Buzz.

How you will hand us something broken and say "sis it" for fix it, just like your brother did at this age.

How you say "Cheeeese!" the second you see Momma's camera

How much you love to take a bath and brush your teeth. You cry if you hear bath water running and it isn't for you. You throw a fit if I don't brush your teeth for an hour.

How you say "Mmmmmm" with a face dive when asked for a kiss

How you will chime in with "beee" when we are asking your brother how to ask nicely.

How you laugh at and look at your brother. You save your best laugh for him and look at him with so.much.love. It makes my heart explode in to 14 million micro pieces.

How you are so mischievous! Today alone you stole a piece of candy off of the table then ate it, wrapper included and later broke a lamp, all with a smile.

How you "sing along" to Spiderman.

These two sweet, precious boys sure do keep me on my toes but I would not change a second of it. I love them more than I thought possible and I hope that they always know how much their Momma loves them.



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