Well, it’s not really news. If you have followed along on this blog, you know that God has done two well-documented miracles in Caleb’s victory over cancer. But the protocol for the clinical trial we were a part of calls for follow-up scans at set intervals after chemotherapy is completed. We got the call last week that the latest scans are still showing that everything is clear and Caleb is (as he will remain!) cancer FREE!
While we were at the clinic that day for his scans to be done, we ran into a family that we have gotten to know over the last few months. They have a precious, vivacious little boy with such an amazing personality. They had been done with chemo for a few months, but they are going back in for some follow-up scans because there was a questionable area they saw on the scans he had done that day. Please pray with us for this family that the doctor’s belief that this was just a shadow or some other easily explainable blip will be confirmed and there was nothing to it. We are believing for a good report, and they would appreciate your prayers.
Caleb has been doing awesome. His hair has come back completely, and it is SO soft – like “baby”soft. He is so thrilled to not be the subject of so many stares, but he still finds opportunities to share his testimony anytime he can.
Many of you know what a tough road this journey was for us not only emotionally, but also financially. Many of you gave so generously, and there is no way we could have made it without you. Your love, prayers, and gifts left us speechless. We had another local church that we have many, many dear friends at that did a fundraiser concert for us right before Christmas. They raised just enough money to cover the rest of Caleb’s leftover medical expenses! We were so thankful for them doing that and thinking of our family. As a testament to God’s provision, we never missed a meal or were even late with a single bill during the whole ordeal! And although things were extremely tight, we always had enough gas to make the treatments, although sometimes it was provided at the last minute by an unexpected gift or unexpected renewal check in the mail. The cool thing about God being perfect is that He is never late.
The biggest reason for the tough times was that our insurance was through Holly’s employer, so I had to be the one to stay at home and provide the full-time care that Caleb needed. Well, I am back at work now, and God has been so good! We put the boys in New Hope Christian School (the school our church has) and they are loving it. Of course, I am, too, because I am a horrible teacher and I felt like I needed to be the one out providing for my family. However, we did what we had to do for our family in the situation we were in. So I am driving them to school and then going out to work during the day before picking them up in the afternoon. Things have been going very well and God has opened some amazing doors. We believe for even greater! We appreciate your prayers in that area.
I don’t know how much more updating I will do here. I have given some thought to turning this into a regular blog about healing and edification in general. If I do and you would rather not get updates in the future, you can unsubscribe at the bottom of the email that you receive. I am continuing to share healing verses and thoughts on Twitter – @healingverse.
Wow. God is SO good! I wish I could thank each of you personally for the love, prayers, support, and for just being there for us. There is no way I could do that, so let me say – on behalf of our family – THANK YOU and God bless each of you for your kindness. Words could never express the appreciation we have for you all. You are family and I thank God for each of you that are a part of our lives.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Caleb and I wild hog hunting last month.
What an amazing week it has been for one 12 year old boy! On Monday, he had an incredible wish come true thanks to the wonderful people at the Make A Wish Foundation.
We got a call just a few weeks after Caleb’s diagnosis last year from Make a Wish. We were told that he had been recommended for a wish and we started a process that culminated almost a year later with a smile that is still entrenched on Caleb’s face. We have had phone calls, paperwork, and visits over these last few months from some wonderful people that I am forever grateful to.
We finally sat down with a lady from North Augusta and her daughter, both of whom are volunteers and work with patients with possibly terminal diseases for Make a Wish. Caleb had gotten a packet a few weeks earlier that told him how to go about coming up with a wish. He was a little overwhelmed. I cannot count how many times he asked us what he should do for a wish, but we kept telling him it was HIS wish. We finally caved and sat down to make a long list of ideas with him.
Caleb thought about it and discussed it for weeks. On the night that the volunteers came to talk with us, one sat with Holly and I to talk about logistics while the other talked with Caleb in an adjacent room. We could hear him occasionally, and one thing that stuck out to me really touched our hearts. He told her, “Whatever I get for a wish, I want it to be something my whole family can enjoy with me.” As many times as you doubt whether you are making the grade as a parent, it is good to hear that something has gotten through. What a selfless, awesome kid!
It came down to three wishes. His first choice came from watching his (and our!) favorite TV show, Duck Dynasty. It is hilarious and clean, and we enjoy watching it together and howling with laughter. As you all know, Caleb loves his four wheeler and loves riding motorized vehicles. So he got the idea after seeing it on the show and riding in a good friend’s vehicle to ask for a Polaris Ranger RZR. Of course, Daddy was stoked with that idea! He said he only wanted it if he could get a four-seater so we could all ride together.
His second choice was one that his mom was more in tune with. It was a trip to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. His third choice was to go to France to visit the plant and test track where they build his favorite car – the $2.5 million Bugatti Veyron.
They took his choices and told us it would take a few weeks to make a wish come true. About a month after the meeting, I got a call from the volunteer saying that MAW has a policy of not giving gas-driven vehicles for wishes, and would Caleb like to look for an electric model or go to wish number two. She had found an electric model online that we checked out. Caleb said he would still prefer that option, much to his mother’s dismay!
So fast forward to last week. I got a call from the volunteers stating that a wish had been granted and they were delivering it Monday! We met them in Avera Monday afternoon at 5:00 to get it. When we drove up, there was a big Bad Boy Mowers, Inc. box truck with a huge Bad Boy MTV (multi-terrain vehicle) sitting there with balloons attached to it and a nice trailer for towing it. Caleb was jumping in his seat! Before I put the truck in park, he had jumped out of the door and was running over to it. My heart was swelling for him.
In those few seconds I flashed back to a year of trauma. As he was running away from me, I saw a little boy whose hair was falling out in clumps. I saw a little boy with tubes and wires connected to his body. I saw a little boy with tears running down his face, wondering why. I saw a little boy hunched over a green bag getting nauseous. I saw a little boy biting his lip and getting ready for yet another injection. I saw a little boy say to a mountain to be removed and be cast into the sea, and then watched with him as the mountain was moved.
I had told him earlier in the day that I wished he was not getting a wish that day. The only reason he was getting one was because of what he had been up against for so many months and the fact that it was the enemy’s plan to steal his life. If he had not had to endure all that he had for the last year, there would have been no wish granted. And as happy as he was in that moment, I wish that could have been the case. But what the enemy intended for destruction, God is using for His glory!
Caleb has ridden it for hours until the batteries have died every day since then. I am so glad to see him happy and smiling. That is what Make a Wish is all about. Today, he has a good bit of peach fuzz all over his head. His hair is finally coming back! Things are good, and it is only because God is so good. Where would we be without Him?
I (Jesus) am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. -Revelation 22:13
We have to do something tomorrow morning that I have not had to do in a couple of weeks – get up and head to the clinic with Caleb! It was such a part of our lives for the past year and now it seems like we have not been there in forever. We are SO thankful for the mercy and goodness of God.
Caleb has been doing great. He is getting more and more of his energy back and doing stuff he hasn’t done in over a year. He is ordering lettuce on everything he can get it on! He still has not started growing his hair back yet, but we expect to start seeing it any day now.
We got word from our last scans that were done a couple of weeks ago that everything is clear and Caleb is officially cancer free. We also found out that one of the requirements for the clinical trial we were a part of was to get another PET scan at the end of the treatments. We have to get that done tomorrow.
Right now it is just after midnight on Friday, October 25, 2012. That means that today is a milestone for Caleb. Exactly one year ago today he got his very first chemo treatment. Holly and I were talking about that earlier today. I went back and read the blog post from one year ago. It is a sober reminder of what we were facing, yet also a testimony of the power of God that was working in our lives. What an amazing journey it has been. Our eyes have been opened to the plight that so many families face in battling health issues with their kids. We will never look at children in those situations the same. We can relate to them and have a story of hope and healing to share with them.
Caleb continues to get better on guitar. He has gotten to the point where it is fun for him and not just a chore to learn basic fundamentals. It is amazing to hear him playing in his room and to hear some of the things that he can pick out of his head. He’ll start playing and working out a song that he has not heard in months by memory. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him!
I have been asked by a good, long-time friend to help him with an organization that he has had on his heart for some time. He feels that with our experience in dealing with a potentially life-threatening illness that I would be uniquely qualified to help with it. His company he owns has a large tract of land that has a big deer population and a beautiful lodge on it. He is wanting to start a non-profit organization to provide children with serious medical conditions (specifically cancer to start with) an opportunity to spend a weekend at the lodge and to get a chance to hunt deer and fish at no cost to them.
I am very excited about this! I actually had considered months ago whether God would have me to do something like this on my own. We have had a lot of support over the last year from organizations that help families going through what we did. I thought maybe there was something that I could do with my areas of expertise to help kids, too. It is so funny that right after we finished treatments and I started thinking about what I was doing next in my life, that this opportunity came along. Things are progressing much quicker than any of our newly-formed team thought they would and I am bursting with excitement with what God is going to do through this.
One of the things we are doing with the weekend is to have it surrounded with Christian activities and ministry. We have discussed having Caleb and I to share our testimony with the kids and their families. What an opportunity! God did not bring this sickness onto Caleb (John 10:10), but He can and will get the glory for the great things He has done in us! Please keep our endeavors in your prayers.
On another personal note, I have said it over and over that I am ready to get back to work. I have spent many weeks and months praying about what is next for me in my life. I had considered finding a new career to pursue; something more in line with my musical giftings. But I keep getting drawn back into what I have done for 16 years now, and that is insurance.
I had a client that I have worked with for over ten years to pass away last week. I was able to get over to see his widow last week when Holly was off on Friday and help her get things situated, and to help her with all of the paperwork. We also got her set up with some of his investments he left to her so that she would have income for the rest of her life without touching her principal. It felt so good to be helping someone in that way again. She was a little intimidated with making big money decisions, and it was so fulfilling to be able to help her. In her vulnerable state, I could have easily taken advantage of her and had her to invest in products that would have paid me a very high commission.
She made a comment to me that hit me hard and made me realize that what I was doing is truly a ministry in so many ways. She said, “Keith, I’m glad I have someone I can trust to look after my affairs and not have to worry whether he is selling me something that is better for him than it is for me.” So many charlatan insurance agents have given the industry a bad name over the years. I have worked with many widows over the years and have gotten so many referrals to other people because of doing the right thing for them. My dad told me the first day I came into the insurance business to always remember to put my clients first. He said that if I would take care of them, they would take care of me. That has been so true.
I am meeting with one of the most successful agents in the state who is a longtime, close friend of mine next week. We are going to come up with a battle plan to get me back into the insurance business as much I can while still attending to the boys for now. Ultimately, I would love to be able to put them into a private school and get to work now, but we will have to see what doors the Lord opens. We are still praying about all of this and covet your prayers in this area, as well. We know that “the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord, and He delights in his way,” (Psalm 37:23) so we are trusting and depending on God’s direction. We have a lot of decisions to make in this regard in the days ahead.
Thanks again for listening to my ramblings. This blog has been a wonderful outlet for me. Our family still needs your prayers. There is a lot going on in our lives. I cannot remember if I mentioned on this blog, but we almost made a very bad, very big decision a few months ago. We met with our pastor about it and he said that as he had prayed about the situation and the decision we were considering, he felt that the Lord had shown him that the enemy had seen that he was making now leeway in the area of Caleb’s health – he had suffered a huge defeat there. So therefore, he was going to attack in other areas and try to bring us down however he could. We have definitely seen the attacks in the last few weeks. It has been intense. Please continue to stand with us and fight. Your prayers have done wonders in our lives and we still need you to pray with us. We have the victory!
But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1Cor 15:57
We have known for months now that Caleb was miraculously healed. One moment you could feel the tumor in his leg and a few minutes later – after receiving prayer and the laying on of hands – the tumor was gone. There was no doubt what God had done! But now we have the official, medical diagnosis that his scans all came back clear – WE ARE OFFICIALLY CANCER FREE!!
Our oncologist called us late yesterday evening to give us the news. I was at a meeting with some friends and local businessmen that want to start a non-profit to help kids in similar situations to what we have dealt with the last year – please be praying for their effort. She left a message that everything was all clear! I was so excited, as you could imagine. I talked to her this morning and she was excited, as well.
We did find out yesterday that the protocol for the clinical trial we participated in calls for a final PET scan at the end of the chemo. We go in for that next week. Following that visit, we don’t go back for a whole month! How will that feel?!
The visits now will come once a month until the port is surgically removed. That usually happens six months after chemo ends. After that, the visits fall back to once every three months for a couple of years for xrays. Caleb is also officially released from his restrictive diet. He can have lettuce, strawberries, apples, runny eggs, and can go to a buffet again (not that we need that!). He is also cleared for all activities including beach trips.
Caleb was able to go to Alpha (the youth group at our church) last night for the first time in a very long time. He was so happy about it and talked all the way back home about the service and seeing his friends. I was so excited for him. What an amazing kid he is. I am so proud of who he is and who he is becoming. His strength and patience during this time has inspired and taught me a lot. Now we are ready to see that beautiful full head of hair back like it is supposed to be. Caleb has remained self-conscious of the fact that he has no hair. So many kids stare and some even snicker. I have my opinions on that, but I’ll keep them to myself. It should start coming back soon!
The spiritual battle continued to rage against us yesterday. Something very interesting happened that showed that the spiritual attack of the enemy is real. We were in the room awaiting xrays – our first look inside the leg since right before the surgery. The room was dark, and not just the lighting. I felt a sense of fear that was very real. I started having doubtful thoughts like – what if there is something on the xray? What if the cancer came back? Many kids that go through and beat cancer have it come back on them after they have beat it, you know?
Well, there was no doubt where that was coming from! I started quietly praying and coming against that while Caleb lay on the table waiting to get started, staring at the ceiling. I very quietly said, “You are a liar, devil! By Jesus’ stripes, Caleb is healed. God began the good work and He will carry it to completion. No weapon formed against us shall prosper, and nothing shall by any means harm him! God has done the work, it is finished, and we have victory through the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony!”
I don’t know every reference for all of those scriptures, but they are all scriptures that we have quoted and stood on. And notice that although I was quiet about it, I spoke those words out loud. The enemy must respond to the Word of God, but he cannot respond to your thoughts because he cannot read your mind. When you are fighting a spiritual battle, your words have to be spoken out loud. Also, God’s word will not return to Him without accomplishing what He sends it for (Isaiah 55:11) and the only way we can “return” His word to Him is by speaking it.
Caleb turned to me and said, “Sir?” I told him I was not talking to him but was speaking against the enemy’s attack of fear and doubt in the room. He said, “How did you know I was fighting that?” I told him it was because I was fighting it, too, and we both had picked up on the attack of the enemy in that room against our thoughts. If he can get control of your thoughts, he has control of you. By the Word of God that was spoken, the fear and doubt was gone, the xrays were taken, and we saw immediately that they were clear.
We can have victory in every area of our lives by speaking what God says in His word about our situation out loud; by returning His word to Him. I still have to remember to apply that to other areas of my life daily. Whether we like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle every day – it is why Jesus told us to take up our cross DAILY. And we are in battle whether we like it or not. There is no demilitarized zone. We are either on the Lord’s side or the devil’s side.
I know I say it almost every post, but I would rather overstate it than understate it – we are so thankful for all of you that have endured this journey with us. We are still going to be a one-income family for the next little while, so we appreciate your prayers for us in that regard. God has been so faithful!
There are some opportunities that we are praying about and doors that may be cracking open, so we covet your prayers for direction and provision; that the Lord’s will will be made plain to us. I would go back to work tomorrow if I could, but I feel there has been a shift and God has used this attack of the enemy for good. It is time that I pursue something I am passionate about and the opportunity for a refocus has never been better. We are praying about the possibilities ahead and I will be making a big announcement as part of that plan next week. It is something very big for us and something I have wanted to do for over 20 years now. We feel we have the direction and the timing is right. Be on the lookout for more information on that in the next week or so! And PRAY! Love you all!
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
I have been waiting to say those words for a year now! It is finally here. The biggest part of this journey is over, and we feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of us. Caleb is so excited to be done, too. He asks me every day how long until his hair starts coming back. He has been such an amazing inspiration to so many people – me included.
The doctors and nurses worked really hard to get Caleb our as quickly as possible. We were planning on coming home Sunday afternoon like we normally do, but they were able to get him out and back home Saturday night! We so love and appreciate the doctors and nurses that have made life easier for us these last few months.
Still, we are not finished with the journey. We still have trips to the clinic to make over the next few weeks and it will take several weeks for Caleb’s body to recover from the ravages of chemotherapy. It looks as if I will have to continue to school the boys at home through the rest of this school year, as well, so I still will not be working for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of that, I have to say that my frustration has grown immensely over the last couple of weeks with school. I am not made for this stuff! I do NOT want to put the boys back in public school, but that may be inevitable. Private school is not an option right now because of the expense. There is a reason that I have done very little in the way of teaching private music lessons over the years – I don’t have the patience. And it is even worse when dealing with school subjects. The boys are already behind because of the trips to clinic and hospital stays we’ve had the last few weeks. I would appreciate your prayers. We need wisdom for how best to move forward with it, and I need relief from the frustration. My wife is the best school teacher I know of. And I am the exact opposite! We are a perfect match! I’m so thankful that God matched our strengths and weaknesses so perfectly. She’s a great teacher, I’m not. She’s passive, I’m aggressive and assertive. She’s good with money and very tight with it, I would give away all our possessions if she’d let me.. She’s smart and beautiful, I’m… Okay, enough of that.
I would really like to have a big party in the next few weeks to celebrate the end of the chemo. I am still trying to figure out how, when, and where to do it. But I think it would be a great time for us to celebrate with friends and family all that God has done. Keep your ears open. I will post the details if and when it comes about.
We go back in to clinic tomorrow for a follow-up and to check counts. We will talk to the doctor to see what the next steps are. We also learned that they are throwing a big party for Caleb in clinic. I will try and take pictures.
We were delayed several weeks from starting the last week of chemo because Caleb’s counts stayed so low. They told us that they were nor surprised because the marrow gets so weakened from all the chemo. As time goes by, all the chemo affects the marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, so the body recovers more slowly over time. We are believing God that Caleb will recover quickly and it won’t be an issue for him.
Please don’t stop praying for us. There is still more road ahead to be traveled as we wrap things up. Also, we have brought a very big medical bill out of this journey. Our emergency fund and savings were depleted long ago because of the travel expenses and medical bills. We are walking by faith every day and are thankful our cars have held up (one will turn over 200k miles in the next few weeks, the other is approaching 300k) and we have had no major unexpected expenses. It is by the grace of God that we have made it this far! And we will continue to make it. He is so good.
Thanks for hanging in there with us. Most people have become weary of our situation and moved on with life. We appreciate our true friends that have endured to the end with us. We love each of you and thank God for your love and support!
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwellin the house of the Lord
Forever. -Psalm 23
We are finally here at the hospital! Why in the world would I be excited about a hospital stay? Because it is our last one! We are all so excited about finally getting finished with this part of the journey!
We will continue to make trips in to the clinic for scans, counts, and checkups, but the worst of it will be over in just a few days. Although I will miss seeing that beautiful bald head, I cannot wait to see a full head of hair again! I cannot wait for the nausea to be a distant memory or for us to be able to start moving towards a normal life again.
Please don’t stop praying for us. I know the worst is behind us and that it has been emotionally exhausting for all of you to keep up the support and prayers, but we will still have residual effects (not cancer related, but life related because of the disruption from treatments) to work out over the next few months. So we still need your emotional and spiritual support. We are so thankful for all of you.
We were warned a few weeks ago by a trusted prophetic voice in our lives about attacks of the enemy still to come. We were told that the enemy has seen us have victory over this attack and that our faith was immoveable on behalf of our family. Knowing that he had no stronghold there, he would be attacking in other areas of our lives. So we would appreciate our prayer warrior friends continuing the intercession for us. We need it and appreciate it. We have the victory. Our God is greater!!
Thank you all so much. I will post some more soon. But for now, the chemo has just begun to drip and we are going to see the last of it pushed into him this week. Thank You, Jesus, for Your love and grace seeing us through!
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:57
Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that it had not hit me what that day was until late in the afternoon. One year ago yesterday, Caleb had been in a lot of pain in his leg for a couple of days. We had been seeing his physician about an odd rash that had popped up a few weeks earlier after a trip to the beach. But with a deeper pain, he recommended that we take Caleb in for an x-ray to see what was going on to cause the pain.
We went to MCG and after sitting in a room for a couple of hours listening to the doctors outside our room talking about the best golf courses to play and their handicaps while my son lay on the bed in pain, I was trying to hold my growing anger. When the doctor finally came in, he said that an x-ray was not needed. I told him our family physician had suggested we make the hour-long drive to get an x-ray because Caleb – who has a high pain tolerance – was in tremendous pain and that we had excellent insurance that would pay for it, so why not just do it while we were there? But they were more interested in hearing about the rash issue that had already been resolved by our physician (turns out he was right about wanting an x-ray, too!). We were sent home with no x-ray and told there was nothing to it. Hmm.
Two weeks later, our lives would be turned upside-down. I was thinking about our journey over the last year yesterday while watching our youngest son, Josh, practicing football. The faithfulness of God has been so evident in our situation. I sat there and watched a bad storm cloud pass about 8-10 miles from our location. It looked vicious and mean, with a lot of lightening. It had a trail of rain following the initial fury of the storm. But behind it was a break in the clouds and a vision of sunshine breaking through the clouds.
I felt God speaking to me that it was a lot like what has been going on in our lives – a vicious storm hitting hard, followed by rain and wind. But there was the sun piercing the clouds once it was over. This week, we can start to see the sun shining through. It is such a sweet sight!
This was the worst possible week for us to finish up with a stay in the hospital. We were supposed to be finished a couple of weeks ago, but with some delays it pushed us back to this week. I got hired for a gig this weekend. I am practicing every day this week, plus three performances this weekend.
I say that to say that I am not totally upset about the delay this time. It was going to be tough to get everything worked out like we needed it with me having something going on every night from now until Sunday. Although we are disappointed that we have another week to wait, at least it is the LAST week of chemo!
We got to the hospital this morning and they took Caleb’s counts. His ANC is 700 and platelets were at 45k – both too low to hit him with more chemo. The nurse told us that she is not surprised; that near the end of the chemo, the marrow is so weakened from the treatments that there are usually delays because of low counts. It is actually a good sign to them. We are definitely seeing why they have a set time frame of taking treatments. Chemo is hard on these kids. The nurse is confident that we will be good to go next Tuesday. We will be heading back in and giving it another shot.
We appreciate your prayers and support! I will keep you updated on Caleb’s status. Also, please be praying for a person close to our family that has been causing grief to us while knowing what we are going through in dealing with Caleb. He is confused, deceived, and needs Jesus. We have been genuinely praying for him and ask that all of my friends pray for him, too. Our God is greater!
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Can it possibly be here already? I am nearly in tears just thinking about it! The victory has been ours for quite some time, but the journey has been long and has taken its toll. We are tired. We are ready to get our lives back. But more than anything we are thankful.
On Monday, Caleb was featured on the GHSU Children’s Medical Center web pages, Facebook page, and throughout the TVs in the hospital. This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and GHSU featured Caleb as their survivor of the day! What hit me the hardest was one of our good friends that posted a note on my Facebook page where I linked to his photo. She said, “SURVIVOR is such a beautiful word!!!!!!!!”
That has been my focus these last couple of weeks – my son is a survivor. That is a powerful word! Our words have power. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue. And those who love it will eat its fruit.” If you have followed us for any length of time, you know that I have been adamant about our words. We have been careful of what we say. I was talking to a friend one day and referred to “his (Caleb’s) tumor.” Caleb interrupted me and reminded me that it was not HIS tumor. It was THE tumor. I’m glad he gets it. What the enemy intended for our destruction, God has used to empower us.
I was asked if Caleb was “in remission” this week. I have never liked the word, remission. Even years before we walked this journey, I never liked it. To me, it makes it sound like cancer is just waiting to pounce back on the person. I’m sure it would like to do just that, but Caleb is not in remission – Caleb is healed! The enemy has been defeated! And that disease will not be coming back on my household ever again.
We are done with chemo for this week. We go into the hospital next Tuesday for our last 5 days of chemo! We will go to the clinic weekly after that for a month, and then once a month for counts and to flush his port. After six months, the plan is to have the port removed and then we will go back once every three months for scans and tests for a while.
We still need your prayers. There are still decisions to be made as to how we progress from here. We have been concerned about the medical bills that we have, but we are believing for God to provide – He already has! We are so thankful for the gifts that have been given to help out. When it looks like there is no way, God has provided a way. Somehow, we have not missed a meal or missed a bill. It doesn’t make sense on paper, but our God is able to do more than we can imagine! He has shown His faithfulness in so many ways.
The boys are doing online public school through Georgia Cyber Academy. We are planning on continuing that unless something else opens up, which means I will still not be able to work full time. Last August, Holly and I made the decision for me to stay at home and school the boys. It was not what I wanted to do, but we felt strongly that it was what we were supposed to do after praying about it. Just a few weeks into the school year, we found out about the cancer.
Even though we did not understand it (and I really did not like it), God knew what was ahead for us and was guiding us. He did not bring the disease on Caleb – Jesus Himself said that the thief (satan) comes to kill, steal, and destroy. But He knew what was ahead for us and knew the ending before it ever even began. It worked out perfectly for us; thanks be to God.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. We can really feel the Lord working through your agreement and standing with us. This next week is going to be a tough one, so we really covet your prayers this week. I am playing with the Augusta Players for “Hairspray” next weekend and have rehearsals every night next week while Caleb is in the hospital. I considered backing out when the last hospital stay was postponed to the week of the gig, but Holly insisted we could work it out. The extra income is really needed right now and I don’t need to be turning away opportunities to work.
I have updated the Mealtrain website for those that have asked about helping. We are going to need some help next week! Holly will be driving to Augusta after school each day and then driving back home later that night when I get done with rehearsal. It is going to be rough on all of us, so we appreciate the offers for help and may take some of you up on those! Thankfully, this will be the last week of these trips with trying to work out meals and spending extra gas money. Like I said before – God is good! We just have to get through this one more time. We are finally about to cross the finish line and it feels wonderful!
Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”
We had another delay this past week. We went in Monday and Caleb’s hemoglobin was low, so they gave him a unit of blood. He was feeling much better after getting it, as he usually does when he gets a boost like that. The plan was to come back on Wednesday and Thursday for two days of chemo in the clinic.
When we arrived Wednesday, the nurses took a blood sample for testing and everything looked great. However, Caleb had caught a cold over the weekend and had an infection in his ear from it. They felt it would be better to not take a chance on giving Caleb chemo, having his numbers drop again, and risk the infection getting worse because of it. So instead we pushed everything back a week for the second week in a row.
Caleb is keeping his chin up and staying positive. We now have a target date of September 21 for our final day of chemo ever. We have a clinic visit Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, one day in clinic next week, and the following week we will be in the hospital for five days.
We heard back from the Make a Wish Foundation this week. The volunteers had told us that they had never seen a patient not get their first wish, but Caleb’s was denied because of it being a motorized vehicle. The volunteers working with us are pleading the case for Caleb this week, so please be praying and agreeing with us for favor for Caleb to get his first wish. He really had his heart set on it and it would be something the whole family can enjoy for years to come. There are some alternatives that are almost as good as what he wants, but we are praying for him to get his wish. We will keep you all posted.
We are also praying for wisdom and direction for once the chemo is over. There are some doors that have opened and are available that we are praying about. I want to be sure we are doing God’s will in whatever direction we go. I am thankful for the small opportunities that have come along that have allowed me to do some work from home, but I don’t want to merely work a job to make some money to help make ends meet. I want to be fulfilling my purpose and calling according to what God has called me to do. We appreciate your agreement with us for the wisdom that God promised to give us (James 1:5).
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22
Today has been a rough day for me. It is so easy to look at your circumstances and have them overwhelm you at times. But I have to encourage myself like King David did (1 Samual 30:6) and remember who I am in Christ. One good thing about this blog is that I can go back and see the victories that we have had along the way. I can be reminded of how God has faithfully shown Himself at all the right times. The thing about God is that if He is perfect, that means that He can never be late. My battle this week has been against stress, anxiety, and weariness. But I have been promised the victory and I stand on that promise.
We are coming down the homestretch now with the chemotherapy. We go in for counts tomorrow. The nurse told us when we went in for counts on Tuesday that his numbers were dropping, so she anticipates he will either get blood or platelets tomorrow. We are believing that the numbers will stay up next week so we can stay on track to be finished on September 14. Three more weeks. It is amazing that we are almost done.
I ask you to pray for sister, Ginny. She had a freak accident the other night. She stepped on a pair of sandals that were beside her bed, which caused her ankle to twist and snapped both bones in her lower leg. She had surgery this morning and will be unable to walk on it for 6 weeks.
Today, we got a call from one of the doctors that works at GHSU. He takes the kids out on his boat to fish at the lake and Caleb and I will be going with him next Friday to catch some Clarks Hill bass! We are looking forward to it and I will have to post some pictures.
Caleb and Joshua are enjoying homeschooling this year. Who would have ever thought that I would be a stay-at-home dad? It’s not my choice because of having to take care of Caleb, but we are making the best of it. We are using Georgia Cyber Academy, which is the state of Georgia online public school. We have had some technical difficulties, but we are adapting to the system and we all like how it is set up. I wish that we could put the boys in a good school when Caleb is done with the chemo in a few weeks, but that is out of our reach right now. Eventually, I will be able to get back to work and we will have more options. Right now, we are being content with our situation and enjoying the time together. And we may just keep it like it is. We are praying for direction.
Once again, thanks for being there with us. I already feel more encouraged just by getting some of this out and knowing that God is in control in every way. We trust Him. He sees the end from the beginning. Please continue to stand with us and agree with us in prayer on these things. Our God is greater!
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.Be strong. -1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)
Caleb at the hospital last week