Monday, February 17, 2014

A Different Shade of Blue...

Periwinkle Blue!!!  We just got back yesterday from Camp Periwinkle and a special time of bonding, reflecting, accepting, and rejuvenating, just in time for Caleb's harshest round of chemo to begin. 
The Periwinkle Foundation is named after a chemo agent called Vincristine, which is derived from beautiful and powerful periwinkle blue flowers.  This particular chemo usually doesn't cause many side effects, so it's considered a more "peaceful drug".  :)  The organization strives to enrich the lives of families whose children are being treated at Texas Children's Hospital.  They sure enriched ours.

Big brother Zach was out of school for President's Day today & David took the afternoon off from work to be at the hospital with us.  
Our rallying family & a silly game of cards seemed to help our tiny patient.
 Cal's spinal tap went a little better than last time, & he underwent three different types of chemo today. Luckily, he was sedated and slept through them all.

As many patients call it, "The Red Devil" protocol began today.  As I held him close and witnessed the first drops of it rushing into his body, I begin to pray to God to protect him from its ill-effects and for it to heal him, rather than hurt him.  Peace came over me.
Caleb undergoing Doxorubicin (red chemo)
From this day on, I decided that this bright red medicine is more like a life-blood for him.  This red liquid made me think of the blood that Jesus shed for us.  That thought alone made me never want to describe his chemo as the Red Devil again.  Zach thinks we should call it "Red Angels", but we don't want Cal experiencing something that hurts called an "angel", so perhaps it will just be "chemo".  :)

Valentine's Day this year was more about the love of our family, than romance, and it was incredibly special.  It began with this outrageously awesome card from Caleb's school. 
Zach's class presented it to me, and when Zach & I presented it to Caleb, along with many hand-written Valentine's Day cards, the look on his face was priceless. I'll remember it forever.
Check out this one, from a dear family friend.  Thanks Connie.
  Valentine's Day was the perfect day for Camp Periwinkle to begin, with so much love in the air.

We enjoyed smores and fun camp songs.
Zach blew us away, by overcoming his fear of heights.
I didn't overcome mine, so I urged David to push me off.  Didn't have to ask twice.  tee hee.  :)
We all LOVED the zip line.  Such a rush.
David, the real-life Spiderman, scaled the wall.
We pushed ourselves with everything from the ropes course to rock walls, rowing, & horseback riding. 
We met amazing Camp Counselors, from teens to adults, who are all survivors of childhood cancer.  It was touching and reassuring to see how strong they are today and how cancer has positively impacted their lives.  Our fun-loving counselor, Bucky, is about to begin Med School, all because of his experiences in the Texas Medical Center as a young patient. 
Bucky dove into the bean bags, before we put them in our canoes.  :)
He rode his bike all the way to Alaska last year to raise awareness about childhood cancer, & now his team plans to ride this year in honor of Caleb.  We are humbled by this amazing gesture.

When we got home from camp, we felt a bit deflated.  It was hard to drive away from that powerful place.  However, there was an unexpected surprise on our porch, filled with goodies to make Caleb's new regimen easier.  It was labeled with encouraging words & signed "From your brothers and sisters in Christ".  The thought still brings tears to my eyes! 
Whoever is responsible for this thoughtful & generous gesture - I hope you're reading this, so we can say, "Thank you and you made a difference!"  We enjoyed lying in bed today and reading the new special book, "God's Wisdom for Little Boys".  
Cal said the book "made him feel wise and stronger."  Out of the mouths of babes.  :)
Caleb begins swallowing pills again tonight, as the steroids have to make a comeback.  Can't wait to see what interesting food combos he'll come up with this time. I'm temporarily working a different shift and get up at 2:30 am, so this time - he won't have to wake me up to cook!  I'll be raring & ready to go, though I do hope he has forgotten about his past cravings for fish & pancakes.  :)

He'll be back in the hospital on Thursday for yet a different type of chemo.  This requires doctors to closely monitor him with an Epi-pen in hand, as patients are at risk of suffering a life-threatening allergy from it.  We're already praying he sails right through it, like the strong little boy he is.  

I wish I could say he's resting comfortably tonight, but he's quite sick to his stomach.  To wrap up our long day, the loving chaplain from the boy's school called and prayed with us.  He encouraged us to pray like the servant Elisha, to open our eyes to see God, so that our hearts can feel Him.  We do!  Whatever trials or tribulations you may be going through, we pray the same for you.


  1. Melissa and family, We continue to pray for you and I'm rallying friends (and strangers) to pray with us. A dear friend of mine messaged me this morning and used the word amazing to describe the incredible strength of your family. Caleb is touching so many lives and restoring faith in people who were questioning a lot of things in life. How incredibly powerful!
    Love you so much and would do anything for you. Thank you for the updates!

  2. Praying for the side-effects of this round of chemo to be few and the healing to be abundant! ....and that Caleb will one day be sharing his powerful story with other children at Camp Periwinkle!
    Love & hugs,
    Susan & Joe

  3. Melissa and family: You don't know me but I am Bucky's mom. A mutual friend sent me your blog today. Bucky LOVES working at Camp Periwinkle in the summer. It is a whole week just for kids and siblings and it is FUN! He was so excited to get called for Family Camp. I hope Caleb someday will enjoy sharing his story of faith and hope with other kids like Bucky does. I will keep your beautiful family in my prayers.

    1. Hi Jill, I keep meaning to email you - it's been such a busy time, I seem to stay behind on everything! THANKS SO MUCH for taking the time to write. We were blessed to meet your special son. From one mom to another - you did an AMAZING job raising Bucky! He's cream of the crop - a true diamond in the rough - and I know you must be so proud. I see him doing amazing things in life. Thanks for sharing him with us. :) God bless you all!

  4. Many continue prayers and strength that the light will shine through quickly! Thank you for the update and know you guys are LOVED!!!!
    We love to read and hear what's going on in Caleb's world. Colton reads the blogs so he can understand a little better and we always look forward to seeing the pictures too!!!!!The Green's XXXOOO

  5. I am continuing to send up prayers of healing and comfort for Caleb as well as for your entire family :)

  6. Melissa, you and your particular Caleb...never cease to amaze me with your strength. This last post made me tear up, reading that Caleb has to go through his most difficult challenge this week. You are all in my thoughts and prayers that he sails through this round of chemo.

  7. From a coworker: I prayed for his healing and strength and peace for Caleb's Mom. Encourage her to rest and trust in the promises of God in Christ through scripture:

    Isaiah 51:12 (Comfort)
    Isaiah 53:5 (Peace and healing)
    1 Peter 2:24 (Healing)