Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The ROAR is back...

Caleb is doing GREEEEAT!  (Oh wait, it's Tony the Tiger, who says that.)  :)   It was a long day at the hospital today, but even Cal's nurses know how much he likes lions these days.  Check out the cool one a nurse drew on Cal's "port", where he gets his blood drawn & chemo.  Pretty cool, huh?  Sure made him smile! 
 Doctors took cells from Caleb's spine today to make sure that no sneaky cancer cells are making their way back in.  We feel confident they wouldn't dream of coming back!  It's always difficult to tell our little one "good night" before anesthesia, but so much fun to attempt waking him up. 
Caleb LOVES riddles, so I tried every one in the book.  None of them worked.
Daddy David tried gruff kisses & hugs and funny nibbles on the ear.  That didn't work.
Brother Zach was just his funny self, and got him to wake up.  I'm sure it helped that he "peeked" under Cal's eyelids.  ha ha.

We got some EXCELLENT news today!  Caleb's weekly chemotherapy will end soon, and he'll get to go to the hospital every other week, by July.  The worst of this is ALMOST over.  Lots of challenges ahead, like swallowing chemo pills at home, but his blood counts should start to rise, and for the first time in 9 months, he'll be able to go SOMEWHERE INDOORS, in public!  No more babysitters for us just to go to the grocery store or to run an errand.  No more cabin fever for Caleb.  We can see such a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  It's hard to believe Caleb has three more years of chemotherapy, and we know there will still be many challenges along the way, but we truly feel the worst is almost behind him and us, since cancer truly affects the entire family. 
It's a HUGE blessing to have Zach out of school now, as he made me laugh most of the day.  He was also VERY entertaining for his little brother.
Thanks for being by our sides through all of this and for your love and support.  YOU have helped us get through this.  Wish I could hug all of your sweet necks through this computer, because we couldn't have done it without you and your prayers.  You are so good.  God is so great.  God bless.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Silent Roar

Caleb has been silently and courageously battling chemo side effects this week.  His chemotherapy dosage goes up every time now, and this round really got to him.  
Caleb never says a word about it, never complains, but he has just been so quiet and still the past week.
Cal hasn't even felt like getting dressed in a few days & just wants to lie down all of the time.  His spirits are very high though, & that helps a lot!
Even though Caleb's legs felt too weak to walk out of the cancer center, he was still "all smiles".  We're so proud of his wonderful attitude.

Nothing can keep Cal away from baseball.  Unfortunately, he had to go back to the tee, instead of hitting the Coach's pitch, because his little body just didn't have the strength to hit the ball.  
Caleb has lost weight lately, so it's a big challenge for him to keep up.  He sure gives it his all, though.  Again, he didn't "feel sorry for himself" or get frustrated about having to go back to the tee.  He just "took care of business" and luckily managed to get to first base every time. 
 One of Caleb's favorite babysitters put together a nice surprise for him.  Her Grandmother (our former neighbor) wrote Caleb a song, then got her grandkids, plus Zachary, to record it!   
Alexia, Zachary, & Mia sang the chorus, along with Adam (back) & his music mix.
Caleb wasn't "up" to going to the recording, but we can't wait for him to hear the song, "Caleb's Courage".  We know it will make him as happy as when he got this special book from darling friend, Heather...
This new scrapbook has some special letters from his Kindergarten friends, plus lots of space to put his meaningful cards.  He can take this to the hospital and feel lots of love from his friends and family. 

Fun to read a note from one of his lil' buddies.
Thank you for your continued prayers.  We have about a month to go of this rough regimen.  Hopefully things will let up a bit after that.  Zachary gets out of school in a few days.  We are so thankful that Caleb had the most amazing home-school teacher EVER.  It's still hard to believe that Kindergarten year is almost over for Caleb, and we can never get it back (school/social-wise).  I really do struggle with this.  This was perfect timing in my daily must-read "Jesus Calling" last week.  (I sure love it when Jesus calls):
 "Thank Me for your problems.  As soon as your mind gets snagged on a difficulty, bring it to Me with thanksgiving.  Then ask Me to show you My way to handle the situation.  The very act of thanking Me releases your mind from its negative focus.  As you turn your attention to Me, the problem fades in significance and loses its power to trip you up.  Together we can deal with the situation, either facing it head-on or putting it aside for later consideration. 

We'll just face it head-on and look forward to tomorrow, when Caleb's school has something very special planned for him (stay tuned).  For now, we will concentrate on that and thank God for all we are going through.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Perhaps it's my news background, but as I was walking through the Nuclear Medicine Clinic for Caleb yesterday, all I could think about was Fukushima Daiichi (from the nuclear power plant disaster in Japan).  There's just something about the word "nuclear" that is overwhelming when it has to do with your child. However, nothing disastrous about the news, coming out of his Nuclear Medicine testing.  Caleb's kidneys have NOT suffered long-term damage, and we couldn't be more relieved or thrilled tonight.  We will definitely sleep peacefully now. 
Cal didn't have a care in the world.  No concerns from this go-getter, even though he experienced new nurses, a different building, and testing he'd never been through before. 
Even though Caleb genuinely seems numb & accepting to it all, I have moments when his situation really gets to me.  I was hopeful, yet "on edge" all day.  Then, when I drove up to get Zachary from school, it was downright painful, watching Kindergartners bouncing out to greet their parents.
I looked back at Caleb, who was absolutely wiped out after being at the hospital from 8am-3pm. 
Then, I glanced over my shoulder and would've done ANYTHING for him to be running on the playground, instead.
It's okay, though, it is what it is, and I know I can't get weak, knowing that God has been busy helping Caleb be so tough and brave.  It was a very special Mother's Day.  I remember being five years old and playing with dolls and wanting to breathe life into them.   I really did want children ALL of my life.  I've never appreciated them more, than this year.  Cancer has an interesting way of making roses brighter, the sky more blue, and the massages so much better.
Caleb came up with the idea to give me "Mommy Spa Day" at home, and Zach agreed.  It was blissful.
 Since Caleb still can't go to church because of the crowds and his compromised immune system, I enjoyed a beautiful service with my parents and got to celebrate my own mom. 

Then, I shared Caleb's story at my 14th Annual Golf Tournament for Children at Risk on Monday. 
Zachary & Caleb have been going to this tournament since I was preggers with them, and they always want to know how they can do more to help, themselves.
The group Children at Risk helps low-income children who are at high-risk for many reasons. 
Caleb's "Auntie Caroline" kept him busy.
While we're blessed that's not our concern, Caleb is at risk in a different way.  1 out of 300 boys and 1 in 133 girls will get cancer before they turn 18.  Can you believe that?  All of us "cancer moms" agree that positive affirmations help get us through it.  One of my aunts took that to heart and sent a load of sunshine and smiles with these homemade pillows.

That was a lot of work.  They now add smiles in every room.  Thanks, Glenda.
Thanks for all of your prayers and your "cares".  :)  Many hugs.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

One Step Back

Just when we were getting comfortable & feeling like things couldn't get better, we have a setback to deal with.  Our fam has learned over the past eight months to expect this through a cancer journey, though.  We found out yesterday that Caleb's kidneys are having a tough time filtering out his strong doses of chemo, so they're in a bit of distress.  He'll undergo some special testing next week to make sure his kidneys are strong enough to handle more chemotherapy & to make sure there's no permanent damage.  We're extremely optimistic that this little go-getter is just fine, but for specific prayers, we'll definitely be concentrating on his kidneys this week.  Chemo has been delayed for now.

We were surprised by this news, because Caleb is still feeling so well right now.  He was back out on that field Wednesday evening.
No "tee" for this t-baller, he's enjoying Coach's pitch, while Cal's Dad admires the swing from 3rd base. 
 Caleb even got to help in the unveiling of an incredibly generous donation of millions of dollars to Texas Children's!  This #1 Cancer Center for Children in TX is named after the local philanthropists, who were already making a difference every day across Houston with their generosity, Lester & Sue Smith.  They just made another astounding donation.  
This was a fun responsibility for Caleb, along with another patient (back of photo with balloons.)  It was also special for him to be near this couple, who does everything in their power to help eradicate this dreadful disease. 
I'm tempted to call cancer the dreadful disease that robs childhood, but for Caleb's case, it's getting harder to say that, because of your loving support and prayers. I believe with all of my heart that he's feeling so well because of prayer warriors.  YOU have helped us help him still have joyous times throughout his Kindergarten year. 

However, for some children, cancer robs them of everything, including life.  A darling little girl, most of Houston has supported & grown to love through her stories on local news, recently got a "Princess Parade" as her last wish.  She lost her battle this week and is being rewarded in Heaven now.  Her family taught me so much about life and putting everything into perspective.  Our prayers for her family continue daily.  One of my colleague's got to go to her parade.  I wanted to be there so badly, but it just hit too close to home.  (You can copy & paste the link into your browser, to view):

Hugs, love, & God Bless you all! 

Monday, May 5, 2014


Caleb is truly tackling cancer like a courageous lion! 

He did "make his blood counts" last week & underwent chemo treatments on Wed.  He had enough energy to push his Chemo/IV pole around the clinic, which was a first.  He usually stays cuddled up with me the entire time. 
Sure is nice to see big smiles at Texas Children's Hospital.  Even though this place is marvelous, smiles are often hard to come by.
Caleb even skipped to the car, though questioned why his legs were so tired when we got there.  I love the sweet innocence of a child.  Never-mind the fact he'd just been at the clinic for 6 hours, undergoing the strongest medications on Earth.  That never seems to cross his mind when his legs ache or get weak. 
Just breathe.  Inhaling important medicine that will last another month.

We've all needed the courage of a lion to get through this.

It's still intriguing to me that our friend, Heather's idea of "Courage, the Lion" has helped us all so much.  Cal has a deep fascination with lions now.  

Caleb enjoys doing lion artwork, & it's the first thing he recently wanted to see at the zoo.
Zach even "clipped paper" into a lion for Cal for a fun 3D effect.

It's something that seems to empower the boys & make them feel stronger.  It has inspired cute drawings from friends, too.   
Thanks, Gail.  :)
Plus check out this amazing piece of artwork our dear friend, Christy Moreno, had an artist paint for Caleb.  It's a reminder that there are plenty of days when none of us has the mighty strength to roar, but knowing Jesus is by our side really helps! 
I know Caleb will cherish this forever.  It even portrays him in those crocs that we can't ever get off of his feet.  :)
The art represents his life, & we know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus has been by his side every step of the way. 

Take a look at this!  It was an exciting weekend for many reasons.  This lil' Oriole was awarded the team ball from the OPPOSING team, the Indians!  
Another life-long keepsake.
 The Indian's coach & players voted to give it to Caleb.  It was a real shocker!  5 & 6 year old boys don't usually have much to say to one another, but these little guys approached Caleb after the game.  They congratulated him for throwing a hit to first base & getting one of THEIR guys out!  Several of them told Caleb they had been praying for him.  Kids this age are still learning how to share, so witnessing them give up their ball was beyond heart-warming to us.  Caleb's cancer seems to be teaching others about love, inclusion, and compassion.  It feels so good to see this & to hope that in some way, Caleb's cancer is helping others appreciate their own good health & even appreciate each other more. 
Caleb's "Team Mom" from the past two years came to support Cal, along with her two boys.  We're so proud of these boys who cheer Caleb on, like he's one of their own.  Thanks to the Green's.  Love you guys.
Caleb also felt good enough to meet up with one of his best pals from Pre-K over the weekend!  

For a moment, it seemed like our lives were "normal" again.  Cal hasn't felt like playing with his friends in so long.
They had fun in the park & then learned about being entrepreneurs on National Lemonade Day.
These little business people made a lot of money.  :)
Today's clinic involved routine care & hopefully next chemo will be administered on Friday.  It's all about "making blood counts" now, so the schedule is unpredictable.
Note to self:  Don't let a child download a new game when you want to chat.  No conversation for a while today.                  ha ha.
Caleb is very happy that he won't have chemo next Monday, because that's the day of my golf tournament for the organization "Children at Risk".  He has never missed one of them, even when I was preggers with him.  :) We hope he keeps up his high energy to enjoy the day with us.  We'll keep adoring this little boy's heart of a lamb and courage of a lion.