Monday, June 30, 2014

Strong in Faith & Hope

We are now on Day 5 of the Delayed Intensification phase of treatment, referred to as DI from here on out.  Paige and I are hanging out at clinic today, waiting on chemo that will have us here for a few hours.  She is getting some much-needed rest, which gives me time to share a few thoughts.

Last week (Day 1), Paige received a spinal tap with chemo--her first since May's scary reaction--as well as two other chemo drugs.  Understandably, her nerves were quite rattled that morning, but she made it through her treatments like a trooper.  It didn't hurt that she slept through much of it. :)  She also began a 7-day round of steroid therapy that day.  According to Paige's doctors, the anti-inflammatory properties of the steroid combined with the rescue-type medications we administered on Saturday should ward off any possible issues with the spinal tap.  Of course, we continue to lift her in prayer, certain that God is protecting her as He restores her health.

The strength and courage God gives this girl never ceases to amaze me.  Over the last five days, her body has taken on more than it has had to in several weeks.  She's tired--tired of the meds, tired of feeling yucky--yet she knows it's all part of getting healthy.  Knowing the impending effects of the intense chemo she will receive over the next several weeks, Paige even puts up with me going back to 'heightened alert' status.

Checking her cheeks to make sure they're not warm.  Hovering a little more than I should.  As her mother, it's tough seeing her go through this.  Indescribably tough.  Please understand--my faith is not shaken.  Not one bit.  God has placed Paige in the care of the best doctors and nurses around.  He is guiding their hands and hearts, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my daughter will be healed.  In His time, our family will be able to achieve a 'new normal'--one of recovery and thankfulness like we have never known.

Yes, we are so ready for the next 'new normal.'  Paige will be even stronger--which is hard to imagine.  Our family will emerge from this stronger and more united than ever before.  The testimonies developed along this journey will no doubt give God all the glory for the victory that is to come.

For the Lord your God is He who goes with give you the victory.   Deuteronomy 20:4

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Phase Four - Forging Ahead

It's been a really good month for Paige.  The necessary adjustment in her treatment plan turned out to be a good thing.  Her body tolerated the medications, and she had sufficient time to rest and recover in between treatments.  Paige had time to be a kid and even rediscovered her sassy side.  Had a friend over for a couple of days.  Took in a movie.  Fished with the family.  Even tested the waters in her grandma's pool for a light swim.  This time gave her (and the rest of our family) a glimpse at great times to come.  But first...

Tomorrow begins the next phase in Paige's treatment - Delayed Intensification.  As the name suggests, it's a time of intense chemo that is similar to her earlier treatments.  She will receive multiple chemo medications each week.  These are expected to hit her hemoglobin and platelet counts, thereby bringing transfusions back into the mix.  We are praying that Paige's body will continue to tolerate the medications with no major effects or reactions as we move ahead.

Paige will also receive her first spinal tap with chemo since the reaction in May.  As a precautionary measure, her doctors are having us administer a few doses of the rescue-type medication they used last month.  Understandably, this is causing the most fear and anxiety--for Paige and for us.  I have been in constant prayer asking God to replace these feelings with peace and the calm assurance that He is in control of every bit of this.  He has Paige in His hands, and He is restoring her health every single day.

Paige's creation from a
recent evening out with friends
I am thankful God continues to equip Paige with such incredible strength and courage.  She really does display it on a daily basis.  I thank God for putting her in the care of skilled doctors and nurses whose hands and hearts are guided by Him on this journey.  I am in awe at the testimony He is giving Paige--and our whole family, for that matter.  God is so very good.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.   Philippians 4:13

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Dad's Devotion

Father's Day.  A time to celebrate all the dedicated dads out there.  Today I focus on one in particular, my incredible husband, Boyce.  Over the years, he has accumulated several cleverly crafted creations declaring love and affection for him.  Handprints of various sizes.  Pinterest-inspired photos.  Handmade cards with words from the heart.  And now--a blog post just for him. :)

We were just a couple years into our marriage when God blessed us with Paige.  Three years later, Jeremy came along.  It's all been trial-by-fire, on-the job training--yet from the very beginning of this adventure known as parenthood, Boyce has been here.  Here for preschool programs, school functions, and church activities.  Here for birthday parties and broken legs.  Here for everything.

This year that dedication and devotion reached a new level with Paige's leukemia diagnosis.  Boyce does everything in his power to schedule days off so they coincide with her clinic and chemo appointments.  He worked the closing shift almost every Saturday so Jeremy could finish his youth bowling league.  He even seeks out activities Paige is comfortable doing, activities we can enjoy as a family of four.

DaD.  Dedication and Devotion.  Dedication to provide for our family in any way he can.  Devotion to the life we have made together.  Paige, Jeremy, and I love and appreciate him more than we could ever fully say.  It's not tough to figure out what he wants for Father's Day this year--and every year, for that matter.  It's time.  Time with Paige.  Time with Jeremy.  Time to spend together as a family.   I think I can safely speak for the kiddos when I say that we are beyond grateful for this father and husband who loves God and our family with all his heart.

The righteous who walks in his integrity--blessed are his children after him!   Proverbs 20:7

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kindness All Around

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.
1 Timothy 6:18

We've all heard of random acts of kindness, those thoughtful gestures meant to brighten someone's day.  It is my belief that there is nothing random about these good deeds.  There is a reason people enter our lives, however briefly.  It may be to encourage or inspire us--or just to make us smile.  Kindness comes in many forms.  Read on for some of the ways Paige's spirits have been lifted as of late:

Greeting at the Grocery Store.  Paige, Jeremy, and I made a quick stop at our local HEB for a few items.  As we were leaving, we noticed an older gentleman smiling at Paige as she wheeled our cart back to its home.  He approached her and asked if she had cancer, specifically leukemia.  As we talked to him about her remission and chemo treatments, he shared that he was also diagnosed with leukemia--in 1985.  He wanted to share a message of hope and encourage her to keep fighting.  Nothing random there.

Best Regards at a Recognition Ceremony.  Boyce, Jeremy, and I escorted Paige to the Do the Write Thing recognition ceremony, celebrating her second writing award this year.  Not only was she approached and later publicly recognized by the county judge, several of the other finalists and their parents wished her well and offered prayers for her.  One of the attendees, a grandfather-type, told us the story of his friend's son, who is a long-term survivor of leukemia.  He spoke of the importance of faith and hope, and we shared the amazing work God is doing in our lives.  Random?  I don't think so!

Kindness at the Coffee Shop.  Paige has had the cost of her drink and/or snack covered on more than one occasion--at different locations.  One of the baristas told me she wanted to cover Paige's drink because she wanted to put a smile on her face.  It worked!

Good Deed at Dinnertime.  We decided to celebrate the academic achievements of both kiddos--and Paige's current 'feeling good' status--with a sit-down meal at a restaurant.  It was the first time we had been able to do this in months.  As we prepared to pay our bill, we were told our family's meal had been taken care of by another diner, someone who wished to remain anonymous.  Overwhelmed and very humbled, we said prayers of thanks as we headed home.

Letters from Little Ones.  Paige recently received a package chock full of cards made by students from her former elementary school.  She made sure to read every single one of them and was really touched at the messages written by kiddos who have never met her--but who have heard her story and have seen pictures of her (as evidenced by their precious writings)!

Kindness does come in many forms, but no matter the shape taken, these acts are in no way random.  It's simply people following God's Word and being 'kind to one another.'  These things always seem to come right when they are needed, which is no coincidence.  God's timing never ceases to amaze me!