Thursday, October 28, 2010

Safely in Asia

Jay arrived safely in Hong Kong with his body clock fully shocked (by the 13 hour time difference) and ready to go. He will be going to Cambodia after the weekend and then back to Hong Kong and the back here in about a week and a half.
The girls were sad that he had to go and it helped to have a fun outing planned for after we took him to the airport. One of our Make-A-Wish volunteers arranged for us to go to Build-A-Bear at Stonebriar Mall and let all three kids make one. Sarah, being the wish child, was able to pick out whatever she wanted to accessorize her bear (well, Check Spellingshe chose a bunny). We had a talk beforehand about not going crazy and keeping our greed in check. And they all did very well.
Two days down and 8 more to go. I have already started raising my voice a little too loudly and reprimanding a little too much and it's only been two days. Seems I'm asking forgiveness for doing those two things so much that I don't think any actual lessons are being taught other than asking forgiveness and that Mommy is weak and frail, too, and gets easily angered and frustrated. I really need to keep my eyes on Jesus and not on the three little button-pushers in front of me all day.
God has already sent some help my way when I have needed it and it continues. His grace to make it often comes from those He puts around us. I pray I hear his still small voice when he is calling me to be that grace for others.
There are also pictures of the Light the Night walk we did. The one in Plano was cancelled due to weather so we all joined the Dallas walk the next day. Our team raised over $1000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Thank you all for giving. Sarah wore her survivor T-shirt so proudly and we carried our lighted balloons that evening around the streets of down-town Dallas. It was a privilege.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Video from Tiff's Treats

Make-a-wish made the following video and I thought you would like to see what we did on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Catching Up

I want to share a few items that were direct answers to our prayers in hopes that it will encourage you.
The pictures here will give you a better idea of a few of these things.

1. I was able to take Sarah and Hannah (along with Granddaddy) to their first Auburn game at Auburn. (We went to the Cotton Bowl here a few years ago to see Auburn.) This was very special to me because my dad starting taking me to Auburn games when I was 3, and it became our family tradition to go each season to the home football games. For so many years, we just never scheduled a trip along with a football game, so with our new outlook on life, I did not want to postpone something that was very special to all of us. I believe my dad is still smiling.

2. While we were able to travel to Alabama, we had a "Thank You" party for our extended family and friends there. I was able to take my city girls out into the country, and they did great. Our family in Alabama has been such an encouragement to us in our journey, and it was great to spend time with them.

3. Hopefully, in the picture above you can see Sarah jumping on the trampoline at gymnastics. Yes, she enjoyed 2 hours along with Hannah. This is huge because of how fast she is healing from the intensive chemo. She recently received her 6 month assessment from her physical therapist and our therapist said she has never seen someone recover as fast as Sarah. Six months ago Sarah scored a zero to 1 on many of her skills test such as standing on one foot. Her initial assessment said she had the mobility of a 4 year old. Thanks to our wonderful and amazing Father, she scored very high on many of the tests this time. Most of the tests, she was back to the 7 to 8 year old range. We still have more therapy to go as she still cannot run normally, so please keep her in your prayers.

4. We were given tickets to the last day of the State Fair of Texas. Sarah was able to see Big Tex for the first time. Again, it is such a blessing for us to do "normal" things as a family. Many years before we moved to Hong Kong, we complained about the crowds at events like this, but now it seemed normal to us even smaller compared to China!

In all of this, we still have difficulties as Sarah is having problems with her liver. Her metabolism of the toxic chemo chemicals is too slow which is causing her liver enzymes to shoot up. They are going to give her a mixture of the current daily chemo pill at a lower dosage along with another chemo pill that does not cause the same issues. The problem with this other chemo pill (6TG) if given in high dosages can cause a more serious liver problem. They saw this side effect in almost 20% of kids taking this pill years ago and that is why they do not use it for maintenance now, so we will probably be going to weekly or biweekly visits for the rest of the maintenance (next 2 years) just to monitor Sarah's liver. This of course was not exciting news as we thought we would be at monthly visits at this point, but we know God will provide the strength for this.
We are looking forward to this weekend when Sarah will be the honored guest at the Grand Opening of Tiff's Treats in Addison to raise money for Make a Wish Foundation. Look at this link and come by for your $3 box of warm cookies and even win prizes! We will be there from around 1-2pm.
Then in the evening, our family and some friends will be walking in the Light the Night Walk on the Legacy Campus.

Thanks so much for your prayers and please keep them flowing!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Starting Chemo Again

Sarah's counts are all up enough to start chemo again, but they are starting her daily chem pills at half dosages in order to avoid the liver stress. Then I guess we will reevaluate to see if it is a) not effecting her liver and b) still enough to fight the Leukemia.
Sarah's spinal tap is Wednesday where they take a spinal fluid sample and then inject some chemo. It use to be weekly and now it is every three months. So it is good that it is so infrequent, but that makes it scarier for Sarah when it does come around since it isn't 'routine' for her anymore.
We are really getting excited about the Light the Night walk and the grand opening of Tiff's Treats! Thanks to all of you for such encouragement and support with these things. It is helping Sarah start to inch back in to her former confidence.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good News but a Little Disappointment

The good news is that after being off chemo for over 2 weeks, her liver is almost back to functioning normally. But the blood work also showed that Sarah is neutropenic again - her white blood cells are too low, almost non-existent. So we are in isolation mode until we can do blood work again on Monday. They doctors are wanting to start her chemo again, as am I, since that is what is keeping the Leukemia away.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Treats and a Walk

Thank you all for your congratulations on the new baby. We are very excited.
As we mentioned in the video on the last post, our family will be participating in a few things in which we need your help. First, we are joining the Light the Night Walk done by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise money for cancer research and patient services. You can donate or come out and walk with us. Sarah will be carrying a lighted white balloon given to all cancer survivors. There will also be games and food that night. Here is the website of Team Sarah Grace .
You can go to the website to donate or to join our team to come and walk on Oct. 23rd.
Also on Oct. 23rd, Sarah has been asked by the Make a Wish Foundation to help with the grand opening of Tiff's Treats in Addison . Our family will be there around 1pm on Sat., Oct. 23rd to help with handing out cookies and such. The profits of the day go to Make a Wish Foundation to help grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. We would love to see you there!