Headed In For Chemo

It’s been a good couple of weeks for Caleb. Last week he was not able to get chemo because his counts were too low, so we go in tomorrow and Wednesday for outpatient chemo at the clinic. Holly has two more weeks of school to go and she will be done for the summer. We are all ready for that!

I’ll update later this week about how things have gone with the chemo. Thanks for your prayers and support!

 

Apologies! Notification Fixed.

I forgot to exclude the new category for my new blog from sending out notification. You received notification of a new post, but will not get further notifications of posts from Victory Through Praise unless you specifically ask to be included on that mailing list. You will continue to receive updates on Caleb until you unsubscribe from those as well. Sorry about that!

No-go On Chemo – and Victory Through Praise category

This week we did not get to do any chemo with Caleb. We were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week, but his platelets were too low when we got his counts Tuesday morning for them to do chemo this week. We will give it another go next Tuesday and Wednesday. That will extend us further into the fall for his ending date.

I am starting a new section to the blog called Victory Through Praise. If you are subscribed to the blog, you should continue to receive the posts that I label as “Caleb,” and you can change your settings if you would also like to include notifications of posts in the new section. God has been dealing with me over the last couple of weeks in my quiet times about victory in every area of our lives. We have been a little remiss about why we have seen such tremendous victory in the area of healing, yet we are struggling in the area of finances. We knew that when all this started and I had to quit work to provide care for Caleb that things would be tough. We knew it would be really tough. And we have had to give up a lot of things that we were accustomed to doing. That is fine. We don’t complain about that one bit. We have too much to be thankful for. But as a child of God, the same Word that gave us the promises that saw us through to healing also give us the promise that God knows the things we have need of before we even pray and that He would provide for those needs. However – like in receiving healing – you can’t just sit back and wait for something to happen. In the words of one of my favorite worship leaders, William McDowell, “Nothing happens until something is spoken!” So I have adjusted and positioned myself accordingly to line up with God’s Word in every area that we may have a need in in the future.

So this new section of the blog will be dedicated to encouragement, edification, and the pathway to victory in EVERY area of our lives. You are welcome to join and be a part of that, or just continue to follow along on Caleb’s journey.

 

Happy Birthday Caleb!

Today is Caleb’s birthday! He turned 12 years old. The years really go by fast. Everyone warns you about it, but it is definitely a reality. I am so proud of Caleb. He has demonstrated unbelievable strength, faith, and patience during this whole ordeal.

We had to go to clinic today to get his counts. Unfortunately, he also had to take a unit of blood because his platelets were low from all the chemo last week. We were there about 4 hours and got ready to leave and my truck would not start. Something is wrong with the starter or solenoid. I hit it with a large metal object and it fired right up. But that is a sign that something needs to be repaired. At least we didn’t have to sit there all day waiting on Holly to come get us! We got home and Holly made Caleb a strawberry cake. He was so excited and we had a great time with just the four of us celebrating. We have family time with parents and in-laws over the next couple of days and I know he is excited about it. Overall, his day was good.

Next week we have two days of chemo in clinic. We are marking off the days on the calendar and getting more and more treatments behind us. Holly and I spent a lot of time talking today and praying about what to do about the boys’ schooling situation next year. I really want (and need!) to get back to work as soon as possible and don’t want to be tied down with schooling the boys all year when the chemo will hopefully be over in September sometime. We’ll see. We’re still praying about what to do and obviously what is best for the boys is our priority and we’ll do what we have to, but we appreciate all of you praying with us about it. Thanks for caring!

Today’s verse – “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10 NLT

Happy Mother’s Day

We are finishing up a 5-day regimen today at the hospital. Since we were traveling back from Talladega last Monday, they started on Tuesday and since the clinic is closed on weekends, we had to do day 5 in the hospital. So far, it has been less than ideal. This time yesterday, we were finishing the chemo and taking on fluids. Today, we are still waiting on the chemo drugs to be brought up by the pharmacy and haven’t even started. I’m really glad I did not let Holly do this today. She was exhausted last night and slept for 13 hours. That is NOT like her at all. She usually sleeps 6-7 hours at the most. But that lets me know just how tired she was. Daddy can handle it today so Mama can rest. It is Mother’s Day weekend, after all!

Caleb has done very well again this week. There has been just a little nausea a couple of days, but for the most part Caleb has had a lot of energy and instead of dragging around the house in the evenings, he has wanted to go outside and do fun boy stuff. I am so proud of him. Usually the five-day outpatient regimen is hardest on him because of the daily trips into town and having to go home every night instead of resting at the hospital. It also takes it out on us with the driving and also with the high price of gasoline. It all takes its toll on all of us. But we are trusging along and are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

This past Thursday, Caleb got to sit in with the band during rehearsal at New Hope. He was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed! He told me afterwards that he did not know a lot of the chords on the music. I told him that is why he must practice and that’s why he was there – to learn. It was a sweet moment for Holly and I as Caleb was playing and Joshua wanted to sing with the guys on the praise team. It is awesome seeing the desire to fulfill their calling and serve the Lord. We are beyond blessed.

Speaking of blessed, we want to wish all you mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day! I am so thankful for my mother and all she means to me. She has been through a lot the last few months as well as enduring this journey with us. Thanks, Mom. I love you! I am thankful for the mother of my children and all she does to make our house a home. I love my wife something fierce! And all you mothers out there should be thankful this weekend. Be thankful that you are not having to deal with what we have dealt with these past few months. Be sure to thank God for all the precious moments and for healthy children. It is something that is so easy to take for granted until it is almost taken from you. Take a moment this weekend as we honor you to hug your children tight and cherish every minute you have with them.

Proverbs 31:10-12 NLT “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Caleb Met His Hero

We got home today from an unbelievable weekend! Thanks to my good friend, Patrick Gantt, we were able to secure four tickets to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this past weekend at TALLADEGA Superspeedway for free! Some folks wanted to see Caleb get a chance to go and Patrick made it happen. Thanks again, buddy!

Holly has used all her sick and personal days this year helping out with Caleb, so she was not able to miss any work to go. Not that she was excited about going anyway! She has a history of breaking out the crocheting material at races. Therefore, I took my good friend and new NASCAR fan, Josh, with us. We waited until late Friday evening to leave because Caleb wanted to walk the Survivors’ Lap at the Jefferson County Relay For Life event, which he did. It was so exciting to walk with him as a SURVIVOR! People all around the track cheered for him and the others walking. It was amazing and humbling to know what God has done in his life.

We got to Talladega in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We quickly got the camper set up and went to bed. Saturday was full of activity as we got to the track and had lots of fun. The boys each bought a hat with the money that Uncle Wayne gave them specifically for that purpose. We went and watched the Nationwide race (the Nationwide series is kind of like the minor leagues of NASCAR). We really had a great time.

We got back and went to bed early to make up for the previous night, but also because we had pit passes and the pits opened early. We awoke early Sunday morning to the sound of thunder and lightening. We made our way to the track and were all soaked by the time we got there. We made our way down to the pits thanks to the guest services cart that helped when Caleb’s leg started hurting from all the walking we had been doing over two days. We walked the pits and looked at the haulers and the pit boxes of the teams. We got to watch the 48 Lowes team prepare the tires for the race. We also saw Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Jeff Gordon’s pit boxes and crews up close. It was awesome to be that close.

We were trying to get somewhere so that we could see Jimmie Johnson. I sent a message to someone in close contact with him earlier in the week and they said they would see what they could do, but no promises. When my texts that morning went unanswered, we got a ride back around to the grandstands as they were closing the pits up and getting ready for the race to start. As we were about 2/3 of the way back, my phone buzzed and it was my contact! They said he was going to the Hollywood Hotel – FOX’s broadcast booth during the race – at 11:00, and still no promises, but that we should make our way over there. I looked at the time and it was 10:39. I asked the driver to take us back to the pits which he did. We had patiently allowed him to make a detour for an errand with us on board, so he was more than happy to return the favor. I’m glad we said yes to his request!

He drove us back into the pit area and we started looking for the Hollywood Hotel. We finally found it, but we did not have the credentials to get in to the area. But we had favor! It’s amazing how you can go anywhere you want when on one of the track’s golf carts driven by track personnel! He drove us right up and dropped us off. I sent the person a message that we were in place. It was 10:52. I did not hear any reply, but at 11:10, I got punched in the side by Josh who announced, “There he is!” I turned around and there was Jimmie Johnson getting off a golf cart with his hand extended! My heart sank to my stomach. I had prayed when we got the earlier message that God would allow my boy to have a chance to meet one of his heroes – a five time champion in NASCAR and clean-cut family man. And here it was coming to pass. Of course, I have been a fan of his since he entered NASCAR in 2002 – right when I became a big fan of the sport, so it was a huge deal to me, too!

I shook his hand and thanked him for taking time with us. He walked over to Caleb, looked at his 48 shirt and said, “Go Jimmie Johnson, huh?” He told Joshua – who was wearing a Jeff Gordon hat – that it was OK for him to pull for the 24 since Jeff is a teammate and actually the car owner of the 48. He talked to all of us and posed for a photo. He was so gracious with his time; I know he is super-busy. It meant the world to me that he worked it out for 5 minutes with us.

I was trying to upload he photos for Holly, my mom, and to Facebook, but the cell network was overloaded with 130,000 extra people in the area. It took me a few minutes of trying and so we saw Jimmie came back out. He posed for another photo with us then another fan. I asked him a favor – if he could get us a win today. He said, “That’s why we’re here, bud!” And then he was whisked off in his golf cart and gone just like that. We were all still in shock that what had happened really HAD happened. It was pretty surreal and a moment that none of us will EVER forget! It really didn’t matter that he blew a motor about halfway through the race and was knocked out. After our experience, little else mattered right then. Caleb was on cloud nine!

We also had numerous opportunities to share of God’s mercy and healing on the many tram rides back and forth. We can only pray and ask that God send someone else to water the seeds that were planted in those people with Caleb’s testimony.

So tomorrow it is back to reality. We start 5 days of outpatient chemo that will run through Saturday. Holly is winding up the school year, so soon she will be able to help more with the boys and I can hopefully get some work done. Thanks to those that donated to help us get to Talladega. On one income, there is NO way we could have made it without you and Caleb would have not had a dream come true. We are so grateful for that. Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers. We can feel the strength that comes from people standing in prayer and agreeing with us. Our God is greater!

Today’s verse – “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” – 1 Cor 3:6-7