Jones Family

Jones Family
November 2009

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A few things you missed...

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement to keep blogging. Brayden's doing great. Other than a week or two with low counts, he's done great. So much has happened...we wanted to share with you a few. Enjoy! We're so thankful for each of you & your continued prayers & support.

Annual Son's Day with a trip to the Little Rock Zoo! After a year and a half of frequent trips to Little Rock, we finally got to see the Zoo!!

And...Brayden was finally able to enjoy the swimming pool in Little Rock he was only able to previously enjoy from looking out the window. I told him last summer when he had his picc line in and was unable to swim, the time would be here before he knew it to enjoy that pool! He relished each moment, diving without a care into the water, and it was an unreal, full circle moment for me to see him with such joy.

Thanks to a dear friend, Brayden was able to fulfill a true "Make a Wish" moment by seeing up close the Razorback Football Field & Stadium! 200+ pics later, that was a day he'll NEVER forget after being able to fulfill many wishes in Hawg Stadium! Thank you just doesn't seem to be enough for how amazing this was for Brayden. WOW!

Heroes were among us as a great friend (my former boss) followed his passion & put his dream of competing in an Ironman into a foundation he formed to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Truly amazing...more from me on this BIG event later. It's been truly remarkable to follow Mike's Ironman journey for us all, but especially for Brayden.

Brayden got a tip from a friend that Will Ferrell was making an appearance at our local WM. The Christmas movie "Elf" has been the source of countless laughter at the Jones house many, many times. Last year during Brayden's Radiation treatments when we were staying in Little Rock, we watched it again and again! It was such a wonderful experience for Brayden to get to meet him in person. He was so nice, shook Brayden's hand, and spoke to him. I asked Brayden if he told him he wasn't the real Will Ferrell; he smelled like beef & cheese. Nope - Brayden's favorite line would have been SO good to use there!!

Fall came quickly for us. Last year, so much of this time for Brayden was spent in isolation. Really, from September to January, he was at home the bulk of the time and we weren't able to spend much time with family or continue a lot of our traditions. This year, we are literally soaking it all in and trying to make each moment expand a bit more. Brayden was so thrilled to be able to go back to the Pumpkin Patch this year. I took so many pics! It was a beautiful afternoon and the colors were amazing! Brayden was being so nurturing of the pumpkins he picked! He had a ton of fun with the hayride and exploring as much of the farm he could fit in and picked some great pumpkins!

We decided to make the most of the fall colors and the beautiful fall afternoon & literally let the road lead us! Nini was a big help driving when I'd pull over to the side of the road & start taking pics! We didn't have much daylight left & I was wanting to capture as many memories as I could. My little man is growing so fast!! More than the pictures, I will treasure this exploration afternoon as we ran & darted in the woods & trekked up hills and followed the sunset & the trees. Mommy was definitely spontaneous & I know Brayden was enjoying being there to witness such an event!!

We loved being able to be with family this Thanksgiving. It was a far cry from last year's experience. We had spent the week at ACH with Brayden undergoing daily chemo treatments. Thanksgiving Day, we were in patient. After Brayden was released, we drove home with him still in isolation. I remember being so sad and just exhausted and ready for normalcy. Some dear friends had lovingly paid for a local restaurant to have a Thanksgiving dinner ready for us to come home to. That was such a blessing and SUCH an amazing gift. We did our best to pay that blessing forward this year. Our hearts were full that Brayden was able to again enjoy those traditions this year. Even though we were sad to not be able to see all of our family due to Dad's crazy work schedule, it was a step closer to normalcy and helped us to remember to be thankful. My favorite quote for Thanksgiving that I put in my cards really rings true for us.

"The truest measure of our thanksgiving is how we use the blessings for which we give thanks."

We're hoping December goes by SO slowly for us this year! Brayden continues to recall where we were this time last year - living in Little Rock for 2 weeks with daily Radiation treatments, Brayden's hair loss, and being pretty sick at times. It was startling to me how out of the blue the other day, he said he had that 'taste' again that he used to get during his radiation treatments. After a few strange seconds, I realized he was drinking hot chocolate for the first time this fall! He used to drink hot chocolate each day he'd go to Radiation as a treat. It was a good way to get rid of the taste. It just crushed my heart for him. So being home and being together this year is the biggest Christmas gift for us. Being able to put up our Christmas tree and not rushing and knowing we're home together is wonderful.
We loved getting to go out to the local mall last weekend & just hang out. It occurred to me we had only gotten to do this one other time in the year and a half since Brayden's diagnosis. It was reminiscent of normalcy again and Brayden LOVED getting to be out. We froze but it was good to be cold & enjoy that the holiday season was here!

One of my best friends came over to photograph us for Christmas this year. I loved the moments she captured with Hershey & Brayden!!

Didn't she do an incredible job? I hope this catches everyone up a bit. Please continue to be in prayer for Brayden's protection from the chemo and its effect on his liver and his heart. We are thankful for his healing. He continues with weekly trips to the local Oncology clinic for chemo, his nightly chemo regimen, monthly steroids & additional chemo at AR Children's Hospital, and every 3 months chemo via his spinal fluid. He's working very hard in school and definitely has had to work harder this year. We're not sure if this is a result of the radiation effects, but he's had to overcome some other things. All in all, we hold firm to the strength he possesses and continues to be resilient above all expectations. His wonderful Oncologist continues to reassure us of how well Brayden continues to do and respond to treatment. Thankfully he hasn't had any recent interruptions to chemo and we hope and pray it continues to do the work of keeping Brayden on the road to full healing.

We send huge wishes to each of you & your families this year. I'll work to do better of keeping updates here. Your encouragement to do so pushes me beyond the hard times some time as it's still a week to week battle with new blood results to agonize over and hold your breath while reading. But I am reminded how much we have to be thankful for...and that is what we continue to cling to each day. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!


  1. I LOVE your update and enjoyed seeing all the photos from the last couple months. Please keep blogging!

  2. Yeahhhhh Brayden! What a difference a year makes! Your patience and resiliance has been worthwhile in every moment. You are all due to enjoy this year in the elements of beautiful surroundings, memories with family and wonderful holiday traditions. Thanks for updating and sharing the awesome photos. Love you all! Amelia, Eric and Andrew