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!
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 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."
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!!!!