Jones Family

Jones Family
November 2009

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Month!

Wow - March seems like it just started and I'm sad to see it quickly moving past. Brayden - wow. He's growing! After missing 2 months prior due to all the crazy snow & winter weather, we finally had our Little Rock appt a couple weeks ago. It was so great to see everyone and have that comforting feeling of being sort of home in some way. We loved getting to see his sweet Nurse, his Oncologist, and his sedation Nurse and all the other wonderful familiar faces. It was time for Brayden to have another spinal sedation where he is sedated for a procedure where spinal fluid is drawn from him to be tested to ensure there aren't any leukemia cells growing in his brain. Injected back into his spinal fluid is chemo meds (intrathecal chemo) to continue to treating those cells. We're glad this only happens once every 12 weeks. He doesn't like not getting to have breakfast or anything to drink those mornings and leaving the house before 5am for that drive, we are always hoping he can just sleep as much as possible until the procedure is done. This procedure also kicks off another cycle of chemo and continues his countdown! We're now down to 16 months remaining of treatment!

We were shocked at the ACH visit to hear Brayden has grown 2" taller in the last 3 months! Of course, we knew with his stronger counts the last couple of months combined with his growth that leads to an increase in his chemo dosage. Dr. S. heard the question and I knew the answer before it was out of my mouth. But I was surprised to hear the increase would be by more than 25%. Brayden did so well during the sedation. We always leave the room during the procedure and usually are back before he's waking up from the sedation medicine. We were surprised he was already awake! He still has to continue laying down for 35+ minutes post-procedure so it doesn't give him a terrible headache. We've heard how nasty those can be. This time, it was more difficult to keep Brayden still and down! He was wide awake and not groggy at all and ready to sit up. Thankfully he made it until the time (as he stared at the clock while we tried to keep his mind off of it!) and was ready for some food! The trip back went well and we did our normal run of getting all the monthly meds filled. It was steroid week where, with his new chemo dosage, is up to 147 pills for that week. He trudged through and thanks to the help of pickles being his craving of choice, literally had to be excreting pickle juice through his skin! He doesn't believe me but it HAS to be true!

Unfortunately, he did have a harder time bouncing back after this chemo round. I'm not sure if it was the spinal sedation with chemo or the monthly chemo round but he was yucky for the first time in a while. It was harder to take, since he's been doing so good for so long, to see him that way. The meds definitely helped those side effects and he rested well, which was I hope helpful to his body to get a rest and keep fighting. It's been an emotional couple of weeks for me that started with him being sick this time. He's been counting the days until his 11th birthday since March 1st, just in case we forgot it was his birthday month! Knowing the calendar then brings a special 2-year celebration since his diagnosis just 3 weeks later is hitting me this year. I've read all the old emails in those first hours and days from 2009 from his bedside at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Wow...I'm speechless. It's truly amazing how our brains work and how reading an email can put you right back in that place emotionally, physically, smelling those smells. During this time we've also found out some amazing news that I can't wait to share about a way we can give back that's really good news. The only thing is answering some questions and sharing has peeled back those layers to the raw emotion of what we endured those first hours, days and weeks. 2 weeks ago while on his way to work, Bryan can't help but always glance over at the hospital and be reminded of that night with Brayden in the ER when he was life-flighted on Angel One to ACH. This day, he called me. It sent such a riveting emotional reaction because this day, Angel One was again on the helipad. 2 years later and in many ways, it seems like yesterday.

We do what we can only do and continue to focus on the positive. Brayden continues to persevere and do so remarkably well. That is one of the incredible benefits of our LR trips to be reassured and reminded he's okay. There's so much that continues to battle on just underneath the surface and we don't want to ignore it but we also work to try to keep things normal for all of us, whatever that new normal is for us. We're worried with the increased chemo his counts will drop. While we know that they need to come down to stay in control of his cell growth so the Leukemia doesn't enter back in, we just are hoping they don't drop too low and he can continue doing the fun things he loves.

He's enjoying spring break this week. While planning some fun activities last week, I mentioned his local Oncology clinic visit today. His reaction just broke my heart. "Monday?!?! But it's spring break!" He just didn't remember it continues and never stops - every week. No rest. No breaks. Even for spring break. I tried to reassure him and say the right words thinking in the back of my mind that I wish he could have a break. I hope my feeble attempt helped him. Maybe with a break from school and schoolwork, he can have plenty of rest this week and combined with planning for his big birthday he'll be focusing on things that are fun and exciting to overshadow everything else. I know that's what we are trying to do too...

Thank you all for your prayers and continued support. I can't wait to share the other exciting news and more about his upcoming celebrations. Our hearts continue to be heavy for others still fighting their battle with relapse - a word we hope & pray we never utter in regards to Brayden. Meanwhile another celebrates with good news of remission. So again we focus on the big birthday month and so much to be thankful for and hopefully the next post we'll be a little more upbeat.

We continue to pray for the protection of Brayden's liver function as it filters out the harmful toxins from the chemo. We pray for the protection of his heart. We pray for his already immune-compromised system to remain strong and keep him protected from outside infections. We pray for his healthy cells to remain healthy and the chemo to continue doing its job in complete healing from Leukemia. We pray for protection for Brayden's spirit as he continues this battle to remain positive and optimistic and to be rejuvenated with even more spirit to fight. We pray for the other families fighting that God would lift them and carry them during those tough times and that they would feel Him holding them and feel His love so close. We pray for the many other children fighting that there would be a cure....and no child has to endure what too many continue to face each day.

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