And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
At the start of a New Year, many of us look back at the previous year. Magazines tell us who were the most beautiful people, what were the best movies, TV shows and best songs of the last year.Newspapers tell us what were the most memorable stories of 2009.
"Neighborsgo" (a local newspaper) takes a look back and catches up with some of the most memorable people and their stories that they shared in their pages last year.Take a look at this story, written by David Alvey, a contributing writer to "Neighborsgo".
Connor Cruse, rest in peace - July 2009
"No disrespect to any of the celebrities who recently passed, but they did not impact my life nearly as much as one courageous 8-year-old boy.
I will not forget where I was when I heard Connor Cruse of Frisco, who was a student at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, had gone home to be with Jesus, My first reaction was, "Praise the Lord!" Connor is free!Free of cancer.Free of pain and horrendous treatments and boring hospitals.Most importantly, Connor was fee of the earthly bonds that shackle us and weigh so heavy upon us.
Free of limitations.Free of mortality.Free to soar on wings like eagles.Free at last, praise God, Almighty, free at last!
Then a great wave of sadness washed over me.Not sadness for Connor.But sadness for our loss.Not just his immediate family and friends. But the whole mortal world!For those of you who never had the opportunity to meet Connor, it is impossible for me to convey what an incredible person he was.
When he checked into Children's Medical Center about 10 pm July 9, doctors said he had about 2 hours to live.Connor took his last mortal breath at 4:47 pm July 10.
In honor of Connor, TeamConnor will continue to raise awareness, support families, fund treatments and help find a cure for childhood cancer."
What a wonderful tribute to our son.Thanks, David.
As I look back over the last year and my life, I take stock of my trials and achievements.I pray that I live my life in such a way as Connor did - making a BOLD difference for CHRIST.
Updates through B's smartphone are not possible. (hence the subject line from the previous post).
Life is fragile and very precious even at 23 weeks.
Life continues through a valiant fight for life, in a quest to beat cancer.
B is still very cancer free!!!! We made it to three years. Officially, two more to go to get the remission label.
While in Houston, we generally try to pack a lot of "to do's" in, and this trip was certainly no exception. The trip began this time on Wednesday where we had B's PET Scan. Good news was that he laid nice and still and did a great job completing the scan...Way to Go, B! Later that day he was rewarded with a fun Mexican dinner at Lupe Tortilla's...YUMMMY!
That night, we then went to a family friend's home for a wonderful dinner and lovely evening.
Day two was M's turn with her Neurologist. But, before going there we made new friends at MD Anderson. Please join us in prayer for Erin and Matt. By God's leading we were introduced to Erin and Matt through a friend of a friend. Erin has been a fighter with colon cancer since 2007. What a memorable time we had with them. Please join us in prayer for her healing. One of the things that we did get to share with them was Cantron. We pray that Cantron will help them as it helped us especially as the doctors have exhausted all options to get Erin better...
With day two we went to M's appointment and follow-up where we still found out that we are on the cutting edge of M's treatment. Therefore, it is still very difficult to get answers and support. We came away with even more vigor to get to Johns Hopkins to work with the Ketogenic Diet experts. Please pray that M's doctor will in fact be able to get us a referral to JH with the lead doctors of the diet, even though they don't treat adults at Johns Hopkins.
Lastly, we finished the day with friends that delivered their baby boy at just 23 weeks....WOW! What a blessing to share time with them and see baby P. Such a fragile little guy, but such a will to survive...and that is exactly what he is doing. Please pray that each day he will gain in ounces and that his parents' employers would allow them to continue to stay in Houston as they actually live in Colorado and delivered here over the Christmas break.
Thank you to all who have been praying. We now begin the trip back home and will post more later!
As many of you know, the docs have placed me on the Ketogenic Diet to cure this epilepsy. A Mom from the Yahoo Group that I'm a part of for the Keto diet shared this news report on her son. It is a fantastic report on Ketogenic Therapy & how this little kiddo has experienced fantastic healing. Ketogenic Diet Video The video will load in the upper right hand corner, next to the article.
p.s. We should get Ben's results around 2:30, I think, on Friday!!!
Just asking for prayers one more time. We are at MD Anderson & he's about to go back and get his injection for the PET Scan & then his scan is at 2p. Pray that there is not a single drop of cancer. Not one single cancer cell in this amazing man's body!!!
"Praise God, for HE is merciful. We got the results back from Nate’s MRIs, and all scans are clear…no cancer. The doctors are very pleased, and were excited to be able to provide this news. When chemo started last January he was given a 15% chance to make it 3 months, and he made it six months before it came back worse than ever. When he began radiation in June and ended at the end of July, he was given six weeks to six months of borrowed time, and here he is…TO GOD BE ALL PRAISE AND GLORY. Nate truly is a miracle from God every day he is alive. I am not saying any of us deserve this, I am, however, saying that God had mercy on us and we will forever give HIM the glory for his healing. We thank all the doctors and nurses who have seen us through this. Many people have spent many hours laboring over him to help him get to this point. We also want to thank everyone around the world for your much needed prayers and for helping us along the way. We have been praying about larger ways to give back and help others, and we will begin on those things in the near future, using what God has done for us as a way to show HIS love to others.
Nate still needs a lot of therapy and attention to help him with his physical and cognitive abilities. He has been making great strides with his walking and talking…and so far we see no reduction in cognitive skills. We work with him every day on this, and he will begin new therapies soon to help him even more. He will go back in three months for another MRI and will continue to do so for a stretch of two years and then every six months for five years. What Nate had was very nasty and it hit him with full intensity trying to steal his life on this earth away from us, but today is a day of victory, and with each day comes new reasons to praise THE LORD even more. God bless you all. Spread the word about HIS mercies."
We leave on Wednesday for B to go to MD Anderson to get his scans to make sure he is still Cancer FREE!! Please, Lord!!! We will get the results on Friday.
We are meeting with my neurologist on Thursday for a follow-up visit. We have had great success with the Ketogenic Therapy for seizures. All Praise to the Lord, I have been able to reduce my meds dramatically and am having fewer seizures than I was on super high doses of meds! However, my doc sent me an e-mail last week that he didn't think he could continue treating me if I stayed on a dose this low (I am below what they consider to be therapeutic-so to them, it's like I'm not taking meds). So, we are praying for his heart to be changed and for him to recognize that the point of this therapy is that it helps your brain to heal so that you have fewer seizures and you are able to reduce your meds!!
Here's a quick look at the numbers: Prior to diagnosis (on no meds), I averaged 350 seizures/month. On super high & toxic doses of meds, I averaged 99 seizures/month. On the keto therapy & very low doses of meds, I am averaging about 82 seizures/month.
So, I believe the Lord is healing me and we are seeing a difference!!!! Praise HIM! Please pray for my docs heart and mind to recognize the difference that is being made and allow me to stay at the lower dosage.
Back to the good lookin' man that I get to share forever with... As his wife, I am super nervous about his scans. I know I shouldn't be and I should just have faith. However, I am so crazy about him and want him to stay healthy and cancer FREE! So, please pray that the scans are all clear and he is cancer FREE forever!!
In other good news, he is finally eligible to apply for life insurance!!! WHOOP!! He has to be three years out from his last treatment to apply. We are hoping to get his medical completed this week and have insurance in place! Praise the LORD!!
While we are in Houston, we will be visiting two people that need prayer, too:
*A young women named Erin Scott (early 30s, Stage 4 colon cancer, 2 kiddos) that they have not given a chance of survival. Please pray for God to work some amazing miracles!!! *A sweet little man, Peyton Dadd. He is now three weeks old and was born at barely 24 wks gestation. He is doing so well & the Lord is performing miracles day after day in his life!!
As 2009 was coming to a close, initially I was over eager for 2010 to begin. After Christmas, we had two more family members (Aunt Pat and a cousin Missy) pass away. That means we have had 7 deaths in our family in 2009. The loss we've experienced this year is more than daunting. At times, it has felt like a burden too large to overcome. I wanted to sprint to the finish line of 2009 and begin 2010 with a fresh start, with a renewed hope that God would restore joy and blessings to our family. I couldn't make the days fly by fast enough.
After speaking with a friend of mine, who also lost her 4 year old (Caden Ledbetter) to cancer this past year, I saw the end of 2009 in a different light. When 2009 comes to a close, that will be the end of the last year we shared with Connor... an end of an era, so to speak. I will always remember 2009 as the last year I was able to hold my ConCon, the year we said "good-bye" for now. Suddenly, my perspective changed, I wanted to cling to 2009 harder than ever - not ready to say good-bye to the last year with Connor. It felt as though the close of 2009 was a closing of a door, never to be opened again. It was pulling me further and further away from Connor.
As the New Year approached, you can see why I had mixed feelings. I wasn't really sure how to look at the ending of 2009. Then, a pastor at our church (Jarrett Stephens) spoke on the topic of Psalm 103, which gave me a blueprint for ushering in the New Year.
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Verse 1 is a personal pep talk. I know I've needed those from time to time. In order to finish my first half marathon, I was giving myself a pep talk the last couple miles. King David obviously didn't feel like praising the Lord at this time in his life, so he had to remind himself to do it. I know how he felt.
"Forget not his benefits." Before I can look forward to the New Year, I need to reflect on my past and remember the blessings and the faithfulness of God. It's so easy to focus on all that I have lost this year, but when I look back, I can also see the many blessings that God has afforded me. I see loss, but I also see many moments of joy, kindness and treasured memories. I'm really trying to focus on those bright spots of 2009.
He forgives us our sins (huge blessing), giving us an opportunity to spend eternity with Him. That is also making it possible for me to see Connor again. God is more concerned with where we spend our eternity, than on the number of days we spend here (although He is concerned about How we spend our days). What a blessing that He has provided a way for our eternal salvation.
I'm counting on the promises of verse 4 and 5. I feel as though I'm in the pit, but I'm waiting on God to redeem this situation. I'm ready for Him to satisfy my desires with good things. I'm praying that 2010 will be a year of redemption and good things!!!
We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoyed time with your friends and family. We had an amazing time on Nate's Make A Wish trip to Disney World. It was truly a memory that our family will cherish forever. Nate felt great and tried to run to Mickey Mouse and gave him a huge hug. It was unforgettable! We were then able to spend the week with my brother and his family. We feel so blessed to have Nate this Christmas and to have had so much time together with our family. I will try to post a few pictures very soon.
Nate's hair is growing in, he actually got a little trim today! He is acting like a regular three year old, and we are trying our best to treat him like one. He is telling jokes and playing with his brothers.
He has his first 3 month MRI on January 18. We are praying for clear results and continued remission. Please join us in prayer as this day approaches. Also, please pray for Matt Burpee a 5 year old boy who is being treated for the same cancer Nate had. Love in Christ, Jackie
Since today is a day is a day that most people spend celebrating, I will finally make this overdue post about a special celebration that occurred in November! It was celebrating the life of a most amazing man...my hubby!!!
I need to start it with apologizing to our dear friend Steven that took all of the pictures. I was so excited to post about the party and kept begging for the pictures. He wanted them to be perfect and I kept rushing him. So, he made many sacrifices to get them to me quickly. Then, I started having a bunch of seizures and have struggled to accomplish much of anything! Thus, no post until today. So sorry.
Now, for the fun!!
This was a big year for my man...the big 3-0!! Yep, he's officially getting old.
We started the weekend with me getting B out of the house Friday afternoon. This gave his parents (who live in PA) time to sneak in and hide in the guest bedroom. When we got home, his Dad called to tell him Happy Birthday! Then, his Dad said, "I sure wish we could be there with you!" B agreed! Then out walked his parents from the other side of the house!! It was awesome! Such a fun surprise!
So, we all went to dinner that night to celebrate this great guy!
His little b-day cake! Can't have too many candles since he's getting so old, gotta worry about his lung capacity!
With his parents!!
My Sweet Mommy!
Me & My good lookin' man!!!
All of us together at dinner, celebrating him!!!
The next day, B was asked to be the Honored Hero for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Clay Shoot. So, B, his Dad, & his buddy, L, all went out to "shoot some clay!!" B's Mom and I drove out to hear B speak at the lunch after the shoot. All the while, my Mom was back at our house working herself to death to make the evening perfect.
B & L teaching Miss R (my sweet friend's daughter) how to shoot clay!
The Honored Hero (my hero), speaking at the lunch! This is the shirt that he wore to every single chemo treatment!
So, once this was over, his Mom and I rushed back to the house where my Mom was working like crazy. We sent B & his Dad to go look at plane museums. They love stuff like this (me, not so much). So, he had no clue, he just thought it was part of the b-day weekend!
My hubby absolutely loves Taco Bell. I know, I probably shouldn't admit that. I actually tried to get Taco Bell to cater for his sake. Our guests might not have eaten much, but it would have made his day. Anyway, On The Border has been wonderful to us here. When the docs put me on this nutritional therapy, they worked hard to try to make some items on their menu work for me. So sweet!
Anyway, when we couldn't make Taco Bell work, On The Border came through with flying colors!! They catered the party and Miss Courtney from OTB was amazing. Mom went to get the food, but Miss Courtney wanted to come to the house and help. She was only required to have it ready for us. However, she came to the house and was here all night making sure that everyone was taken care of so that we could all focus on lovin' B and celebrating him! So, if you go to OTB in Rockwall, tell them you are there because you heard how amazing she is!!!
Here are the pics from the party:
Isn't this cake amazing? A friend of mine from high school, Tracy Green, made this. This is her website so that you can all order a cake from her! We were all so impressed! It apparently tasted amazing, too!!
All the kiddos that were at the party. We used our extra room as a playroom. Miss R, that B taught to shoot earlier in the day, was awesome and helped watch all of the kiddos!!
Ben's favorite cake is a cookie cake! So, his parents got him a cookie cake, too!
This is L, that went to the LLS Clay Shoot with B,w/ his little girl. We couldn't have pulled off the surprise without him.
Get ready....here comes the b-day boy...
He's figuring out that something is up...
"Whoa...there are a lot of people in my house!!!"
Everyone is here for you, B!!
This is Cancer FREE Nate!!! This is the little guy that you've all been praying for, that is now in remission!! Can I hear a Praise Jesus!?!
I think he's enjoying his surprise b-day!!
My Mom, B, and behind them is my friend, K, Miss R's Mommy!
The best lookin' b-day guy ever!
Mom & Miss Courtney from OTB!!! These two women worked harder than anyone that night!!!
Sweet friendships were created that evening!
This was the first time she's let a dog love on her in a while & Hank gave her all kinds of kisses!!
B's Ol' Lady (roomie in the Corps), R!
It was so fun getting to celebrate this man!!!
Thank you so much to everyone that made his day so special!! I feel so blessed to have him here by my side, my cancer survivor and just all around unbelievable hubby!!!