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on a personal note…

I’ve heard it said that time heals all wounds however I would have to disagree; there are some wounds that time cannot heal, wounds that infect not only the flesh but also the soul, wounds that can change the very core of a person if left untreated.  What I do believe is that time is a tool, a gift given to us so graciously by our Creator allowing us to process the journey and bring us to a place of decision.

I can’t believe it has been over a year since we first received the diagnosis of Gray’s cancer.  In that very moment life changed drastically!  I have sat down to write this update many times and have had to walk away from it every time.  Each attempt has brought so many different emotions that I felt too scattered to actually put into words how I felt and where we are at in Gray’s treatment.  So today I am going to try again and hope that it all makes sense!

We are getting ready to go in for Gray’s last week of inpatient treatment.  And that in itself is proving to be quite emotional.  A year ago I couldn’t even fathom this day, I could hardly allow myself to see beyond the moment, fear was a major hurdle and many times I failed to clear it successfully.  In the beginning I found myself wanting to cry out to everyone I saw that my son has cancer, looking for some validation that life had become very cruel to our family.  I viewed his disease as a punishment and I found myself trying to reconcile what I had done to deserve such agony.  I felt like I had purchased a ticket on a rollercoaster that took me on the ride of my life, through every emotion, every thought and every dark place in my heart that I didn’t know existed or was unwilling to acknowledge.  At this point, please allow me to balance these raw feelings by saying that in no way do I believe that Gray has suffered because of anything we have done or as some wake up call from God telling us to straighten up, that would be in conflict with the character of God.  But I do believe we were created to bring glory to God, however God in all of His love and goodness doesn’t just stop at receiving, He gives back to us the opportunity to experience unconditional love, incomprehensible peace and the knowledge that He is holding us and leading us and that He will never leave us!  That being said, we are human and in our humanness we face many challenges and our own emotions are one of them.  I have learned that cancer is not just the physical battle that Gray faces everyday in his little body, it is also a battle of the mind for those of us who comprehend how fragile life is and how aggressive cancer can be.

Gray’s treatment in its entirety has been very successful and we are so grateful to so many for the love and support we have received.  There are moments that will be forever etched in my mind, coming home, laying on Gray’s bed and sobbing, hearing the word Neuroblastoma for the first time, the nurse in the recovery room telling me we were living every parents worst nightmare, and the nurse in the clinic saying, “welcome to the family”.  All I could think at the time was how much I didn’t want to be part of this “family” and how unfair it all seemed.  But if Gray never had cancer there are many things I would have never known, one of them being that during great hardship God manifests Himself through His people.  I have seen God through so many and I just wanted to take this time to share my heart.

I do not know how we would have made it through this past year without our families, our parents, Ralph and Joan Fogle, Ron and Carol Everaard, our brothers and sister-in-law Kent and Rachel Everaard and Pete Fogle and Doug’s grandfather Paul Oldham.  Not to mention countless other uncles, aunts and cousins!!!  Because our parents devoted this past year to basically our every need, we were able to find some sense of normal, it is a new normal, but nonetheless it’s our normal!  I can’t imagine having to watch your babies watch their baby suffer.  We love you all so very much, thank you!!!!

In the same sense that I found myself asking what we had done to deserve such turmoil, I now find myself asking what we did to deserve such love and support from everyone around us.  Friends like Erika and Brandon Knight who manage this website, have organized countless fundraising efforts and walked beside us through the most difficult time in our lives.  Robin Johnson who has dedicated this past year to literally taking care of us and who also had to deal with the loss of her own father to cancer during this time.

Brother and Sister Cargill and everyone at the District office who have extended grace and love and given us the gift of prayer and security. A huge thank you to all the youth, youth pastors and churches across the state of Oklahoma! Your prayer and support have been both coveted and humbling. We are honored to serve as your district youth directors.  Our church family at The Bridge who has been so compassionate, providing for our daily needs through meals and yard work as well as our spiritual needs through Pastor and Linda, the entire church staff and the congregation.  It would be impossible to thank each and every one who have prayed, sent cards and emails, and met our monetary needs.  Cancer can be so isolating, thank you Bridge family for not allowing us to disappear!  And our church family from Ponca City, you have continued to treat us like family and your support has meant the world to us!  Pastor Micah and Karen, thank you for being available!

I have always known that I have been blessed beyond most because I have always had incredible friends in my life!  This past year has been no exception.  It has been a challenge for me to be a caregiver to my sick child and a great friend at the same time, so thank you friends for allowing me to be quiet and work through this season.

There is no way to mention every kind gesture, word and assistance that we have received through this journey, but please know that because of you taking the time to whisper Gray’s name, send a card, organize a fundraiser or cook a meal our family has been blessed!  Please continue to pray for Gray, his immunotherapy started today and he is already itchy, cranky and in some pain.  He is the toughest person I know however his little body is weary.  This is Gray’s last inpatient treatment but we will continue with medications at home as well as supplemental feedings through his feeding tube through November.  In December Gray will have all his tests run again and we trust the Lord that they will come back showing no signs of cancer!  And don’t worry, this is not the last update and I promise to not take so long to get the info out!  We love you!

even the wind and waves obey

Last week Gray went through his third round of immunotherapy and he came thru it successfully. He did endure some issues with his oxygen levels, he developed a rash on his face and began having night terrors, though. Gray’s doctors decided that after having such extreme side effects with the last round of proton therapy that they would reduce Gray’s dosage of medicine and run it for longer hours, instead of much stronger and shorter doses. The new treatment plan seemed to help. Unfortunately, since we returned home Gray’s night terrors have continued. We are running on no sleep or rest as an entire household. On Thursday, during his hospital stay, Gray spiked a fever. This wasn’t too unusual as he has also ran a fever with each of his other proton therapy treatments. On Friday, despite the fever, Gray’s doctors decided he could be released to go home. By Saturday, though, Gray’s fever hadn’t gone away and he had also developed a pretty bad cough. We ended up taking Gray to the emergency room Saturday morning simply to rule out any serious infections. The hospital ran tests and did a chest x-ray to make sure Gray hadn’t developed pneumonia. After spending most of Saturday in the ER, we were thankful to hear that Gray’s x-ray came back clear. The doctors gave us the option of admitting Gray for observation if we didn’t feel comfortable treating and caring for him at home but after just coming out of the hospital only the day before we opted to take Gray back home. Gray has continued to suffer from night terrors and has been extremely irritable. To say the past week has been exhausting would be an understatement. The past ten days have held some of our lowest lows but have also given us our highest highs! Just a few days ago we were able to attend Praise4Gray, a worship night with artist Jason Upton held in Gray’s honor. Gray had just been released from the hospital only hours before the concert so he was tired and cranky but we were honored to meet one of our worship heroes and also humbled by the response from our community and friends. Probably the worst part of Gray’s latest hospital stay is the addition of Gray’s night terrors. There’s nothing more exhausting or heart wrenching then to be awaken from sleep by the screams of your 3-year-old who seems to be reliving his past week of shots, pokes an medicines in a terrible nightmare. As a family, we are in desperate need of rest and peace! Cancer and all the treatment that comes along with it effects our ENTIRE family. God has been so faithful, though, and we know that Gray’s healing has come only through His mighty hand, but it is at the end of the race that you need the most strength to ensure crossing the finish line. We feel like that finish line is within reach and we can see it in the distance, but our physical bodies are losing the ability to move forward and our mental exhaustion is keeping us from focusing on the goal ahead. Through this process we have concentrated so much on Gray’s physical body that we sometimes forget the toll all the stress, the sleepless nights and the unrelenting treatment schedule takes on our physical bodies, as Gray’s parents. We truly could not have made it this far, and certainly could not continue in this fight, if it weren’t for your constant prayers. We thank you and love you all so much!

Just yesterday we received some news we simply didn’t see coming. After having blood work done at clinic this week, Gray’s doctors decided that he needs to have a feeding tube put in. Gray will have to have surgery in the coming days and a tube will be placed directly into his stomach. It will hang out of his stomach kind of like the way the picc line in his arm does. Because of all his treatment, Gray just isn’t eating enough. He doesn’t feel hungry and it’s nearly impossible to force your strong willed 3-year-old boy to eat! As a result, Gray isn’t getting all the nutrition he needs to grow and maintain his weight and thus the need for the feeding tube. Gray will still be able to eat solid food whenever he does want to and whenever he actually feels like it but each night we will have to put nutritional supplements into Gray’s feeding tube. We will  also be able to put some of Gray’s medicine into his new feeding tube so that we don’t have to hold him down and force feed him his meds every day. I guess if we HAD to find a silver lining through this sudden new phase of cancer treatment it would be that…Gray hates taking his medicine! It’s still a shock to know that our baby will have to have a feeding tube. You can’t imagine the anxiety knowing your baby won’t eat. The nurses assured us, though, that feeding tubes aren’t entirely uncommon for children with cancer. If they don’t feel like doing something they’re simply NOT going to do it…including eating! Please continue to pray for Gray and our family. Gray’s treatment is going very well, overall, and we couldn’t be more thankful for all your support and for God’s faithfulness. It truly is, though, the time in Gray’s treatment plan where we are pulling strength from any place we can possibly find it just to make it through the next few months or even each day for that matter. We are  exhausted, worn and weary but we know that by God’s strength alone we will cross that finish line that seems so close and yet so far away at the same time.

“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious, squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’ Mark 4:35-41

what’s black & white and GRAY all over??

Gray has been in the local Mustang News several times over the past year and today he added another appearance to the list! With the upcoming Praise4Gray event only a week away, the same reporter who has interviewed the Everaard family in the past interviewed them yet again about Gray’s treatment progress and what he is currently going through with his proton therapy. She also interviewed Erika Knight, who runs Pray4Gray, about how Pray4Gray got started and also about the upcoming fundraising concert with worship artist Jason Upton. Gray took up the entire front and back page of the Mustang News! As you can see, his cute and playful grin (and new full head of hair) captured the attention of our entire community! Today’s Mustang News story was so well written and was such a fair representation of what the Everaard family is going through, what they are feeling and how their belief in God and the power of prayer has, and is, getting them through their toughest days. If you live in Mustang, then make sure you pick up today’s paper but if you don’t, or if you can’t find a paper, then simply go to and read the full article about Gray and the upcoming Praise4Gray event. It goes without saying, that the Everaard family has been humbled by the support of their church and community over the past year and the article in today’s paper is just another example of how far reaching that support truly is. If you’ve ever thought that “ALL you can do is pray…” for Gray and his family then know, know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that prayer is what has sustained Gray, his brother, his dad and his mom throughout this entire fight. Prayer isn’t “all” you can do…prayer is the BEST thing you can do! Thank you Mustang, thank you church family, thank you fellow ministers and thank you to every single person who has whispered a prayer on Grays’ behalf.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:14-16

come one, come all

Praise4Gray with Jason Upton is only ONE WEEK AWAY!!!! All the final preparations are being made and the details are falling into place!!!! We are expecting a great night of corporate worship with all of those praying and believing for Gray and his family!!!! If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets for the evening then DO SO NOW!!!! In order for your tickets to be mailed to you, you will need to purchase them via this website BEFORE Monday, August 22, 2011. You can still place an order via this website for tickets after Monday but if you do so they will be held at the venue door. We will also have tickets for sale for $15 each at the door of The Bridge Assembly of God the evening of the concert. If you would like to attend the worship workshop with Jason Upton at 5:00PM on Friday, August 26, 2011 before Praise4Gray we will also have tickets for sale for the workshop at the door. Tickets for the workshop are $35 each and include admission to the evenings concert. TO OUR CHURCH FAMILY AT “THE BRIDGE”, we will be selling tickets to the concert, workshop tickets and Gray Gear in the lobby of our church THIS SUNDAY, August 20, 2011!!!! We will be open during all three morning services and the evening service!!!! Please stop by and get your ticket!!!! We will be ACCEPTING CREDIT CARDS both on Sunday morning in the church lobby AND at the doors of the Praise4Gray event!!!! Invite a friend and come ready for an amazing night of worship!!!! WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU THERE!!!!

get your tickets4gray

Praise4Gray is only 10 DAYS AWAY!!!! On Friday, August 26, 2011 we are so excited that worship artist Jason Upton will be joining us in hosting a “give back” night and concert in honor of Gray!! Jason Upton and his team will put on a worship concert beginning at 8:00PM and all proceeds from ticket sales and event t-shirts sold at the concert will go directly to Gray and the Everaard family to help cover the cost of Gray’s ever mounting medical bills!! Jason Upton has also generously agreed to host a worship workshop beginning at 5:00PM, before the concert!! For just $35 you can sit in on a small group discussion with the one and only Jason Upton!! The cost of the workshop also includes admission to the evening’s concert AND premium seating at the event!! DO NOT WAIT ANY LONGER TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS!!!! In order for us to have time to mail you your tickets we are asking that you place your order BEFORE Monday, August 22, 2011. If, however, you aren’t able to place your ticket order before Monday there WILL be tickets for sale AT THE DOOR for $15 each!! You will NOT want to miss out on this awesome night of corporate worship and you MOST DEFINITELY WILL NOT want to miss out on helping Gray and his family!! REMEMBER…Praise4Gray is only 10 days away on Friday, August 26, 2011. The day begins with the worship workshop at 5:00PM, doors to the concert open at 7:00PM and the worship night begins at 8:00PM!!!! Praise4Gray is being held at The Bridge Assembly of God in Mustang, OK. Come be a part of this MIRACLE MAKING NIGHT!!!!

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100

Pepper in Some GENEROUS Fun!!

Pray4Gray and the Everaard family have been working with the manager of the Chili’s Restaurant in Edmond, OK to put together a “Give Back Night” in honor of Gray! As details of the Give Back Night were being finalized many metro area Chili’s managers heard of Gray’s story and what the Edmond Chili’s was doing to give back and they asked to join in a series of Give Back Nights beginning Monday, August 15, 2011. There will be three Give Back Nights in total. The first, as we’ve mentioned, being Monday, August 15. The next Give Back Night will be Monday, August 22, 2011 and the last of the Give Back Nights will be held Monday, August 29, 2011. The flyers may be presented on these dates between the hours of 4:00PM – 10:30PM. During these three Give Back Events you MUST present the flyer shown in this post either printed or you may show the poster as an image on your phone in order for a portion of your meal proceeds to be donated to Gray and his family. For each flyer presented, Chili’s will generously donate 10% of your meals cost total to Pray4Gray!! Let Chili’s do the cooking while you support Gray and his family!! No matter where you live, throughout the metro area, there is surely a Chili’s near you that is supporting this amazing round of Give Back Nights. Those sponsoring this event are the Chili’s of Ada, Edmond, Lawton, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, OKC Metro Locations, Belle Isle, I-240 & Santa Fe, Meridian, NW Expressway, Quail Springs, Yukon and Shawnee!! Wow!! A HUGE thank you to Chili’s for their very generous support and for taking the time to learn about Gray and in turn give back to him and his family!! For more information about Chili’s “Give Back Nights” you can call 405-330-4583.

And DON’T FORGET…in order for Chili’s to donate 10% of your meal’s total to Pray4Gray you MUST present a copy of the “Give Back” flyer either in printed form or on your cell phone. So, PRINT ONE FOR YOURSELF, HAND ONE OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS AND EMAIL THE FLYER TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!! Let’s make these Give Back Nights a success for little Gray and his family!!!!

dark day, weary week

There are truly no words to explain what all this week has held for Gray and our family. Gray went into the hospital just over a week ago for part two of his second round of proton therapy. We had been prepared on paper as best as we could by Gray’s nurses and doctors for what would happen this week and what the possible side effects would be but no amount of words or explanations could have prepared us for what we have dealt with over the last seven days. The week started off rough when the nurses were simply trying to place Gray’s second picc line and something went wrong. As they attempted to place the picc line Gray suddenly turned bright red then just as quickly his entire body turned white and his blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level. Gray started coughing violently. We were ushered out of the room and the nurse went in search of the doctor. It was chaotic, frantic and very very scary. The nurse, the doctor and several OU Medical students all came back rushing into Gray’s room. Moments later the nurse came back out and said that Gray was OK but when we re-entered the room they had placed Gray on oxygen and Gray’s skin from the top of his head all the way down past his shoulders was broken out in petichia, which are tiny bruises that form under the skin. Sigh. I think it goes without saying that not only was this one of the scariest moments we’ve had thus far in Gray’s treatment but it was also overwhelming to think that this was day one in the hospital for the entire week…and we hadn’t even began treatment yet!! It was hard to calm down after that morning. After running some tests we found out that Gray’s picc line had been placed too close to a vital vein and so when they flushed the line it caused the serious reaction. Fortunately, they were able to remedy the problem without having to totally replace the line. Almost immediately after beginning treatment that afternoon Gray began experiencing side effects. Overnight his fever spiked to over 102 and his blood pressure dropped yet again to an extremely dangerous level. His blood pressure was 75/24!! The doctors made the decision to stop Gray’s treatment for about an hour and see if his vital signs would rebound on their own. Unfortunately, his blood pressure wasn’t returning to normal and so they had to treat him for it and then wait a bit longer. Just as the doctor was coming into our room to inform us they would have to take Gray to ICU because of his low blood pressure and severe side effects Gray’s blood pressure jumped back to a normal level and we were able to stay in our room and eventually begin his treatment again! Thank you Jesus! We truly credit Gray’s sudden rebound in blood pressure to the prayers being offered up on his behalf! The entire week of treatment continued as a roller coaster of side effects, stopping treatment, a variety of medication cocktails and then beginning treatment yet again. Each time Gray would have an allergic reaction to his IV treatments the nurses would have to take him off of everything, return him to some form of normalcy and then as they returned Gray to treatment they would change his doses hoping that the new dose wouldn’t cause another reaction. Unfortunately, the allergic reactions continued until the very last day of treatment. Gray would spike a fever and develop rashes and spots all over his body. We would then go through the cycle of stopping treatment, treating the reaction only to put him back on the very drugs Gray was reacting to only hours later. There’s no way to express the emotions you feel as a parent to watch your child be given medicines and a treatment that makes him appear even worse and even more sick then he does on any normal day. It’s a mind game to know that, in the end, these treatments will only improve Gray’s long term health but in the moment you just want to scream “STOP!”, unhook your baby from all the tubes and wires and take him home! It’s very emotional. Then, in the midst of Gray’s treatment, we found out that a little girl who is a couple years older then Gray and who we have seen on several of our admissions at OU Children’s Hospital passed away. We had become sort of “hospital friends” with her and her family. She too had been fighting a rare form of childhood cancer and we knew that her cancer hadn’t been responding to treatment and was spreading. Unfortunately, she lost her fight. As we sat in Gray’s room watching him go through cancer treatment and fighting right along side him we couldn’t help but let our hearts sink. There’s not always a happy ending and, when it comes down to it, cancer is simply unfair. No child or family should have to endure the diagnosis, the battle or the end result. We feel so blessed to have so many praying for Gray and so much support on a daily basis, and while Madison had a strong support system as well, she is proof that what we want isn’t always what we get. It was a dark day in the hospital.

On Friday, Gray finished his treatment and was released late in the evening. We were happy to be home and hoping to get some sleep. While we got one night of sleep, it wasn’t nearly enough, when the hospital called Saturday morning and told us some of the cultures they had taken from Gray on Friday before he was released looked like they could be showing signs of an infection and so we were asked to come back immidiately. They told us Gray would be admitted for a minimum of another 48 hours while they watched the cultures and treated him for any infections that may occur. So…back to the hospital we went. It is now Monday and Gray is still in the hospital. The good news is the doctor’s no longer think the cultures are showing any signs of infection and so hopefully we’ll get to go back home today! Keep your fingers crossed! As soon as we can get home and settled in we will have almost three full weeks at home and as a family before we have to return for another round of proton therapy. It almost seems daunting to try and list prayer requests. There are so many. We are quite simply exhausted! Our entire family needs rest and just some drama free time to ourselves. We also would very much appreciate your prayers for our faith. Hearing of little Madison’s passing was a huge set back on our mindset. We know God is greater then cancer and has a plan for Gray and our family and we just need a fresh vision for the future. Also, please pray for Madison’s family during this time. Their loss is so great and simply beyond comprehension. Please pray for us as Seth begins school in just a few weeks. We have been joking that we don’t know what we did to have a 3-year-old with cancer and a budding teenager at the same time (Ha!) but that’s the hand we were dealt and so we’re doing the best we can. Seth starts junior high (sigh) in a few weeks and his first day will actually be during Gray’s third round of proton therapy. It seems overwhelming just to think about what that week will be like. Please just remember us over the next few weeks and pray that the last week of August will hold few side effects for Gray and a positive junior high experience for Seth.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? WHO OF YOU BY WORRYING CAN ADD A SINGLE HOUR TO HIS LIFE? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lillies of the field grow. The do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. THEREFORE DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW, FOR TOMORROW WILL WORRY ABOUT ITSELF. EACH DAY HAS ENOUGH TROUBLE OF  ITS OWN.” Matthew 6:25-34

“Sometimes you have to get out of the way, REST and let God be God in your situation.” Rob McClure

prayer is power!!

Gray completed the first half of round 2 of his proton therapy this week. According to the doctors, this was supposed to be a “boring week” of treatment! It was scheduled to be routine and simply a preparation week for next week when the tougher treatment would begin. That proved to be anything but true, though! After only two days of treatment Gray became extremely swollen and spiked a fever of 105! The doctors immediately ordered a blood transfusion. It was a scary day. The transfusion WAS able to lower Gray’s fever! We were thankful for that. The rest of  our hospital stay was tiring and mentally exhausting, though, as the nurses decided it would be best to hook all of Gray’s monitors up to screens that they could see at their station in the lobby just in case any of his vital signs showed a need for  immediate attention. Needless to say, we didn’t get much rest physically or mentally after that!  It is very scary to think that our “boring” hospital stay was so eventful knowing that this coming week’s treatment has higher risks of side effects and will take a greater toll on Gray’s body. Sigh. Gray goes back into the hospital tonight. He will be admitted this evening and after they place a picc line in his arm tomorrow they will begin the final portion of his 2nd round of proton therapy. Gray is going through alot with this treatment. It causes him widespread pain and his recovery, as he comes home each weekend, is rough because after being in a bed for a full week his muscles and joints are sore. Gray is also on a variety of medications and shots at home. It’s overwhelming for us and a struggle each and every day just to get all the necessary meds into Gray. Simply to say he “doesn’t like his medicines” is the understatement of the century! Gray has also become extremely agitated and angry with his proton therapy thus far. As we were preparing to leave the hospital after last week’s visit, the nurse came in to remove Gray’s IV’s he began screaming at her and even kicked her a couple of times while she tried to do her job. Gray is also very moody at home. He will be happy one minute and very angry the next! If it’s possible, he often seems both happy and mad at the same time! He is also very hard to please, changing his mind on a whim, and like any three-year-old is very demanding. The only difference is Gray is demanding and in pain so it makes it harder to deal with then dealing with a normal self centered toddler.

As we go into this next week of treatment, we ask for your constant prayers. We’ve been warned by Gray’s doctors that this week will be rough. It will be painful for Gray and carries with it the possibility of many serious side effects. They will also be placing a new picc line in Gray’s arm which he will be required to keep in until his proton therapy is completed, which is still several months away according to our schedule. The difference between this new picc line and the port Gray already has is that Gray’s port is internal so when it’s not accessed during hospital stays it is underneath his skin and requires no extra care but the picc line they are putting in Gray’s arm tomorrow will be external meaning it will have tubes hanging externally out of it. These tubes will require us to flush them each day at home, when we’re  not in the hospital, and also require extra care. We cannot get them wet and, of course, Gray can not pull them out! Please pray that Gray’s mood will improve and that his emotions will level out. Pray that his pain will be minimal and that there will be no surprise side effects during this treatment. Our family, as a whole, is exhausted and so ready for this therapy to be over. The hospital stays are so very rough. We know it is for the long term good of our baby but it’s so daunting to watch Gray recover each weekend and just begin to return to somewhat of a normal little boy only to be thrust back into the hospital, hooked up to an overwhelming concoction of drugs and be exposed to so much pain for an entire week. It’s sad to know that you’re having to make your baby sick in order to get him better. It just doesn’t make sense. We do thank you all for you constant concern and willingness to help our family through this time. It means the world to us and we are so grateful for our friends, family and thousands of prayers that are offered up each and every day for Gray and our family.

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If  he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:15-16

Lights! Camera! GRAY!

Gray’s story has reached further then we could have ever imagined over the past 10 months. is viewed between 1,000 and 2,000 times per week and has been viewed in over 85 countries around the world!! We can only pray that as people read about Gray’s courage and our constant faith in God to carry us through this bumpy road in our lives that they are somehow brought closer to the Lord in their own lives! Or even possibly make a decision to follow Jesus for the very first time! We know that God can and will take a situation otherwise meant for bad and with no signs of hope and use it for HIS glory! Recently, Pray4Gray was contacted by our state’s local news station, News Channel 4. They asked to do a story on Gray and his fight against cancer and also direct people to our website to further help in the fund raising efforts of Pray4Gray. Obviously, we were nervous but excited! Our little Gray will be reaching the community in an even greater way then he already has! So, yesterday, a cameraman and reporter from News Channel 4 came to our home and taped an interview with Erika Knight, who runs our Pray4Gray website and fund raising, and they also interviewed us as a family and taped different shots of Gray playing both inside the house and outside on the swing set. Luckily, Gray was in an awesome mood and made  instant friends with the reporter! He even asked her to stay and play toys with him! After the interview we were able to take Gray’s and Seth’s picture with the reporter and cameraman and also present them with a basket of Gray Gear!

We’ll admit, it was strange being interviewed for the news but we are excited for the awareness and Godly message that will be presented through our story and as even more people visit our website. Now we’re asking all of our friends and family and those who are so faithful in reading Gray’s website and following his story and praying for us each and every day to TUNE IN tomorrow, FRIDAY, JULY 15 at 9:00PM on channel 4′s sister station KAUT Freedom 43 to see Gray’s story air!! If you don’t live locally and won’t be able to watch Gray’s story during it’s debut then you can view the full story at beginning Saturday. Thank you all for your continued support!!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

proton TORTURE!!

We had been told that proton therapy was one of the hardest things we would go through within Gray’s cancer treatment, but after seeing him go through chemo and losing his hair and getting so sick we weren’t sure anything could be worse…but we were wrong! Proton therapy should go by a different name because “therapy” makes it sound soothing or relaxing in some way (i.e. massage therapy) but it couldn’t be further from relaxing! As the proton therapy attacks the cancer in Gray’s body it, unfortunately, also attacks his joints causing him to suffer severe pain throughout the treatment. To help with the pain Gray is on a morphine drip throughout his entire hospital stay that keeps him very drugged up and while it does subdue the pain he still moans and whines even in his sleep! There’s honestly no more helpless a feeling then to listen to your baby whimper in their sleep and know that there’s nothing you can do to take away the pain. Proton therapy also poses a variety of possible side effects and Gray did experience some of those during his first round of treatments. Only a couple of days into the therapy, Gray’s fever spiked. We had been warned by his doctors that this would probably happen but were hopeful that Gray would escape this side effect. Gray’s blood pressure also dropped to a dangerous level one night during his treatment and the doctors were prepared to stop the proton therapy all together if his blood pressure didn’t return to normal quickly. It was an intense and very scary time. Thankfully, though, Gray’s blood pressure rose to an acceptable level and we were able to complete his treatment. That night may have been the most scared we have been throughout this entire year. It’s impossible to put into words what was going on in our minds and hearts during those late night hours. Proton therapy is very scary but we also have great hope that it will be worth it. We had the pleasure of meeting a mother in the clinic one day who’s son had gone through proton therapy years earlier and she assured us that it made a world of difference in his life. There’s no denying that the next six months of proton therapy will be long, tiring and even pose some of the scariest days we’ve endured to date but we hope and pray that we will one day sit in clinic and be able to give the same encouragement to another worried family. Gray is also back on daily medications at home. He has to take prescription medications by mouth twice a day and is also back on daily shots. Please pray that these meds will do their job without causing any side effects and also pray that Gray takes his medicine with little fight to mom and dad! The prescription pills in particular are very serious, potent drugs and we can’t pray enough that he doesn’t have any of the potential side effects possible with it. Gray is also growing up and getting older and has become very suspicious anytime we try to sneak his medicines into a food or drink and so it’s getting more and more difficult to “trick him” into taking his medicine everyday. Your prayers are greatly appreciated! We wanted to share with you another picture from Gray’s most recent stay in the hospital. These three girls volunteer at the hospital. They are part of a leadership team from Mustang High School, who actually adopted Gray and helped raise money for him this past school year! When these girls saw that Gray was in the hospital, they were sweet enough to come to our room to visit him and see how he is doing. Unfortunately, Gray was pretty out of it from all of the morphine but it was nice to have visitors and so kind of them to think of us!

Life in our home lately has had huge ups and huge downs. It’s like the most extreme emotional roller coaster ride you can imagine, times one thousand! On the up side, Gray’s eyelashes and eyebrows have grown back and thankfully his eyelashes are just as long and thick as they were before he received his cancer diagnosis! As a mom, I was hoping to see those “heartbreaker” lashes return! Gray’s hair is also growing back and we actually just gave him his first post-chemo haircut! He’s looking older and more grown up everyday! On the down side, though, Gray still has cancer and we still live each and everyday fighting it with all the energy we can muster. The lowest moments, of course, are those spent in the hospital as Gray receives painful treatments and is forced to endure things no person (or child for that matter) should ever be asked to go through. At home, it’s difficult to maintain balance between our “cancer life” and our “family life” and also simply perform the day to day tasks of giving Gray his meds and trying to maintain some form of a family routine. Cancer is ugly. There’s no other way to describe it. Ugly. Through the darkest moments, though, you can never know how much it helps to know that so many are praying for us and for Gray each and every day! We love you all and only hope that one day we could thank each of you personally. Gray has blood tests this coming Monday and then is admitted to the hospital for his second round of proton therapy on Tuesday. Please keep us in your prayers.

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:4-5

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