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buzz and bad news…

We celebrated Gray turning three Tuesday night with a small, and short, party with mostly family and just a couple friends. Gray’s party was a Toy Story theme but Gray loves Buzz Lightyear the most! We had a really fun party! A family friend made a Buzz Lightyear themed birthday cake and as an extra added surprise Buzz Lightyear himself stopped by to deliver some special gifts! Needless to say, Gray loved his presents! In fact, we made the mistake of letting him open his gifts first before singing happy birthday and cutting his cake and once he saw all his new toys he wasn’t really feeling the whole “blow out your candles” portion of the party! Ha! We couldn’t blame him though! I mean when you just opened new Thomas the Train toys, Rock N Roll Elmo and Buzz Lightyear is standing in your living room cake and ice cream just don’t seem quite as exciting! Eventually he did come to the table for some cake, though. Thank you to you all for your many birthday wishes to our little man! It’s wonderful to see him turning another year older!

Today, we are checking into the hospital for another inpatient round of chemo. This round is very different from the others in that we will only be in the hospital for three days. While we’re happy about that we can’t help but be a little nervous because during this round Gray will receive two full days of IV fluids and then one day of very strong chemo. It’s kind of hard to believe that a medicine he usually receives over an entire week he will now be receiving in one single day. We’ve been warned that since this round of chemo is condensed into such a short period of time Gray will again be at a much greater risk of getting sick and developing mouth sores, among other side effects. Please pray that he doesn’t experience any new side effects. He did get sick with his last round of chemo and it’s just plain ol’ NO FUN at all! I guess that goes without saying but it’s one thing to care for your son who has cancer and it’s another thing entirely to care for your son who has cancer and is also throwing up all day. And then to add mouth sores on top of that…? No thank you. We do have some discouraging news to share. We struggled with whether or not to make this public but we know that all your prayers are truly what is sustaining our family during this time and we honestly believe whole heartedly in the power of prayer so we chose to go ahead and share this with you in the hopes that you will continue to lift Gray up in prayer each and every day. When we went to clinic at the beginning of the week for blood tests we also met with our doctor’s assistant who had some information that we did not want to hear. As you know, we’ve been discussing surgery to remove Gray’s tumor once he is finished with chemo especially since the tumor has shrunk so much. Well, this week we learned that a portion of Gray’s tumor has wrapped itself around his aorta, the main artery that runs from your heart. This is disheartening news to say the least. If a tumor has attached itself or wrapped itself around pretty much any organ it may still be operable because they can often remove a portion of that organ if not the entire thing depending on which organ it is, BUT when the tumor is wrapped around your aorta that portion is not operable. It’s difficult to even type those words. The PA explained that when they do surgery they will do their best to scrape as much of the tumor away from Gray’s aorta as they possibly can but she also very bluntly told us that because they will have to leave some of the tumor inside of Gray and because Neuroblastoma is classically known to quickly reproduce itself that Gray’s chances of his tumor and cancer returning is beyond expected. This journey has more ups and downs then we can even possibly begin to explain in words. It feels like we constantly take two steps forward and one step back. We were just telling you days ago the good news of Gray’s tumor shrinking and his bone marrow being cancer free and now here we are delivering this news. It’s almost difficult to even feel anything at this point. The highs and lows are too difficult to bear. We almost feel like turning off our emotions entirely and just coasting through our days. We do covet all of your prayers during this time. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God hears our prayers and He IS our great healer! He has a plan for Grayson and we believe that it includes healing! Please stand WITH us and stand FOR us when we can’t stand for ourselves as we continue walking with Gray on this road. Thank you all so much.

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the eart I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”  Psalm 61:1-4

Oh My, Oh Me! Look who’s THREE!!!!

Today Grayson turned THREE!!!! Gray had a really good day! He played all day and was his typical mischievious self. He ended his birthday the best way any three year old could…with his blanky, his binky and a Bibleman video! There is such a different feeling that comes along with a birthday when you are facing cancer. Even though we’ve had many good reports lately concerning Gray’s prognosis you still can’t help but cherish a birthday more then you normally would. It’s almost unfair that when you feel like celebrating a birthday the most you are allowed to the least. If we had our way we would probably throw a huge birthday celebration carnival style going all out with petting zoos, games, candy and as many friends as we could cram into our house! Why not? We’re excited to see our baby boy happy and growing another year older!!!! But unfortunately, even with all the excitement we are feeling our little boy can’t be around large groups of people. Sigh. It’s just another reminder of how isolating cancer can be. We’re not completely without celebration, though. This week we are having a small party for Gray with most family and a few close friends. It’ll be wonderful to throw even a small party for our little man! The hardest part of today, Grayson’s third birthday, was that we had to end the day by giving Gray his medicine and a shot. NO little boy should have to end his birthday that way but that’s just life right now. It’s not easy and it’s not even fair but it’s becoming our routine. Almost second nature. Please continue to pray for strength in Grayson’s body and peace for Gray as well. He has been extremely agitated, weepy and very clingy to mom. Gray can’t really convey to us how he feels about all that is going on in his life and so we often feel frustrated that we are unable to understand his feelings. It makes it difficult to meet Gray’s needs. Also, Gray is scheduled to be admitted back to the hospital this Thursday for his fourth round of inpatient chemo. We go back to the clinic on Monday to make sure Gray’s blood levels are high enough to actually receive treatment. As of last week, though, everything looks good to move forward with this coming round of chemo. As you know, Gray did get sick with his third round and so please pray that that doesn’t happen again. We need an easy round of chemo…if there is such a thing. Through it all, we must say that  Gray’s smile is still helping us through each day of this journey. He truly is the awnriest, happiest, most care free kid and we couldn’t have been blessed with better. Thank you all for your continued support. Even as time marches on and the initial shock of Gray’s diagnosis wears off we can still feel your love and prayers each and every day. It makes more of a difference then you can possibly know.

“For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”  -Psalm 5:12

more thankful

Gray completed his third round of chemo just over a week ago. As you know, this round was inpatient because the chemo was a combination of medicines and stronger then any previous round. We were warned that he may experience more symptoms during this round of chemo then he has in the past and unfortunately he did. Gray acted fine, for the most part, but would throw up from time to time. He would really be acting almost normal and then suddenly he would whine and then throw up. Poor little guy. As you can see, Doug was the target of Gray’s first “throwing up” episode! Besides feeling sad for our little guy it was also a bit overwhelming each time he threw up only because any fluids that come out of Gray during chemo have chemo in them and so are, at some level, poisenous to us. We even have to wear rubber gloves when we change his diapers! Sigh. Gray stayed kind of sick for several days after being released from the hospital but is now doing better. At this point, however, Gray is extremely constipated and isn’t eating well. Please pray that his appetite will return. After coming home from the hospital and after Gray recovered a bit from this round of chemo we enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with both our families. Everyone came together, each preparing part of our meal and we truly enjoyed each others company. It was a nice time. Yesterday we went back to the clinic at the hospital to have Gray’s white blood cell count levels checked. As usual, Gray LOVED looking out the window at the crane working and building across the street! He’s all boy! When his count results came back they showed that Gray’s levels are still very high! They are sitting right at about 11,000!!!! We know at any moment they will drop and the doctor’s expect them to drop this week but as of now his immune system is holding strong. There truly is never a day that goes by where we don’t think about cancer, talk about cancer and go over Gray’s treatment schedule doing our best to prepare for tomorrow but as we settle in to some form of routine we are finding that memories are still being made. We are still laughing and still smiling. Gray is still our little comedian and makes us laugh nearly everyday! Recently, he found his way into mommy’s closet and played dress-up!! I mean seriously…do they come any cuter then that???? Gray truly continues to teach our family every single day how valuable life is and how important time is. Over thanksgiving those many life lessons were even more at the forefront of our minds. Sure we’ve had some low points recently as well. It’s never easy to watch your baby fight cancer and to put your entire life, your family routine, your friendships and your own needs on hold to be strong for your baby but at the same time we are all learning things through this process that are beyond valuable and that we otherwise would have never learned. We are thankful for so much and blessed with even more! We hope you all enjoyed your own family over Thanksgiving and we hope that you saw the value in the time you spent with them. Life is short. Life is so fragile. Life is precious.

“No one cares more about your life then God. No man, no woman, not even you. That’s why God’s destiny is always the best. God loves you perfectly and he is always thinking about you and thinking about what is best for you. Give God all your worries and all your cares for he is always thinking about you watching everything that concerns you. (1 Peter 5:7) Whatever concerns you, concerns God. Whatever you’re worried about, whatever you’re afraid of, whatever keeps you up at night, whatever gets your attention, gets God’s attention. No one will care more about your life, so why not give him your life to care about? What does it mean that God is mindful of you? I means he’s alert, he’s focused, he’s paying attention. When God is mindful of you, he notices everything in your life. Matthew 10 says not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without God noticing. He even numbers every hair on your head. That’s how close God pays attention to you. That’s why it’s worth going God’s way rather then your way. Accepting God’s destiny for your life is the best plan.” -Rick Warren

TAKE THAT TUMOR!!!!

Well, we’re still on our high from the news that Gray’s bone marrow is cancer free and now here we are blessed to hear EVEN MORE good news!! Yesterday, Gray’s doctor came in to speak with us and delivered the news that GRAY’S TUMOR HAS SHRUNK BY HALF!!!!!!!!! We don’t even really know what to say!! There aren’t words!! We’re just choosing to live in THIS moment and to dwell on THIS news!! After the doctor left the room, I was in such shock that I even had to ask the nurse if what I thought I had heard was actually true! Gray looked at such peace as he slept last night and, let me tell you, even sleeping in the hospital (which really can’t be considered sleep at all…) we were all a bit more at rest on the inside. It’s nice to lay in silence and know that God is truly there. He really is hearing our prayers and He really is healing our baby boy. It’s such a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and instead of feeling dread wash over you as you realize that this hasn’t all been a bad dream you feel some form of relief inside as you remember the good news from the day before! Again, thank you all for your continued prayers!! Today our tears are of joy, not fear, and our smiles are of relief, not a mask to hide what’s on the inside. Whew. Really…truly…thank you all.

“A weight was lifted today, For once I can finally breathe, It may seem small to some, But to me it’s a huge relief. You don’t know the difference, To you it’s just another day, I though feel a bit lighter somehow, This has to be the only way. The road ahead may still be long, The journey more sorrow may bring, But I choose to live in this moment, Mind clear Spirit free I want to sing. My heart feels a bit more whole tonight, My world just more complete, Let me shout it from the rooftops please, He hears us He cares Our needs He will meet! Let me live here Lord, Let this peace I feel now stay, I almost forgot what it was like, Only feeling fear day after day. When anxiety comes and visits again though, I know what I will do, Look back on this pile of stones, Behind Beside and Before me there is You.” (written by a friend)

Oh! What a difference a day makes!

After Gray’s bone marrow harvest on Tuesday we were happy to hear that the doctors were able to get all the marrow they needed and so there was no need to harvest again on Wednesday! THAT we were excited to hear but when the nurses showed up to remove Gray’s second port, the one placed in Grayson’s neck, we had a gut feeling that this wouldn’t be good. To make a long, agonizing and terrifying procedure somewhat shorter the nurses basically just held Gray down, snipped the stitches surrounding his port and pulled the tubes from his body. Then the nurses had to put pressure on the open wound for about ten minutes to stop the bleeding. They didn’t sedate him or even give Gray anything to calm down. Gray literally screamed bloody murder the entire time and did his best to fight off the nurses surrounding him. It…was…awful. As terrible, though, as the port removal was it was definitely made up for today! When Gray had surgery on Monday, doctors took a second biopsy of his bone marrow for testing. We got the results this morning and they were beyond good! This morning we found out that Gray’s bone marrow is CANCER FREE!!!! I’m not even kidding!!!!!! CANCER FREE!!!!! The cancer is still in his bones so he’s still considered stage 4, at this point, but the cancer is completely gone from Gray’s bone marrow and as far as doctors can tell the new marrow his body is producing is also cancer free! I mean, there are no words to explain the pure joy we are feeling! Here we are, coming off of three of the worst days we’ve had since Grayson’s diagnosis, and then “BAM!” we are reminded that God is still here. He is still watching over our little boy and he still answers prayer! Thank you all for your continued prayers! It may sound a bit cheesy but with Thanksgiving only a week away we truly have more then enough to be thankful for. We have been blessed with each other, with two wonderful sons and now with a report from doctors that we have been dreaming about! As you and your family get together for Thanksgiving, think of all that you have…and I don’t mean financially. Think of the relationships, friendships and loves that you are grateful for. That’s what truly matters! I could literally go on and on about how this good report has changed our outlook for the day but I’ll leave it at that. We are thankful for our family, our friends and for all of you. Your thoughts and prayers mean so much to us. We do ask that you continue to pray for Grayson as he began his third round of chemo today. This chemo treatment is unlike his first two in that the drugs are stronger and so his kidneys will be at risk. Over the next week the doctors will check Gray’s kidneys every single day to be sure they are functioning properly as they continue to inject chemo into his body. We just hope and pray that this week of chemo will continue to do what it is designed to do and kill even more of Grayson’s cancer! We look forward to more good reports in the future! We also ask for your prayers that Gray will not have any new side effects from his chemo. Because this round is stronger then before we have been warned that Gray could experience more sickness and even mouth sores. We really do not want to see our baby go through that. Again, let us say a HUGE THANK YOU to you all. We breathed a bit easier today. We laughed a bit more today. We smiled way more today! We are so thankful!

Gray had several visitors today! His grandparents came by and also some friends from Ponca City! Gray had fun visiting and also got to play a round of hide and seek with Elia, our friends daughter! Our hospital room may be small but it didn’t stop Gray and Elia from finding some of the best hiding spots!

“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me in joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:1-3, 11-12

another day…

Today, Gray began his bone marrow harvest. It’s rough. Each day, Grayson has to be transported to the Oklahoma Blood Institute by ambulance, which he was kind of freaked out by today, and then he has to sit completely still in one of the recliners for over two hours while this large machine harvests his marrow. The machine was scary to us let alone a tiny two year old. Gray got used to it pretty quick, though. Gray was also pretty cranky and even a bit agressive today. We think it was because of the morphine they gave him. Pain killers seem to make Gray upset. We can’t blame him. Today, one of the nurses tried to give Grayson a little stuffed puppy to hold during his treatment and as soon as she handed it to him Gray chunked it right back at her! The nurse just laughed! I think she understood. Honestly, we’d probably all be throwing things at this point if it was socially acceptable. We were wondering if Gray would have to receive any form of sedation during the harvest since he’s not allowed any movement but all the sedation he had was Toy Story 3. He did very well, though. He let us hold him some and he was so brave. He’s truly our hero. It hasn’t gotten any easier to look at the port coming out of Grayson’s neck. Thankfully today the nurses taped the port tubes hanging freely from his neck up onto the side of his head so that they aren’t as heavy or as much in the way as they were before. We are sure, no matter what, that when we leave the hospital Grayson will have a very sore neck. His port really is very heavy and he has to lay with his head tilted to the side at all times just to make room for it on his tiny body. Sigh. Overall, we’re hanging in there. You really don’t get any rest in the hospital…at all. Nurses come in every four hours to check all of Gray’s vital signs and although last night’s nurse did her best to stay very quiet there’s just no way you can stay asleep through all of that. This entire process thus far has really worn Gray out. Poor guy. He had no idea all of this was coming. There’s no way to prepare your two year old for all that he’s had to endure over the past 48 hours. Thank you for all your prayers. We really can feel them every moment of every day. Please continue to pray for rest, strength, peace and emotional energy for our entire family. While walking our baby through the fight of his life we are at the same time doing our best to keep faith close and fear at bay. It’s a choice we have to make every second.

“But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:16-17

living the past

Yesterday we were asked to have Grayson at the hospital by 6:30AM to be admitted for surgery at 9AM. We arrived at 6:30 but we are quickly learning about “hospital time” which is nothing like “reali life time” and so admissions was behind, surgery was behind, everything was behind. Gray passed the time by reading the US News & World Report! He’s such a little man. We spent most of the morning trying our best to keep Gray entertained while we waited for his turn to go back for surgery. He played with the toys in the waiting room and even played with another little boy too. Finally, the nurses called Gray back into a hospital room to prep him for surgery. Gray enjoyed getting all dressed in his hospital gown, paper surgery cap and thick warm socks. He actually was very “two-years-old” the entire morning! He was awnry! He was laughing! He was taking pictures with the nurses! Unfortunately, though, we knew the fun had to come to an end and before we knew it it was time for Gray to have his catheter put in for surgery. Soon after, they took Gray back. This surgery was to insert a second port into Gray’s body from which they will harvest Gray’s bone marrow over the next two to three days. We were told pre-surgery that this new port would be put into Gray’s groin but once the surgery was complete we were shocked to see that the doctor’s chose not to put the port into Grayson’s groin but instead into his neck. There are no words to express what it was like to see our little baby laying in his recovery bed with tubes sticking straight out of his tiny neck. We were sad, shocked, so emotional and horrified all at the same time. Nothing prepares you for that. NOTHING. As we walked into the surgery recovery room to hold Gray while he woke everything seemed so surreal. It was like we were walking into two months ago and holding Grayson just after being given the news of his cancer diagnosis. Deja Vu doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings. This admission to the hospital and second surgery have awaken feelings we thought we had already dealt with. We thought we were passed this point. Now, though, we are living through the same thoughts, the same emotions, the same feelings and the same fears all over again. There’s no sugar coating it…this is rough. It’s awful. It’s not fair. It was hard to sit and hold Gray in recovery and watch other mom’s holding their babies who were in the hospital for minor procedures and outpatient surgeries. It was hard to hold it all in. Why are we here for cancer? Why were we chosen to walk this path? Why can’t we be here to have tubes put into Gray’s ears to prevent ear infections or to repair a broken leg from climbing a tree? The questions haunt our minds. We were chosen, though, and Grayson is our baby boy and he does have cancer. We will walk this road. We may want to sit down and refuse to move any further, we may feel like our bodies can’t get up for one more day and we may feel that our emotions have no more fight but no matter what, we must. We must get up. We must keep moving. We must keep fighting. We just must keep. For Gray. For Seth. For ourselves. For each other. For life. As Gray was moved back to the room where he will spend the next week we watched our brave boy as he discovered his new port. He has no idea what each of his days will hold and all we can do is be there to discover each new moment right along with him. Our day ended with giving Gray his daily shot and having to access his original port again. Not a fun way to end such a long day, to say the least. We knew that tomorrow held even greater battles and all we hoped for was a good nights sleep. Over the next two days Gray will be transported to the Oklahoma Blood Institute via ambulance for his bone marrow harvest. We’re not sure what to expect but we’re taking this one day at a time. Please pray for Gray and our family. It’s difficult today to even know what you can pray for. We’re physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. We’re drained. Please pray for rest. Also, throughout this week, aside from caring for Gray and tending to him in the hospital we still have our oldest son, Seth, who has school projects due, homework and will simply need his own time and attention from mom and dad. Pray for balance. Just continue to pray. We’re almost too tired to even share specific needs. Please just cry out for our family. We thank you so much for your continued thoughts, prayers, concern, cards and gifts that you send our way. It means so much. We’re posting some pictures of Gray’s first day in the hospital. One of them, inparticular, is somewhat graphic and shows the new port placed in Gray’s neck. We wouldn’t post it if we didn’t want you to see but just know that it is difficult to look at.

Two strangers bound by one fate. Gray playing with another ancer patient in the waiting room.

Gray nervous about getting his catheter put in.

No matter what, he’s still Grayson!!

He really does LOVE his hospital get-up!!

Grayson’s second port. This is where they will draw his bone marrow from.

“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’”  Psalm 55:4-8

this is real

When we had Gray’s blood counts checked on Tuesday they were high! So, he was  approved to attend Youth Pastor’s Retreat with us this weekend at Turner Falls! We were so excited to get out of the house! Gray had fun “ruling the roost” at camp. He always does. He even showed off his Guitar Hero skills! We do have another change in plans for Gray’s upcoming hospital stay and treatment schedule. He is still set to be admitted to the hospital this Monday for his bone marrow harvest but instead of being released and re-admitted the following week for inpatient chemo he will just stay in the hospital and start his third round of chemo directly following the marrow harvest. Please pray for our family this week. It’s so hard to explain but even with the constant doctor’s visits, daily medications and seeing our bald little boy everyday we can still sometimes “forget” he’s so sick. It’s not that we forget he has cancer or that we forget our current circumstance but we just seem to settle back into a form of home life so resembling normalcy that cancer seems to slip to the back of our minds. Then suddenly, during weeks like these, we are jolted back to reality. It’s almost as if we’re hearing the news of Gray’s cancer all over again. It socks us in the gut nearly as intense as the first time. THIS is our reality. THIS is really happening. It’s not a dream afterall. Our son really does have cancer. It really is serious. When Gray goes into the hospital this week he will have to undergo surgery to place a new port into his groin and then will have to be transported by ambulance to the transplant center for his bone marrow harvest. And like I said before that is immediately followed by his third round of chemo, his first as inpatient since his initial round. It’s so easy to say the words “bone marrow transplant” and “chemo treatment” but when the doctors actually lay out the entire procedure and give us details we didn’t know existed the process becomes so complex and overwhelming. We truly covet every single prayer you can offer. Please stand with us and please stand with Grayson over the next 8 days as we walk through a new challenge and a new fire as a family. We are praying for comfort and minimal side effects for Gray, understanding and peace for us as his parents and peace for our older son Seth. We’ve recently had to approach the seriousness of Gray’s illness with Seth and while it’s not a conversation we want to have we know we have to answer his questions. Please pray that Seth will have peace and also faith, even at his young age. We’re still happy to say, above everything else, that Gray is doing so well! His energy is up, he’s still eating well and his attitude is an encouragement to us all! We say all the time that he’s doing better then any of us! We’re sure it’s because he doesn’t know he’s “supposed” to feel sick. He truly is teaching us the meaning of life each and every day.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

sweet sleeping angel

Whew! Sorry for the delay in updates. It’s been a busy weekend! Between doctors appointments, our oldest son Seth’s catch up homework (from missing so much during Gray’s hopsital stay), a 5th grade science project to complete and having to keep Gray isolated from the outside world the past few days have been a whirlwind! As you know, Gray was scheduled to be in the hospital three days of this week for a bone marrow harvest but there was a slight change in plans. When we took Grayson for his blood test last Wednesday his white blood cell counts had dropped to around 250. We began giving him his shots again but when we went in on Friday for another blood test his counts had dropped even further to about 50! After seeing that, the doctors decided it would be best to postpone the bone marrow harvest until Gray’s immune system recovered. In order to do the harvest, his immune system not only has to be more normal but his blood counts have to be extraordinarily high! So, now we wait. As of now, Gray’s bone marrow harvest is only pushed back a week and so we will go into the hospital this coming Monday thru Wednesday for that procedure. That means, though, that the week long inpatient chemo treatment scheduled for the week of November 15 will now also be pushed back to the week of Thanksgiving. Bummer. We aren’t too excited to be in the hospital over Thanksgiving but we are still trying to plan a belated Thanksgiving dinner with our family! This morning we have to take Gray back to the hospital for another blood test, to check his white blood cell counts, and also to have a CT Scan. We wanted to share this picture with you all today. On our way home from the hospital on Friday Gray completely passed out in his car seat! We know that all of these tests and doctors visits are taking a toll on him but believe me when he’s up and ready to move…he’s UP AND READY TO MOVE!!!! He’s still a two year old boy with no shortage of energy whatsoever!!!! He just looks like a little angel when he’s sleeping.

Here is Gray doing some light cleaning. Is he OCD or what????

Sick or not Gray is still a kid!! I think he’s ready for Santa to visit!! This picture cracks us up!!

We would like to thank all of you who visited Chili’s in Yukon this past Sunday for the “Give Back to Gray” day. We don’t know how much money was raised during the evening but we are grateful for any amount that comes in and mostly we are thankful for all your support. We also want to thank all of you who have purchased Gray Gear. It may seem like such a small thing to purchase a t-shirt or wristband in support of Gray but it means alot to our family! Sure, the proceeds from the gear are helping us pay our medical bills and Gray’s monthly prescription costs but what’s even more amazing is that we’ve heard stories of kindergarteners wearing their shirts to school and in turn the teacher asking the child’s parents what the shirt is all about. Then those parents get the chance to share Gray’s story with someone we will probably never meet! It’s stories and testimonies like that that give us hope and remind us that even though we feel as if we’re living in a bubble right now and our world seems to have become so small our unaware baby boy is reaching the world! Whether they simply hear about Gray’s story and say a little prayer or dig deeper into Gray’s website and somehow find encouragement in their own lives we know that God is working both in Gray’s body physically and in the spirit realm using Gray to fight for souls. We do ask for your continued prayer for Grayson and our family. Like I said, our world has become so small and our sight so narrow. It takes all we have to simply perform what were before mundane daily chores on top of our new hectic hospital schedule. We just ask for your prayers for our oldest son Seth that he will continue to have peace and to not feel left out of the family in any way. We also ask that you continue to pray for rest for our entire family. Doug’s work schedule doesn’t stop and house chores don’t go away and somehow we have to find a balance in helping Gray get healthy, getting the day-to-day “stuff” done and also finding time for ourselves. Most importantly, though, we ask that you continue praying for a healing in Gray’s body! We know and firmly believe that God has a great plan for our little man. He has a plan greater then anything we, as his parents, could even fathom for him! Please stand with us as we too pray for a miraculous healing in Gray and that the miracle in his life will reach all those who have been touched by our story. Only God can take something like cancer and use it for His glory but we believe that is what He’s going to do!

“We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us. The first thing God does is get us grounded on strong reality and truth. He does this until our cares for ourselves individually have been brought into submission to His way for the purpose of his redemption. Why shouldn’t we experience heartbreak? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His son. Most of us collapse at the first grip of pain. We sit down at the door of God’s purpose and enter a slow death through self-pity. And all the so-called Christian sympathy of others helps us to our deathbed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His son, as if to say, “Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.” If God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?”  -Oswald Chambers

your light broke through my night

Sorry to keep you all waiting in suspense but we have the results from Grayson’s first post chemo bone scan. We went in early Wednesday morning. When we arrived the nurse who checked us in had remembered that Gray likes rice krispie treats and had one waiting for him! It was very sweet! Gray ate the treat throughout his MIBG scan. Gray also never let go of my hand. He’s so brave but he’s still a baby too. I certainly didn’t mind. We first got back the results from Grayson’s blood test. His white blood cell counts have dropped and so we will have to start giving him his daily shots again to help recover his counts. Then…we received the results from the bone scan. Let me shout it from the rooftops…IT WAS GOOD NEWS!!!! The results showed that Grayson’s body is responding WELL to the chemo treatments. His cancer has not spread any further over the last month!!!! The dye that the doctors put into Gray through his port on Tuesday is designed to illuminate all of the cancer in Gray’s body when the doctors look at the scans. Apparently, the brighter the illumination the worse the cancer. Well, the doctor’s reported to us that on this bone scan Gray’s illumination was dimmer then before!!!! WE ARE SO THANKFUL!!!! WE ARE BEYOND THANKFUL!!!! We’ve actually been able to breathe for what feels like the first time in over a month. We know that Gray still has a long journey ahead of him but we also know that God is our great healer and he hears the cries of his people. We are doing our best to take the smiles when we can get them and to live in the moment. Our baby got a good report!!!! There just aren’t words to describe the feeling. We could go on and on!!!!

Thank you to you all for your continued prayers. As you can see…THEY ARE WORKING!!!! Please continue to remember Grayson and our family. Gray has another blood test tomorrow and then goes back into the hospital on Monday for his bone marrow harvest. We’re nervous about the harvest because…well, it’s scary. But also because we’re not sure what to expect. There is alot involved in the bone marrow harvest and we just want Gray to be comfortable and experience as little discomfort as possible. We also ask for your prayers for our family. Please pray that we will be able to rest not only physically but emotionally. We know logically that the longer Gray’s fight goes on the more drained we will become and we have to learn to take time for ourselves. We can’t care for our little man if we have nothing left at all to give. We’re still learning as we go but Wednesday was a big milestone. It was a huge breath of fresh air! We hope for many more days like that one.

Here is Gray watching Toy Story 3 with his new Buzz Lightyear!! Thanks Sister Cargill!!

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”  Psalm 30:11-12

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