Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Faces of #ChildhoodCancer

We promised to show you some amazing kids and if you've been following Grace for Jace, you've been seeing our kid spotlights every few days! 

As you know, life is super busy and to blog in two different places is truly a miracle. :P

We decided to post our kid spotlights along with their blurb and the place you can learn more about their story! 

This Ashley and Austin. They are both #heroes in our eyes and are symbols of #HOPE to us each day.
Ashley was diagnosed with (ALL) #Leukemia in Sept 2007 when she was 3 years old and completed treatment during kindergarten (2009.) 

Austin was diagnosed with (ALL) #Leukemia in July 2010 and finished treatment this month! 
This is Karly! She holds a special place in our hearts as we were there in the days cancer changed her family. At 14, she was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. She's had two reoccurrences since her first treatment and endured several surgeries. Today, she is 19 and stable with 2 spots on her lungs that are not growing. Her phrase is "Keep Calm and Carry On" and that's exactly what she is doing!  www.caringbridge.org/visit/karly

Jace and Kieran have become "super" friends during their time at the clinic. Kieran is 2 and just one week ahead in the same treatment as Jace. He's one of the sweetest boys we've met and ALWAYS brightens our days. Here's Kieran's story!

Our family met Trent at Dallas Children's in June riding the halls just as you see here! 

Trenton was diagnosed on January 2, 2013 with Stage IV, high risk Neuroblastoma (n-mync amp) two weeks before his 1st birthday. Trenton had tumors in his adrenal gland, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and bones.

Trenton is now 20 months old and is NED (no evidence of disease). He's undergone 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 4 surgeries, bone marrow transplant, numerous hospital stays and 12 rounds of radiation.

He has scans the week of September 23rd. Trenton will begin antibody therapy/immunotherapy during October which will last for 6 months.

There's not enough days/weeks in September to spotlight all that are affected by childhood cancer.

Today, we ask for you to pray for a very special family with a very special girl. Phoebe's dad went to HS with Jason. 

You'll want to catch up on Phoebe's story here:

We ask that you "adopt" a family and a child every September and that you follow their story, get to know their family and continue to lift them up with love and prayer! 

As always.....

In gratitude,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where Do We Belong

If we aren't at home or at the clinic, we often feel left out, out of the loop, or just not part of a group. We feel the stares when we are out or feel that some just are more wrapped up in themselves than to even think about what we are dealing with daily. 

It's hard to explain, but it's more difficult as each day passes to feel worlds apart from those around us. 

Here are a few thoughts I had one day after going into Toys R Us with Jace, but it applies to many places we go daily:  

it's a lonely place from where i stand
your stares are silent yet drown out the rumble of laughter and noise

are you brave enough to say anything or will your eyes and thoughts be forced to something more joyful?

it's too sad for you,  yet it's my everyday. 

your presence is faded and your absence says more than you ever could.

I know we are not the only parents who feel this, whose lives have changed, and who are different people than the ones who started this journey. 

It's for that reason alone I write about our perspective. 


Monday, September 2, 2013

I Call Myself a Warrior :)

If this is the first time you've stopped by, welcome. Originally, this blog was started to chronicle all the lessons I've learned in gratitude. But since my son, Jace's, diagnosis of leukemia in January 2013, I haven't had any time to actually blog about much of anything else and spend most of my time blogging here, posting here, or capturing our life here

You can go back and read posts about isolation, an amazing night out with New Kids on the Block, and my best birthday EVA! You can go back even further and find out more about why I started On the Wings of Gratitude and why I want to, eventually, write a book about how to be grateful no matter which struggles come your way (death, adoption, divorce, addiction, cancer). 

I've always been pretty open about my life experiences, but the spotlight that cancer put us in just about tops them all. We now have a platform to speak from and are more than passionate about how cancer affects and changes families just like us. 

We've decided to use this space for the month of September to spotlight some of the awesome and heroic families and kids we've met along this journey. 

As you may know September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and we vow to remind everyone we meet  that even though it's difficult for them to process, cancer doesn't discriminate young, old, rich, poor, big, little. We don't just want you to be aware that it's happening. We want you to be aware how it's changing people, families and lives. We want you to care enough to not look away. 

So, get your heart ready to meet some of the world's biggest heroes! 

Tonight, I thought I'd give a little humor insight into our lives. This story isn't typically something I'd share on our caring bridge site and so I thought it would be best to share here. 

Thursday started off good enough. The kids got off to school and Jace woke up feeling good. He took his medicines without much of a fight and, eventually, started eating like a champ. Hummus was his food of choice. With a spoon. 

I had a meeting I had to be at that morning and so our sweet friend, Jen, stayed with Jace for a few minutes and played trains. (Note: If you want Jace to be your BFF, just play trains or cars with him and you'll have his heart for life.) 

After the meeting, I tried my best to get him to rest, but because he is Super Jace (he says "That's why I'm Super Jace!") he wanted to run around and wrestle. Yes, even after having chemo the day before. 

The time came when we had to load up and drive the short distance to pick up his big sister. Normally, this distance wouldn't be a big deal. It's truly not THAT far, but add in "soccer mom" traffic, construction that goes for miles, and a detour to just get to the school and it's a recipe for a disaster. 

About 5 minutes into our journey, Jace says "My stomach hurts BAD!" and tears followed. 

Great. Do I turn around? Do I keep going? This so wasn't in my plan. 

I kept going. I soon found myself in the car pick up line with my seat belt off, holding my sweet boy who was still crying, and trying to juggle the throw up bucket (aka a cut up milk jug) all while trying to maneuver the car around the pick up trail. 

Finally, we were through the line and parked so we could regroup for the next 1/2 of the trip home. Jace is still saying his stomach hurts and his sister is doing everything possible to soothe him as we bump along the road. 

Just when I think we are in the clear, we drive up into the garage and get  out. 


Yep. We made it, but not without the throw up bucket getting used. :) 

Everyone needed some baths, new changes of clothes and some time to rest. Thankfully, oldest sister got a ride home from her dance practice. 

Soon, I found myself on the phone for several hours trying to sort some small "dramas" out. In the middle of all of that, I learned hubby would be working until midnight and before I knew it, it was already 10 pm! 

Finally, everyone was in bed and I was exhausted. Definitely harder than a full day at work. As I took a moment to finally breathe, I saw a small shadow beside me and then heard a tiny voice say: 

"Mom, I'm hungry." 

Yep. I forgot to feed the kids DINNER. 


This is just a reminder out there to all of you that trick yourself into thinking I have it altogether. 

Days later, I can tell you that even in the moments of that day and the large amounts of stress I felt coming at me in all directions, the bigger picture was that we all make mistakes, we all have a lot going on, no one is perfect, we all are doing the best we can, and tomorrow is another day! 

As moms, it's easy to fall into the traps of lies we tell ourselves or into the "mom competition" that is written in invisible ink. 

We need to remember this: 

The most important things in life are the moments we get to spend with those we love no matter what obstacles come our way throughout the day. 

In Gratitude,