Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We Still Don't Have An Appointment!

We are supposed to leave for MD Anderson tomorrow or Thursday...but we still don't know if chemotherapy is on Thursday or Friday...so we haven't been able to make the final plans or pack.  This is just another example of how we live day by day, minute by minute. We may leave tomorrow after lunch...or Thursday.  Before Zack having cancer, this would have caused me to have a panic attack.  I used to be very OCD and had to have a plan...for every minute of the day.  This is something the Lord has worked me through.  I can now shrug my shoulder and throw a bag together in no time.  It may require a trip to Target to pick up some forgotten items, but I no longer "sweat the small stuff". That is such a relief to me...and I know Zack is thankful for this side of me! ;)

Without knowing the day of chemo, I am unsure if we will see Dr. Jabbour this trip.  We were hoping to see the oncologist to go over some of the symptoms Zack has experienced and get answers but still haven't had appointment confirmation.

With the test done at the cardiologist, Dr. Napoli didn't find any significant changes.  They do not believe there is any more damage to his heart. We are so, so, so very thankful for these results...but! At the same time...it is scary to not know the root of the symptoms! Especially in  Zack's case.  He is still having the same symptoms daily so please continue to be in prayer for him!

Our dear friends started a campaign to fundraise money for Zack's final chemotherapy treatment.  The treatment is costing $16,800.  For those of you who generously donated to this fund, THANK YOU! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!  We are so thankful for your kindness, generosity, and heart to pray Zack through this challenge! 

We pray you will still keep him in your prayers as we travel to Houston sometime this week, hopefully see Dr. Jabbour and get some answers to Zack's symptoms, his FINAL IV chemotherapy, and peace for Zack!

Once again, thank you!!! We are so appreciative of your generosity and prayers!!!

God Bless!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

John 13:7

It has been quite some time since my last post...I have to admit that life takes it's toll and I have been busy and just not made time to sit down and share our challenge, as we like to. 

Another reason...perhaps the truth...if I don't sit down and write about everything going on in our lives, then maybe we would be normal...I can pretend that my husband doesn't have cancer.  I can pretend that we live without a constant thought of "what if the cancer comes back", "what happens when he is not on chemo anymore", "how do we not panic over a little cough once he finishes treatment in July"...and the list goes on and on and on.  Literally.

I do not want to share my heart with our prayer warriors and complain.  That is the last thing I want to do.  I want to get on here and share the blessings God has given us...sometimes it is just hard in the midst of the storm.  And we are in the midst of the storm.

For over a week now, Zack has been having bad headaches, shortness of breath, high heart rate, and more symptoms to be concerned about. He finally caved in to me annoying him every minute of the day to go to the doctor.  Of course, without going back to MD Anderson to Zack's oncologist...we may not know for sure what is going on.  But, we were able to get an appointment with Dr. Napoli, a local cardiologist, in the morning and he will run a few tests.  We will know then if Zack needs immediate attention due to his heart, or if we can wait until we go back to the oncologist and pursue a cardiologist that can answer to the symptoms that are more than likely a result of the chemotherapy he has received over the last 3 1/2 years.

What makes this a little scary...when we found out Zack had cancer, the tumor was wrapped around his heart. They drained 8 liters of fluid off in surgery, then another 6 liters off over the next few days.  10 months of inpatient chemotherapy at MD Anderson wore on his heart, as well as 5 weeks of radiation to the chest/heart. All of this has caused his heart to age, shrink in physical size, and beat at a much faster rate than usual. All of this over time has caused damage and it doesn't help that he has a paralyzed lung.  Dr. Jabbour told us he could have damage from chemotherapy and radiation...it may show up immediately, months later, years later...but it may not do anything but heal him.  So our prayer was for no damage from the medicine that healed his body of this awful disease of cancer.  We have prayed and prayed!  But, tonight...I pray harder. 

I ask for you to join us in prayer. We are always unsure of what tomorrow holds...only a cancer patient/caregiver fighting for life can truly understand the meaning of that!  We live day by day, minute by minute, and pray for a tomorrow.

We go in the morning for tests and hope to get some answers!  If not, we will have to do further tests.  Zack has his final, yes, I said FINAL, chemotherapy next week!!! We never thought this day would come!!! Here it is next week!!!

But, the ending of chemotherapy also brings on so many mixed emotions! Happiness for sure, but it can be a scary feeling as well...there is no chemotherapy in his body to fight off dormant cells.  We know we can't think like this or be negative and we try our best...but it is easier said than done. We want to be positive and know that God is caring for Zack and He will give Zack a fruitful life...but, that thought is always in the back of my mind. So...we also ask that you be in prayer to be at peace as we move into this new phase of life after treatment. 

We go back to MD Anderson a week from tomorrow for the final IV Chemotherapy! This one little IV push, along with tests, and such is costing us $16,800. We have to pay this out of pocket as our insurance has paid their costs, as well as the Cancer Policy Insurance we have.  We found this out a month ago and I hid it from Zack for a week.  I then fell apart and couldn't lie to him about it.  I just did not want him to feel guilty or upset over the medical treatment costs...he can't help it!...yet I knew he would be upset and I was right.  He said he wouldn't do treatment anymore and so on.  I explained to him that we have to finish this last treatment...then it is just follow ups! But, he doesn't want to go, because he doesn't want to burden our family with the expense. So...I share this with you to pray for him.  No one should have to feel like a burden for fighting for their own life...because they want to be there for his son as he grows up.. Jacoby is only 3 years old.  He needs his Daddy!  And I need my husband.

I have been an emotional rollercoaster over the last few weeks.  I have found myself mad, frustrated, and just upset with God at times...yet somehow I would still praise him at the end of the day and as the sun came up each day.  Seriously...I have been battling these emotions and know it is wrong.  I would get mad that Zack had to feel a burden due to the finances.  I would get mad that I can't just make it all go away.  I like to fix things and I couldn't fix it for Zack.  I would get mad that Zack felt bad.  I couldn't understand why he was so weak and not himself.  And he would deny it on top of that.  To me...that was the worst thing he could do...but he didn't want to admit anything was wrong.  To him it was scary to think something else was wrong. Another doctor trip...more money due...what is wrong with my heart...and so on.   He would just shut it down every time I talked to him about it.  Just hoping I would drop it. 

It didn't help that he had a parent on his baseball team get mad one night (his kid did not win an award he thought he deserved) so he showed up at our house to tell Zack what he thought of him and tried to use words to bring him down.  The words he used in anger a month ago hurt Zack more than he admitted and I realized.  The parent hollered, "quit using cancer as a crutch"...referring to Zack having to have help on his base ball field preparing it for a game and maintenance.  Therefore, Zack did not want to go to the doctor today, he does not want to go to the doctor tomorrow, finish treatment, and such...due to some cruel words spoken by someone who doesn't have a clue what it is like to take chemotherapy day after day for almost 4 years now.  He has not walked in Zack's shoes, faced the diagnosis head on, and doesn't even know first hand what it is like. 

Being Zack's wife, the last thing he has ever done is complain about cancer...he doesn't even call it unfair after all it has uprooted in our lives.  He has said from day one..."I won't let it hold me back.  I won't allow cancer to keep me from living and doing the things that I want to do.  I can and will carry on without complaining because It is not a problem, It is a Challenge".  I have been so, so, so proud of him for that!  he doesn't even want to tell me when he is in pain because that would be a complaint.  He would get chemotherapy at 6:30 in the morning to make it back to school, teach his class, still be at baseball practice after school, and never come home and complain.  With a paralyzed lung, shortness of breath, and more...he had help on the baseball field for the first time this year.  Because he knew his body could not handle it.  But, he never complained about it.  "never used cancer as a crutch". 

I share this information with you in hopes that you will pray for the man that spoke such cruel words to Zack and even questioned his Christianity.  I won't be mad or tolerate evil in our lives over something we can control...I just pray for him to understand and never have to face what Zack has.  I pray that you will pray for Zack to not let those words consume any thoughts.  No one should have to hear those words or be put down like that...especially a cancer patient. 

I want to share one of my devotions from this week that I feel as if the Lord said it to me...I feel as if I heard his voice reading it to me and he was shaking his fist at me to get my attention.  Therefore, I will share it with you and pray that you can pray with us!

Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you. You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My Face. You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.

 Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.


I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. —Psalm 116:17 nkjv

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. —Philippians 4:4–6

Please pray for peace in this financial situation to help Zack know this is part of the challenge and not a burden on our family.  Please pray for answers to his symptoms when we visit with the cardiologist.  Please pray for peace as we enter the conclusion of treatment...that we can trust that Zack is healthy and fully healed. Please pray for peace and a healthy report above all!  Thank you for letting us share our challenge with you, because through sharing our lives we have met many prayer warriors and that is what has kept Zack & I both plugging! 


Zack's last chemotherapy at the Monroe, LA location. June 10, 2015.


As always, we will pray when on top of the mountain and in the valley...please pray with us!
Romans 12:12

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1 YEAR POST MOVING HOME

When I realized today was the day of Zack's final radiation appointment and the day that we packed up our apartment to move home, I fought the tears of pure joy!  It has been a long week as I have not been feeling well, busy week at work, planning Jacoby's 2nd birthday party, and trying to run my side job of an embroidery business...I have felt overwhelmed, yet joyous through the overwhelming feelings!  So, so much to be thankful for to be stressed or overwhelmed! It's just like that saying, "Too blessed to be stressed". 

Today is a milestone! This day one year ago is the one Zack and I felt would never come one year ago.  We prayed we would reach that day with ease, and most days we felt it was 10 years away.  We had a countdown calendar, and Bible verses posted throughout the apartment to get us to that day!


Just want to say "Thank You" to Kim of Dreamlife Photography for shooting our first family portraits last summer. These pictures got me through a tough time in my life when the doctors were unsure if Zack would make it through consolidation chemotherapy, therefore these pictures were a must on my to do list and had to happen as soon as possible in my eyes. Thanks for capturing my boys on such short notice.  These pictures are a blessing daily!

Today is a victory!  So far, Zack has not been hospitalized since moving home in December of 2012 from treatments in Houston.  As of today, he does not have any malignant cells.  What an awesome God we serve.  I am so grateful to The Lord for bringing Zack through this challenge of cancer.  I am so thankful to each of you who prayed for Zack to be healthy enough to move home!  Zack had to got to the doctor this morning to get a shot and more antibiotics because he is getting sick again, but that is normal under his situation.  We just have to accept it and deal with it.  His WBC is low, which explains why he is sick, but he is 2 weeks out of chemo, so it should be normal by now.  These are just a few of the things I have to think about and communicate with his doctors on weekly throughout each month.

I want to share a video with you of Zack ringing the bell at his last zap of radiation.  This was the moment we had waited 12 months for!  I can't watch it without crying and laughing at the same time! It was such a beautiful moment...when you have walked the journey, you will understand.  It was a special moment to see Zack ring the final bell with Jacoby, as Jacoby was his encouragement through those last few months.

video

Congratulations Zack.  I love you and I am so proud of you.  Now, I am longing for the final round of maintenance chemotherapy, and being able to have you healthy every day without worrying so much.  We WILL grow old together!

We will have a wonderful weekend as we are celebrating Jacoby's 2nd Birthday!  Looking forward to being with family and friends.

 
Jacoby got his birthday present yesterday, due to the bad weather coming on his birthday. 
He was one happy little farmer!  Ask him his name, and he will not say Jacoby, he says,
"Farmer Mif" for Farmer Smith. 

 
The night we arrived back at home. 
The roads were lined with welcome home signs, family, and friends. 
 
 
Thanks for celebrating with us!  We love you and appreciate you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Break & Giving Thanks

As most of you know that follow our "Coach Z's Challenge" Facebook page, we went to Houston last Tuesday for Zack's check up with Dr. Jabbour.  The appointment went well and Zack is doing ok.  I did bring up a few concerns I have had lately about Zack being fatigued and short of breath.  Dr. Jabbour and his team of doctors decided to lower the dose of one of Zack's double doses of chemotherapy pills daily, but the other chemotherapy pills and IV chemotherapy will remain the same.  We are hoping to see a difference in his energy level, but we are not expecting any drastic changes.  Zack is working nearly 10 hour days teaching his Special Education class and coaching his baseball team.  I worry about how he will hold up through the 12+ hour days come January when the baseball season gets going. All I can do about it is pray, so I ask you that you join me in prayer too!

Zack received his IV chemotherapy last Thursday and has been fatigued ever since.  Thankfully,  he is on Thanksgiving Break to be able to lay down most of the day and just rest.  However, I have had to work this week, so he has kept Jacoby by himself.  I think the time they have got to spend together has been great for them both.  Jacoby thinks his daddy hung the moon!  We have been trying to stay in due to the Flu and Pneumonia going around so bad in Oak Grove, but Zack was getting stir crazy so we went to the movies last night.  Probably not the best choice, but we needed to get out.  Zack watched a movie with my Dad, while my Mom, sister and I took, Jacoby and my nephew Taylor to see Frozen.  This was Jacoby's first movie and surprisingly, he did great!  He ate popcorn and more popcorn and drank lots of coke!  It was great to do something "normal" families get to do often. 

Tomorrow, we will visit with both sides of our families.  It will be a busy day, but great to see all of our families as we were still in Houston last year for Thanksgiving.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone, but I am a little worried about Zack being around everyone, as he could easily get sick since his counts are bottomed out this week due to the chemo.  Hopefully, he won't get sick and we can just enjoy ourselves tomorrow.  I  think if it was just a cold he could catch, it would be different and not something to worry about.  But, since his counts are at 0, he should not be around people, especially when everyone has been having a cold, the flu, or pneumonia.  Zack catching a cold, could instantly put him in bad shape due to his paralyzed diaphragm and collapsed lung.  We are just praying he can stay healthy!

As we are in the season of Thanksgiving, I just want to thank each of you for your prayers over my family.  The prayers for Zack's healing, mental health, and so much more have brought us to where we are today!  Words cannot begin to express to you what your love, prayers, and support have meant to us over the past 23 months of Zack’s “challenge” with cancer. We are so blessed by the Lord and thankful to each of you for being a blessing to us. We will forever be grateful for your thoughtfulness, donations, acts of love, words of encouragement, cards, and loving prayers over our family.  Each of you have been an answered prayer of faithfulness for seeking God on our behalf.  We ask that you continue the intercessory prayers on our behalf, as Zack still has 19 months of treatment to endure.  We love and appreciate each and every one of you! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1 Year Post Radiation

Today marks 1 year since Zack's first radiation appointment! It has been a whole year...I can't believe it!  The joy that we felt as one phase of chemotherapy treatment ended and the next phase began...Radiation.  It was scary going in to this & I am only the caregiver.  Zack was nervous of the symptoms that could occur due to radiation and excited that within a month it would be over and we could finally move home after the first year of treatments!

I think that reflecting back on the days that were so hard on us mentally & emotionally, brings joy of what Zack has accomplished!  It is hard, very hard day to day watching Zack struggle with a few things he can no longer do or enjoy as he used to, prior to cancer.  Sometimes, it is even harder to know what we still have to accomplish in the next 2 years of treatments.  But, as I reflect, I am reminded of the challenges Zack has accomplished.  It is amazing that today marks one year since his radiation began...which makes my heart joyful to think the next 2 years of treatments will go quickly in the big picture...just slow day by day. 

You have no idea, the joy this picture brings to Zack & I.  I looked at it this morning and instantly teared up as I felt just as much emotion today, as we both felt last year as this Chemotherapy regimen ended to begin Radiation. 


For the past four weeks, Zack had an infection.  He got a shot last Monday and another shot last Friday because he had not improved.  They postponed his chemotherapy from Tuesday, to this past Friday morning.  This chemotherapy is not that bad, but it does make Zack even more fatigued and it suppresses his immune system.  He will still be taking his daily & weekly chemo, as well as steroids, therefore, his immune system doesn't stand a chance.  This past weekend, Zack hit a low.  He was as tired and weak as he could be.  We do not know why he was more fatigued or weak than usual, except for the fact that his body is just tired! He worked the high school carnival on Friday evening and came home around 8pm, then crashed.  He got to sleep in on Saturday morning and have a lazy day around the house.  We enjoyed quality family time!  His feet are getting neuropathy again, so we are in prayer it won't get worse.  He has had neuropathy in his feet months ago, mostly in his toes, due to the chemotherapy.  He takes medicine for it daily, but it has not helped improve it, as the chemotherapy only increases monthly.  Zack is doing better this week, but he will probably be tired by Saturday as usual. Teaching and coaching during the week catches up with him over the weekend, and he has chemo every Saturday morning, so it helps to have lazy Saturdays at home.  As of this week, Zack is doing much better, other than a little fatigue and neuropathy. 

We are so thankful he is able to work right now, but as his caretaker, it is so scary.  The doctors at MD Anderson are requesting he take an early retirement due to his health & trying to prolong his life, by eliminating all that is on his plate right now.  If he was to quit working, he would be under stress due to boredom and depression as he was last year while we had to live in Houston for treatment.  If he continues to work under his health conditions, there are so many risks!  He could develop chronic infections to his lung, considering his left diaphragm is paralyzed.  His heart has decreased in size, due to the radiation.  His breathing is okay, until he exerts energy (he is a baseball coach...he must exert energy), as well as just trying to be a Special Education Teacher, be a husband and a daddy.  The list could go on and on and on.

The bottom line is that Zack is refusing to take the doctors advice on an early retirement.  He sees coming home as an even worse situation...honestly, I can't blame him.  We stared at the same four walls every day for a year in Houston at our hospital room and apartment, and it was depressing.  Not by choice, but because he was too fatigued to get out and do anything, as well as he was not supposed to be in public due to his suppressed immune system and low WBC.  I have to look at it from different perspectives and the caretaker in me gets mad about it, thinking he should take his doctor's advice and take a disability retirement so that we can ensure he is healthy and is able to live a long and fruitful life, be around to be a great Daddy, Husband, and, Grandfather one day.  But...my other perspective is the wife in me says, ok...I understand. Then, I get mad thinking of all that we have been through to get to this point & he can't just bite the bullet to do what is in his health's best interest so that he can be around for Jacoby!....It is so much to consider!  The last thing we want to do is fall back into that depression we previously faced while our lives were put on hold to fight cancer.  But then again, the last thing I want to do is lose my husband to something we could have somewhat prevented. 

About the breathing machine Zack was put on due to his paralyzed lung and diaphragm...he is not using it at the moment!  UGHH!!! Makes me sick!  But then again, I can not blame him!  It is such a discomfort to sleep in!  But, we are getting a new mask that will hopefully provide a little more comfort for him to sleep in it.  This machine totaled up to 10,000...wow! Its has been such a hard journey financially, but we have had so much love and support to get us through.  The breathing machine bill came in the week we got a bill from MD Anderson for 12,000 for one cycle of chemotherapy.  It's at that moment that I lost control and have been in denial as what to do.  But, the hardest part is that we cannot pay monthly to MD Anderson for Zack's treatments.  We have to be up to date to receive care. This brings so much anxiety, but I know the Lord is watching over us.  We are still trusting in the Lord, tithing, and knowing HE will provide!  We are in steady prayer over this.  Which brings me to say...

Our church did a plate lunch fundraiser for us last Sunday and we could not go, due to Zack & Jacoby being sick.  Our church family has been incredible! They have supported us, loved us, and prayed for us since day 1 of this journey and I don't know where we would be without them!  They are such a blessing!  They raised $2,903 for medical expenses! What a huge blessing?!! We are so thankful for our church family! 

Also, we met Dusty Fletcher in our hometown.  Dusty has a band and with his wife's help, the band is organizing a fundraiser concert for Zack's medical bills.  The incredible part of this story is that we do not know Dusty, his wife, or any of his band members.  They are organizing this huge event to benefit us.  There are no words that could express how thankful we are to each of them for their thoughtfulness and generosity of their time and talents.  Zack and I have never heard their music, but are so thankful for their generous hearts!  The concert will be on November 23rd, 2013 at The Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center in Oak Grove at 6:00.  We hope you will come out and support the band because we would love to see those who follow our journey and fellowship with you all. 

I know I have said before that I plan to begin blogging more, but I truly mean it this time.  It is therapy...hard therapy, but it's therapy to blog.  It's hard because it makes me so emotional.  Zack and I have both been approached by numerous people who shared how they were touched through our "challenge" and said that sharing our story and my heart on the blog helps them to put their own life into perspective.  What a blessing!!!  In the beginning when I started writing, it was to update our closest family and friends of Zack's health, as well as share our hearts.  Now, it has turned into a ministry.  It is such a blessing to know that we still have people looking at our challenges and being blessed through our trials.  Therefore, I have updated the blog.  We now have a totally new website and a few more things to look at.  It may not be totally accessible through a cell phone, but on a desktop you can do everything.  You can go to our "Scriptures of Hope" page on the Blog to look at the Bible verses that helped get us through our most trying days of the "challenge".  I pray you will use the verses to pray over someone else who has cancer or needs healing!  I am really trying to step out of the box and share more.  It is hard, as it requires me to step out of my comfort zone, which is  being private, and shutting off from the world when times get tough, but I am learning to open up and share my heart fully. I pray you all will use your talent to be a blessing to the Lord.  There are moments when I can feel The Lord speaking to me, saying "share this."  Then, as I sit to start blogging what was on my heart, I can feel myself start to doubt what I planned to blog on.  There is no doubt, this is the Devil and he will not let it go.   He worries the mess out of me.  But, as the Devil attempts to distract me, I can feel the voice of truth, The Lord, reaching out to me saying a different story...saying, "this is for my glory!"  I am trusting in the Lord to take over this keyboard and share what is meant to be said. 

You can also follow us on Facebook, as I update frequently on our personal page, as well as the page listed as "Zack's Challenge".  I share our story on there as well, so you can follow Zack's progress on there too. 
This is the link: Zack's Facebook Page .

Zack and I both love hearing your words of encouragement.  If you would like to reach out to Zack privately, you may do so by using the email on the top, right side of the blog.  We appreciate each of you for your love, support, and prayers over our family! 

I pray you will be blessed as you all have been a blessing to us!  Romans 12:12

Lauren



Also.....
As most of you know, Zack and I love music for therapy.  There is an old song by Casting Crowns, that speaks volumes to me.  It was written for the Christian movie, Facing The Giants, which is an incredible movie of Faith & Hope!  I listen to it frequently to know God is in control and He is holding out his hand...He is the voice of truth.  If you haven't heard it before, I pray you will listen to it.  It has done so much for me. 

"Voice Of Truth"

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again "boy, you'll never win!
"You'll never win"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.
Psalm 31:5

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lord, I Need You

It has been a tough week! On Monday, Jacoby started running 102 fever.  I gave him Tylenol and he seemed better until that night, when he started running a high fever again.  On Tuesday, I took him to Dr. Rosales (the greatest pediatrician!) and he said Jacoby had a viral infection, gave him a shot, and said he would be fine probably the next day.  It has been 5 days & Jacoby is better, but he broke out with a rash, which is a result of the infection, and we now know he is allergic to penicillin!

As most of you know, with Zack being on daily, weekly & monthly chemo he has no immune system.  Of course, Zack got Jacoby's viral infection.  He started breaking out in hives on Thursday and it has only gotten worse.  He saw our local doctor on Friday and we found out his white blood count was 1, which is very low. He can only take Benadryl to help with the itching of the rash, but with it being a viral infection it just has to run its course. 

For most people, this would be no problem; but for Zack, its quite an issue at the moment.  We are supposed to be leaving Monday to go to Houston for 5 days of chemotherapy, as well as cancer screenings.  Due to Zack having an infection, a low white blood count, and running a low grade fever his chemotherapy and cancer screenings might have to be put on hold.  But, there is not much we can do, except go to Houston and see Dr. Jabbour on Tuesday morning and go from there.  I just pray we can continue with our schedule as planned to not have to travel back home and then back to Houston the following week, which would only result in more traveling expenses.  But, God's plans for chemo and screenings will happen when it is supposed to...we are just taking it day by day!  This journey with cancer we have been on lately has definetely taught us to take things day by day! 

Zack is miserable with this rash.  He is taking Benadryl around the clock to control the itch, so he is sleepy all day, but does not like to lay around.  Zack can not stand to be in the house all day.  He has to be up and going...since he has to be lying around and the College World Series games are not on until Monday, he can get a little grumpy!   

This past week I had my 6 month cancer screening and I have yet to get the report back.  My doctor was concerned with a few specific things and stated he did not want to be negative in any way, but he was definetely concerned.  I just ask that you lift me up in your prayers! Hopefully, we will get the results back this next week.

Tomorrow we will not attend church due to the boys viral infections.  I will be packing for our trip to Houston & spending quality time with Jacoby before we have to leave him for the week.  On Monday, I will have to take Jacoby to a doctor appointment at LSUS for a minor surgery he will have hopefully in the next month, then Zack and I will go to Houston for his appointments at MD Anderson on Tuesday.  Zack will have his PET Scan Tuesday morning & I have to admit, I have been worried about this.   I do believe The Lord is healing Zack and will continue to take care of him, but I can't help but to worry with it coming up in the next few days.  I would love for you to join me in prayer for Zack...for a cancer free scan! I believe Zack will live a long life serving the Lord!

I just ask you to lift us both up in prayer this week as we will both hear the news of our cancer screenings, as well as Zack receiving chemo every day.  Also, we will not have Jacoby with us for the week.  I am going to miss my little man so much, but I do look forward to quality time away with my husband...we come back stronger after each trip!

I have found myself singing a particular song all day long, every day for several weeks now and it gives me the chills each time I hear it on the radio, or when I just stop in that very moment of whatever I am doing and hit my knees to say, Lord I need You and say a special prayer.  This song beeautifully states how just how much we need Jesus and is helping me in many ways to find peace! I hope it helps someone else too!

Click on the link below to hear Lord, I Need You



Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Yes where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me


Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You



I will post as soon as we know more about his cancer screening results on Tuesday morning! 

God bless!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wow! I knew it had been a long time since my last post, but I just read my last blog update was in November.  I could not help but laugh out loud seeing my last blog because we were on the road to get Jacoby...as you can see, the little guy has kept me so busy I haven't even had time to blog!

Where to begin?!!....soo much has happened since Zack's radiation!

Zack completed 20 zaps of radiation gracefully!  Dr. Dabajja released him from her care on December 4th.  Dr. Jabbour released Zack from the conclusion phase and made follow up appointments to see him in January 2013 for the final phases of treatment, PUMP Maintenance. 
 
In January, we came back to MD Anderson for a CT Scan and follow up tests to evaluate the cancer.  The test came back negative, just as we had prayed and expected!  So much relief came from those few words!  Zack began PUMP Maintenance in January, which is 3 years of daily, weekly, and monthly chemo.  It is a long road...but we finally get to be home for the remainder of the 30+ months, so our sweet Jacoby makes it pass by swiftly!  Zack received his January & February chemo in Houston.  We finally got to stay home for an entire month and receive his March chemo in Monroe.  Two weeks ago we met Dr. Jabbour and had his check up & monthly chemo.  Blood work and all scans went well!  We are scheduled to have his monthly chemo for May done in Monroe, then return to MD Anderson in June.   

I am going to try to give you a small recap of what has been going on in our lives the past 5 months.  In Novemeber 2012, our family got a special blessing to us...it began the 4 weeks Zack and I finally got to spend quality time for the first time with our Jacoby since January 2012, when Zack was diagnosed!  It was great to get to feel like normal parents!  I got to see Zack smile for the first time in months, like he used to...all because of joy...joy and happiness over our family!  It was an incredible moment!  We were able to move out of our medical apartment in Houston once Zack finished his radiation in December.  We went home to Kilbourne, but bought a home in Forest and moved into it 2 weeks later.  Christmas was absolutely incredible!  We finally had a chance to spend quality time with both of our families and be with Jacoby each and every day!  This was the best medicine...quality family time!

Zack got to start off the baseball season with his boys in January!  As most of you know, our lives revolve around baseball.  To see Zack get excited for the new season of Bulldog Baseball in January was precious and monumental.  Last year, I would have given anything to cheer him up on those dreary days after chemo in Houston.  But there was nothing I could do to fix it, nothing anyone could do.  It was only something HE could do for himself...and for him, that meant putting on his coaching clothes, shoes, grabbing that stop watch and getting in his old green truck to head to the baseball field and teach his boys about baseball and life!  Once his life got back to the normal of coaching in January, Zack got back to himself to an extent.  He is right where he needs to be, doing God's will for his life...coaching!

As of now, Zack is not able to teach as the doctors required him to take a sabbatical, but he is able to coach.  We are praying hard for an answered prayer, because the doctors do not want him in a classroom come this fall either.  The doctors do not want him having one on one contact due to his suppressed immune system on the chemo.  Please be in prayer with us that Zack will have a job come this fall, but not just any job, a job that will not harm him. 

Tomorrow, Zack's baseball team will play their quarter-final game at our home field.  With this game coming up, I can't help but think back on last year.  I drove Zack home to watch his boys play the quarter final game that afternoon and then we drove back to Houston that night.  It is such a blessing to have Zack back in his element...doing his passion! 

I will upload some videos and pictures of Zack's last radiation treatment and some recent pictures.  Thank you to each of you who are still praying for Zack to be healed...we still have a long journey ahead of us!  We know "Its not a problem, it's a challenge!"  We are so thankful for your love & support!

God Bless!