Monday, June 29, 2009

*updated* doctor's appointment & randomness

Just wanted to post a quick update that Ethan's oncology blood work from his appointment on Monday looks good. His platelets have been dropping in number slightly over the past couple of months, so I'd appreciate your prayers that it's just the normal ebb & flow of his body and not a trend indicating something more serious. The docs aren't too concerned by it at this point, but of course it's all I can think about since they mentioned it. Oh well, faith can't take a break, right?
And thankfully neither does the Lord!
Oh and have I mentioned that we leave for our vacation in just 3 days!?! We're praying for a wonderful trip full of relaxing fun for our little family! I'll catch up with you when we get back.
I'm sure I will have TONS of pictures to share!!

Original post:

Ethan goes for his routine monthly hospital visit later this morning. Join me in prayer for a perfect set of blood counts today and no unpleasant surprises. We leave for vacation on Saturday and I'm SUPER excited. This is the first real vacation Adam and I've taken in over 2 1/2 years AND our first vacation with Ethan! Did I mention that we are SUPER EXCITED?!

Lots of stuff going on in our lives, but Ethan continues to thrive. He's so funny! His personality is really starting to shine and he's hilarious! Just watching him engaged in various activities or interacting with us and others, he's just a hoot! He's walking now, too! He was expected to be slightly behind on a few milestone activities since he spent so much time in the hospital for his cancer treatments and recovery, but he has completely caught up with where he should be at this age. And speaking of his age, can you believe this kiddo is just a few weeks shy of being 1 1/2?!? ONE AND A HALF! My goodness time flies. And with all that we've had to endure, I'm quite thankful God allowed us to move in and out of the trial of Ethan's illness fairly quickly.

Just a little over a year.

So much can happen in a year.

So much DID happen in a year.

But what an amazing set of days/weeks/months. I still can't fully wrap my mind around everything we've gone through as a family and with Ethan since his diagnosis back in April of 2008. I really can't. I know we couldn't have endured and preserved like we did without God's strength and peace. I tell you for sure, it was not by our might or our strength or our anything... but only by God's grace, God's mercy, and God's power that we were able to even breathe during those hard, hard days. And what an encouragement so many have been to our lives. I was cleaning Ethan's room (sorting out the clothes he can't wear anymore) and I saw all the blankets that were knitted for Ethan, all of the gifts given to him during his hospital stays. All the cards sent to us are all kept in a drawer in Ethan's dresser. It's our "encouragement center". Yep, the bottom drawer in Ethan's dresser is FULL of cards that people mailed to us and cards that children made for Ethan. Yes, I still have (and cherish) all of those things that helped us get through the day to day heaviness.

I look back on this blog, as well. This site started off as a way to keep our extended family and friends in the loop about prayer needs that arose with Ethan's shocking cancer diagnosis. At that point, I was sending out daily mass emails because I wanted as many people praying as possible. And then, with the suggestion of a friend, the blog came to life. One place I could make frequent updates without having to re-send emails all of the time. And I had no idea that it would spread beyond the reaches of those family members and friends that we initially sent the link to. I can't even truly comprehend that complete strangers began following our story and praying for our little boy's miracle. Even now, I start to cry just thinking about it. This blog certainly became a beautiful place for me to come and be real. A place for me to pour out what I had started holding in. A place for me to ponder the Lord. A place for me to connect. With you. And with all that was happening in our lives. And I can't thank you enough for letting me be me, and letting the Lord work through our journey.

I'm not sure where all of this is coming from. I had only intended to write a prayer request for Ethan's appointment today, but then my fingers just kept going. Maybe I'm at a transition point right now. A sort of fork in the road and I'm looking for direction. And maybe I think that if I keep typing long enough an epiphany will occur. Who knows. But suffice it to say, I'm praying for guidance from the Lord on what He'd have me to do next. We've encountered a glorious experience with the healing of Ethan's cancer. A true miracle in the purest form. And I'm trying to determine if the Lord is leading me to share our journey on a bigger scale.

Let me take a step back and clarify I have ZERO desire for fame. Zero. Because then I'd feel pressured to lose 10 pounds and who wants to deal with that burden!?! And I very much appreciate that I can go to Walmart without any makeup on and no one cares (or even points out the fact!).

All joking aside, though, I can't ignore this nagging feeling that there's a message here. A story of faith. A story of hope. A story with a happy ending. And maybe the story has been told sufficiently. Maybe this blog has served the purpose of bringing widespread glory to God (I don't track hits to our site anymore, but you may remember me mentioning in a post last year that we had people from about 9 other countries/providences that followed Ethan's blog! In addition to those who followed our site from the good ole USA. Can I just tell you that that STILL boggles my mind!). And if that's the case then Hallelujah! But I'm trying to be open. I'm praying for direction. What will He make of this journey. What will He make of our experience. What will He make of the transformation He's made in our lives. I don't know. I can't know, unless He shows me. And truth be told, I'm lazy. And I second guess myself. So I'm not moving, unless He moves me.

Completely unexpected and random post today. Guess I just needed to talk. I do appreciating the "listening ear". So thank you. I'm sure another diet dr. pepper is in order for me right about now, so I'll say ta-ta. Thank you for your prayers for Ethan's appointment today.

I love you for praying for him... for us. Always have. Always will. And I love the Lord for His goodness poured out over our lives. Even when other aspects of my life make me weary, His goodness endures. And I'm ever so thankful.

For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

mr. tuxedo

For those of you who do not know, Adam is the oldest of 5 siblings. And the only boy. So, yes, that means he's got 4 sisters! But they are all great gals, and I love having each one of them in my life! As a result of so many gals in the fam, you know that means WEDDINGS, right? Right! Well, this past weekend, Adam's sister Christina got married and she lovingly had her niece and nephew in the bridal party. Our niece Aubrey was the flower girl, and our sweet boy was the ring bearer! It was the cutest thing in the world, so of course, I just had to post a few pictures for you all to see. There will be more later, but these are the ones I could get my hands on right away....

Mr. Tuxedo himself, Ethan.
The cutest little ring bearer!

Cousins: Ethan & Aubrey

Striking a pose with mommy.

Adam, Ethan, Aunt Christina,
(Ethan's newest uncle) Joel, & myself

In case you can't tell, Ethan's crying in this one....
surrounded by his dad and uncle,
yet wanting his mommy (yay for me!!)

Continually counting our blessings....

Monday, June 15, 2009

singing praises!!!


I just got a call from Ethan's doctor in Boston. Ethan's blood results showed that he is still 100% donor blood!! Did you hear that?? STILL A 100% DONOR BLOOD CELLS!!! At this point, we're 10 months out since his transplant and this is an excellent indicator that the transplant worked, his old cancerous blood is gone, and his new blood is working and growing beautifully! This also means, no further chemo (aka: Accutane) is needed!!

I'd scream if it wouldn't wake up my sweet little miracle - who, incidentally, got his first cold this week and isn't feeling good! But what a miracle in and of itself... he's 17 months old and this is his FIRST cold?! His immune system is having it's chance to really see if it's up to the challenge and I know it is!

Did I mention that I wanted to scream!? Well, I do! I'm about to burst with joy and thankfulness to the Lord for His grace and mercy in answering our faith. Thank you a million times for the prayers you've said on our behalf!

I'm telling you... I've mentioned it time and time again... Be bold. Have faith. A heart without doubt. Not because you deserve for God to do something great in your life, but because He's all-powerful and able to do so. He's the God of all mercy and grace. I've never known that to be more real or true than in this entire experience with Ethan's life. I pray this testimony of our journey has and will continue to encourage you to trust the Lord. I know it's been an encouragement to me. He's been so evident. I'm truly learning so much...

Take Him at His Word.

Pure and simple.

[Lord], Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and [I] your servant loves them.
Psalm 119:140

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

unfeigned faith

First, thank you so very much for praying. I truly felt peaceful the few days before Ethan's appointment - and I still do (but more on that in a minute).

Late Sunday night, right as I was getting into bed, I decided I wanted to read Psalm 121 again. I ran downstairs (startling my husband who was watching the NBA finals!) to grab my Bible off the table. I crawled back into bed, and randomly flipped open the pages. It opened to Psalm 91.

"Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.....
“Because he has set his love upon Me,
therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
(verses 9-16)
Not by accident did I read this passage. And it was a beautiful (and unexpected!) comfort to me.
Then I read Psalm 92:1-5,
"It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night.....
For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.
O LORD, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep."
When I read those verses, I just knew. I knew that my next post would consist of sharing those verses with you in reference to the answered prayer I knew we'd be receiving at Ethan's hospital visit the following morning.
And then, simply because God wasn't finished strengthening my faith, I read Jesus' own words to his disciples in Mark 11:22-24,
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart,
but believes that those things he says will be done,
he will have whatever he says.
Therefore I say to you,
whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them,
and you will have them".
It was such a beautiful and personal moment for me. And I wasn't even looking for it. But the Lord spoke straight to my heart in His Word, and I went to bed no longer fearful... not even timid about what I wanted the Lord to do in Ethan's blood counts the next day. His Word is alive. His Word is His communication to our hearts. And I either take Him at His Word, or I choose to let fear/worry/anxiety guide and direct me. And it's honestly just too exhausting to live that way. So, I choose Him. I choose unfeigned faith (2 Timothy 1:5). How much do we miss out on because we have doubt in our heart? He came to give abundant life. It's ours. We just have to believe and trust Him.
So I went to sleep in just that state of mind.
A peaceful state of mind.
Fast forward to the next morning... Ethan's appointment went very well. All of his blood counts were great! They kept saying how wonderful and healthy he looked. He of course hated the blood draw in his arm and screamed and cried to make sure we all knew it. But he crawled right up into my shoulder as soon as it was over and was easily comforted. I found out right away that we'd not know the outcome of Ethan's blood typing for about 10 to 14 days. Typical "Kasey-fashion" would have just melted into a disappointing despair. Because I HATE to wait. But knowing we'd have to wait didn't bother me. I saw it as an opportunity (or challenge!) to stay in a mindset of Faith. And I gladly accept the challenge! I want to use the next 2 weeks to perfect the "do not doubt in your heart", because it's not always easy to maintain. I mean, there's a temptation to fear that the Lord might not come through for us, right? So we back down in our boldness. But again, the Bible says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
So why not take Him at His Word....
I intend to write to you in about 2 weeks (though you will hear from me again before then!) that Ethan's blood is still showing 100% donor cells and there's no further concern for his needing any preventative treatment. Whew... I just got butterflies in my tummy... because that's a bold statement, right?
Well, I serve a big God.
And He's not afraid to prove me right.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

if you wouldn't mind...

Could you pray for Ethan's upcoming appointment in Boston on Monday (June 8th)? I know so many of you sweet souls pray for him continually - and I really wish I could tell you how grateful I am to you for that generous gift! And I would greatly appreciate your prayers for this particular appointment as well. You may remember me mentioning that this next appointment would tell us whether or not to start Ethan on a precaution method of "chemo".

Let me back up a minute. I never worry about Ethan's appointments. I really don't. I walk into them expecting to hear back good results. But for some reason, I'm dreading this particular blood test. And I believe the reason is simple. I'm afraid. I'm afraid they won't tell me that his blood is still 100% donor cells. I'm afraid they'll tell me his old blood/marrow has started developing again (his cancer was in his blood, thus the reason for the blood/marrow transplant). I'm afraid of having them tell me he's showing some traces of his old blood type and then having to make a decision about whether it's a fluke that will go away on its own, or to go ahead and start the chemo. I just don't like thinking about any of it. And there's something a bit "final" about this blood test than all of his other ones, and I'm just not ready to face it. I assure you, the old saying "Ignorance is bliss", is quite true for me. Our lives are lived out daily in simple but beautiful ways now, and I desperately desire for that to continue and for cancer (or any talks of it!) to never have a place in Ethan's life again. This test is so significant in some ways, and in some ways I don't want to know the outcome. I'm loving our life right now. I don't want to think about anything else.

But I know that's not how it goes. Ignorance may be bliss, but only for a while. At some point, you've gotta face the music. I know that there's no point in faith if we don't live it out during the potential storms. When the wind starts blowing, we can get scared and think we need to run for cover. But wind doesn't mean a storm is imminent. It's just a distraction inviting us to panic. And my faith is certainly distracted by the wind lately. Pray for my faith to be strengthened. Pray for the temptation to worry or fret be gone away from me. I want to walk into this appointment just like I do all the others. No worries. Complete Faith. Knowing the outcome is going to be great!

The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 121:5-8

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I asked an old friend from high school if I could borrow the lyrics to a song that he wrote because it's been extremely encouraging to me... I hope it is likewise encouraging to you!

There’s never always sunshine, never always rain
There’s never always laughter, and never always pain
Everything has a season
Everything moves in time
But You are always steadfast
You are always.
I could not pretend to ever understand
One thing is for sure,
You hold all in Your hand
There's summer and there's winter,
Autumn and spring
A time to mourn in sorrow,
A time to dance and sing
Everthing has a season,
Everything moves in time
But You are always faithful.
Because You are always.
I could not pretend to ever understand
But one thing is for sure,
You hold all in Your hand.
lyrics and music by Clayton Brooks
The Lord will guide you always.... Isaiah 58:11