There are way too many details to capture in one blog post, so here are the highlights (for anyone not on Facebook, I apologize, these updates are long overdue and I'm so sorry)...
-Andrew continued his "wingman" duties for Triumph Over Kids Cancer Foundation at the Big Easy Fundraiser. We continue to be so grateful for those who stand in the gap for children with pediatric cancer. Thomas Morstead, the punter for the Saints, and Andy Sacks, an Academy Award winning director, hosted the hugely successful (and super fun) fundraiser. Check out Andrew's speech.... SO PROUD OF THIS GUY!!!
-Andrew turned 9 years old on Nov. 26th. We celebrated his birthday in true Harry Potter fashion with the cousins a few days before his actual birthday, since he was going to spend his actual birthday in Dallas at one of Abby's soccer tournaments. While that might sound sort of unfair or a buzzkill in many ways, if you knew the amazing girls and families that make up Abby's soccer team, you would know that he couldn't have been surrounded by more love. Abby's team surprised Andrew with a birthday cake and gifts. We have only been a part of this soccer team for one season, which is hard to believe it's been such a short time because they truly feel like family (added bonus.... the girls on the team are crazy talented ;-).
Birthday fun with the cousins!
Celebrating with Abby's soccer team!
Much bonding over being brothers of sisters playing a lot of soccer. Love the friendship these two have forged!
Jaz, one of Abby's sweet teammates!
Birthday morning in the hotel room!
-The day after Andrew's birthday he went in for a day of scans in preparation for his second round of PRRT. PRAISE THE LORD the scans showed the tumors are stable. Remember our huge prayer was that there wouldn't be any progression (because then we wouldn't have been able to continue treatment which would have been devastating), so stability is certainly praiseworthy news. The next day Andrew received his second round of PRRT and went to stay at my in-laws in The Woodlands since he can't be around Grace and Abby for 6 days after treatment and he is suppose to stay a meter away from us during that time too. It is never easy being apart, however, by God's grace this time was easier than the last time, for a couple of reasons. My mother in love came to stay with the girls and I while David and Andrew were gone, which allowed me to pour into Abby in ways she really needs (especially during that time) without having to keep up with meals, laundry, dishes, and taking care of Grace, which was much of our focus during the first round of PRRT. Also, we did a good job of staying super busy, which is also a great distraction. The time went faster and more smoothly for Andrew and David too since they knew what to expect, the generous gifts Andrew got for his birthday kept him busy and the highlight and new tradition of PRRT time, the boys went camping. Andrew had a blast getting to do a lot of things that would make his mommy way too nervous, so it's best done during daddy day care time.... things like playing with matches, an axe throwing competition (trying to make it stick in a tree), etc.
Andrew becoming a super hero... becoming radioactive!
He totally rocked his 5 hour infusion!
Why not camp while radioactive?!?!... brilliant idea that David had!
-This time around, the aftermath of PRRT has been different, in that the first week after treatment he had some very intense pain and throwing up (one morning he said it was the worse pain he's ever had); however, the past 5ish days he hasn't had any breakthrough pain... at all (that's not normal), so we are overflowing with gratitude about that and praying the relief in pain is not temporary and lasts more than a couple days like last round. Andrew had to get the terrible awful shot in his butt on Monday (he will have to do this very painful shot every month for the rest of his life... unless God says otherwise) and he was so brave. I also got to watch him be the Andrew I know and adore so much as he encouraged other kids at the infusion center as he waited (forever) to get his shot. This little boy in particular Andrew showed him what a great friend looks like as he played games with him, reminded him that he is brave and courageous and has a God that loves him.
-Grace took the COGAT test this past week, which still blows our minds that she was able to take a test 3 hours a day for 4 days straight (she will have to take this test in Kinder, so I guess it was good practice). Apparently, I agreed to it in her ARD meeting... you know the meeting that took place while Andrew was have an endoscopy/biopsy. They took Andrew back, I rushed to Grace's meeting and rushed back to get there before he woke up. Clearly, my mind was elsewhere during that quick ARD meeting, but I'm grateful that Grace rocked the test and was so proud of herself for being such a big girl and "taking a test just like Bubba and Sissy," verses it causing her to hate all things school. Some other funny Graceisms... she LOVES Santa, but wants to get no where near him. She wakes up before us most every morning and meets us in the hallway fully dressed, shoes and everything. She has got skills when it comes to putting an outfit together that matches (and she doesn't just take the shirt and bottoms at the top of the pile), in fact she does better than David in that department. Her favorite sayings are "oh my word." If she dresses up as someone or something, she loves to take off the costume and say "it's me," as if she really had us fooled. She says "thank you majesty" anytime she thanks us for something. She recently said in her silly voice "don't be a chuckle nuts" (cue the entire family fall out laughing). Moral of the story is, there is never a dull moment with this kid around and seeing life through her eyes heightens any experience by a million.
See Grace and I in the right hand corner of the pic? That is as close to Santa as she would get!
While David and Andrew were away, Grace had a cardiology appointment... thumbs up for rocking her echo!
And a thumbs up for a great report! Thank you Jesus!
We found a petting zoo at a Christmas event in Rosenberg. Grace made Abby touch all the animals she was scared of touching, but she agreed that she would touch this goat with Abby so I could take a picture.
It's officially Christmas time! Grace is giving the dancing snowmen a good daily workout!
"It's me, Gracie!" In case you thought that was an elf next to Santa!
She should really be her own emoji!
-Abby continues to be my "goose". She's my wing girl. I love hanging out with her because she is so sweet, funny, helpful, wise, and thoughtful. She continues to LOVE soccer (her team finished the season undefeated), just started her basketball season, has some pretty amazing friends, loves school, and is all around a great kid with a huge heart.
Abby in her happy place... lovin' on kiddos with an extra chromosome!
Abby went to school late the morning Andrew had PRRT because she wanted to spend time with him before they had to be separated for 6 days. He woke up in awful tummy pain, so she just snuggled him through it.
-How about this for the finale... you all know that our normal over the past 6 years is best explained by the term varying degrees of crazy, well Tuesday's middle of the night shenanigans was one for the record book. It is a contender for the top two or three scariest events of my life, in fact it may even be #1. At about 1 am, only about an hour after we went to bed, David jumped out of bed and laid on the floor clutching his legs with a tone of voice that I have never heard from him before. I could tell it was a pain like nothing else he has experienced (and you know he has had all sorts of injuries from tearing his ACL, compartment syndrome, broken hand, etc from playing soccer, to other injuries that come from flipping off of walls, jumping onto mailboxes, etc). I tried to help him massage the pain, and it subsided, until a couple seconds later when he said "oh no! I can feel it coming back"... he was in agony again and that same sequence happened again. He got up and limped as quickly as possibly to the bathroom because he said he felt like he was going to throw up from the pain. He was only in the bathroom for a few seconds then I heard noises (banging on the wall) that I knew was him falling. I ran into the bathroom to find him on the floor looking pale, sweaty, very disoriented, and sort of shaky. I helped him up and said "lets get dressed I'm going to take you to the hospital just to be safe"... at first he said no he was fine, but I convinced him to get dressed just in case we changed our minds. He agreed and went into the closet where he once again passed out. He didn't lose consciousness, but was again very disoriented and couldn't get up despite multiple attempts. I helped him up again and called 911 because I really felt like maybe he was having a stroke or something because his speech seemed a little slurred too. Plus, I couldn't leave the kids at home to take him to the hospital immediately. My parents arrived at the same time the ambulance did, so we went to the ER. After lab work, a CT, and ultrasound, they couldn't find the cause except to say that his GFR (the way his kidneys were working) was a bit compromised, so they said he could be dehydrated which perpetuated a severe muscle spasm in his hip/leg and the passing out could have been caused by the pain. All I could think of during that awful experience is that I need my teammate to be ok. Our life is so hard that I can't imagine not having my teammate to lead us through the wilderness. Of course, God is my ultimate provider, sustainer, and rock, but I'm certain that He very purposefully gave me David as an earthly world class teammate knowing how desperately we would need a solid team that has our eyes fixed on Him. We are so grateful that David feels back to his normal self, so much so that he played soccer tonight. We are praying we never ever have to experience anything like that again. If nothing else, it made me love and appreciate my man even more (if that's even possible).
***GIANT HUG FROM GOD ALERT- After a practically pain free week and David starting to feel like himself again after the horribly scary episode a couple nights before, this is what we woke up to on Friday morning...
Will you please pray that we continue to see a huge improvement in Andrew's pain, that it would be a direct correlation to ALL of the tumors shrinking, and that there would be no new tumors whatsoever? Please also pray that David (and the rest of our family) remain healthy. THANK YOU ANDREW'S ARMY!!! Thank you for being our people! We love and appreciate you so much!