Archive for July, 2007


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Dream



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“Hey Peyton!We’re going to a place where we get to eat cake and ice cream for a whole week!”

Today we are meeting with the Mayhew’s (Peytons family) and The Children’s Dream Fund at Chik-Fil-A in St Pete to receive Adelaine & Peyton’s Dreams. Fox 13 News will also be there so watch for us tonight. Our 2 families are going to Orlando July 26th-August 2nd and will be staying at Give Kids the World. If you have never been to Orlando, you may want to go in the next 10 days, because after we are through, Orlando will never be the same again…
Check back later for an update on our presentation today.

Dug

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Navaurius



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Navaurius, Mason, Bowen & Adelaine, August 2006

Some of you may remember the foster child we brought in last August. His name was Navaurius and he was being treated for Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a cancer of the soft tissue. His room was next to the room Adelaine was diagnosed in, at All Children’s Hospital. My first memory of him was a purple and black remote control car racing out of his room down the hallway and into ours, to avert Adelaine’s attention away from her nurse tortures.

He had been at the hospital for 9 months by himself. He was a foster child without a foster family. His diagnosis was not good. His odds of beating his cancer were no where near Adelaine’s. When I first met him I saw something special in him. Even after being a ward of the hospital for so long he still could muster an unbelievable smile. One day, our church music director, Stephen, brought his guitar and the 3 of us sang hymns in Navaurius’ room.

The day we were leaving the hospital (nine days after we arrived), we were so glad to be taking our baby home, but it was mixed with feelings of sadness over having to say good bye to our fun loving neighbor, Navaurius. He hadn’t had any visitors while we were there, other than us and our visitors, so I knew he would also be sad to see us go. Angela had been in to say, “Hi”, once or twice, but for the most part she was focused in on Adelaine. So, before it was time to leave, we went in to bid our farewells, promising to visit. I left Angela alone with him, to take a phone call, and she came out of the room with tears in her eyes. She said that she prayed with him and that she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He looked at her and said, “Do you all adopt kids?” Angela said to me, “How can we say no to that?” I told Angela that I thought we were supposed to take Navaurius home with us. It didn’t really make sense. We had a 3 bedroom house with a daughter who had just been diagnosed with cancer. The only way for him to stay was to displace Adelaine. We prayed about it and knew that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

Angela took over and got the system working and shortly after we brought our critically ill daughter home, we also brought home a critically ill 14 year old boy. Considering the circumstances, we were able to bypass the traditional red tape, so in no time here we were wheeling him down the hall and into our car. It had literally been months since he’d left the hospital. After 2 weeks Navaurius returned to the hospital. We all determined that he would be best suited to a family that would be able to focus more on him in his time of transitioning from hospital life to “normal” life. He ended up in a foster home with his sister for a short time and then with an aunt. Last we had heard Navaurius was completely cured from cancer (which was a complete miracle because he was terminal), and still living with his aunt, reeking havoc of a typical teenage boy.

Unfortunately, today we got news that on Sunday Navaurius passed away due to a Brain Bleed, a possible side effect of some different cancer treatments. He had beaten his cancer months ago and had been declared in remission. He recently had been to a camp for cancer patients/survivors at Boggy Creek . The time we had with him will always be treasured. He had a truly unforgettable smile. While he will be missed here on earth, we know that he was a Christian and we will see him again in Heaven.

Doug & Angela

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The good news Adelaine is doing great. I forgot to mention on our last post that 48 hours after her spinal injection last week she really hit a slump, but by the next morning she was doing much better and by day four she was great again! Wow, what a way to bounce back!

Well, here it goes… the not so good…

When we bought our house, a small portion of our property, not the actual house was in the flood zone. However, since it was a small corner of the yard and not the house we were free and clear from having to pay additional flood insurance. Not too long ago, I guess because of all the hurricane threats over recent years, the house was re-evaluated and it was declared to be in the zone and our insurance went up a good bit. Not at all what we needed, but we have somehow made it work. Well, now our property insurance just went up substantially. It feels like we are being slowly but surely squeezed from our home. Put those two things together and our monthly payment to own this home is a whopping $1,900.00 a month!

All the while, Doug and I have been trying to figure out a way from all the financial stresses we’ve been under. I am already working part time which was not part of our original plan, but it seems that we have veered a slight bit from it anyway. Ha! Before we got the latest news about the property tax, we had already been working on how to get us out this mess! Here’s the plan… At the end of the month, after Adelaine’s make a wish all expense paid dream vacation by the Dream Fund, (we could really use a vacation right about now!) I am going to increase my hours at work. Currently, I take the children with me and do office work, but I am also going to start working nights, a few nights a week. I will be caring for the elderly and during the night at their home. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom, plus with Adelaine’s treatments, it seems like the best solution for us. Doug can put the children to bed and I’ll get home first thing in the morning. That’s the plan on my side, here’s Doug’s…

Doug has submitted his application to begin taking college courses and obtain his degree in Business, part time, of course, while he continues working. He has tons of experience but not having that slip of paper has been so limiting. He has about 1 ½ years of school behind him so we realize that it will take a few years, but it will be so worth it once he’s done.

As for our house, I was just sick by the thought of having to uproot the children and move. Our house is nothing too extravagant, but it really works for us. Our children have been through so much, I hate doing this to them. We worked so hard to get the inside just how we wanted it. Notice I said the inside, the outside we don’t have grass, we just occasionally mow down wildflowers and weeds and hope we don’t get attacked by wild natives while were at it!). We just moved the boys to a new school that is within bike-riding range from us, plus we are just a stone’s through away from All Children’s Hospital. Let me just get it all out! I love the floor plan we have here. With Mason’s allergies, it couldn’t be better. We have closet space galore and I know how rare that can be! When Adelaine was first diagnosed, Eddie, a good friend came over and painted her bedroom lavender. It is beautiful. All those hours she spent in her bedroom, I was so thankful that she had a cheerful place to hide out. Eddie also painted the boys’ bedroom sage green. He didn’t want them to feel left out. Wasn’t that sweet? They had been begging for a green room, they were so excited about it! To pack up and say good bye is so depressing. Over the past year we’ve known so many people who were run out of their homes for the exact same reasons. I have never seen so many houses for sale. There seem to be at least two on every street! I like stability (don’t we all). Somehow I feared all this was coming. In a way I’m glad it happened, at least now we can move forward.

So what now? We will be putting our house on the market this weekend. We’ve started looking for a place to rent. Hopefully we can find a rental with a lease option so we don’t have to uproot the children even more. After Doug graduates, hopefully we will be in the position to buy again. I feel like slowly but surely everything is being stripped away. First our finances, lets be honest they weren’t that great BEFORE Adelaine got sick, now they’ve just gone down hill from there, then our vehicles, and now our home. Woe is me. But hang on, Adelaine is doing great and our family is healthier than we ever were before. Yes we had no vehicles before, but now we have two that are newer and better than the ones we had. God has been faithful and I know we can count on Him. Please pray for us and the especially the children. I hope we will find a place that will work for us as well as this house has and that the children will be happy there. Please pray that God will reveal to us where He wants us to be. The one thing this house doesn’t have is a pool and so while were asking… Hey, why not!

Thank you for your prayers!

God bless,
Angela

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Sunday, July 1st, Adelaine celebrated her one year since diagnosis day. We gave our testimony at church. In short, we talked about how one year ago our little girl was sick, very sick. We took her to All Children’s Hospital, and then she was diagnosed with Leukemia, which is a cancer of the white blood cells, in the bone marrow. Doug and I knew that we had to either accept that she was going to die, or accept that God would heal her. We had to embrace faith, there wasn’t any alternative! We prayed, we prayed and we prayed and we prayed some more. Scott Graubard a friend and Associate Pastor from church, and his wife Julie came and we prayed with us. We all spent hours and hours praying over her. There were many many people praying for her. On our anniversary, July 2nd, the elders from our church came and laid hands on her and we prayed over her. With Adelaine sitting on my lap in her hospital bed, I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence in a way that is indescribable, we all did. In fact one of the wives later wrote a letter explaining what she had seen. On day eight of her diagnosis, six days after they did a single treatment, the doctors pulled more bone marrow and declared that she was cancer free and had gone into rapid remission. Praise God! We knew God had healed her, we are so very thankful. So now we are in the middle of a 2 ½ year treatment plan to kill a cancer in her body, which doesn’t even exist! A few weeks ago Adelaine danced in the sanctuary, it was like witnessing a miracle. The fact that she is here with us and is feeling good enough to dance, hop and skip around is truly a miracle, she is our living miracle!

On our way back to our seats, a gentleman stopped me. He asked if we were giving her chemotherapy. After saying, “Yes”, he told me to read Mark 16:18. I was not familiar with what that verse says, so I assumed that he was implying that we should not be giving it (chemo) to her. I have had many people stop me when we are out and ask questions and tell me that I should not give her such drugs, and bla, bla bla. Little do these people know how hard it is to give them to her. I know all these drugs can have long lasting, permanently damaging side effects, and many of which are known to actually cause secondary cancers. I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep, haunted about what the medications are going to do to her, and if we are doing the right thing by giving them to her. The bottom line is, how can we be positive that the chemotherapy given to her before more bone marrow was pulled, wasn’t what God used to heal her? We can’t know for sure. If I could go back in time, I would have insisted that they retest her bone marrow, BEFORE they began administering chemotherapy, after we prayed for her that night on July 2nd. If she came back cancer free, I could have taken her home and known for sure that God did not use these doctors to heal her. But as it stands, we don’t know, so here we are 1 year into treatment.

Now, back to the Gentleman in church… Wouldn’t it be great if it said in the Bible that all the drugs we give her would not cause her any harm? Well guess what, it does! Mark 16: 18 says, “… and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well”. This is in red meaning that Jesus actually spoke these words. When the Gentleman told me this I immediately burst into tears! God knew I was torn and hurting by giving these chemotherapy drugs to her, and He spoke to me not to worry!!!! Even more, the Gentleman’s daughter came over to me and said, “You should really listen to him, he is my dad and used to be a pharmacist. He filled many prescriptions for children taking chemo, and he always prayed this verse over them!” Do you see what I see? God didn’t just use any old Joe to point out this verse to me he used someone who has embraced it and carried it and applied it regularly! These words will not do us any good unless we do the same, so I have given these worries to Christ and I can now give her the medications with a clean conscience. Isn’t our God awesome!!!!

After church and a good nap, the Graubard’s came over, well half of them. Scott and Josh were on a mission’s trip in Costa Rica. Julie and Jesse came over and the boys played while the girls baked cakes. Little ones, pink with sprinkles, just like the princess likes it! We sang “Happy Birthday” to her, as she blew out her one candle. (We hope to have our composer friend, Erica, write a little ditty for next year’s “I beat cancer” party. It could go something like, “In the face of Cancer, bla bla bla”) we’ll let you know!! Anyway, Julie and Scott have been especially helpful through all this. Not only is Julie a princess herself, but just one year before Adelaine was diagnosed, Julie had finished treatment for breast cancer. She too had been healed! A few weeks ago, Julie came to church with freshly manicured blue toenails. She explained that it’s a cancer survivor thing, and that although she could end up on “What Not to Wear”, she didn’t really care! She and her survivor friends all painted each other’s toenails blue. It was just something they all did during and after treatment for each other. I guess it’s like they are in a secret cancer sorority or something. Well, Adelaine was initiated in on her anniversary date! Perfect timing too, we turned them into a red white and blue 4th of July theme. It will now be an annual tradition that Adelaine will have blue toenails at the first of every July!!!!


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Julie, Adelaine & Mom celebrate with festive toenails!

While were at it…


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All girlie girls have toe rings, right?


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Alelaine and Mommy’s pedicure!


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As they say, gold is a girl’s second best friend!

On Tuesday, Doug and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We waited so that the next day Doug would have off for the 4th. We went out to dinner and saw “License to Wed”, with Robin Williams. Robin played the priest who made this couple pass his class before allowing them to be married by him in his church. It was so funny. He put that poor couple through the ringer and made them see just how marriage can really be. The couple was under so much stress that they basically were hating each other, all while the audience was chocking on popcorn in hysterics! We have not laughed so hard in a long time. Doug and I both feel like we too are undergoing some of Robin William’s intense therapy sessions! Part of the movie took place in Jamaica which was where Doug and I got married. It was a great date.

For the 4th of July, we went over to the Burtock’s condo on Sun Set beach. We had dinner and watched the fireworks with the Burtock’s and their friends, Chic And Cici, from their balcony. We met the Burtock’s at the Children’s Cancer Center a few months ago. At the age of 15, Dana Burtock was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has been in remission for three years. She is such a beautiful girl and has such a sweet angelic spirit. It has been an honor to get to know her and her family. Dana, her mother, Kay and 13 year old brother, Cody, all volunteer at the CCC. The children anticipate seeing them each and every week and just can’t seem to get enough of the Burtock family. Anissa has already made wedding arrangements for Peyton and Cody. She says, “Yea, it’s a little creepy now but when Peyton’s 25 and Cody’s 35, age won’t be a big deal”!!!


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Dana, Cody, Adelaine, Mason, & Bowen

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Their family has been such an inspiration to ours. They are the kind of people that you just can’t seem to get enough of. They radiate with Christ’s love and mercy. Dana has lost many people she cares about to cancer in these past few years. At school, she had worked with Mark Dameris, who was in the news cast with Adelaine over Thanksgiving last year. Dana met Mark before she was diagnosed with cancer herself. Mark passes away in February. A little girl Joanna, who passed away last year at age six was very close to her also. They met Joanna after Dana was diagnosed, and her family is still very close to Joanna’s who live in Georgia. Not to mention, her friends that are around her age that have also passed away from cancer. I can’t begin to understand many of the things Dana has seen and felt. I am amazed by her strength and beauty. She truly is an angel. When I first met her I couldn’t believe that she had ever spent one day of her life sick in bed. With her porcelain skin, beautiful curly locks and georgeous eyes that just danced with delight, I thought, “How could this beautiful angel ever have had cancer?” She has a smile that just lights up the room. Even after all she’s endured with her health and loosing so many people she cares about, she didn’t loose her spirit. Wow! She is truly an inspiration to us all! Last year we were 4 days into Adelaine’s treatments and watched the fireworks from the bridge at All Children’s Hospital. This year we spent it on the Burtock’s balcony with a beautiful family who has inspired us beyond words. Thank you Dan, Kay, Dana and Cody, also, Chic and Cici. You can read an inspirational poem by Dana and see her video on You Tube. Go to www.youtube.com. Type in Pediatric Cancer Dana. It’s titled, Hope for Children with Cancer.


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Dana and Adelaine, aren’t they beautiful!

Angela

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