First treatment free vacation!
Elizabeth's beautiful quilt made from her many t-shirts!
Randy has been asking me to write an update for the blog for the past several months. I don't think he realizes how hard this update is for me. Our life is so different in just the past seven months than it has been in the past three years, October 25, 2011 will be three years. I can still see that evening as clear as if I were reliving it now.
I go back and reread the posts, comments, and watch the videos and feel like it was just yesterday and then sometimes I look at a picture and feel it was a lifetime ago. Enjoy each day you have and don't get caught up in the "nothingness" of life. I said in one of my posts that one of the real tragedies in the end would be to forget all the lessons learned on this journey. Some days I find myself not living the lessons and getting caught up in that "nothingness". I get pulled into the ugly current parts of everyday living. I now have the perspective to pull myself back and live life in the moment that I didn't have before Lizzy's cancer journey, the way we should all live our lives. We use to live minute by minute and I thought that was so difficult at the time. I now see why it is important to live in the moment. You don't have time to worry about the future. God knows the future and he is the only one who needs to. All we need to do is live for the moment, trust, love and take care of what God has given us and he will take care of the rest, he always has and always will!
So many wonderful things have happened in the past seven months. The biggest being on Feb. 15, Liz ended her two and a half year treatment for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). March, we went on our first family vacation without medication or having to go to the Children's Hospital for blood draws and she had hair! We had an "End of Treatment" party at our house in July. She received the most beautiful quilt from her sports families and friends. She is holding it in the above picture with the help of some of her friends. It is on her bed as her bedspread! We ended July out in Hilton Head with family and had a wonderful time. August Liz tried out for the Mason Volleyball Team and made Varsity. She loves the game and loves her teammates! We never thought that she would be able to return so quickly to the game, but she has! I should have known that nothing would stop her. She just beat the biggest opponent of her life .... CANCER! Lizzy started school in Aug. and has been able to go to school everyday except once a month on her clinic visit day. She also turned 17 on Aug. 25. Lizzy is looking forward to trying out for basketball this fall. I am excited about that too! I LOVE basketball! She is still weaker and smaller than the girls she will be defending, if she makes the team, but with time, weight training, and practice, she will get stronger. Liz has gained 40 pounds since Feb., mostly in the past three months. Most people (girls) would freak out about gaining 40, but she ended her treatment at 105 pounds on a 5'11.5" frame. She truly was looking like a cancer patient....NOT any more :) Liz remains a great student and is having fun being a kid and living life agin! On Sept. 3, we had our first annual Blazin With Love race! Our team, with the help of many of you, made over $21,000 from the race for a total of $31,000.00 for research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and best of all, Liz won her age division (well not really, she won the age group 20-25, Brittany, her best friend, won their age group) Dr. Absalon, her oncologist, and family came out to the event to run. He said the best gift was when "I saw Liz running in the race with her big smile on her face". We just LOVE our Dr. Absalon!
Liz remains in remission and for this we are so blessed and fortunate. There are too many people still losing their battle to blood cancers. Liz will live with the constant fear that it may resurface....this is where living in the moment is very helpful....We cannot worry about the future. We need to embrace the gift of today that God has given us. Love each other like God loves us. If I can hold on to this one simple lesson, I know that life will be so much richer. I have a great group of friends that help me stay focused. Life is a journey that has rough roller coasters and smooth roller coaster, we are now on a smooth roller coaster.
Thank you for being faithful followers of Liz and her journey. Giving generously of your time, prayers, and finances. Without all of that we would not be where we are today. As time goes on, I see even more clearly why all three are so important.
Please continue to pray for:
Liz to remain in remission. Every month when we go for blood work it is a bit nerve racking.
For the newly diagnosed, about 44,000 in 2011.
For those that will loose their battle, about 11,000 per year.
For the scientist and doctors that are trying to find a CURE for blood cancers.
For the patients and families on A5, for strength and hope.
Joel Brown, to continue to become stonger and healthier on his road to recovery.
Maya Collins, to overcome her nausea, come home from the hospital, and live life cancer free!
Blessings and God's grace ~