Thursday, January 26, 2012

Good News!

Well we have good news from the Endocrinologist!  Caleb is biochemically NOT in puberty! Wow! We are thrilled!! Three months ago, the doctor said his puberty hormones had dropped, but this time he specifically said he wasn't in puberty!! Yay! Some of his growth hormones have dropped; some have stayed the same, but he is not jumping off the charts-he's tracking right with the growth curve just right above 100th percentile. So, we are relieved!!! Man, we feel so blessed that the Lord would see fit to protect our son once again-- He doesn't have to--every time I walk into that hospital and I see all of the children coming in and out, I am reminded that our health is a gift- it is a part of his plan for my life today and apparently Caleb's today too--but he allows sickness as well. He uses all things in our lives to draw us closer to Himself and to mold and shape us into His image. But we are so thankful that today He has chosen for Caleb to be unaffected by this tumor!! Thank you all for your many prayers! 

I also wanted to go back and share about our wonderful Christmas!!

Before Christmas we got to make candy again with Ma - her famous hard candy. The kids loved helping, which means sampling a piece of every flavor.

Christmas was full and fun at Mom and Dad's. We enjoyed having the new addition, Grayson, aka Baby Ga Ga (with a long A sound) with us for Christmas. He was so precious--here he is trying to pull Annelise's hair! Caleb got Star Wars Legos- his very favorite right now and Annelise got a white convertible car that she can drive!! She was beside herself!! She drove it in the yard with Austin running after her steering it for her because she wouldn't watch where she was going but only stare at us and smile!!! It was hilarious!!

The next day we enjoyed Christmas at Ma's with the extended family. Christmas breakfast at Ma's is an old tradition that Ma has kept for years. She's also wearing her Christmas apron that I remember as a child so very well . I love old traditions- they are rich in memories. 

Here is Grayson with Alexandria- my cousin Allison's baby girl. They are 6 months apart. The two are starting to play together. It's precious!
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I just want to eat those cheeks!! He looks more and more like Hunter with a little bit wider face. 

Caleb got to play Santa with Uncle Kelley this year!! Ha! Kelley looks like the real thing- except skinny!!

Annelise is getting some lov'in from her daddy!

- stealing a hug from my youngest brother Will T. He just turned 27 this month! Wow! I'm getting old!
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On Christmas Eve we celebrated with Austin's dad, brother and family. We enjoyed a lunch and some presents!

Annelise got a babydoll stroller from her Papa- it's been one of her favorite gifts! She strolls her babies, feeds them, sings to them, and puts them down for a nap in "Ca's" room with music playing on a CD- with of course a blanket and pillow -- it's precious! 

Caleb got more legos!! We've been amazed at how fast he can build a set--and amazed at his creativity when he's making up something new- he calls that "making up something out of his mind." We love it- however, the lego mess is something I don't love--he easily got 1000 new pieces for Christmas--I about went crazy-but we spent several hours sorting legos into colors, and that has helped. 

On Christmas Eve night as a family we decorated a Gingerbread house. It was really fun! Our Christmas Eve traditions are 1) doing a family activity together like baking cookies or a Gingerbread house 2) opening up their Christmas PJ's to wear on Christmas Eve night 3) opening up their special keepsake ornament that represents their year- Caleb's was a cross because he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior this year and Annelise's was a purse- because she has fallen in love with purses this year! ha! 4) Caleb and Annelise opening the gift from each other- this tradition was mine growing up 5) and lastly we retell and/or read the story of the birth of Christ.
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What a sweet Christmas Eve we shared this year!

Caleb woke up to more legos- surprise! And Annelise to a tea set, an easel - she loves to draw and paint, and a cash register for the both of them! They also got a ring pop in their stocking which is an absolute must- Caleb reminded me several times! 

Here she is drinking real tea  from her set and eating a chocolate chip cookie. She invited Caleb and Daddy to be her guests. I was the tea and cookie server. 

And by far my favorite gift was a  Christmas platter of Caleb and Annelise's hand and finger prints. I will cherish it always!
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For lunch we celebrated Christmas with Austin's mom and family at Dewey and Janie's brand new house they built on their farm!! Here Austin stands with Aunt Janie- Austin's second mom- in her new kitchen. The house is so very lovely!

We had a wonderful meal as always! 

Annelise spent most of her time with Pa. She loves her Pa and had many laughs with him on Christmas day. 

Caleb spent most of his time with cousin Adam who also received legos for Christmas- ha! Adam was so sweet to let Caleb build with him- he was in hog heaven!
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On Karen's birthday, Derek surprised us all with a night out in a limo ride! I couldn't believe it- I screamed when I saw it! This was a very special night for Karen- she is normally never home on her birthday since it's over the holidays, and D went out of his way to show her how much he loved her. What a special night for the six of us- including Jake and Tanya below. We drove to Franklin and ate at Saffire in The Factory. The food was delicious and the company even better. It was a night we won't forget. Thanks Derek for the memorable celebration!

There was a live pianist playing while we ate- it was great! 

Lastly, on New Year's Eve we celebrated with some friends- we had fun eating, listening to the kids play in their make-believe band, and watching them wrestle with the dads before trying to put them down for bed. We were hopeful Annelise would go down- but no, maybe next time! We left early- such is the life of having little ones!- but it's so worth it!!

Here we are- apparently Liz and I wore matching outfits that night- didn't even realize it til I saw this picture. What sweet friends we have been blessed with in abundance!

Much love and grace to you,

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MRI Results

Well the doctors told us today that Caleb's tumor has not grown in size. Yay! Therefore, they do not want to take any action! This is for sure an answer to prayer and a huge blessing! The enhancement (or metabolic activity), however, has increased since the last MRI which concerns them. This can lead to growth but doesn't always. So, due to the increase in enhancement, the doctor wants to continue to keep close tabs. Caleb will then be scheduled for another MRI in 3 months. We definitely were disappointed with this part of the news.

The heightened concern this last year with the slight growth of the tumor coupled with the discovery of his imbalanced hormones as kept Caleb's health in the forefront of our minds- we were hoping for a little bit of relief from this; however, we know that it's through the hard things, the uncertainty, the waiting that draws us nearer to our Father. It's in this place that his grace, his provisions, and his presence is magnified in our lives- and that is sweet! I've been encouraged from a dear friend and mentor, Kimberly, who herself is walking through a challenging time of uncertainty to write down the grace moments I'm witnessing. I have been journaling; however, I'm excited to start a separate list just of His grace in my life. - but I will start with sharing one from today with you!
This morning I woke up fairly normal, praying of course over today's results. However, as the morning progressed I became anxious. I began reciting verses, but the anxiety rose; my heart-rate elevated. I continued to say out loud God's Word, but I began to feel lightheaded with adrenaline pumping through my veins. I then started singing- this has been my strength. I felt this battle within me getting out of control, and I couldn't seem to gain the peace I was striving for. Kimberly text'd and reminded me that God was my warrior. It then hit me that I was in a battle, the Lord was fighting for me, and He would win! I was encouraged but still experiencing much anxiety. I waited for just a short time more and sure enough as quick as it came over me, it left! And I was in a place the rest of the day experiencing the perfect peace He offers his beloved ones! It was unexplainable!

We waited in that cell of a room for 45 minutes to an hour for the doctor to come in with who knows what news with children everywhere around us receiving chemo (it truly breaks my heart), and I sat there reading the Bible like I was in my living room drinking a cup of tea! I honestly couldn't believe it! I knew the doctor could walk in and say, "This is it, it's time for a biopsy." But I was being quieted by His love in that moment and it felt so amazingly good!
Zephaniah 3:17 says "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."  What did I learn today? When I feel anxiety or fear creeping in, I will not feel guilty that I'm maybe not trusting in that moment but instead continue to face it, singing and reciting His Word and then waiting for His deliverance from the battle within me, trusting He will bring peace in His timing. You know, if I hadn't experienced the crazy anxiety today, I might have missed His amazing deliverance from it- so I'm very thankful- and I will recognize His peace even more after today. What a day! I am walking away changed! I'm definitely not the only one who has had a challenging day today- I pray that you might walk away changed too and experience the abundance of His grace and peace!

On Friday Caleb will see the Endocrinologist for more hormone testing. We will continue to keep you updated. We can not thank you enough for your prayers on our behalf- you are prayer warriors who have locked shields with us. What a blessing! Much love, Nicole

Monday, January 16, 2012

MRI Monday - Done

Just a short update. Today went well with the MRI - Caleb was very brave and while he did have a bit of trouble with the IV it ended up working out to not be so traumatic for him because they treated him to the funny gas while they did it.

It is now just a waiting game for us until Wednesday when we will find out more details.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MRI Monday

Hello friends....

Tomorrow we will be heading to Vanderbilt for another MRI. It is very hard for me to believe that it has been three months since our last MRI (October) - the days have flown by. Caleb's health from all exterior indicators is holding up. His vision seems to be excellent, and he is progressing quite well cognitively. Having started Kindergarten we can say with confidence that he has met that challenge, and by all accounts seems to be healthy.

Regardless of the perception of his health we always get nervous with these scans because the truth is we just do not know what is happening in his brain. We are so very hopeful for good news, and are asking that you join with us in prayer to this end. We have been blessed beyond words with the continual stream of friends, family and even strangers writing to share with us that they are praying for our son. We know that our God is capable of healing Caleb and we are so thankful for His sustaining power that has been displayed these last five years.

Also, will you pray with us that the nurse will get Caleb's IV in smoothly tomorrow? The last time they had to dig around and poke several times. Caleb has already voiced his concern and is a little anxious about that. Thanks so much.

Tomorrow morning at 9:00 is the MRI, but we will not hear results until mid-day on Wednesday. Once we get word back we will post again to share the news with you.

Thank you all for your kindness and support.