Freedom & Cowboy Boots

Written by Mardon Hickford. Posted in Mom's Blog

Freedom – lots of meanings are tied to this word but today I’m thinking, lack of restrictions, to come and go and be… and the ability to stand on one’s own, unsustained by anything. This morning I sit here preparing for the weekend at TCH with a little hesitancy as last night we got a call from our Doc to talk about some things like the upcoming stem cell retraction, this round of drugs and their side effects, his hearing test tomorrow, and mostly the fact that although Jake’s counts were recovering well when we went in on Monday, they were low, and depending on today’s labs, we may not be admitted this afternoon, afterall. She wanted us to be prepared. Labs will tell. It’s Murphy’s Law, ya know??? We pack and counts will be low, we don’t and counts will be on target. So we pack and stay on plan. If we’re not admitted today, then we’re home for the weekend and we try again Monday. To be honest, I’m OK with that. It pushes our schedule back some, but actually, it would push it enough that we might not be worried with our near Christmas exit. This is a very busy month for Jake… 2 chemotherapy treatments and his stem cell harvest – that puts us at three different hospital stays for December. Anxiety is high. We have a lot going on this weekend too… Cameron’s science fair is due Monday. It’s a BIG deal, it’s not ready, and I can’t help him with it if I’m not here. The girls have Talent Show tomorrow night, Ryan has a birthday party to attend on Saturday and our church’s women’s event, Advent By Candle Light is on Sunday evening. Many things that I’d love to be a part of and things that Henry will have to do on his own. Things that a few weeks ago would have been just another weekend of activities… “no brainers” on how we would get everyone where they needed to be and enjoy the weekend. It’s freedom to come and go – something that we took for granted and are now very aware of. Last night I had to go

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to the grocery store… had to go since I’ll be gone for almost a week. So I bundled Jake up, put on his mask, had Ryan push him in the safety and confounds of his stroller, and I pushed the shopping cart. It’s something we haven’t done in what seems like forever. And I have to say, it was stressful. I bet the grocery store is one of the germiest places to go. Lots of people and everyone touches things to check labels. ~And on a side note… thank you to the very nice lady behind us who was so patient. We didn’t know her but she knew of us, she was at Jake’s Chick Fil A night and was kind enough to let us know that, and that she continues to lift us in prayer. I should have asked her name but I was in a bit of a frazzled state… I’m sorry and Thank You!!!~ (Detoured… “SQUIRREL!”) I really didn’t put a lot of thought into it previously but we had freedom. LOTS of freedom. To come and go on a whim, touch anything, go to the kid’s school and watch their performances with only the thought of will Jake sit still or will I need to be in the back where he can wiggle and play. I found pictures from just a couple of months
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ago… Jake in his cowboy boots, his chubby little legs and booty, running around in all of his half-naked, free-spirited and all-boy, gun slinging, down and dirty, goofyness. They made me think of FREEDOM. So, I’m kinda at a loss of what to pray for today… my heart wants to be home this weekend where we can have some freedom to be part of our family’s activities but I do understand the importance of keeping Jake on track so that he can have HIS freedom back. So I let go and we’ll go with God’s will. He knows best and what happens today, happens. Either way, we are pushing forward to the future… fighting hard for days of freedom and little boy’s dirty, fun-loving cowboy boots. “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be some place else.” – John Wayne, In Harm’s Way

Came and Went

Written by Mardon Hickford. Posted in Mom's Blog, Uncategorized

So our first inpatient holiday came and went and we were released late Friday afternoon. Our special weekend with all of our visions and plans and expectations got off to a rocky start but it definitley finished well. We were able to have a belated Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with my mom, and Papa (Henry’s dad). We did get the Christmas tree up and although we weren’t able to celebrate Meg’s birthday as her family was under the weather, we were home in time for Ryan’s. And… we had a wonderful visit from dear friends, the Byrd family. Davis and his baseball team won their season and Davis wanted to honor Jake with his trophy. Davis has been sharing Jake’s journey with all of his friends and handing out bracelets… just look at this awesome picture of all these handsome and excited boys with their trophies and their “Make Cancer Extinct” Jake Bracelets. They have been praying over Jake as a team… what a tremendous thing for this mom to hear, that these young boys in Midland, Texas pray over our son regularly. I picture angles circling Jake each time there is a prayer said for him and rejoicing when it is from children for children’s prayers are the most inoncent and special. It was such a happy visit and I loved how Davis just sat right next to Jake and started playing, never missing a beat! Some of his friends are stand-offish. They don’t know what to say or do with him… a little afraid… he doesn’t look like the Jake that they know. Davis came in and just started playing and talking and laughing with him. As I’ve played those visions over and over the past couple of days, it has made my heart so very happy. These are the little blessings of goodness that you find in days like these… thank you Davis! We went in yesterday for labs and were relieved that it was a short day and his numbers are on the rise. That means we head back in Thursday for Round 3. It’s already time again. This round will be new chemo drugs. So far we’re 2 for 2… 2 chemos, 2 unplanned neutrapenic fever hospital stays. We’re hoping that this next 3 weeks goes better. It will be another 72 hour infusion and we ask your prayers over his stay. The intensity and types of drugs that these children endure is often more severe than that of adults. Their little bodies somehow handle it better than our older, more contaminated bodies, so they hit them with all they have. It’s always tricky and dangerous. The side effects can be horrible, even permanent and lifelong. The risks are always high and we walk in never knowing how his body will handle these treatments. Even the same drugs can have different outcomes… it really is all a big lab experiment. This treatment puts us out on Monday, which means by our tentative schedule we will be back for Round 4 December 20th with a release of the 24th, Christmas Eve. What a gift that will be, to be home for Christmas. Of course, it’s all day-by-day. We will be praying for a Christmas at home for sure. But we have a friend that won’t be, and I ask

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your prayers for a little boy named Charlie. I’ve mentioned him before. He started his stem cell transplant today. He will be in isolation for 30-45 days, that means Christmas will be spent away from his home in TCH. As Charlie’s parents said in his blog, “Charlie is going to walk a path that few others have to walk. He is going to walk to the edge of death, and from there he will be rescued back”. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety that his parents will be facing, the readiness for this part of the journey to be over; we too, will soon travel this path with Jake and my chest tightens and eyes swell just writing those words. It is something we know is coming, it’s tucked away but it lurks and we try not to think of it too much yet, for we must push through these early days – that’s a hurdle we’ll jump when we get to it. Right now, I pray for strength for Charlie and his family. Please pray with me for Charlie. Please pray each day for him. Through their waiting, I pray for Charlie’s healing, for comfort, and for the BEST Christmas ever… for our Healer to grant them their greatest Christmas wish. “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalms 27:13-14.

Thank You Peach’s Neet Feet

Written by Mardon Hickford. Posted in Mom's Blog, Uncategorized

Blessings come in the cutest, small packages, like that of a toddlers size 10 sneaker… and they are adorable!  Peach’s Neet Feet, with the help of the Gladiators and Trinity Klein’s 7th Graders, honored Jake with his own special pair of hand painted sneakers and they are SO, SO cute! They are complete with a Stegosaurus, yellow ribbon for childhood cancer, and his name in the coolest super hero script.  How blessed we are to have friends we know and those we don’t, to support Jake’s fight!  And the way this little man travels, these will certainly aid in that fight… carrying him to a day that is cancer free.  And now that we know about Peach’s Neet Feet, it warms my heart to walk the halls and see other children with their shoes and know exactly what it means… they too have supporters that are cheering them on to a day of freedom from cancer!  Each pair of shoes is hand painted especially for that child… such heart and care goes into these special sneakers.  Check out Peach’s Neet Feet FB page and “like” it and their website .  Madison Peach Stiener started this mission and has such a passion for these kids and what she does.  There are some great resources as you read through her page, and the most inspirting pictures that will lift your spririts as you see these kids and their beautiful, sweet smiles.