2009, another year to be thankful for!

Happy New Year2 (Small)

I honestly think that Bennett thought 2009 would be a easier year for him than what it was. He felt like since the hard intense chemo treatments were over that his body would accept the chemo and he wouldn’t have so many side effects.

Bennett had a great couple months with no problems but than in March he started feeling tired and had a fever with no signs of infection. He had a rocky mountain spotted fever test and other tests but thankfully they came back negative but no answers were found.

In April he had a CT scan because of uncontrollable severe headaches that lead to sinusitis surgery. After the sinus surgery, he didn’t have much relief so they did a more detailed CT scan looking at the nerves and for a tumor. It was a scarey time but was thankful all tests were negative. It took many weeks for him to feel better. He also had a spinal tap for his treatment that was possibly some of the cause of the headache’s he was experiencing. He spent over 2 weeks in the hospital and missed 2 months of school, it was difficult to see the end in sight. He missed graduation practice and all the year end trips but was able to attend 8th grade graduation ceremony.

He was fortunate by being asked to play at Busch Stadium with the highschool baseball team in June and played great! We found out later that he probably hurt his ankle in this game by sliding into second base. The MRI’s showed he had a stress fracture and it was in the opposite ankle as last years problemed ankle. He played not feeling the best and his counts very low. Just eight days after this unbelievable game, he was at the hospital having a bone marrow biospy to check to see if his leukemia had returned. Many signs pointed that it might be but God answered our prayers with a clear report. His counts had been low and his body fatigue for too many weeks with no chemo or explanation.

In June we lost our buddy Ethan that we became so attached to over all the Dr. visist’s and hospital stays. Bennett really reached out to this little boy and was just always in amazement just watching him and hearing him talk. He was one of a kind and a truly blessing to know.

Bennett was in the hospital again in July after his spinal tap from side effects of headache and also had a fever. The Dr. determined that his headaches earlier in the year were mostly from the spinal tap and that unfortunately his body doesn’t accept the chemo or the procedure anymore without side effects.

Bennett was on crutches all summer because of the stress fracture in his ankle and missed the summer highschool baseball traveling season. It was hard for him to do any outside activity while on crutches. It was a long boring summer.

We went to Ryan Coe Memorial fishing derby and enjoyed visiting with everyone but it was a tough and sad weekend for Bennett. He missed his friend that is the only friend that he had that really understood his situation. The emotions were difficult and Bennett needed some time to mourn.

Bennett had a breath taking and amazing Once In A Lifetime hunt to Alaska’s wilderness in September. His dream hunt came true with shooting a moose that weighed 1,500 pounds and had a 50 inch rack. He experienced and saw many beautiful mountains, glaciers and skies. It took him away from the world, hospitals, and Dr.’s to enjoy God’s beautiful scenery!

Bennett started high school and is an honor roll student. He has been so fortunate to keep from having to be home bound. He made the freshman basketball team and before his last illness was one of the first players off the bench. He is able to practice and keep up with the other players.

Bennett started dating his girlfriend Lindy and attending high school dances. We are so thankful to have her in his life :) She brings so much happiness and fun times. We are so grateful that he can finally experience teenage emotions and relationships.

Bennett had a couple more spinal taps and each time the side effects made him sick for about a week and/or a flying trip to the E.R.

We were blessed that Bennett did not get the H1N1 flu that was spreading furiously. He did have a bad sinus infection and early stages of pneumonia that got him down for a couple weeks but were thankful it didn’t turn into anything worse.

He continues to take approximately 29 pills daily. Some of them are chemo pills, steroid pills, vitamin supplements, and meds to help with side effects. He only has 7 more months of treatment left!!

Bennett has had a few bumps this year. We are grateful for what God has given us and treasure those moments and things.

We hope through these experiences that we smile a little more, laugh a little more, and our more appreciative. We thank God for all his blessings. Thank you for all your prayers throughout the year; and being with us.

May God continue to bless Bennett giving him the strength and courage to finish this journey in 2010!

Posted by Cindy on December 31st, 2009 in General, Updates | 1 Comments

December 30th update

Bennett is doing good and he has felt great! This makes us so happy and what a relief; we pray it continues. He really has enjoyed the last few days of sleeping in. We had a fun day yesterday, eating in Marion and looking around Marion mall. We went to Lindy’s game last night and they lost only by 2 points against Anna Jonesboro so they got 4th place in the tournament. We were excited that Lindy was named the MVP (most valuable player) in the tournament! That was against all the girls on every team in the tourney, very impressive!

Bennett had practice today, they had been off for a week. He said they ran alot but he didn’t seem as tired afterwards, he seemed to feel pretty good about the practice. I hope he can get back into shape and enjoy the rest of the basketball season.

We were talking about a man that was just diagnosed with leukemia a couple months ago at the dinner table tonight. Bennett and I started talking about the disease and treatment. He asked me, “Don’t you feel smart that you and I can talk intellgiently about this and no one else can?” I told him No, I really don’t. I honestly which I never knew all of these medical terms because than you would of never have been diagnosed. He says, he would do it all over again. Hamilton piped in and reminded us that he wouldn’t of went to a hockey game or gone to Alaska or many other things! We have been blessed with so many positives adventures in our lives but somedays I have a hard time out weighing all the bad. I think it gets scarier at times because you know too much. Also, that we are nearing the end of treatment and won’t be fighting this horrible disease with chemo anymore. I ask God to bless us with patience, understanding, trust, and relaxation!

You know, I have to repeat that, Bennett says He would do this all over again, I am pretty happy about that and pleased, It means he is happy about his life and that the good did out weigh the bad. He is a special young man and I am so proud to have him as my son!

Only one more day left until 2010!

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Posted by Cindy on December 30th, 2009 in Updates | 1 Comments

December 28th update

Bennett has had a good last couple of days. Yesterday when we got out of church, it was snowing and the boys were so excited. They couldn’t wait to get their clothes on and get outside. They went goose hunting in the field by our house. They had about 50 decoys to put out in the freezing weather. Bennett stayed out there all afternoon except for coming in one time to thaw out his hands. He had a goose blind that he gets in and he said it was pretty warm once you got out of the wind. They only saw a few geese right when they were setting up.

Today, we went to the mall and stores around to make exchanges and returns while eating lunch at our favorite place, Red Lobster. We made it back so Lindy could get to her game, they played Fairfield and unfortunately lost a tough game by only 3 points. It was a barn burner. They play tomorrow night for 3rd place in the Rangerette Holiday Classic.

The boys got bows for Christmas and love them. Late this afternoon they target practiced. They love any type of hunting stuff and the outdoors. What one does the other one has to do too.

We pray for all the kids from St Louis Children’s Hospital, thinking of them and wishing them the best especially the ones that are stuck at the hospital during the holidays. We continue to pray for Bennett that he stays in remission forever and ever!

Posted by Cindy on December 28th, 2009 in Updates | Comments Off on December 28th update

December 26th update

Bennett has been really tired, he slept for almost 12 hours last night, sleeping in until almost noon. I finally got him up so he could get ready to go to Lindy’s game And good thing he did….. She broke the school record of 3 point shots in today’s game with a total of 7!!! WOW! And still with a bruised sore ankle. Congratulations Lindy! They won this game by 20 and also won tonight too. They are in a holiday tournament at Benton.

We are thankful Bennett is doing good and finally got over the spinal tap side effects. We pray he doesn’t get any more infections and can stay healthy through winter. We are so blessed during this holiday season and enjoying every minute.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a re warder of those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

IMG_0071 (Small)IMG_0074 (Small)IMG_0097 (Small)IMG_0100 (Small)Our favorite Rangerette #10

Posted by Cindy on December 26th, 2009 in Updates | 1 Comments

December 25th update

Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas Day and enjoyed their precious time with their family. Bennett felt good! He hasn’t complained about a headache for two days, yeah! He has been feeling great, maybe just a little tired. We had an awesome day. We had breakfast with Sid’s Mom and Dad after the boys checked out what Santa brought them. We went to my Mom and Dad’s for late lunch with my siblings, nieces, nephews and great niece & nephews. It was so kool to have the snow flurries, it was magical. Of course, we had wonderful food and also a birthday cake for Jesus. My Dad always reads from the bible before we eat telling about the birth of Jesus. It is such a blessing for God to give of his son and we thank him dearly.

Hamilton opening one present on Christmas Eve

Hamilton opening one present on Christmas Eve

Bennett on Christmas morning

Bennett on Christmas morning

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Sidney & Jane for Christmas breakfast

Sidney & Jane for Christmas breakfast

Is that really Santa?

Is that really Santa?

Grandpa Johnston and Santa Claus

Grandpa Johnston and Santa Claus

Lindy & Bennett Christmas Day

Lindy & Bennett Christmas Day

Posted by Cindy on December 25th, 2009 in Updates | Comments Off on December 25th update

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Hamilton - age 10 and Bennett age 15 - Christmas 2009

Hamilton - age 10 and Bennett age 15 - Christmas 2009

Posted by Cindy on December 25th, 2009 in General | Comments Off on Merry Christmas!

December 23rd update

Bennett is doing some better. His headache wasn’t as bad today. His ANC is 2,635 from 1,125, Awesome! His WBC are 3.1 and 85 neutrophils We thought they would be elevated from the steroids but still that is a real big jump from 3 days ago. Amen! His hemoglobin is 11.3 from 12.4 and platelets stayed the same at 109. His liver levels are still high at 156 and 582, they went down a little from 172 and 680. Bilirubin total is still at .80.

Bennett had practice early this morning and sounded like it went pretty good. They met me for lunch and than Bennett came home after going to the hospital for blood work and went to bed for about 3 hour nap.

Hamilton and I went to see Alvin and the chipmunks with my sister and niece. We thought it was really cute. Bennett decided to stay home with Lindy and hang out, don’t worry, Sid was home, LOL.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, Hope everyone can enjoy these next few days spending time with family and friends. May we all be blessed with the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate Jesus birth!

Posted by Cindy on December 23rd, 2009 in Updates | 1 Comments

December 22nd update

Bennett is not feeling any better. He had a bad headache at school. He took some pain medicine after school to try to help and went to basketball practice. He said they ran most of practice, he was able to keep up which is really good. He probably would of preferred to come home and go to bed but he keeps on trying. He knows when he absolutely cant do it.

He came home and rested this afternoon. After dinner, his headache was worse and he went back to bed and feel asleep. I’m glad he can rest. We will go tomorrow sometime and check his counts again. We pray his ANC has gone up and his liver levels have gone down. It’s been a week today since his spinal tap so normally the headache is gone.

We ask for an extra prayer for Lindy. She rolled on her ankle last night at her basketball game and tore the ligaments in her ankle/foot. Her ankle is swollen and bruised and she is on crutches. We hope her ankle heals quickly. She managed to score 20 points this game!

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5

Posted by Cindy on December 22nd, 2009 in Updates | Comments Off on December 22nd update

December 21st update

We thought Bennett was feeling better since yesterday was a good day. He did go to school today and took his final exams and also made up one from Friday. He went to basketball practice after school and had a headache. It was really bad after practice to where even light and noise bothered him.

When I got home from work, I gave him some pain medicine but it didn’t seem to really help.

His nurse today told us to drink a lot of water that he probably needs to be drinking more. She also indicated for us to check counts again on Wed. or Thurs. because they want to see what his liver levels are going to do. Since they were so high when they were checked last Thursday in the E.R., they need to be checked one week from than. He is supposed to go ahead and take his 9 methotrexate pills tomorrow and his daily 6mp pills.

He is always glad to have the steroids behind him as he took his last dose on Saturday. We also stopped the caffeine pills because he was only supposed to take them a few days after the spinal tap.

His nurse indicated today that it just looks like he is going to have a tough time with the spinal taps and the methotrexate chemo that is injected into his spine. I wished there was some relief but unless it gets so bad to be admitted to the hospital there is nothing else. One good thing is that he should only have 2 left in his treatment plan!!! He gets them every 3 months.

We pray that his headache goes away for good and he starts feeling better. It’s so miserable to have a migraine and not get any relief.

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in him.” Psalm 18:30

Posted by Cindy on December 21st, 2009 in Updates | Comments Off on December 21st update

December 20th update

Bennett’s ANC today is 1,125!!! From 992 three days ago. His WBC are 1.5 and neutrophils are 75. We are so happy and thankful that his counts are holding. It was going to be pretty scary if they dropped anymore. His WBC went down to 1.5 from 1.6. His hemoglobin went up to 12.4 from 11.8 which is good news! His platelets are 109 from 102. His liver levels are still really high at 172 and 680 from 301 and 656. Bilirubin total is .80 from .60.

The best news is that Bennett has gone ALL day without a bad heachache or any problems! Yea! Hopefully he is through the hard part of the side effects of his spinal tap. He really is ready to go back to his normal routine. He is quite the fighter but the longer this goes on, it’s easy to get discouraged sooner than before. He had really hoped his freshman year would be smooth sailing and that he would be able to play ball. We pray he can finish out the basketball season with good strength, stamina, and confidence. You might think he is asking or expecting too much and should just take it slow BUT this is not Bennett, he wants to do it all and he should because if he gives up, it’s not want he wants to do therefore causing depression and boredom.

He went to sunday school and church this morning. Hamilton had his Christmas play, they did really good. This afternoon and evening we ended up just hanging out at home. Bennett is planning on going to school tomorrow.

We appreciate everyone’s prayers and encouraging words! May God bless you in your times of trouble and be there to carry you through.

Posted by Cindy on December 20th, 2009 in Updates | Comments Off on December 20th update

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