Thursday, September 20, 2012

The fight continues...

The fight continues on as we now have been free from the hospital for 10 months now. I am writing this remembering our past difficulties and thoughts of an awareness this month.I am grateful thinking about a focus this month. Thankful am I for the life of my son who overcame leukemia, my mother who survived breast cancer, and thankful for the lives we were blessed to enjoy which we lost to cancer, James Lundquist(erik's father)and Debbie Craven(alyssa's mother). A prayer from my heart to those kids I remember fighting cancer in children's hospital and to the friends we have that are still fighting. May God  be praised in all things!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Is it possible?

So after a short period of lack luster posting there have been a few updates. Recently Jackson went back to the doctor to get his monthly checkup. Thankfully he is doing great in terms of blood/leukeimia issues. His most recent cardiologist appointment has shown that his heart seems to be improving. This is such a wonderful blessing to us. Health wise, Jackson is being blessed by God with a beautiful time of peace and healthiness. His little body is improving. He is eating with great vigor. He is sleeping well, crawling pretty good, laughing often, trying to say so much to us, and seems to be learning new concepts daily. Alyssa and I have no way to explain the great relief/peace that comes from the availability to go home after work. Yes, a strange concept to so many, but to us it still sometimes seems to have not sunk in that the the daily, weekly, or month long visits are over. Now we are blessed with one, yes 1, doctor visit a month for 12 months then once every 3 months for the next 12 months and so on. To look at our Warrior and see his accomplishments and battle wounds makes me a very proud father and I am sure Alyssa would say that as his mother. No more nurses, doctors, beeping machines, hospital and fast food daily, long drives home late at night. No more 4 week stints away from church just to sit in a cramped 10x10 room. We have been able to do so much with him now. He went bowling with us just a few weeks back. No he didn't bowl, but we have not done anything in relation to that even once. Even his first tubeless bath was done and coming this summer he will be able to go swimming for the first time. His love of water will be more than a dream come true to him. What I am so thankful for is that he is now able to endure a some what normal life. We however will not forget the trials and heartache, the laughter and strength, the hope and power given by God. This reason, though our story will continue on this blog, we now focus on those others of who may need an encouragement for their trials. I am challenging you. Yes, you to help. Our battle wounds may not be visible to you like Jackson's are, but they do exist, wether they may be emotionally, mentally, or even physically. You will not know the struggles we have faced or are currently facing still, but I can guarantee you that we overcame them through God with the help of you! So my challenge is this, those people you know or may know of, need your help too. I can't explain the gut curling feeling when you see children from the birth to 18 roaming the halls of a cancer floor. Would it be more difficult if I told you that most of the time the 60 some rooms were constantly full. That is 60 some people struggling though a rough time who need some encouragement. This is only a very tiny fraction of those in need. I know of a man in our church who is fighting cancer and I am sure the strain on them is very high. I know it was when my dad face his cancer before it took his life. If Jackson's story of God's miracle on his life has been a help to you then pass it on, or be that help in someone's life. You may not see their struggle, but it exists. We all have them. Please don't forget that person as time continues to tick by. They still need that encouragement the same amount the 3rd year as they did on the first day. I hope and pray that through this all that our God means more to you now than before this trial began. His power, love, strength, peace, and hope have given us a stronger, more in depth look at who our God is. We learned a huge concept through this, strength comes by giving up control and letting every situation, no matter the consequence, be placed in God's hands. We never had control of it anyway, but we seem to think we are in control. Without God nothing was possible, with God everything is possible.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Going our seperate ways!

Two weeks ago Alyssa and I left the Aflac floor(Cancer Floor) of Children's hospital for the last time as chemo of the 6th round had been completed. Sadness and Joy filled our hearts to know that the difficult process was over... Fast forward to last night Dec. 3rd.  During the day Jackson had spiked a slight fever. This fever was nothing to be worried about. A 99-100.5 is nothing for Jackson. Well as the night grew longer, at about 5pm his temp still hovered at 100 degrees. By 8 o'clock it had risen to 100.8. So to be sure Alyssa called the on call Hem/Onc Doctor to get their opinion. After a little discussion they decided to have us bring him into the ER. Yes another ER visit at 8:30 at night.

This story is to add a different character in the scenario though. For about 3 weeks Alyssa has been fighting a cold and cough. Well last night about 8 pm it just seemed to get worse. So After much discussion Alyssa and I decided that we needed to go separately to different hospitals.  So at 8:30 I( Dad) and Jackson headed down to the ER at Egelston arriving around 9:30. Alyssa called Diane( Her Friend from school) and asked her if she could drive Alyssa to Athens, to go to the hospital. Thankfully Diane is a wonderful friend and was willing to do this favor for Alyssa. So needless to say I was at one hospital as Alyssa was at another, about 1:45 min apart. Alyssa was diagnosed with Bronchitis and the beginning stages of pneumonia. Alyssa was given her meds and she finally got home around 1am this Sunday morning. ( Diane thanks for taking your time to help out our family, even when it was so late at night).

Jackson and I were received at the hospital right away and moved straight into a room. After a few hours they made a decision to admit him. His temp only reached 102.1 and his counts were actually doing well. With his blood counts still on the rebound they wanted to admit him and eliminate the fever as soon as possible.

Jackson and I are delightfully enjoying our time back here on the Aflac floor as he recovers from this issue. Alyssa is curled up in bed, coughing her lungs out(not literally) and I am torn. To take care of my wife, yet at the same time, take care of my son. Alyssa is a strong woman and she is capable of so much, but as all of get sick, we want someone to be there to take care of us. Please Pray for Alyssa to heal, and to heal quickly. I have a hard time imagining the struggle of coughing and sickness for 3 weeks, but she has been strong and continues to fight. I see where Jackson gets his fight from! Please pray also for Jackson as he is recovering here at Children's. Thanks again for those who read this. Some of our encouragement comes from knowing who cares and by the comments on our Facebook pages and by the viewers of this blog. We are thankful for what God has done in our lives, and we look forward to the future He has in store for us.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26, 2011

We brought Jackson to the hospital today. They checked his blood counts and although his counts are very low they are not quite low enough for a transfusion. The doctors are going to call us to come in Monday or Tuesday to get his transfusions instead.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25, 2011

Just asking for prayer for us tomorrow.  We need to take Jackson to the ER tomorrow to get his blood checked and probably get some transfusions.  When we left the hospital last Friday the doctor told us to call if he starts to bruise badly before his clinic appointment on the 29th.  Today we discovered a quarter sized nasty bruise on his arm.  We called the hospital and they said it could wait until tomorrow but to bring him in.  It will be a long process because they have to actually admit him to the hospital to get transfusions on the weekend....and as everybody knows, everything always happens on the weekend when no one but the ER is opened.  We appreciate your prayers~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calling all prayer warriors...

Usually Erik and I use this blog to update everyone on Jackson...but today I am asking for prayer for my mother.  I don't know how many of you out there are aware of this ( I hope she doesn't mind me sharing)  but my mom is currently battling lung cancer.  She went through chemo and radiation, and at this point from my understanding is that they don't feel they can cure it, they are just going to try and maintain it from getting worse.  The cancer has spread to places on her back bone and rib.  She has gone through radiation to help get rid of those spots.  My prayer request for you is to pray about her pain.  She is in an unbelievable amount of pain.  They have tried giving her pain meds but those seem to make her nauseous  and out of it.  She was admitted last night to a hospital to help with the pain.  I have not spoken with her because of the pain she was in just with the people who are with her.  Please pray that they will figure out what needs to be done to help get rid of the pain.  My heart hurts tonight that I can't be with her to comfort her.  Usually you think of your mom comforting her daughter, yet I want to comfort my mother so badly.  I ask any of you who read this to please join me in prayer for my precious mom.  Thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011


The light at the end of the tunnel has finally arrived!  Kinda. Today we brought Jackson home from his 6th and final round of Chemo!!!!!! This round they gave him his chemo and released him immediately. He is still on house arrest due to his blood counts dropping and elevating in the next 2 weeks. We are more than excited to be home with our dear child. In Alyssa's terms.... YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Jackson still needs to go back in to the hospital to have his blood checked and to see if he needs a blood or platelet transfusion, he will need to have surgery to remove his PICline, and he needs one more bone marrow biopsy.  

You know that moment when you finish a task, trial, or obstacle, and you look back after it is over, thinking about what it took to accomplish it, well as we walked out of our little "vacation" home in the hospital, whether it was this room or that, we both teared up a little and had a big sigh of relief. It overwhelms our hearts and we get emotional and thankful that the process is basically complete. Please don't get me wrong, sadly the process is not over. For the next 2 months he will have to go in periodically to have a check up, blood, or a bone marrow biopsy. Then as for hospital visits, we begin the process of check ups with the doctor once a month or once every two months for the next 4-5 years. The hardest emotional task seems to be behind us now,  but prayers for no re-occurrence  of leukemia and heart issues would be GREATLY appreciated.

 Tonight as we were waiting to be discharged we spread out Jackson's beads of courage on the couch and started to count them.  It was amazing how much strength Jackson has shown over the last 8 months. Out of all the beads that he has earned, we have created a little list of his accomplishments. Below are only a few of Jackson's battle wounds of courage:
- 688 Total Beads
- 116 Night stays in the hospital
- 178 Sticks/Pokes
- 21 fevers ( from 100 degrees to 106.9 degrees)
- 6 surgeries
- 5 bone marrow biopsies
- 100's of other numbers from chemo, antibiotics, blood, platelets, etc...
- And most importantly 1 BIG SMILE

Giving God the glory for his work in Jackson and the work He will continue to do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16,2011

So so soooo thankful that my baby has been fever free for 2 days!!!!! Thank you for all your prayers.....continuing to pray that the fevers continue to stay away. On a side note I have been sick with a nasty cold and I have had to stay away from Jackson I am hoping I get better soon so I can be with my baby...please pray that this goes away quickly :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13, 2011

Asking for prayer for our sweet baby...his temperature is really spiking this round last night it got up to 41.5c (106.9 degrees F)  I was pretty panicked but the nurses say it can get up that high with chemo.  It has gone down since then but it keeps going up, give tylenol, goes down...and repeat.  He is feeling pretty miserable.  All he wants is to be held and cuddled...and frankly I don't blame him.  Even though Erik and I know it is his last round...he doesn't understand that, he just knows that he feels yucky.  We would appreciate your prayers that he would begin to feel better. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011

So after a very long day of waiting in different areas of the hospital Jackson was finally admitted and chemo was started at about 6:30 tonight.  Everybody was so excited for us that this is his last round.  It was strange, they put us in the same room we were in for the first round of chemo...very fitting...finishing where we began. :-)  Please pray that his new PICline will work well and that it will last as long as needed.  Please pray that Jackson will not get an infection or fever.  We are also hoping and praying that all will go as planned and he can come home next weekend. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011

So, tomorrow we head back to the hospital.  He was supposed to be readmitted last week, but one of his blood counts wasn't quite high enough yet.  We enjoyed the extra time at home.  We are praying that his counts will be where they need to be to get this last round started tomorrow.  We have to be there at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  They will draw blood to get his counts and then if they are good he will be sent down to where they will place his temporary line (he will be put to sleep for this).  Once the line has been placed they will get things in order to get him admitted, put in a room, and get his LAST round of chemo started!!!  Please pray for us tomorrow, that everything will go smoothly.  Also, Jackson can't eat anything tomorrow until his procedure is over, and he will be very hungry and grumpy.
Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,
Erik and Alyssa

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30, 2011

So we are here at home enjoying our time together! :-)  We got to go to church this morning...such a blessing!  We got to spend some time together this weekend going on walks, shopping for clothes for Jackson, grocery shopping...and just playing at home.  I have learned that through all this I will never take the little things for granted ever again.   I am blessed to give my baby a bath, to rock him to sleep, to watch him be able to eat, to play and roll around without tubes,  to take him to the grocery store, to watch him sleep on the baby monitor, to come home straight from work and have baby waiting for me with open arms...the list could go on and on....Thank you Lord for this special time at home!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

Yeah!!!! Jackson gets to go home today! So HAPPY!!!!  They haven't told us yet when he will have to come back, probably in a week.  I know so short...but we are going to enjoy every minute!  Jackson is doing a great job sitting up.  He can sit up for very long periods of time.  He also loves the bathtub now that he can sit up in it! (I will post pictures of that soon)  He really likes riding around the hospital in their little red wagons now that he can sit up in them.  Jackson has a cardiologist appointment tomorrow afternoon, please pray... the doctor is concerned that the chemo is causing his heart not to fill properly.  They are hoping it will eventually resolve on its own once the chemo is out of his body.  If not they will probably put him on a another medication.  Thanking the Lord for some time at home with my baby!

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21, 2011

Well it finally happened....Jackson lost his hair...he could care less, but mommy is about in tears...I loved his little mohawk.  So the bacteria is apparently so rare that it will take several more weeks to figure out exactly what kind it the infectious disease people are saying that by Monday he will have had 14 days of 2 kinds of antibiotics and has not had any issues develop that would cause concern so they are thinking he might be able to come home on Monday or Tuesday. It has been said that the bacteria possibly could have been contained to just his line, which if this is the case is a relief to us.  Today is day 18 and we finally have a glimmer of freedom from this hospital for a little bit.  A football player named Gary Guyton from the New England Patriots came to see Jackson today at the hospital...pretty cool! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16, 2011

Well here we are still in the hospital...this has become our first home, and our real home is our second home...No need to buy a vacation home, we already have the lap of luxury here:-)  Yesterday Jackson received a blood product, I don't remember the name that is supposed to help boost his immune system.  He had a great day yesterday laughing and playing.  Today he is very sleepy.  His platelets and hemoglobin are very low.   Since the doctor's have removed his central line, everything given to him (blood, platelets, antibiotics...)is given to him through the IV in his foot.  Jackson is a wiggle worm and he wiggled his IV a little too much and it infiltrated (sp?) today while they were trying to give him blood...poor baby did not like how that felt.  Right now we are waiting for them to come in and probably replace his IV so that they can finish giving him blood.  They have figured  out that the bacteria in Jackson's blood/line is a mycro bacteria and have ruled out the two most dangerous forms (TB and something to do with birds ).  They have called in infectious disease(like the people on House :-) to help determine which specific kind of mycro bacteria that it is.  When they figure it out, which will hopefully be sometime this week they can tell us how long he will have to be in the hospital on antibiotics.  So far, all of the cultures that they have taken since his line was removed are still negative, unfortunately they still have to treat him with antibiotics just to make sure.  Thank you for your continued prayers. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct.13... I.D.

So today I, Erik, am writing an update on what happened recently. Most of this is hard to explain due to the gravity and literal comprehension of the bacteria.  Alyssa and I talked today and she made a comment that I can fully understand and agree with. You know that saying "this has been a roller coaster ride"? That describes our journey well. We have been beaten(sounds nice and southern) like a kid in a back dark back alley. The worse part is that Alyssa and I haven't experienced anything compared to Jackson, and we are adults. That just makes me feel so guilty and weak. You know through this we have gained a new understanding through so many different view points, but it has been a long journey. The news that Alyssa reported yesterday was the beginning of a few steps. Well here is the rest of the story...(harvey). Today Jackson's antibiotics changed. Instead of getting one type of antibiotic, he is now receiving two. why? The blood that was taken a few days back grew more bacteria. This strain of bacteria is not terrible nor deadly as long as it is treated, however the strain is related to Tuberculosis. No, he does not have Tuberculosis nor is it close to that. The reason I tell you of the strain is because that is why I.D. (Infectious Disease) was called in. They are worried that the bacteria is one of two different types of bacteria, again however they are not sure as to which one it is or if they are certain that it is one of those two bacterias.  We will not know anymore answers for at least 1-3 days. Just a Reminder, Prayer is needed, Worry is not. This is not a dire situation, and the doctors seem to be confident in that. Please Pray also For Alyssa and I. Emotional, Physical, Mental strain is wearing us down.  God is good, no matter the situation we face. "Rejoice in the Lord Always and again I say Rejoice"


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 2011

I am having one of those days where things just don't go so well and then by the end of the day the littlest thing seams like a big deal.  It is so hard to accept, because we can't understand, why God has things happen.  Through all of these rounds of chemo Jackson has always had to be in the hospital for several weeks to a month at a time.  These last two rounds were supposed to be a quick in and then go home...unfortunately Erik and I got our hopes up for that...He has already been there a week and a half and yesterday they gave us the impression that he could go home in a couple of days.  Today they told us that they want him to be on antibiotics for 10 days from when they started them before he can go home.  So it looks like he is going to be there another week and a half (two weeks longer than planned).  I know it might sound silly that we are so disappointed about this...We know that God has a reason and this is what is best for Jackson, but sometimes it is just hard to accept it.  We are so weary of this and are trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Please pray for strength and encouragement..Trying to do the best we can in all areas of our lives is proving to be difficult.

Meditating on Psalm 27:14- Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the Lord.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011

Jackson had his infected central line removed today.  They did not replace it though.  They put what is called a PIC line in his foot.  It is kind of like an IV but it goes in deeper.  They are using it to give him antibiotics.  They are trying to make some decisions as far as what to do next.  They can either wait until his counts come back up, and then put the central line in OR they can leave it out until his next chemo treatment and then put it in.  There has also been some talk about a temporary line.  I have no idea what that is.  Unfortunately all the doctors come around to see Jackson in the morning when Erik and I at work and by the time we get to the hospital they are gone for the day.  The information we get is second hand from the nurses.  (very frustrating)  I am thankful that he did well today during his surgery and that he ate well the rest of the day AND kept it down. :-)  We don't know at this point when he will be able to come home.  Thank you for your continued prayers! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011

Well Jackson's line grew bacteria in both lumens of his central line.  Apparently this is something that is fairly common with central lines.  Unfortunately it means that it will need to be replaced right away.  They are talking about replacing it tomorrow morning, which means another surgery and central line.    Our prayer is that after it is replaced that there will be no more bacteria, and also that they caught it in time for it to not have spread to other parts of his body.  On the positive note his echo did not show any bacteria and he finished receiving his chemo today.  Please pray!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 9, 2011

Please pray for my baby...whenever he spikes a fever they take blood cultures to see if there is any bacteria in his lines.  Usually they come back negative, but his blood cultures from this week are coming back positive.  This means that they have to give him antibiotics.  They are also going to give him an echo to see if there is bacteria growing at the end of his line in his heart....sometimes a foreign object in the body can grow bacteria.  Unfortunately for us, this means that he might need to get a new line, and he will probably have to stay in the hospital longer than anticipated.  We would really appreciate your prayers!