Thursday, March 10, 2011


These are photos of our son (aka Heartbreaker...if you have read any past posts regarding our son, you will know that it was our older daughter that gave him this name for her blog. He says he is not the "heartbreaker" but rather the heart-breakee...he tends to give his whole heart to those around him...just like his daddy :o)
...our 7 month old ukelele player and 17 years a high school Senior in 2008.

Healthy, strong, a wonderful testimony to the Lord's promise of healing in His Word.

Linking up with
Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday meme of the letter "V.

& this is a Vinca
These pretty little blooms were significant to us in 2005.

***Added edit on March 11th***
Izzy, Thank you for finding my post and for commenting and letting me know about your dear friend-Dr. Beer-instrumental in extracting the valuable chemicals used in cancer cures!
Please go to Izzy's post to see photos of Dr. Beer and learn more about this amazing gentleman.

Our son was diagnosed in 2005 with Burkitt's-like B-cell of the fastest growing cancers.

The protocol usually used was for chemotherapy over a period of 2 years. With the type of cancer that was diagnosed, the physicians mentioned an alternative, trial protocol. It meant a shorter time frame, but a more intense dosage and several different types of chemotherapy drugs administered at a time.  One of these chemicals is called Vincristine.

How Vincristine Works: Cancerous tumors are characterized by cell division, which is no longer controlled as it is in normal tissue.   "Normal" cells stop dividing when they come into contact with like cells, a mechanism known as contact inhibition.  Cancerous cells lose this ability.  Cancer cells no longer have the normal checks and balances in place that control and limit cell division.  The process of cell division, whether normal or cancerous cells, is through the cell cycle.  The cell cycle goes from the resting phase, through active growing phases, and then to mitosis (division).
Chemotherapy is most effective at killing cells that are rapidly dividing.  Unfortunately, chemotherapy does not know the difference between the cancerous cells and the normal cells. The "normal" cells will grow back and be healthy but in the meantime, side effects occur.  The "normal" cells most commonly affected by chemotherapy are the blood cells, the cells in the mouth, stomach and bowel, and the hair follicles; resulting in low blood counts, mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, and/or hair loss.  Different drugs may affect different parts of the body.
Vincristine belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. Plant alkaloids are made from plants.  The vinca alkaloids are made from the periwinkle plant (catharanthus rosea).  The plant alkaloids are cell-cycle specific.  This means they attack the cells during various phases of division.  

For more info, you can read more from where this info was taken, here.


How does this drug work?
Vincristine is a type of chemotherapy drug known as a vinca alkaloid. It is thought to work by interfering with cancer cell growth when they are dividing into 2 new cells. This eventually leads to cell death. Because cancer cells divide faster than normal cells, they are more likely than normal cells to be affected by this drug.
(This info from the American Cancer Society.)

These are some photos during 2005. I still intend to post in the future a little more about this time well as one of Heartbreaker's scholarship essays, where he writes about this challenging time.

2005-during one of his initial stays on the Pediatric floor, playing guitar for one of the Oncologists- Dr. G.  They all became a special part of our family. 

May 2005- on his birthday, Heartbreaker gave Dr. F a mason jar of his hair, complete with labels we made for the jar of hair.
Dr. F had kept asking him when would he lose his hair, cuz it took a while longer for him to start losing his hair than some others on chemo.

He had the birthday party that kept going and going all day! These are some of the nurses and child support team... We have more photos with the residents that came all together to sing to him...and his youth pastors...and his friends...
He had to stay flat, cuz with the chemo that was administered through the spine, he had headaches.

His two sisters were able to come down for Spring Break from college.

The hospital, allowed him to have family and friends to visit any time and even some to stay overnight.

He had to be in Pediatric ICU after a reaction to one of the series of chemo. 

Dr. G, Dr. F, and Dr. V ok'd him to travel to KY for his big sister's (aka theluckiestmrs.) undergrad graduation.  He was not able to sit throughout the ceremony and had to lay down in the First Aid room that was there....but we were all blessed to be together and he gave a big smile for this photo.

Father's day 2005

His high school was so he is with his Algebra teacher, on her own time, going over some lessons.

July 2005...some of his Hawaii cousins visiting in Georgia before we all drive down to Disneyworld.

2006 his hair is growing back...filming for the local hospital and Children's Miracle Network.

Big sis and little brother :o)

Girly~Twirly, Heartbreaker, Girly~Whirly

2006 Children's Miracle Network local telethon with Dr. F

2007 Heartbreaker at Disney World for the National Children's Miracle Network telethon.
Heartbreaker was Georgia's CMN Ambassador.

In Washington D.C. for taping with Miss America.

In Disney World, ready to perform for a live audience of 2000 or more.

Photo taken at Disney World for the National CMN telethon.
Heartbreaker grew his hair til it was over 10 inches long to donate to Locks of Love.

The chemotherapy protocol was 5 months of intense medicine, hospital stays, ups and downs, challenges, etc....It took over a year after the last cycle of chemotherapy, before he got his full physical strength and stamina.  
Isaiah 53:5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

But he started his 10th grade year on track with his peers, made the high school varsity soccer team, lacrosse, wrestling, graduated 14 out of 300 in high school, was very involved in school, church, community and cancer awareness events... I say all this to praise and honor the Lord Jesus for his hand upon our son.

We are so thankful and look forward to more amazing and awesome blessings.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Here is another recent order shipped out today. Thank you Erika and the other ladies of the First Army Division East Ladies for thinking of this for a farewell gift. & Thank you all for your support and your families' military service.

& I have posted these 3 before, but since I shared the photo of our son when he was 7 months, I  thought I would also post the drawing that I did from it and also the ones of our two girls when they were 7 months.




Thank you for stopping by and for your kind comments. I will be sure to return your visit.

Signature for blog


Anonymous said...

What an amazing post Maria! Your family is simply amazing. So happy he made it through such a terrible experience.

LDH said...

Amazing story and an amazing young man! An incredibly difficult situation with a wonderful outcome. The care and healing of God and the love of family is so evident in this story and in the photos!

LV said...

Thanks for sharing a part of your son's life I was not aware of. I love hearing about your family. Just wish there was more like it around. I get so excited when I visit your Facebook and see some of my pieces there. However, I do not have a Facebook account so I cannot leave a a comment. I had one once, but got rid of it. I did like some of the things I received. Take care.

anSeL said...

this is so touching. and you're very much lucky. Really God has plans for all of us.
God bless!

Pondside said...

What a precious young man - saved for big things!

yonca said...

Oh, Maria..thanks for sharing this. What a strong young man!
I enjoy reading your posts with pics of your beautiful family each time when I stop by your site.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

What a great story and you have such a beautiful family!

It's truly inspiring...

Jackie said...

That was very interesting about the chemo and vinca therapy . It's amazing how he recovered and what a cutie he is ! He's very lucky to have survived .


RedTedArt said...

I am so pleased that everything went well. May your family have lots of happy and healthy years together from now!

Thank you for such a wonderful V post!


JDaniel4's Mom said...

I didn't realize your family had been through so much.

Sue said...

Thanks for sharing a beautiful story which inspired me on many levels.

Your family is beautiful.

Your son is a miracle.


PS. My nephew is a survivor of acute lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. We were blessed, too.

PPS. I'm pretty late for Alphabe-Thursday this week, so here's my link:

Jo said...

Maria .... you do have an amazing family ... your son is one courageous person ... it is so wonderful to read such a story of faith and hope and love ...

Xmas Dolly said...

Oh my goodness! I didn't know that about your very handsome son I might add. I'm so happy he's okay now, right? Talented & handsome & I bet he's a really nice kid too. You can just tell that in his smile. He's been through so much. He deserves all the happiness you can muster up for him. I'll keep him in my prayers. Have a good weekend.

Alicia said...

Oh wow, Maria! I couldn't help but get teary eyed while I read about your son. I know I read some before on your blog, but just reading this post made me realize how much your son and family have been through. God is so good, and has restored your son's health!! I can't imagine going through this with one of my children, and I'm sure your faith in the Lord was strengthened at that time. What a miracle to see where your son is now. Just amazing!!

Izzy said...

It's a big world out there with some amazing stories, yours in particular really warmed my heart because the man who was finally able to extract and develop Vincristine with Eli Lilly Co. was a dear friend of mine. He passed away in June 2010.
If you want to learn more about Dr. Charles Thomas Beer visit my blog
I'll make a post especially for you.

Hug a tree with me said...

Such a beautiful and inspiring story..... You and your beautiful family are truly blessed. I loved looking at the pics and reading this story....thanks for sharing

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I am so glad he had a friend just as JDaniel does.

niko said...

very inspiring story and you have a very beautiful family!!

thank you for dropping by my blog.
have a happy weekend!

Splendid Little Stars said...

What a beautiful, poignant story of love and hope. I am so grateful that you shared this! Truly an inspiration! (These few words cannot possibly express the depth of feeling evoked.)
♥ Margaret

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

Oh Maria, this was so very touching. Let me say his name is appropriate heartbreaker, because there must be so many girls after him!~ I am so glad to hear his journey is over. I know about that drug, as I used to work for an oncologist. Boy he sure went through a lot. Many blessings to you all.

Judie said...

I was asked to create a diagram of how vincristine worked when I was a graphic artist at Emory University Hospital, so I found your post to be particularly interesting. An important "V" word!!

Debbie said...

I'm so glad that you shared about this challenging time in your family. I've always thought your heartbreaker was just that and adorable. But he's certainly been through so much. I love that you give praise and glory to the Lord. What a testimony!

Maria, you have a beautiful family inside and out. You are such an encourager to others, including me. May the Lord bless you abundantly my friend.

Much love,

Michelle A'etonu said...

i wanted to comment on this post when i was at work the other day, but i wasn't able to. what a remarkable story--he's an extraordinary young man!

thanks, always, for your encouragement! week is the huge spring bazaar on post. i'm told that a guy comes straight from Poland to sell pottery. i might be able to find your glasses! cross your fingers!

xinex said...

An amazing story, Maria! You have amazing kids. Amazing family all throughout, you are indeed blessed!...Christine

Kel said...

What an amazing family you have Maria. Your son is so blessed to have a strong God and family standing by his side. The recovery, although tough beyond words, is inspiring to all. Mt friends and I work hard each year to help raise money for Cancer research. Our prayer is that maybe one day all children will be able to recover as your Heartbreaker did.

Xmas Dolly said...

I have a friend who lives in Hawaii that I grew up with, and he just sent me videos and photos of where he lives due to Japan's earthquake & to shorten this some I look all over for your e-mail address and I got worried and just wanted to know if you're all right.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments regarding our son and our family... I know how much time it takes to visit, so I really appreciate and look forward to your visits.

Dolly, my hubby and I live in the Savannah, Georgia area. Our children are also in the continental U.S. And all my hubby's family live in Hawaii... He has family on all the islands, but his immediate family live on the Big Island, which also had the one volcano vent erupt recently...but they are all fine. Thank you for asking and our thoughts are with those facing this now. (When I was in 3rd grade, with my dad in the Air Force, my family lived on the northern most island of Japan...but we have lost contact after all these years to the friends we met that are from there.)

Blessings & Aloha!

Veronica Lee said...

What a beautiful story to share, Maria.
Your such is amazing. Love the pics.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Gattina said...

What a terrible and sad story fortunately with such a happy end !

Jenny said...

Maria, I am just sitting here crying. I've read parts of this story before here but for some reason this has touched me so deeply.

I admire and adore how your family smiled throgh all this worry and fear. You used something horrible to make a difference around you in the world and that is the trait that I find the most heroic.

What a blessing the journey has been, and what a blessing it is that you all have the generosity of spirit and heart necessary to let this adversity turn into triump and support for others.

Bless you.

Thank you for linking this week Maria. I needed this message...and I thank you sincerely for it.

Hugs and A+

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a beautiful post and story....So glad that I stopped by to catch up

Jingle said...

moving story, bravo,
bless you and your family or friends.
awesome take on v.

Betty said...

Thank you for visiting my blog at just the right time because I love your post and the happy ending!

Vicki aka Jake said...

VERY late for this post but have to say I adore you and your special family. Hold them tight.....

The Rheinlander's said...

Happy to hear that he is doing well!!Thanks so much for sharing it with me!

Anonymous said...

Wow Maria after reading your story mine was a piece of cake. God Bless your handsome son. God was watching over all of you. I kind of had lost my faith after losing both of my parents before I was diagnosed, but he was there for me and I am now cancer free!!! I will NEVER question my faith again. Thank you for inviting me to read this.
God Bless you and your family,

Granny-Guru said...

What a beautiful story and I am so glad the journey took you back to this beautiful place.

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