Thursday, April 30, 2009

Humbled by your Gift

I cannot express in words how humbled and grateful I am for everyone rallying together to create a beautiful quilt. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to my lovely and great friend Melissa for a beautiful and thoughtful idea and the work to organize and complete this quilt. You are a wonderful person whom I am so thankful I met 3.5 years ago.

I look at this quilt everyday and it brings me to tears knowing how wonderful you all are to have devoted your time to do this for Gabriel. When Gabriel is older, he will truly appreciate the love and support you all have provided to our family. Thank you so much. I love you all!

I have posted the final product for all to view. Please check this beautiful quilt out! Thank you once again!

Monday, April 27, 2009

In Honour of Gabriel's Journey-Sponsor our Team for the Tillsonburg Relay for Life

Hi Everyone,

It is very hard to watch your own child have good days, bad days and very bad days with his fight with cancer. This journey has made me feel as though I have don't have a lot of control. As a result, I wanted to find a way for me to feel as though I was helping towards the fight for a cure for cancer. Therefore, the best way that I could do this was to contribute a team for the Tillsonburg Relay for Life. I want to know that I am helping other moms and dad's who have children who are traveling a similar journey. I am hoping that all those who log on to my blog would pledge a participant or our team.

You can do this online at our own personal Relay for Life website by selecting pledge a participant or pledge a team at the following link:

Thanks for supporting a wonderful cause.

Smith Family Pictures Online

I just wanted to let everyone know that visits our blog that you can access our online photo album of our family at

I have finally been able to receive high speed Internet out in the village of Mt. Elgin, so I can now upload pictures. I know I enjoy seeing pictures online of my family and friends, so I thought it would be a nice way to visit our family since we don't always get to see you all.

The album was started after Gabriel was born and has continued through the years. Thanks for taking the time to think of us during this time and checking out our blog and online album.

Love always,

The Smith Clan

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Phase Update as of April 21st, 2009

On Tuesday, April 21st, we went to the hospital for blood counts to determine whether Gabriel was able to commence the following phase of treatment. We did not know what to expect with his blood counts as we were told previously that it would probably take longer for his counts to rise. This information comes from people who have years of observing and treating various ages of children ranging from babies to teens. Expert knowledge can cause us to sometimes lead us to forget that God is more powerful than those experts that specialize in cancer treatment for children. We discovered this truth when our Oncologist was delightfully surprised that his numbers increased quicker than suspected. In addition, they rose higher than the commencement of the first phase of treatment, which also delightfully shocked our Oncologist. We thank God for these blessings during difficult times. It is these blessings that increase our faith when we choose to glorify God rather than simply base such fantastic news on coincidence. Thank you Jesus!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

The following day we started the next phase with our 12 hour day. A typical day for our family at the hospital is helping Gabriel cope through his port access and then seeking ways to be entertained most of the day while we wait. Gabriel had three different types of chemo medications through his IV, but the long day entails making sure he is fully hydrated through IV fluids to protect his organs from the harsh chemo.

After we were done at the hospital we were excited about going out for dinner as a family to Applebees. Simone was with Grandma Bender for the day, but daddy picked her up after her nap so we could spend the rest of the hospital stay together. It was so wonderful to go out for dinner to appreciate one another in a different way. You begin to appreciate the small details in life when you go through such atrocities. After dinner we enjoyed a stroll in the mall and shopped at H & M, which was so exciting for our beautiful children. They could not control themselves and were dancing everywhere. It was quite hilarious to watch and brought many smiles. We had an enjoyable time as a family and look forward to more of our brief entertainment opportunities while Gabriel's neutrophils are high. We also don't have to go back to the hospital for two weeks, which is very exciting for the Smith family.

Thank you once again for checking in to see how we are doing. We do look forward to seeing you when time allows. Again, please don't hesitate to drop a line and we will try our best to get back to you. Please know that your calls and/or e-mails do help to know you are thinking of us at this time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Sun Does Shine and We Are Thankful

I want to start this blog by thanking our Heavenly Father for answering our prayers each week. Every Tuesday our case manager was 99.9% sure that we would be back in the hospital with a fever as his neutrophils were so low. This was a consistent message each time from most people in the hospital. However, each time I prayed for that weekend to come with protection over Gabriel. God answered our prayers every weekend and we surpassed this month without any fevers. In addition, God answered our prayers to protect Gabriel from reactions to medications. Gabriel has been responding without any reactions to his medications through all pathways (intravenous, oral and intrathecal). He is coping as well as a 3.5 year old can with so many procedures. The nurses at the hospital call him curious George as he is mommy and daddy's inquisitive little boy. Perhaps, he will grow up to be in the medical field. We pray he does whatever will bring him joy.

I want to take a moment of your time to share something that has been on my heart. I know there are many readers logging in to read my blog from many walks of life. There are believers, unbelievers and those who believe God exists, but have so many questions. I want to take this opportunity to share what has been on my heart and what God has reinforced for me though this difficult time. This piece is for those who wonder why I am thankful for God's strength, peace and answering our prayers as you may be wondering why Gabriel would even get Leukemia. In addition, there may be people reading my blog who may find blame in God for the pain and suffering in this world and wonder why He does not just heal Gabriel right now if "He is so powerful." I hope that what I share will help to answer few of your questions and encourage you to seek God for His truth and peace in your life.

We must recognize the source for all that is considered destructive, painful, deceitful and anything that would cause you to not want to seek a life of truth and peace, which is salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour. You may feel this is silly or even see it as embarrassing to believe in something a human mind is deceived to believe is only fictitious. The source that instills all that is painful and reinforce disbelief are from Satan. I am very aware that many people believe that Satan is fictitious and portrayed as such in the media. However, the bible describes Satan as the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). The first verse I ever memorized as a little girl was Ephesians 6:13 and tells of being equipped with the whole armour of God (truth, faith, salvation, and spirit all found in knowing the bible). At one time in my life I would have thought this was silly to believe, but I have seen much in my life that can only be described as the works of the devil. I have posted Ephesian 6:10-17 at the bottom of this blog for you to reference as means to understand Satan's role in this world. I share this as the bible tells us the truth and God does not lie. Our world sees much suffering and pain because it is a fallen world since the very day Adam sold out to the devil. The devil continues to dominate this world and will continue until the return of Jesus Christ. I know that on this earth we all may be faced with trials that cause us pain in our lives. I can say that I have seen both sides to life as a person who suffered without God and now as a person who has suffering, but does not suffer as I have peace, truth and knowledge of the bible. There is a difference and would never choose life without God. For those who know my past this will make sense. I am not saying that this journey is easy and that I that pain in me is nonexistent. I do have pain and emotional days, but the difference is that I seek God's truth in His Word when I feel pain and He reminds me of his truth to continue being as faithful as Abraham. My flesh can be weak, but my spirit must be strong to do this journey. If you want to see God at work and his truth, read the works of Jesus in the bible (John 14:9,10). In addition, Jesus contrasted His works with the works of the devil in John 10:10. The confusion of this world would be erased if we read and listened to the Word of God. The one thing I keep learning over and over is that I will never be able to understand spiritual problems with my human mind. Impossible!! Therefore, you may be struggling with my blog with the same difficulty I once had. All I would encourage you to do is find a bible and begin to read. I hope this explains why God has not caused Gabriel to have leukemia. God is the one that is delivering us from the evil that Satan has brought forth. God will be give me strength to see this through. We don't understand all facets of this journey, but I do trust that God will deliver Gabriel and cure him. There have been revelations from God to my family members revealing Gabriel being healed from cancer. I trust God's promises and know Gabriel will be cured. He will grow to be a man with an amazing testimony. He is a brilliant little boy who inspires me everyday. I will continue to post blogs that share the honest side of pain as our flesh still experiences those emotions and I want to continue to be honest with all those who read my blog, but my faith will NEVER waiver. It is God who gives me strength for my entire family. I know that this part of my blog may have made some of you uncomfortable, but this through discomfort and conviction it will hopefully lead us to seek God's truth. My life is a testimony to that. Thanks for reading this piece of my blog and continuing to tune in. The next part is a summary of our month and things to look forward to in the upcoming months.

The Next Phase

We are approaching the next phase of the intensified consolidation. This phase occurs over eight weeks. Currently, we have to wait until his counts are high enough to start this next phase. The Smith family has been making plans for entertainment outside of the boundaries of our property as Gabriel won't be neutropenic soon. We have plans for the zoo, eating in a restaurant, and who knows what else. During that brief one or two weeks we plan on getting in as much fun outside the house as we can. Gabriel won't have to receive weekly spinal taps anymore, but will continue with chemotherapy. This past month has been quite draining as the kids go stir crazy staying only at the house. We have been so limited with what we can do as Gabriel has maintained a 0.4 and 0.2 neutrophil count, which is very low. We have to prevent infections and taking him places puts him at an increased risk. We can't control environments that we don't know about. When the weather is nice the kids have enjoyed playing outside.

Our family is looking forward to summer events and Gabriel keeps asking about our camping adventures for this summer. He loves to camp as we all do in our family. We plan on camping at Port Burwell a few times this year, attending Camp Trillium, a week with the Smith side at a cottage, enrolling (if all goes well both the Smith and Bender family) as a team in the Tillsonburg Relay for Life, our Bender side camp out with the entire family and some day trips when Gabriel's not neutropenic. Gabriel cannot stop talking about camping with his cousins. He often shares that he misses all of his cousins. He is quite a remarkable little boy and loves to name all of his cousins. So cute! Simone is growing so quickly and becoming a remarkable little girl. She continues to make us laugh as she has quite sense of humour. She, too, is very inquisitive. She has been trying to say a lot of words and loves hanging out with her brother. Gabriel is not so fond of this all the time, but tries to put up with her as all siblings can. Reminds me of my brothers growing up!! Simone tends to be fearless and tries unsafe climbing more than I would like. She is my adorable and smart little girl. We love to have mommy and daughter time together. I am looking forward to a day and evening away in Stratford with my best friend Kyra this weekend. We are going to the spa, orchestra and dinner. I am looking forward to having time away to recuperate and have some girl time. I must say that this will be only the second time away since my both my children have been born. I have a difficult time leaving my kids and I know that Mike gets a little worried about caring for the kids when I am away. He is a great father and could not be more thankful for him.

Thanks for checking in on the Smith family!


"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Ephesians 6:10-17