I don’t know what it is about little boys, well all boys, and monster trucks but there is an undeniable innate connection. We took LJ to his first Monster Jam in March 2018 right after we arrived in Cincinnati and right before he began radiation. He fell instantly and madly in love!
Fast forward to 2019 and another monster jam in Cincinnati later…LJ (and Joshua) were given the opportunity to go to MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS! Our wonderful friend Carla told us she had extra tickets that my guys were welcomed to if they could get back down to Orlando! We had just got home from LegoLand but we found tickets and the boys got on a plane headed to World Finals and more importantly got to experience it all with LJ’s monster jam loving “cousin” Addison! They had an amazing weekend trip spending time with Carla and Kevin, Brittney, Daniel, and Addison. LJ was spoiled rotten and came home with a ridiculous amount of new monster trucks!
While the boys were gone Emmaleigh and I got to have an entire girls weekend! We shopped, Em gave me a spa day, we spent the day at Kings Island doing whatever we wanted without a stroller or wagon! We also went to Em’s flag football game then drove to Cincy to pick up our boys on Mother’s Day!
The next weekend we celebrated LJ turning 4 years old! The fact he had another birthday post diagnosis was reason enough for May to be great, but it does get better somehow!
The Master Sergeant results were being released a few days before LJ’s next MRI. There were a few options:
- Joshua wouldn’t make Master and LJ would have growth.
- Joshua would make Master and LJ would have growth.
- Joshua would make Master and LJ would have a stable tumor.
Of course we’d rather have good results than Joshua making his next rank in the Air Force. We for sure thought we would have one of the first two options. Joshua came home on the 21st with a bottle of champagne with all those Master stripes taped to it! He had done it!! Joshua has been in the Air Force for less than 12 years, he was 29 years old and his son was battling DIPG brain cancer. To say that I was and I still am a VERY proud wife would be an understatement, I almost can’t put it into words!
It was almost hard to celebrate because we knew what was coming next and there was no way LJ could have a stable tumor after getting that huge surprise. With our track record, the Barnes family isn’t exactly what you would call “lucky.”
We are far from lucky but oh are we so so blessed.
The very next day was LJ’s MRI.
Right after his MRI we took him to the Lego store to spend birthday money!
Then we headed to relax at the Great Wolf Lodge! The best place to take your mind off of checking mychart (the place where MRI results can show up) one billion times!
The 23rd was clinic and LJ had a STABLE tumor!
We left as soon as we could get his chemo refilled and headed back to the lodge!
Joshua made Master Sergeant and LJ had a stable tumor.
We have always felt so undeservingly blessed throughout all of this, but that week, I definitely felt like God was just showing off!
We checked out of the Lodge and headed to the Great American Ballpark for some more fun! It was Red’s day for the Dragonfly’s and the kids were going to be able to play on the field! It was so much more than that! Jersey’s for the kid’s hung all over the locker room, names announced and on the big screen, hanging with our Dragonfly family while the kids ran bases, and a delicious lunch in the Diamond Club. It was another amazing memory provided by The Dragonfly Foundation. It was also LJ’s one year post radiation and that made the day so much sweeter!
But we couldn’t end the month with that much goodness, we all know #aintnopartylikeabarnesparty.
May 27th, after we got the kids to sleep our phones started with tornado watches and warnings. Shortly after that the sirens started and we were about to sit through another natural disaster. We woke the kids up, brought them to our bathroom, and camped out there until the tornados passed. Joshua and I heard it go right by shortly after placing the kids in the bathroom. It touched down and devastated many homes and businesses about half a mile from our home.
The damage was devastating. I couldn’t believe that we had come that close to losing our new home that we had worked so hard to renovate. My heart ached for people who lost all of their belongings. Once again God had our family right in the palm of his mighty hands. I am so grateful for our protector, during the good and the bad times he is always so near to us.
Another MRI was done and another cycle of the clinical trial would be started. That week in May was such a great week!