Wednesday, February 23, 2011

47 beads

You, Lord, give true peace.  You give peace to those who depend on you.  
You give peace to those who trust you. 
-Isaiah 26:3

And the journey starts

The details of our journey are now known.  The route we will take is mapped out, the detours we might need to take are unknown, the people we will meet along the way are strangers to us now, the details of the trip are yet to be determined, the experiences are coming, the views from the mountains are not yet seen, the weariness of our bodies can only be imagined, but the peace is promised, the peace is here.

Emma has Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
Her treatment plan stretches out before us for at least 1 year--(29 days of "Induction" and then 15 cycles that last for 21 days each)
She is one of 2500 children who will be diagnosed with Leukemia or Lymphoma this year in the nation
There have been cancer cells found in lymph nodes all over her body including neck, axillary (arm pits), inguinal (leg creases) and behind her intestines
There is a very high cure rate and we have been very encouraged by the numbers we've been given
We are having a second and possibly third opinion on the diagnosis 
Treatment started today
She is strong, she is peaceful, she is graceful and insightful
She said to us, "Sometimes you just have to look at the bright side of things"while walking out of the hospital today after hearing the plan for treatment, possible side effects, possible hair loss, probable sickness, and schedule of next surgery to have a Port placed in her chest to receive her Chemotherapy and blood draws from here on out 

Day 1 of "Induction" .  29 days of medications that will effect every cell of her body

Getting her PICC line removed after chemo.  Not needed anymore due to Port being placed in 9 days ready for next round of chemotherapy

Learning about the Port which will live inside her chest for the next 12 months or so.  She was truly interested in how it worked and wanted to feel it and asked questions about it

My "homework"

Beads of Courage

As of today, Februrary 23, 2011 Emma has "earned" 47 Beads of Courage.  She is so proud.  These 47 beads tell the story of her journey so far.  The necklaces are given to the kids to honor the challenging journey they take while receiving care for cancer or blood conditions.  The necklaces start off with simply the child's name then colorful glass beads that visually represent the many challenges they overcome along their treatment journey are added to the string to tell their own unique story of courage. 

Emma's Beads as of today:

  11 Yellow Beads (Inpatient Admission to Hospital)
2 Beige Beads (Bone Marrow Aspirate/Biopsy)
8 Light Green Beads 
(Tests: CT Scan, PET Scan, EKG, ECHO, Bone Scan, Nuclear Scan)
4 Purple Beads (Antibiotics represented in weeks)
4 Black Beads (Pokes-blood draws, IV Starts)
3 Blue Beads (Clinic Visit)
3 Orange Beads (Line placement or removal of PICC)
2 Silver Beads (Dressing Change)
1 Tortoise Bead (Lumbar Puncture)
2 Magenta Beads (ER and Ambulance)
1 Lime Bead (Isolation)
1 Aqua (Tube placement)
1 White Bead (Chemotherapy)
2 Star Beads (Surgery)
1 "Bumpy" Bead (Medication Challenges)
1 Heart Bead (Act of Courage)

These 47 beads tell the story of the bravest little girl I know.  They attest to the fact that she's been on this journey for some time and the trials have begun.  These beads will be added to over the months that she is in treatment and have already become a treasure to her.  This is her unique story, her journey, but one that she shares with others.  We welcome you to come along.  Many of you have already packed your bags and made preparations to come with us.  The journey will not be easy, but we are trusting in the One who prepared us for it.  This journey will produce a beautiful rainbow necklace of glass beads, but more importantly, it will illustrate the strength of one little girl, will bind together a family, will inspire a community and above all point to the love, protection and unbound-less power of our God.  


  1. I am once again humbled by Emma's sweet and straight forward faith. We love you Emma and we are definitely here to support you in this journey. Not a prayer happens these days that does not remember Emma and all of your family.

  2. I'm with Angela -- just completely humbled and speechless by your courage and grace, Emma! I LOVE the beads; I know so many people with them, and they become a treasure for life. Your parents must be so proud of your positive outlook on things. I'm happy to hear your prognosis is good and the numbers are encouraging. We are all here for you, and I will promise you right now that if you lose your hair -- I'll be the first one to get out the clippers and shave my head right along with you! As you are all aware, you are definitely not alone; we're all here for you and your beautiful family.

  3. I must stop reading this first thing in the morning. What a STRONG, strong girl with an amazing family. I hear all of your strength and am very encouraged by the prognosis.
    The beads are beautiful and an inspiring idea. It breaks my heart that she has so many already, but it's beautiful and she has definitely earned them! I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and be encouraged by your strength and bravery every day!

  4. I love you Emma Kait and Rebecca Brianne!

  5. Emma,I know that we don't know each other very well, but as I read about you and pray for you each day I get to know you better and what God is doing in your life, your family, and in the community around you. You are an inspiration. What a beautiful necklace of courage that you have gotten that will continue to get even more beautiful as your journey continues. Praying for you today.

  6. Dear Emma and family, we are with you all the way! Praying....

    John and Jacque Renwick

  7. Emma,I can't believe how brave you are. You are WAY braver than I could even dream of being.I MUST visit you!!! I love you.Veronica:):):):)

  8. ...I couldnt even get through the whole bead representation, because I couldnt read through my tears, because you are so brave Emma!...

  9. Children such as Emma are a true inspiration to all of us who live to see the face of God. Thank you Lord for giving us Emma to bring us closer to You. May You continue to give them the strength and peace only You can give.

  10. what a beautiful post. emma is such a brave little girl. i will continue to pray for her & your family.

  11. oh our sweet emma! just like your momma says, you are not alone. we all will be walking each step with you. may you continue to "press in and know the Lord".
    what a beautiful "face of faith" you are!
    our love to you,

  12. Emma, We never knew anything about the "Beads"! Your's is beautiful, but only a reflection of your amazing beauty and strength. We are loving you every moment! Hope to see you soon! Love Charlotte & Family

  13. Our bags are packed and the whole Unfried family's piled in the back seat rooting for you every step of the way.

    Emma, you have been - and will be -prayed for by us, every step of the way.


  14. Sweet Emma, yours will be a long journey and so very hard, but you do have a lot of people in the wings praying for you, hoping for you, and loving you. I have no doubt that with your courage and God's grace, that you will come out on the other end fully healed and ready to take your place in the world. We'll be there with you all the way, even if it's only in our thoughts and our constant prayers.

    John, Lisa, Jack, Sean and Evan

  15. "For He Himself is our Peace" - Ephesians 2:14 Emma, when He gives us peace, He gives us Himself. Isn't that awesome?! We love you and pray for you every day. Brianne, Maicee and Josiah all pray for you by name too.

  16. Emma, you are such an inspiration to us all. You are an amazing young lady. I LOVE your beads! Hang in there sweet girl, we are all cheering and praying for you :) We love you!

  17. Emma,
    Thank you for not just looking at the bright side of things, but showing your bright and beautiful faith to those around you! We pray for you all day, every day. Keep collecting those beads! Way to go!

    Big Love from the Graups,
    Tony, Kim, Daniel, Mark, Julia, and Rebekah

  18. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great DELIGHT in you, he will quiet you with his LOVE, He will REJOICE over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17


    These past few days I have seen a picture in my head over and over again. It is a picture of the very first time I met you. You were just barely a year old... A sweet little bundle on your mommy's hip. Your mom and I travelled together to the church nursery where she and I sat nursing our little ones (Caleb was just a couple of months old) while beginning a friendship that has been a rich blessing all these years.

    We are ready for the journey with you. Your name is spoken almost hourly in our house... And in my heart it is spoken several times per hour. The smile upon your face as you begin this journey says a lot. It speaks volumes about the young lady that you are. It speaks volumes about the young lady that will emerge from all of this.

    We love you Emma Kait, Jon, Rebecca, Joseph and Benjamin!

    Jason, Tami, Lucas, Colby and Caleb

  19. Emma, you are truly inspirational. This journey will not be easy for any of you, but with your positive attitude and courage alongside that of your family, you will become an even stronger young lady. Rebecca, your writing is poetic and I hope theraputic, too. We will be following your travels, and praying each day for continued strength for each of you. Loves from Katy, Marin and Michelle

  20. Emma, I'm so glad I found your blog and got to see the great pictures. I agree with everyone else--you are one brave girl! I am praying a bunch for you and your family. I can't wait to see you at church again. I hope it will be soon!
    Love from Karen Thompson

  21. May the Lord bless you with peace and grace in abundance and may you always know that your brothers and sisters in Christ are with you.

  22. Life challenges are often so hard to understand. I know Emma Kait is already a teacher to all of us and I am so honored to be learning from her. My love and healing thoughts are all focused on her and her amazing spirit.

  23. I packed my bags 10 years ago. Actually 36 years ago. I'm traveling for the whole journey. With joy. And love.

  24. Emma - you are soooo brave. I just really hate needles and you seem to take them like a champ. I can not watch them do that to me in the hospital. We are proud of your courage and faith. You are in all of our prayers. With love, Charles, Danee and the rest of the Davis family

  25. What a sweet, brave girl. I love, love, love the beads of courage. What a wonderful idea.

  26. Stanphills --- We are right along with you. While we have grown to love your family through Joe, we know you are all so special in the eyes of the Lord. We pray for you daily, we will offer all the love and support you need. Emma is so beautiful! What an incredible story of love, grace, healing and power you will find in your journey. "God Works in all Circumstances" Honestly, I myself journeyed through Cancer and have to say... I never felt God's presence in my life so loud, so close and so assured as to those times of darkness! I am excited to see God's plan!!!


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