Monday, October 31, 2011

Jonathan's Army....1033 strong!!!!!

Hey everyone,
    I just wanted to give you an update on Jonathan's army!  We have received requests for wristbands from 1033 people in 10 states, 35 cities and 3 countries!!!!  That is a lot of prayers!  And God is definitely listening.  Please keep praying each time you see the wristband on your arm and send positive thoughts and prayers to Jonathan and his family.  As of tomorrow morning, all of the orders that I currently have for wristbands will have been mailed out.  The new order came in this morning and I am almost out of those!!  Don't forget when you get the wristbands to send in photos so that Jonathan can see photos of his army!  Below I am including some photos that I got today of some of Jonathan's army from Colorado and from Gatesville.  He even has four-legged army members!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your love, support and prayers for Jonathan!
Love, Donna

                                                   Soldiers from Gatesville Primary School!

Lynn, Lee, Kobi and Dallas....Jonathan's soldiers in Estes Park, Colorado!

I love that we have four legged soldiers too in Jonathan's army!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blessings of a Hometown

When I was growing up in Gatesville, one of the things I disliked the most about it was that everyone knew everything about you and everyone knew your business. Now that I've grown up and moved away, one of my FAVORITE things about Gatesville is that everyones knows everything about you and everyone knows your business!! Why the change? Because I've come to realize that for those of us that grew up in small towns, you realize how firm a foundation it can be in your life when troubles come along (which they will). A hometown is like a tree, firmly rooted and deeply planted, and when the winds of life blow violently, the roots simply hold firmly to the ground and remind you that no matter where you live or go in the world, you will never weather a storm alone. And you will NEVER be alone in a battle.

What prompted this thought were these photos sent by Luke Jageler of him and Jonathan. Truly the roots of friendship run deep! Thanks for these great pics Luke!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good news from Houston!

We finally have a plan to share with everyone!  Jonathan's doctor visit Monday was very informative for us, and it was much needed.  Last night he started his first full dose treatment.  He will be on a 21 day cycle now with a 5 day treatment beginning each round.  He will receive 2 outpatient chemo treatments during this time as well. They are anitcipating 3-4 of these cylcles, but it all depends on how the cancer reacts to the treatment. The doctor explained to us when his 'bad' days should be expected, but also when his good days will start again. Of course when his good days start again, the cycle starts over, but at least he knows they will come.  He told us to expect to be here for 3-4 months, but we are believing for a shorter stay!  They still remain very positive about his response to treatment and getting this thing cured!

The first two rounds of chemo were very effective, and the tumor marker numbers continue to decrease!  The tumor markers are present in your blood only if you have a tumor; therefore, the marker number should be zero. When we arrived at MD Anderson, Jonathan's tm was over 104k.  After the first treatment, they went down significantly to 19k, and after the second treatment, they are at 4,950!!  Dr. Tu said that the presence of the tumors is directly correlated to the tumor marker number - meaning as the tm go down, so do the amount/size of tumors!  Once the tm number stabilizes to zero, chemo will no longer be needed or affective because a) the tumors are completely gone or b) what tumor remains will have to be surgically removed.  We are praying and believing that the chemo will remove all tumors and no surgery will be needed!
There will be some hard days ahead as the stronger chemo treatments work through his body, but we know God is working a miracle in his life and this too shall pass.  We appreciate all of your sweet messages and words of encouragement.  Donna said she has given out 775 wristbands supporting Jonathan!  He was absolutely amazed by the number of people praying and believing for him.  Keep praying..we know God is listening!!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Kelly Tippit stands up for Jonathan!

Kelly Tippit took time out from cheering for the Rangers last night to send Jonathan this great picture. Jonathan's Army has infiltrated the World Series! Great pic Kelly!!

An Update From Lindsey

We want to thank everyone for all of their love, prayers, and support!  If there is one thing we have learned, its that prayers really do work!  Jonathan reads all your sweet notes, and they really brighten his day. The second round of chemo was only a one day treatment, but the medicines were a little more intense.  These new medicines have taken a greater toll on Jonathan's body with fatigue, nausea, and weakness. He is getting stronger every day, but we are reminded daily that these treatments are toxic and they do not leave a good impression on the body...except for killing the bad stuff!  Overall though, he has handled the treatments better than we could have hoped for, and we make sure to thank God everyday for this huge blessing. We will be going back to see Dr. Tu tomorrow at 11:30. They will do more blood work to see how well the cancer has responded to this last round. We believe that there will be more good news, and we will be sure to update everyone with those results!  There is a chance he could start the 3rd round of chemo tomorrow night, and it would be the longest and most intense treatment yet.   Please pray that God gives Dr. Tu wisdom and guidance with how to proceed with this next treatments. Please keep praying and believing for a complete healing!!  We can't thank you all enough for the tremendous support we feel everyday!

Sincerely, Lindsey 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jonathan's Army already 442 strong!!!!

     Since we posted the blog about the wristbands for "Jonathan's Army" about a week ago, we have had requests so far for 442 wristbands!!!!!  That is a testament to Jonathan and the love that all of you have for him.  I know he has been touched by this overwhelming response!  I have attached a photo of a group of his soldiers from Gatesville, TX.  The class of 2001 who had their reunion on Saturday asked me to send wristbands to them to show their support and love of Jonathan!  Sky Gerdel distributed almost 115 wristbands there!!!  All of you are awesome! But, we have also had lots of requests of 1 or 2 all over the country!   Jonathan, you now have soldiers in 8 states, 27 cities and 2 countries!!! 

The response has been so overwhelming that I am almost out of wristbands! I will order more today.  Most of you have asked about contributing to the wristbands or to postage. I have refused any monetary contributions because I wanted to do this for Jonathan so he would know how widespread his army is.   I jokingly told Barrett that if the army got to over 500 then I might have to seek help or take out a loan from the bank!!!  He told me that he thought that it was a distinct possibility that it would grow to over 500!  He was right!  I didn't anticipate going through these first 500 so quickly!  You certainly don't have to, but if you would like to contribute to the Reorder of more wristbands you can send it to me and any money that is left over I will donate to Jonathan's account in Gatesville under donations from Jonathan's Army.  Anyone that has placed an order up to now though, I have mailed all of those out.  There was a problem with the post office misquoting the price to mail the envelopes because of the thickness of the envelope so I am hoping that all of them get to you.  If for some reason you don't get yours this week, write to me and I will resend them. I apologize in advance if it gets to you and says additional postage due. 
Don't forget to send photos of you in your wristbands when you get them so we can post them for Jonathan to see!  Winston and I have been so touched by the outpouring of love and prayers for Jonathan and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  I can only imagine it must be some comfort to Jonathan to know he has so many people joining him in prayer in his battle. Together We Will Win!!!!

All my love,
Soldier in Jonathan's "Army"

                                              Jonathan:  The Class of 2001 is fighting with you!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jonathan's Army!!!!!

Hey everyone! 
   The wristbands have arrived for Jonathan's "Army"!!  I have attached photos of them.  I started wearing mine today and it is amazing how many times during the day that you see it on your wrist.  Every time that I noticed it, I sent positive thoughts and prayers to Jonathan.  I hope that as many people as possible will start wearing them all over the country and Jonathan's "Army" will surround him with love and prayers. 
    There are two sizes: small which is for Kids and Women with wrists 6" or smaller and then regular which is for everyone else.  Just let me know how many you need of each size for you or your family (kids can wear them too) and email me your address at and I will mail them right out to you!  I hope that people all over the country will be wearing them and uniting with Jonathan in this battle.  I want us all to wear them until Jonathan wins this battle!!! 

    If you can take a picture of your family or send in one of yourself showing you wearing your wristband and say where you live, we will start posting them on the blog.  I was thinking I would get a map and start marking all of the cities where Jonathan's army is praying from and give it to him so that he knows how widespread his "army" is.  Any obstacle is easier to cross over if you have the power of many behind you. And Jonathan does indeed have MANY behind him!! I hope you will all be willing to show your love and support of Jonathan by wearing the wristband.  If you know of someone not on facebook or the blog but would like to wear one, send me their email and I will write to them.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and continued prayers for Jonathan and his loved ones.  They feel your love and prayers and it definitely lifts them up.  
All my love,

               Jonathan's Army is on the front

            Together We Will Win is on the back

         Jonathan's Soldier in New Orleans, Louisiana!

Update on Jonathan's 2nd Treatment on Monday evening

Hi everyone! Thank you all for your continued prayers for Jonathan. Here is an update from Lindsey and Ila Mae on Jonathan's latest round of chemo which was done at MD Anderson on Monday.

 Family and Friends: Today was a long day..we are finally settling in for the night. I hope my brother can rest well. His round of chemo from last night went into early morning. This chemo was the strongest thus far...he's been feeling pretty icky. Here is a post from Lindsey earlier. Goodnight everyone. Thank you for your prayers. Love, Ila Mae.

Lindsey Dotson: Jonathan's 2nd chemo treatment went well last night. It was only 1 day of treatment, but the meds used this time were very strong. He is feeling very tired and overall not too well. Please pray he has a peaceful night and is feeling 100% tom morning! If you missed yesterday's blog post, be sure to check out the good news we received. We know your prayers are working and God is healing him!! Thanks for all your support!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Prayer works!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying so hard for Jonathan! Winston just shared this news with me from Ila Mae and we wanted to share it with all of you!  It is indeed proof positive that prayer and positive thoughts work.  Keep praying and sending them Jonathan's way.  We are holding out for a miracle! 
Love, Donna

Family and Friends:
1. No metastasis to his spine!!! Yippeeee! Thank you Lord.
2. Bloodwork shows the tumor markers have DECREASED! Tumor markers determine the presence and strength of the cancer and or cells.
3. Dr.Tu is happy with Bubba's tolerance of his first round of chemo. In fact, the Dr is going to give Bubba another important chemo treatment TODAY... to get in there and ...attack the tumor since it has shown to be responsive to treatment (more good news) and while Bubba can handle it. The treatment today will deny the tumor time for recovery. As far as future treatments, Bubba will receive 5 days of chemo with each visit. Dr. Tu mentioned possibly 4 more chemo treatments, then, analysis of the progress. At this time, nothing is set in stone related to the number of treatments my brother will need.
Bubba is young, healthy,strong and Dr.Tu has complete faith in my brother's ability to battle this disease! --Dr.Tu's words to my brother: "The chemo hurt the tumor, not you" ...
Yes! Thank you Lord.
Thank you all for praying so hard.
Love, Ila Mae

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Monday Morning Prayers and Positive Thoughts

Jonathan is going into the doctor Monday morning at 10am to receive some test results, hear an assessment of his progress and line out a treatment plan accordingly.  Many of us are blessed tonight and can go to bed with concerns that aren't really worth worrying about. However for Jonathan and THOUSANDS of others just like him in our country, tomorrow is a BIG day with much greater concerns. So at 10 am wherever you are and whatever you're doing, pause and send a prayer or a positive thought in Jonathan's direction! (Which is probably somewhere toward the south since he's in Houston!) Consider this a very unscientific study in the power of specified collective prayer!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update from Winston

Good morning everyone! Right now it's Thursday morning and Jonathan has settled down in a comfortable apartment near the Medical Center. The goal this week is to simply rest, let the medicine do its work, and take it easy.  Unfortunately, doctors instructed him to be hyper-vigilant about coming into contact with a lot of people because he is very susceptible to infection right now. They won't even let him shave with a razor AND even Cointa had to limit interaction with him because she had a cold! So, before you drive all the way to Houston to visit, remember he probably can't see visitors!

It's amazing to watch the notes and messages come in from all over the world, literally. From Sweden to Afghanistan and everywhere in between, people are sending encouragement to Jonathan! Sometimes you don't realize the extent of your own influence in the world until word spreads that help is needed to rally behind you! I know many of these messages can't be personally responded to but please know I am reading them/posting them/forwarding them to the best of my ability! Keep em coming!!! And as always I will have more information as it becomes available.

Another note from Ila Mae

"For those of you who were asking about cards and flowers, there has been an account set up at the National Bank in Gatesville under the names Jonathan and Cointa Avitia. Thank you everyone, we appreciate all of you. Today, Im gonna see if I can find some time to let Bubba read some of the sweet, amazing words posted on my Facebook wall!
I'll keep you updated. Love, Ila Mae"

Ila Mae Facebook post from Tuesday Night

Family and Friends:
Quick update for everyone!
Last night Bubbas MRI was pushed back to 930pm! Poor thing--they just didn't want to let him go! Good news is, he was finally discharged last night. We are currently staying at a great apartment very close to MD Anderson. No results yet, we will have Dr. Appointments this coming Monday. Until then, we will be here in Houston trying to take it easy. He is feeling okay today...Drs told us to expect him to feel a little weak these next couple days. Thanks everyone. Love, Ila Mae

Great Story from Randy Wolff

DALLAS - May 19, 2011 - Ray Johnston's goal in three years is for his band to sell out at the 1,600-seat House of Blues in Dallas. In eight years, he wants to pack the 6,400-seat Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, and by 2030, to play to tens of thousands of fans at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Mr. Johnston's unmentioned goal, though, is to live another year after battling leukemia for the past seven. Despite four relapses, the former Dallas Mavericks basketball player is enjoying life as a rising musician in The Ray Johnston Band.

Although he credits God for his recovery, Mr. Johnston also gives thanks to Dr. Robert Collins, director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation/Hematologic Malignancies Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the experimental drug that has killed his rare, stubborn form of cancer called acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Ray Johnston

Ray Johnston, a former Dallas Maverick, is singing the praises of Dr. Robert Collins and an experimental drug that killed his rare, stubborn form of cancer.

"It's got to be inspiring to Dr. Collins to see that I'm alive because I'm supposed to be done by now," Mr. Johnston said of his painful yet rewarding journey, which was chronicled last year in an HDNet series called "Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries."

Today, Mr. Johnston's self-described "happy rock" Dallas band is working on its second CD and booking about 100 shows a year. "My primary goal is to keep playing," Mr. Johnston said.

Tamibarotene, the drug that's kept the 32-year-old musician alive, is a retinoid drug that induces cancer cells to differentiate into mature cells and eventually die. Available only in clinical trials in the U.S., tamibarotene was sought for Mr. Johnston under a compassionate use protocol since he did not qualify for those studies and other treatments had been exhausted. The drug, approved only in Japan for cancer treatment, is being developed domestically by CytRx.

"It's amazing that he's still doing so well," said Dr. Collins, professor of internal medicine and senior author of a report on this case published online April 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. "This drug happens to be just right for him."

Mr. Johnston's treatment with tamibarotene, which is considered 10 times more potent than all-trans retinoic acid, another retinoid commonly used to treat this type of leukemia, began in December 2009. He took the drug twice daily for 56 days, followed by a two-week break. Since then, Mr. Johnston has been taking the drug 28 days on, 28 off.

On April 18, he returned to UT Southwestern for a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which showed his cancer had not relapsed for the fifth time.

"The type of acute leukemia he has is very rare. It's usually curable with current therapies, but as it relapses it becomes more resistant and harder to treat," said Dr. Collins.

Gambling on life, and success as a musician, doesn't scare the Alabama native who once dreamed of a professional basketball career. But cancer ended his NBA stint, which began when he won a spot on the Dallas Mavericks summer league roster during a Hoop It Up tournament in 2004.

Mr. Johnston didn't even know he had leukemia until that August, when he injured his leg in a pick-up game. He was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a condition in which pressure in the muscle builds to dangerous levels. Following surgery, doctors were unable to control bleeding. They soon discovered that Mr. Johnston's body was riddled with advanced leukemia.

His treatment included chemotherapy, surgery and a bone marrow transplant. Mr. Johnston's type of leukemia, which affects soft tissues rather than blood and bone marrow, represents just 5 percent to 8 percent of acute myelogenous leukemia, the most common form of the disease.

Discouraged by failing treatments and the thought of his first bone marrow transplant, he nearly gave up hope. In 2006, a recommendation from a friend led him to Dr. Collins and UT Southwestern.

"When you achieve a life milestone that you're not supposed to, when you hug it out, you can see and feel Dr. Collins drop a tear on your shoulder. That's life. That's real," said Mr. Johnston.

Reality for this cancer survivor also means getting serious about music. Mr. Johnston has a lot of work ahead after launching the six-member band in September 2009. Some of the band's performances raise money for The Ryan Gibson Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit dedicated to leukemia research.

One of the songs on the band's first CD, "Sweet Tooth," is Rise & Go, based on a verse in the Bible, Luke 17:19. Mr. Johnston said it sums up "my last seven years."

"Wake up and I go outside, I see my blue sky, I'm happy to be alive ... I got a tough upper lip, but a bottom little broken heart. When I look into the sky, I see my Maker's eyes. That's when I know my Plan B for eternity is strong as gold, so I rise and go.
Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern's clinical services in cancer.

Photo from Meredith Dotson

I have no idea what Jonathan is doing in this photo, but he seems to be expressing how much he likes Disney World.

Song Lyrics from Lynn Kaminski

Here are some song lyrics sent in by Lynn Kaminski. The first line really makes me think of Jonathan: "You must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through." I have never met someone more stronger in spirit than Jonathan Avitia. He is well equipped for this battle. And when he feels he isn't strong enough, he has an infinite resource of strength to draw from! 

You must think I'm strongTo give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive meForgive me if I'm wrongBut this looks like more than I can doOn my own
I know I'm not strong enough to beeverything that I'm supposed to beI give upI'm not stong enoughHands of mercy won't you cover meLord right now I'm asking you to beStrong enoughStrong enoughFor the both of us
Well, maybeMaybe that's the pointTo reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finallyFinally at rock bottomWell, that's when I start looking upAnd reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to beEverything that I'm supposed to beI give upI'm not stong enoughHands of mercy won't you cover me[ From: ]Lord right now I'm asking you to beStrong enoughStrong enough
Cause I'm brokenDown to nothingBut I'm still holding on to the one thingYou are Godand you are strongWhen I am weak
I can do all thingsThrough Christ who gives me strengthAnd I don't have to beStrong enoughStrong enough
I can do all thingsThrough Christ who gives me strengthAnd I don't have to beStrong enoughStrong enough
Oh, yeah
I know I'm not strong enough to beEverything that I'm supposed to beI give upI'm not stong enoughHands of mercy won't you cover meLord right now I'm asking you to beStrong enoughStrong enoughStrong enough

Copied from 

Note from Randy Wolff

Got this note for Jonathan from Randy Wolff. Thanks Randy!
"He is my defender; I will not be defeated.  Psalm 62:6
What does God do when we are in a bind? ... He fights for us!  He steps into the ring and points us to our corner and takes over.  “Remain calm; the Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14).
His job is to fight.  Our job is to trust.
Just trust.  Not direct.  Or question.
Or yank the steering wheel out of His hands.  Our job is to pray and wait."
From Max Lucado- Daily Devotional

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Together We Will Win! A Note from Donna

Many years ago I wrote a song called "Together We Will Win" for a huge cancer event that I was in charge of for several years.  These are some of my favorite lines in the song that seem so appropriate for the outpouring of love that has been sent to you Jonathan, and I feel sure that all of your friends and family would say these to you... "If this battle chooses you and by chance skips over me;  I’ll keep fighting in your name, won’t you stand and fight with me;......I will stand beside you when you are weak and you can use my strength..........And when you can’t take one more step, my friend I’ll carry you." I know that every single one of us are sending you our strength and if you need us to carry you through, there will be a line of people waiting for their turn.  Keep fighting the good fight, you have quite an army behind you.  I have just ordered wristbands for your army Jonathan so that we can all be united across the world.  They say,
Jonathan's Army... Together We Will Win!  They are being printed in Black and Gold in honor of your high school colors and then I realized it was also your college colors and the colors of the city of New Orleans where you now live and build houses! Perfect!  When the bracelets come in, I will let everyone know and maybe I can send them to centralized cities and then we can get friends to distribute them to all of Jonathan's "army" in the city that you live.  I want us to wear them and be united with Jonathan until he is cured!  Jonathan, you are not in this alone. God and all of your friends and family are with you every step of the way.  We love you!!!! 
Love, Donna

Here is the whole song about beating cancer.  I sincerely hope that one day there will be a cure for this awful disease.

TOGETHER WE WILL WIN          By: Donna Chance
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, that’s what they always say;
But in my heart I know there are some things it just can’t keep away.
There is a stranger among us that strikes children, women and men;
It doesn't care about your age or the color of your skin.
It’s war that we are fighting and we won’t rest ‘til it takes no more;
We’ll keep fighting daily battles until we find a cure.

So, come and stand beside me, we will fight until the end;
Come and stand beside me and together we will win.
Please stand if you are with me, we will fight and never give in;
Please stand and fight beside me and one day we WILL win.

If this battle chooses you and by chance skips over me;
I’ll keep fighting in your name, won’t you stand and fight with me;
I will stand beside you when you are weak and you can use my strength;
My voice will be yours if you can no longer speak,
And if your sight deserts you, take my hand I’ll lead you through;
And when you can’t take one more step, my friend I’ll carry you.

So, come and stand beside me, we will fight until the end;
Come and stand beside me and together we will win.
Please stand if you are with me, we will fight and never give in;
Please stand and fight beside me and one day we WILL win.

We can make a difference, won’t you stand with me and try;
We can make a difference, together you and I.
Please stand and make a difference, stand with me and do your part;
We will stand together while we’re giving from our hearts;
Please stand if you are with me, stand with me and fight this war;
‘Cause if we stand together then one day we’ll find a cure;
Yes, if we stand together then one day we’ll find our cure.
Love you Jonathan! xoxox

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Morning Update

Jonathan had a great day yesterday!! So much of the stress of circumstances like these comes from the weight of the unknown. Going into another chemo session, he was told sometimes the third day is the hardest on the body. Gratefully, Jonathan responded well and did not experience many of the normal side effects. He was in good spirits and even cracking some jokes. Jonathan and his crew even took a trip up to the incredible observation deck on top of MD Anderson where there just happened to be a grand piano. (Three guesses as to who sat down and played it!)  I am putting up two recent Facebook posts here. One is from Lindsey Dotson and the second is from Ila Mae.

"Thanks everyone for all of the prayers and support! Jonathan finished his first round of chemo this morning and no side effects as of yet! We are praying and believing that he will get through the next few weeks the same way. Everyone he meets tells him how strong he is physically and spiritually. Of course every nurse loves him! To think less than 2 weeks ago we were living normal and now we are here in Houston fighting a war against cancer! But there is nothing our God can't do, and Jonathan is ready to fight this with all his might! We are hoping he is discharged tomorrow...please pray for good reports tomorrow! — at MD Anderson Cancer Center." ~ Lindsey Dotson

"Good Evening Everyone!
He came through like a champ! Bubba has not had one adverse symptom today....awesome! His spirits have been sooo high today---- I saw a smile for the first time today in awhile, his appetite was great, and he even cracked a couple jokes :). Thank you to the amazing support we have had from family & visitors who have strengenthed his spirit and ours, from the amazing families who have been so generous to provide us with hotel stay, and all the sweet thoughts, words and prayers! You all have done so much....we feel the love!! It was a good day here at MD Anderson. Love, Ila Mae"

If all goes well, Jonathan will be discharged today to give his body time to fight this thing. He will most likely stay in Houston for the next few weeks until he returns for Round 2 of this fight. I will be returning to Shreveport Wednesday morning at which point I will be able to go through all the emails I've gotten and I plan on posting all the great stuff you guys have been sending! Many thanks!

The fight goes on!!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Update

Good morning everyone! I spent the day with Jonathan and his family yesterday here at MD Anderson in Houston. Predictably, the chemo has begun to tire Jonathan. He's coming off the longest week of his life, so the stress, regimen, and uncertainty has made him plenty exhausted. The good news is he's in the best place he can possibly be in the whole world right now surrounded by people who love him! Only one person is allowed to accompany him at night here, so last night Ila Mae stayed with Jonathan and kept his company during the chemo sessions. The following is her Facebook post from around 6 am this morning:

"Just finished Etoposide & Cisplatin chemotherapy. Mannitol, a kidney flush, will run now for about the next four hours. They checked his vitals, no fever, normal vitals. He was sleeping pretty well before they came in to change to,lights are out again, hoping he falls back to sleep smoothly. Please keep my brother in your prayers today. Third day of chemo can be tough on the body. Also, today, the medical staff will be determining if Bubba needs 2 more days of chemo or if he will be discharged. Ill keep you updated! Thanks everyone. Love Ila Mae."

Yesterday was a rainy dreary day here, but the sun has come out! Stay tuned for more updates. Internet access is spotty during the day but I will do my best to keep the information coming!

p.s. I personally delivered all the messages to Jonathan from those of you who texted and emailed me messages yesterday. I didnt get a chance to reply to all of you  but I will when I get some downtime today!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Update from Houston!

There's a monsoon in Houston! But it has not dampened the spirits of Jonathan and his family! We are here at the MD Anderson Center and  Jonathan is resting comfortably and in good spirits. This is an amazing facility which has one love, and that is attacking and eliminating cancer from people's lives!

I will have more information soon regarding Jonathan's availability for visitation and if you would like to send something. At least for the near future we are still asking everyone hold off on visiting in person. Space is limited and Jonathan is still extremely tired. There will be plenty of time in the future as he adjusts to his schedule for people to visit.

Update on Leaving Comments

Some of you were having trouble leaving comments.  You just need to click on comment under a photo or new post and then type your comment in and then press Publish Comment.  It will then ask you to choose your profile which is just how you want the comment to be listed by your name, anonymous or some other title.  Then press preview comment and then publish comment and it comes up right away.  I have done several tests of that and it worked every time.  Hope this helps!!! Your words of encouragement are so good and uplifting for Jonathan!!!  Keep them coming!    Love, Donna

Houston bound

I will driving to Houston this morning to see Jonathan. Since I will be close by, if anyone wants to send me  personal messages I can deliver them to him - like a modern day telegram! Just text me at 325.212.5234 or email me at winstonian24!

Photos from Donna Chance

Here are two pictures from Donna Chance that really highlight Jonathan's sense of humor and adventurous spirit. One is of Jonathan attempting to give a chihuahua the biggest scare of its life on the set of "Year One" in Shreveport. The other was taken at a cenote outside of Puerto Morelos, Mexico!

The Magical World of MD Anderson

So far we've learned three things about MD Anderson: 
1. US NEWS magazine ranked MD Anderson number one in cancer care in the United States. 
2. The MD Anderson complex is INCREDIBLY huge, consisting of more than 25 buildings.  
And...perhaps most importantly...
3. For breakfast they serve waffles with the state of Texas molded into them!!

Photos from Lindsey Dotson!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Update on Visiting Jonathan

I was asked by Ila Mae tonight to thank everyone who stopped by and visited Jonathan today. The number of friends he has who want to visit are a testament to the depth of his friendships. However, the early effects of his treatment coupled with a late night chemo schedule have left Jonathan more tired than expected. At this time we are asking everyone to refrain from visiting him at least for the immediate future. Prayers and notes of course are always welcomed! I will post on here when he is feeling rested enough to receive visitors again.

As always thanks for your concern!

Saturday Afternoon Update

I just received word that Jonathan navigated his first round of chemo successfully this morning around 2 am! The doctors at MD Anderson wasted no time in confronting head on this unwelcome visitor in Jonathan's body and life. Tentatively, Jonathan is planning on staying in Houston for the near future to see how his body takes to the treatments. Of course, this information can change quickly so keep tuning in here for updates.

As I side note, I know many of you would like to visit Jonathan and his family in Houston. I highly encourage this, however please keep in mind Jonathan will more than likely be tired/exhausted so we should try to keep the visits relatively brief. (Jonathan's chemo sessions will often take place in the middle of the night and any of you who have spent time in a hospital know its practically impossible to get good sleep while you're there!) If for some reason you are unable to visit with Jonathan, remember that his family is there as well and needs just as much encouragement. I'm not sure of his specific location at this moment, but should know more soon.

I will be personally traveling there early Sunday morning issuing these posts from MD Anderson. If urgent information is needed (like if you're lost) feel free to call me at 325.212.5234. However, if it's not urgent, emails or text messages are better. You can email me at


Messages from Wind River

As many of you know, Jonathan worked many years at Wind River Ranch in Colorado. Not surprisingly the messages are pouring in from the Wind River Nation. This morning I received these pictures from Randy Wolff and Lynn Kaminski. The incredible sunset pictures were taken at Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, Colordao. The dog in the picture is her dog Kobi demonstrating how to "hand it to Jesus!" 

We're holding you up in prayer, Jonathan!

These pictures are a couple of staff photos from Wind River. If you look closely in the first two pictures you can find Waldo..errr...I mean Jonathan. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Comment reminder

Just a reminder, if you'd like to leave a comment for Jonathan on any of these posts just click on the word "comment" below each post. A box should open where you can type your comment. Remember though, if you close the page and come back later, you will have to click on the "comment" link again so the comments will display on the page. And as always, if you have a picture, link, or story you'd like me to post, just email it to me at and I will try to get it up in a timely manner. Every word of encouragement and every resource helps!

Updates from Ila Mae

Hello friends ~ Jonathan has wrapped up an incredibly busy day. It included a 6 am flight out of New Orleans, a full day of testing at MD Anderson in Houston and a round of chemo these evening. Ila Mae is there with him and has been posting the most accurate up to date information on her Facebook page (which she said she didn't mind me sharing here.) These are chronological starting with earlier today.

"Family and Friends we are here today in Houston Texas at the MD Anderson Cancer Care Center. Today, Bubba will be getting tests done, a 2nd opinion , and possible treatment options. From yesterday, all I know, is the Dr. Described his cancer as stage 4, incurable. We'll just see about that! Stay strong family and friends, we need your prayers to keep coming. Thank you so much. I will keep you updated. Love Ila Mae"

"Sweet Family and friends:
This will be short and sweet considering we will be meeting with Dr.Tu again shortly--i will update more in depth later. Basically--we are going to fight this!!!! Get your prayers ready-- Dr.Tu wants to start chemo for Bubba right away. He will be admitted tonight and his first round will begin, lasting for 5 consecutive days. The tumor in Bubba's chest makes his cancer m
ore difficult to fight greatly because of the location. Dr.Tu also states he believes the tumor is a growth of various identities, not just one, basically a mixture of cancer cells. Dr.Tu stated the tumor is extremely aggressive, with the ability to double its strength daily..this is why we are beginning our battle TONIGHT!! I promise to update in depth later. But, for now, send your prayers for Bubbas body to respond beautifully to his first dose of chemo in his first battle with this cancer. Thank you so much. Your prayers mean everything to our family. Love Ila Mae"

"Bubbas checked in-- 9th Floor Room 12 MD Anderson Center---send your prayers here! He will be taking a shower, grabbing a bite to eat and then he will be hooked up to his first round....9th floor, room 12...send your prayers. Thank you! Love Ila"

"Sweet family and friends:
IV for first chemotherapy has been placed. My Bubba looks STRONG!!! Still waiting for the first dose. The first trial of chemotherapy will be Cisplatin and Etoposide. I have faith in these chemotherapy drugs, I have faith. We've been right here beside him! I've been keeping him updated with all the love and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for lifting my brother's name in prayer. This may be my last post for tonight.......just pray his body responds beautifully and the tumors don't stand a chance.....Love Ila Mae"

Great pics!

 Tanis Jamar just sent these great pictures of her and Jonathan!