How have we already come full circle to Christmas? In a way it feels like just yesterday that Andy finally graduated to the maintenance part of his protocol (it happened last year on Christmas Eve), yet it feels like we’ve been at this fight forever. We are so grateful and feel so blessed that Andy is doing well.
New Christmas PJ’s!
Unfortunately, we get regular reminders that life isn’t so lucky for all children (or adults) with cancer. I had my breath taken away at the annual Candlelighter’s Christmas party right after Thanksgiving. We went last year, which was the first time Andy finally walked by himself after he had hurt his back and had not walked for weeks, this year I expected nothing but joy, however that quickly changed when a family of three asked if they could join us at our table. Naturally I assumed that their little daughter was the reason they were there and during causal conversation I asked what her diagnosis was. The mom looked at me with teary eyes and told me they were a bereaved family as their son passed away in the spring. Of course, hearing this brought me to tears, but even worse, their son was on the maintenance part of his treatment for T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (the exact same cancer our dear Andy has). She shared that everything was going along well for him, but then his counts became low and just weren’t rebounded. His doctor did a bone marrow biopsy and found the cancer was back. Just like that, their world was turned upside down. Hearing this made it extremely difficult to enjoy the rest of the party. The mom told me that they decided they would go to all the events they would have taken their son to because if they didn’t, it would just get harder and harder and soon they wouldn’t want to do anything.
Christmas with the cousins!
It is always difficult to hear of a family losing a child, but to hear the child had the exact same illness your very own child has is gut wrenching. Someone recently reminded me how great the odds are for leukemia treatment. And while I do agree they are great “odds”, that is all they are, “odds”. Odds don’t care about the child or the family. Odds just say that 90-95 out of 100 children will recover from A.L.L., but when it’s your child, it’s either all or nothing. There isn’t a 90-95% child walking around on this earth. I don’t want to walk the road of the family from the Christmas party. That road can’t be anything put painful and difficult. I pray daily for those families who have lost a loved one to the vicious beast of cancer. I pray for a cure to cancer, that it’s a thing of the past, just like polio and mumps.
Gingerbread Train complete!
On a brighter note, our family made many enjoyable memories since my last update. We had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with both sides of our family, complete with cousins and all (cousins are a big deal around here!). Besides the usual school studies, the kids enjoyed decorating the annual Gingerbread Train, tho sister got ripped off because I miscounted when I cut the pieces, so she frosted Gingerbread men instead of making a train car. We made our annual trek to find the perfect Christmas tree which Andy even did the honors of chopping it down. As an added bonus, we had some super cold weather here that yielded us a frozen water pipe and produced a little dusting of snow that made home look a bit like a winter wonderland. It’s really hard for me to believe that 2013 is already coming to a close; time waits for no one.
Mailing letters to Santa at Macy’s – they donated $2 million to Make-A-Wish this year!
Andy’s appointment at the hospital on November 26th went very well. He had a backpoke with Methotrexate and Vincristine in his port. He weighed in at almost 74 lbs. and had an ANC of 1890. His ANC was on the high side, but since his chemo medicines were held for low counts and had just been restarted, there was no concern. His provider said that is normal because his body was rebounded from not having the medicine in his system.
Andy cut down our Christmas tree this year!
Andy’s appointment today (on Christmas Eve) proved to be another uneventful one, tho his ANC is still riding too high. He will go get labs drawn in two weeks on the 7th of January to see if things are trending down before they increase any medicines. He does have a bit of a drippy nose, but not a full blown cold, and also has a small cough which could be causing his ANC to be out of whack. It’s just a reminder that I need to continue to put my trust in the Lord and seek him every day regardless of if it’s sunshine or rain. I know I get a bit into the groove of Andy being fine and things feeling like they are pretty much back to normal for us, when in reality he still is very fragile medically speaking. Otherwise his appointment was what we expected, with a squirt of Vincristine in his port and then he took his Methotrexate orally tonight like he does every Tuesday since he didn’t get a back poke today. His weight was up a bit to 76 lbs. and his ANC was 2060.
A new train car from Grandma and Papa Tom – yippee!!!!
We want to thank our faithful prayer warriors that continue to pray regularly for Andy. Our family counts it a true blessing to have others rallying on Andy’s behalf. We know the fight isn’t over yet and continue to pray that the Lord protects his body from the cancer returning, that the side effects of the medicines are minimal, and that our family can be a shining testimony for our merciful Lord. Our most current prayer need is that Andy’s ANC would start to trend down and, our ultimate prayer request is, that it would be in the appropriate range when it’s checked in January so he doesn’t have to have medicine dosing increased. Please also pray for Chuck and me; that any nerves will be calm (Daddy may look tough, but he’s a pretty soft guy when it comes to all this cancer stuff). We wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed 2014! May 2014 be a year filled with JOY and good health!
Andy from a year ago today.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” ~ Galatians 4:4-5