Update: the nurse just told us we got the results from the radiologist, and unfortunately, there are several lymph nodes in Ella Joy’s body that are measuring larger than one cm. Some of the areas include the largest ones in her neck, stomach and abdomen. We will need to go downtown Tuesday (tomorrow) and get a PET SCAN Wednesday and have the long day from 8am-8pm on Thursday. So we are downtown longer than we had previously anticipated. We urge you to continue praying for our Ella Joy. Like Brent Helming wrote, “Though storms of strife assail me without warning
And though they try to steal my joy away,” I will find rest in my Precious Jesus, the Rock of my salvation.
I apologize for any confusion I have caused when I used the word ”remission.” The nurse used the word when describing the process of checking Ella Joy’s ct scans and bone marrow extraction to check the percentage of cancer in her bone marrow. The results from these tests will determine the next course of her chemotherapy treatments. After the 1st ct scan, we discovered cancer had spread to her neck, arm pits, chest, abdomen, groin area and pretty much everywhere lymph nodes existed in her tiny little body. Ella Joy is still just at the beginning of her chemotherapy and the entire treatment will be anywhere from 2 years to 2 and ½ years.
This is going to be a very long and challenging journey for our family, but we know we are not alone. We have a faithful, sovereign, loving, amazing God who is with us through the length. We are also so incredibly thankful to God for wonderful supportive friends who have been praying for Ella Joy and who remind us that she is being covered with storehouses of prayers. God has brought forth many people who have supported our family & created ways for others to help our family in many different ways:
Nikki created a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/389360344500046/393658547403559/?ref=notif¬if_t=group_activity and as we check it daily, we see soldiers of Christ, our friends & family who are faithfully lifting up our Ella Joy in prayer. It is such a tremendous source of encouragement for us! Thank you to everyone who has joined this army of prayer warriors! We are so thankful for each and every single one of you!
Jeannie started a meal train http://www.mealtrain.com/view/?id=R2oEe9Nifsk%3d The meals that have been delivered has been helping and continues to help our family in so many ways. Especially after Ella Joy’s chemotherapy sessions, when I do not have time to cook because I am taking care of Ella Joy’s needs as well as Asaphie’s needs, the doorbell rings, and we are so thankful for each and every person who brings meals so that I don’t have to cook, and I can spend time on taking care of Ella Joy. Praise the Lord for meal train!
Meredith firstname.lastname@example.org had t-shirts made, and she is selling them to help with our medical costs for Ella Joy’s chemotherapy treatments and drugs. She told me that in addition to raising money, she is excited to sell the t-shirts because as everyone wears them, her vision is for the community to come together and remember to pray for Ella Joy especially on her chemotherapy days, which are Thursdays.
I was reminded when thinking about the body of Christ that, “there are many parts, yet one body.” I Corinthians 12:20
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. I Corinthians 12:26
We are so very thankful for these ladies who have spearheaded these things that I otherwise would not have done myself. God used their hands and feet to help our family out and to represent the body of Christ at work.
Today was a long day at the hospital as we had expected. The night before, I woke Ella Joy up to eat before midnight because I knew she would be hungry and would not be able to eat because she needed to fast for her procedures. Like clockwork, she woke up and asked for food. It pained me to have to tell her that she could not eat until later. She cried and told me I was a bad mom for not giving her food when she was hungry. In the morning, her hunger pangs were stronger, especially since she was still on prednisone (hormones) that makes her ravenously hungry and I wished I could have been the one fasting instead of her. She kept telling us she wanted Cheetos, and I kept having to tell her we had to wait until after all the procedures were done. Thank you so much for all your prayers, because this time around she was able to drink all the contrast and keep it down! She did not throw up this time, and even though we had to wait a good few hours after she drank the contrast before her ct scan, bone marrow extraction and spinal tap (or lumbar puncture), things went relatively smoothly. So thankful Mike was able to take off work and Jessica and my sister Teresa were able to come and help us out for this visit. Mike was with Ella Joy and she was still crying when the nurses put in her IV and administered her bloodwork and chemotherapy drugs earlier in the morning.
One prayer request is for Ella Joy to be brave and as she starts to get used to the chemotherapy procedures, she would not fear, but know that God is with her and that there are so many people praying for her, and that she needs to be strong in order for her to get better. Instead of having her fast before future spinal taps, another option we are willing to try is having her get her spinal taps on the oncology floor without anesthesia. In order to do this, she needs to be cooperative and hold still with my help. I am going to learn how to give her shots at home that she will need as part of the chemotherapy treatments. I will also have to give her pills that do not dissolve, so I am praying she will be able to chew or swallow them without any problems.
This coming Thursday, Nov. 14th is going to be even longer of a day for us at the hospital. Our nurse told us we would need to get there at 8am and expect to be there until 7pm or 8pm. We are praying that things will go smoothly and that we will be able to work things out with help for Asaphie.
Asaph had a fever earlier in the week, and he also has been coughing with a runny nose. 100% God has been and continues to protect Ella Joy who has not yet had a fever or caught any cough or runny nose since she was on chemotherapy. If she did have a fever, we would have to rush her to Lurie or the ER. Please continue praying for God’s protection on her body, especially when her body gets weak, and her immune system is low.
Also, I have been putting it off for a while, but her hair is slowly but surely falling out. In the past couple of days, I have found her hair shedding on her jammies, clothes, on the bed, and pretty much everywhere. I try to remind her that what makes her beautiful is not her hair, but her smile, her eyes (things that will not change), and especially her heart that loves Jesus. Thanks to a few people who have made her and myself matching hats, I am praying she will get excited about picking out a matching set of hats we can wear together for that particular day. To be honest, if she wanted me to shave my head with her I would do it so she doesn’t feel alone in this difficult road ahead of her.
Just about a year ago, my sister found a small prayer journal I had written when I was 15 years old. I had written prayers for the salvation of my parents, and that they would have good Taiwanese Christian friends. I prayed for my sister(s) to become saved and to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I prayed for my dad to stop smoking, and I prayed for several other things. Years later, reading through that prayer journal, there was not one thing I prayed for that God did not answer. The prayers were not always answered in the ways I wanted or expected, nonetheless, God faithfully answered them in His time and in His perfect way. Having said that, even in the short amount of time from the first entry of my blog to now, God has already answered so many of the prayer requests that were on my heart. I struggled with having Ella Joy take her meds and to keep it down, and we discovered that prednisone came in solutab dissolvable form, which was a huge answer to prayer, and made our lives more expensive, but a whole lot easier. I was worried about driving to Chicago, and God gave a special conviction to Eddie to drive me and the kids on Wednesdays. I needed help at Lurie watching over Asaphie, and God provided and is still providing wonderful people to help me out Thursday mornings.
And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. – 1 John 5:14-15
One of my favorite Bible moments comes from Esther 4:14, when Mordecai says to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
When I was in college and grad school, I found myself with a full schedule that included being a (graduate) student, TA (teacher’s assistant), student teacher, RA resident advisor, and a small group leader and officer in my church while attending Sat. morning leader’s meetings, m-f weekly 6:30am morning prayer, Tues. small group Bible studies, Wed. & Thurs. night prayer meetings, and Friday night large groups, and of course Sunday Lord’s day services. Sometimes I look back and wondered how I managed to do it all, and I realize God empowered me to have the strength to take it one step at a time, and one day at a time. Taking care of Ella Joy takes a lot of patience and a lot of sleepless nights, but I believe God has been stretching me and refining me for such a time as this.