Praise God, from Whom all Blessings flow

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Update:

2/24/14

Thank you everyone for celebrating with us the miracle that God has done in Ella Joy for ZERO and NEGATIVE! There is not one prayer He has not answered! Please continue praying with us that her bone marrow would stay at zero, and that her MRD would stay at negative.

A huge thanks to Hannah for helping watch Asaph while we had the meeting with Dr. Morgan. And also thanks so much to Jeannie and Mike who took Asaph out for a very special day while I stayed with Ella Joy.

After being admitted as inpatient, Ella Joy passed her first level that needed to be under 1.0, and she was at 0.45. The next level needed to be under 0.4, but somehow her creatinine rose from .31 to .41, and her mtx from .45 to .58. So, we had to stay another night. In the morning, we needed to be under 0.1 and Ella Joy’s level was exactly at 0.1, so we did not get discharged until late Monday when her level was 0.8 and we were so excited to get discharged from the hospital! Please continue praying for Ella Joy, that her counts will be high enough so she can be admitted for the next HD MTX on 3/10 and she would not have the complications as she did this past week. Please pray the toxins would be flushed out quickly and that she would pass each of the levels for her creatinine and mtx.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) The answer is a resounding no!

We really need to thank you all for praying without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). And we thank God for being so awesome, amazing, and great. All glory, honor, and power and majesty belongs to Our God!

“to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, and now, and for evermore. Amen.” – Jude 1:25

2/21/14

It is essential that I begin this post with Thomas Ken’s Doxology to the King:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Praise the Lord!  He has answered the prayers from our hearts! God has heard the cries of His people praying for ZERO and NEGATIVE for Ella Joy and He has given us this miracle! It is 100% a miracle from God that Ella Joy’s MRD is negative and that there is zero cancer in her bone marrow! Thank you Jesus! And thank you to all you Saints of God who have been on your knees crying out for His mercies and healing power!

We got this very good news today and because she has a negative MRD, we will be continuing the rest of the 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy as originally planned. This afternoon, Ella Joy was immediately admitted as inpatient for high dose methotrexate (the toxic chemotherapy). If everything works out, we will be here until Sunday like the last time. Please continue praying that all the toxins will be flushed out so we can go home soon.

We cannot stop thanking God for this miracle! All arrows point upwards to our King. Thank you Jesus for your healing power! Thank you Jesus! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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The arm of the Lord is not too short to save

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2/19/14

Update:

We will be heading downtown Thursday (2/20) and then have a meeting with Dr. Morgan on Friday (2/21).

The results are not yet in, however we got a phone call today and the meeting has been scheduled.  Still praying for negative MRD results and ultimately that Ella Joy will not need the bone marrow stem cell transplant after all!  Please never stop praying with us!  We appreciate you all and all the encouragement and prayers you are storing up for Ella Joy and our family!

2/18/14

On Monday night, we found out that Ella Joy’s ANC was at 515 which barely made the cut off which needed to be over 500 to be able to get her bone marrow extraction for the next day!  Praise the Lord, for raising her counts and thank you all for your faithful prayers!

The bone marrow extraction went extremely well, and a huge thank you to Daryl for watching Asaph again while we had the bone marrow extraction done.

Now, we are waiting for the results from this procedure from both Seattle’s Dr. Wood’s as well as Lurie’s pathology team.

Once we find out I will update this blog and let you know whether the MRD is negative or positive, and then I will also fill you in on the next course of treatment for Ella Joy at that time.  Thank you so much to our armies of prayer warriors who faithfully follow the blog and pray for our Ella Joy!  We really cannot thank you enough!

We believe 100% that He hears every prayer lifted up for Ella Joy and that His arm is not too short to save her.  His arm is not too short for zero cancer cells in her bone marrow, and His arm is not too short for negative MRD results!  His arm is not too short for ZERO and NEGATIVE!  Amen a 100X over!

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” – Isaiah 59:1

We would like to urge you to continue in prayer for Ella Joy, for us to get some very good news when her results come back that cannot be explained in any other way than a miracle from God!

I would like to leave you with a clip from a bite-sized prayer warrior …

Refiner’s Fire

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2/13/14

This may have been one of my best birthdays ever, because I received so many stored up prayers for Ella Joy!  Thank you so much for remembering Ella Joy today and praying for her and for our family!  Her counts needed to be over 500, and she was at 200, so she was not able to get her bone marrow extraction for today.  Her hemoglobin was at 7.9, so she definitely needed to get a transfusion.  A huge thanks to Sena for being there to help out the entire day!  Today was the first time Ella Joy had port access.  She cried because she was scared, but when they poked her, she said it did not hurt!  I am praying that she would get used to nurses accessing her port, and that she would not cry hysterically every time.  I told the nurses that even though they accessed her port (and couldn’t do the extraction) it was not in vain (vein) because she still needed the transfusion.  No pun intended!  But seriously though, please pray with me that her counts would be able to rise this weekend so that when we get her counts taken on Monday the 17th, it will be high enough for us to go back to Luries on Tuesday the 18th to get her bone marrow extraction. 

We knew going in for the testing that Asaph would be our best bet with a one in four chance of having gotten the same set of chromosomes and being a full match for Ella Joy.  We were so thankful to God to find out that Asaph is an exact bone marrow match for Ella Joy!  We praise God for knitting him this way!  (Psalm 139:13).  However, we are still praying that we will not have to take this route of the stem cell/bone marrow transplant.  Please continue praying with us that Ella Joy would have zero cancer in her bone marrow, and that she would clearly have a negative MRD across the board, with Dr. Woods team as well as Dr. Morgan’s pathology team.       

Sometimes I think about how a silver smith has to sit in front of the fire the entire time his silver is being refined.  If the silver is left a second too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.  The silver is not fully refined until he can see his image in it.  My prayer is that even though this is a very challenging time in our lives and we many times feel the heat of the fire, we would remember that He is with us through the length.  He never leaves us, and never takes His eyes off of Ella Joy or our family.  Please pray that in this refining process that His reflection would be seen and all glory would point to Jesus!   

So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:7

I cannot tell you what joy and encouragement fills my heart when you share with me that you and your families are praying faithfully every day and night for Ella Joy!  Some share with their mothers and families, small groups and churches, and it is seriously the best thing to hear!  I am not kidding when I say this is the best birthday ever.  Yes I was in the hospital for the majority of my birthday, but I received incredible storehouses of intercessory gifts that will never ever waste away.  So I would like to thank you all for praying!  I never grow tired of hearing you share with me that you are praying for Ella Joy and our family!  So, since it was delayed, I would like to once again ask you to pray for zero and negative for Ella Joy for the results of this upcoming Tuesday’s bone marrow extraction.  His name must be glorified and His reflection seen!     

Battle cry prayers for ZERO & NEGATIVE!

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2/5/14

The other night, I could not sleep.  I was praying all through the night that God would have mercy on Ella Joy.  The 30% or less likelihood of her survival with a stem cell/bone marrow transplant was weighing heavy on my heart.  The next morning, I missed a couple of Mike’s early morning calls.  When I called back, I was so thankful to God to hear news so unexpected.  Dr. Morgan has said that there was a possibility that Ella Joy’s bone marrow MRD (minimal residual disease) was not positive for cancer.  There was a pathologist named Dr. Woods in Seattle from the COG (Children’s Oncology Group) who looked at the dot graph and had concluded that this may be a case of a false positive.  Dr. Morgan told us she did not want to give us false hopes, since Dr. Woods only had a dot graph, it may not have been an accurate read.  So, on Feb. 13th Thursday, Ella Joy will have another bone marrow extraction.  There will be duplicate samples ordered.  One bone marrow sample will be examined by experts at Luries, and the other will be sent to Dr. Woods in Seattle.  Please pray that this would be the miracle we have been praying for!  Please pray that there would be ZERO cancer cells in her bone marrow and it would be clear to Luries experts as well as to Dr. Woods team that Ella Joy’s MRD would not be positive.  If it is negative, then she will not have to have a stem cell/ bone marrow transplant.  She will continue on with her chemotherapy as planned for the remaining 2 ½ years.  Please pray with us for this very miracle!  Zero cancer cells in her bone marrow and that her MRD would come back with negative results!  God has been gracious to our family and the fact that this MRD might be a false positive has been the hope we have been praying for!  Thank you all for praying non-stop for our Ella Joy!  God has 100% heard all these prayers rising like incense.  “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.”  Psalm 141:2

According to Wikipedia, grace has been defined as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.”  We do not know what the results of the Feb. 13th bone marrow extraction MRD will be, however, this glimmer of hope that the MRD may be a false positive has been an amazing grace for us.  Please pray with us for this amazing grace to be a true miracle for zero and negative!  Zero cancer cells in her bone marrow and a negative MRD.  We covet your prayers for ZERO and NEGATIVE!

Here is Ella Joy in her hospital room dancing right before her ct scan, bone marrow extraction, and spinal tap.    This is our Jeremiah 4:19 battle cry.  Please join us prayer warriors, as we pray, fight and, cry out together for Ella Joy!  May God be glorified through this miracle in the making!

Groanings too deep for words

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1/30/14-2/2/14

We thank you all for praying with us through this very challenging week for Ella Joy full of procedures and chemotherapy.  Kim, Christy, Jeannie, Stephany, Nam Mee, Angela, LJ, and Gina, thank you for being such an amazing help for us this week of inpatient stay!  Please pray that God would continue to provide help for Asaph as there are some weeks we have help but need to double up for different morning and afternoon shifts at the RMH.  The night before the Thursday procedures, we were in bed together, and Ella Joy looked at me and said, “Mommy, in the Bible, Jesus looks smaller in the pictures, but when we see Him in heaven, He will look bigger.”  What she said reminded me of a quote from CS Lewis from Prince Caspian that a pastor had recently shared in his message at a family retreat, “  “Aslan” said Lucy “you’re bigger”.
”That is because you are older, little one” answered he.
”Not because you are?”
”I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger”.”

Thank you so much for your prayers!  Ella Joy was able to have the ct scan without anesthesia!  During the scan to comfort her, I started quietly singing an old song “Holy and Anointed One,” and “Oh God how I need you” when she was scared and crying.  When the procedure was over, a bunch of nurses and doctors came out smiling and clapping and I was so embarrassed they heard me singing!  I had no idea they could hear me, and I had no idea they were even back there in a little room!  But we were all so proud of Ella Joy and how she was able to get through laying still for the entire CT scan!  Praise God for helping her through it!  She did however, need anesthesia for the spinal tap and bone marrow extraction.  And she also got anesthesia the next day for the port surgery, so it was tough on her body to have back-to-back anesthesia.  For that day, her ANC (Absolute neutrophil count) at 350 was too low for port surgery and definitely not high enough for the high dose MTX chemotherapy she was supposed to have the next day.  Dr. Morgan said most likely she would have to come back another week.  However, when we got the results of her ANC the very next day, her numbers jumped to 1500!  She was absolutely high enough for both the port surgery and the HD MTX!  Praise God for listening to all your faithful prayers!  So sure enough, on the 31st, we had the port surgery and went straight into the high dose methotrexate.  We made sure to offer her plenty of water so she could flush out the toxins more quickly, and her levels were better than on point.  At the 1.0 or less goal, she was at 0.6, and at the 0.4 or less goal, she was at 0.27!!!  We were so thankful we were able to get discharged Sunday afternoon!  We got to take the last leucovorin pill home to give her as well as the mercaptopurine or 6mp to take every Monday through Friday.

Please continue praying for Ella Joy as her port was very tender and sore after surgery.  Whenever she walked to the bathroom (and it was extremely frequently for this particular flushing-out-toxins chemotherapy) she was hunched over and she would walk very slowly.  She told me her port hurt often while in the hospital.  However, even in her pain, she would still sing praises in her heart singing “One way, Jesus!  You’re the only one that I could live for!” over and over again while we were doing sticky mosaics!

This week, we have a very urgent prayer request.  It is something we dreaded ever hearing from Dr. Morgan.  It pains me to write this, but she told us that there is still cancer in Ella Joy’s bone marrow.  At this stage of chemotherapy, to have cancer in the bone marrow is extremely life-threatening.  She is still going to discuss it with her team, but she said the only options would be more aggressive chemotherapy and a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.  Both are extremely risky and the rate of survival is a very low 30% or less.  Also, finding a donor would be a very challenging process.  The next day, Mike, myself, and Asaph went to Luries to get tested.  Asaph was extremely scared to get poked, but Mike reminded him that this could help save Ella Joy’s life.  The results will not be in for another 2 weeks, however Dr. Morgan said siblings would be the best bet for a match, so we are praying that Asaph will be a perfect match!  We are pleading with you to please help us pray for a miracle!  We honestly cannot imagine life without our Ella Joy, and we are crying out to God for zero cancer cells in her bone marrow and entire body!

From the moment Dr. Morgan told us that Ella Joy still has cancer in her bone marrow and that with the stem cell/bone marrow transplant, she had a 30% or less likelihood of survival, there was this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach that never seemed to go away.  Also, there is this groaning in my heart that cannot be expressed in words.  “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26

With tears in my eyes, I would like to please ask you to pray for Ella Joy with all your heart that God would do a miracle and that He would melt away every single cancer cell in her body, in her bone marrow, to never come back again.  Please pray that the more aggressive chemotherapy would be powerful and effective and that it would zap away any traces of cancer.  If it is His will for Ella Joy to have a stem cell/bone marrow transplant, please pray we would be able to find the perfect match for her.  I am praying with all my heart that Asaph would be that match.  (Parents rarely are a match, but I pray with all my heart that I could be the match!).  Please pray and cry out with us with groanings too deep for words.  In times like this, I need the spirit to help me in my weakness.  Please pray for our family and especially for God’s healing power on Ella Joy.  Thank you so much!  We are so thankful to God for you, so many armies of prayer warriors!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Though storms of strife assail me without warning And though they try to steal my joy away 
I will find rest in knowing You have saved me 
Precious Jesus, Rock of my salvation (Helming)