God doesn’t call us to be comfortable

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6/25/14

Today marks Ella Joy’s last erwinia asparaginase! The last of 12 painful shots in her leg with crazy long needles! Thank you all for your prayers! Also, a great big thank you to Nam Mee for helping watch Asaph with her children! This week, we had 2 erwinia asparaginase shots. Monday was one of her toughest shots yet, but today, after getting the results of her CBC, we found out her platelets were very low, her white blood cell counts were extremely low, and her hemoglobin was also too low. She immediately got a blood transfusion. Ella Joy’s blood counts are definitely not high enough for chemotherapy next week. However, we are praying that her platelets and white blood cell counts will rise and that her ANC would rise from 100 to over 750 so we can start her maintenance phase of treatment! Maintenance includes vincristine chemotherapy, prednisone, 6mp daily, oral methotrexate, and spinal taps for the first 2 months, third month off for the first year, and then every 3 months. Praise the Lord, because if all works out, we will only have to go to Luries once a month once when her counts are high enough! Please pray for the next time we are expected to continue treatment, July 7th, and that she would be ready for chemotherapy!

Reflecting back on all the trips and train rides back from downtown, long hospital visits and chaotic schedules, we are extremely thankful to God that we soon will only have to visit Luries once a month!

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.” ― Francis Chan,

All of our friends who sacrificed so much of their time and energy to give us rides and help watch Asaph were not comfortable … they could have easily been at home with their own families … but we thank God everyday for using them to bless Ella Joy and our family!

Having a child with stage 4 nonhodgkins lymphoma cancer is not comfortable, but it has been our delight trusting in Him completely throughout this journey. He has always come through, and we believe He will continue to show His glory!

We do not know what will happen tomorrow or months down the line, but we know He is faithful! Please pray that when worry or fear might invade our hearts we would remember His words.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. – John 14:1

 Thank you so much for always praying and never ceasing!

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Prayer is a strong wall and fortress

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 6-19-14

Thank you everyone for praying for Ella Joy this week! We praise God for Vicki, Allen, Sunny, Grace, and Bryan for helping to watch Asaph while Ella Joy had her three chemotherapy treatments. Also, it was extremely special for me to have my mom come and spend time with us! Ella Joy had erwinia asparaginase each day as well as vincristine chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the more doses of erwinia asparaginase she had, the more nauseous and tired she was. She told me a few times after chemotherapy treatment that she could not walk, and that her legs were weak.   Please pray for Ella Joy, that God would continue to strengthen her. It was a long week of chemo, and her body was feeling the effects of all the drugs and treatments. Right after we got back from downtown, she threw up. Please pray God would protect her little body.

One time, when we were waiting for the train, I asked her if she was excited to start kindergarten.   She told me that she is scared that other children in school would laugh at her because she has a port and that she has cancer. Please pray that God would help her to be brave and not scared to go to school for the first time this coming fall. She has been noticing her hair falling out again, and she has been feeling insecure about it. At the RMH, Miss Illinois’ glam squad was doing hair and make-up. Ella Joy got in line, and I asked her if she wanted make-up? She said “No, I want them to curl my hair! I always wondered what my hair looks like curly!” Thank God the lady had hair glitter which made Ella Joy forget that she wanted curls that she couldn’t have!

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther

We need your prayers! Our next round of chemotherapy is on 6/23 and 6/25. These will be her last erwinia asparaginase injections. We thank Him that she has not been allergic yet, but please pray that God would help her to be strong next week because these shots have already proven to take a toll on her body.

Martin Luther also said, “Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.”

So, we thank you for praying with us each week, building strong walls and fortresses.

 

Emmanuel (God with us)

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6/13/14

Thank you so much for praying for Ella Joy’s chemotherapy treatment today! Everything went smoothly, and a huge thank you to my sister Joanne and our nephews who sacrificed much to help watch Asaph for today! Also thank you to Marissa who spent the entire day with Ella Joy at the hospital! Praise God Ella Joy is not having any allergic reactions to the erwinia asparaginase. Today we had our 6th round. Ella Joy also got a vincristine push at the end. After running her CBC, we found out that her platelets were low. At 35, the normal range is 150-450. Please pray that her platelets would rise and that she would not be at risk. The next rounds of erwinia asparaginase will be 6/16, 6/18, and 6/19. Please pray that God would continue to strengthen Ella Joy for the remainder of these shots as she continues to cry and is still scared of getting these injections.

I cannot stop thanking God for the amazing people He has placed in our family’s life! Some friends from when I was in youth group, grade school, college, friends we met more recently, and some people we have never even met face to face, but they have been such extraordinary sources of support and encouragement to us!

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”

Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

Your prayers mean the world to us! Please continue praying for the rest of Ella Joy’s treatment, and that she would be strong and that even after her treatment is over, the cancer would never come back. Please help us store these prayers for the future!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3

Thank you so very much for being such an integral part of our lives!

One of Ella Joy’s favorite songs:

Jesus, Name above all names.

Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord.

Emmanuel, God is with us.

Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

I love every single word in this praise song. Every lyric is meaningful and so true! For me, the most blessing praise songs are the ones that come straight from the His Living Word!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name” – Philippians 2:9

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. – Jude 1:25

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Emmanuel means “God with us,” and from the moment she was born, to the moment she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, to this very moment, God has always been and will continue to be with Ella Joy and our family. Please pray that during the toughest chemo days, and when we feel discouraged or weary hearted, that we would remember Emmanuel, God is with us!

 

God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours

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6/5/14

It was a rough day for Ella Joy. We started out with another spinal tap, but she cried as she felt the long needle in her spine. Then, after her chemo injection of ara C or Cytarabine, even with the Zofran, Ella Joy threw up about 4 different times in the waiting room. She was extremely nauseous, and also, her hemoglobin blood counts were too low. She needed a blood transfusion, but we had to wait 7 hours to get a room in the AIC. Thank the Lord for Kelly, who even though she had an appointment for her own son, still took Asaph and watched over him all through the morning to the late afternoon! And also, a huge thank you to Mr. Schrieber for taking us downtown again! God brings the most amazing people into our lives, and we cannot stop thanking Him for such wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ!                  

The other day, when I was giving Ella Joy her sub Q injection, Asaph was in the room as she was crying before I gave her the shot. He was watching her closely, and then he had an idea. He quickly ran upstairs and got one of his favorite stuffed animals and then rushed back down again. He ran to where I was just pulling the needle out of her leg, and he said, “Here Ella Joy, I got this to make you feel better!” He shoved his favorite stuffed platypus right at her. Mike realized that it was a dangerous situation and scolded him as he could have gotten poked in the eye… Asaph started crying. He had intended to help and thought he was doing something good for his sister who was crying in pain. I asked Asaph why he brought the platypus and he replied “I got it to make Ella Joy feel better, but she didn’t want it!” So many times, just like Asaph, I might think I know what is best, but God quickly reminds me that He is sovereign and He is in control! One thing I pray I could have more of is patience! Ella Joy’s entire chemotherapy treatment spans for about 2 and a-half years. We have not yet finished one year yet! But I pray for wisdom and much patience so that we would not only start the chemotherapy strong, but also finish the chemotherapy strong! My prayer is that once we are done, that the cancer would never ever come back again!  And that our hearts would be Luke 24:32 ablaze for the Lord like never before!         

“The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours.”

John Piper, Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure

Please pray for our next visit to Luries. We will be having our last half of 12 erwinia asparaginase chemo treatments. The 1st will be on Fri the 13th. Then, soon after we will go back to the three times a week with 6/16, 6/18, and 6/19 and then another packed week right after. Please pray that even in my delays and detours, and also in all the delays and detours that we encounter … that He may be glorified and that Ella Joy would learn spiritual life lessons even through this challenging time in her life battling cancer.

The blood transfusion for today was unexpected, so we had a change of plans, and  Asaph had to stay in the AIC room for a while.  I thought it would be fun to end this blog with something we see and hear quite often in the Won household…  (disclaimer: please excuse Ella Joy’s grunt at the end of the song.  She was over tired and trying to focus on the dot to dot she was connecting.  We have a good amount of delays and detours to overcome)  : )