Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
The physical pain of the whole ordeal is only a part of it. Cancer is so emotionally and psychologically draining, both for the patient and for the caretakers. There is nothing I can even compare it to. What compounds the stress is the frustration that comes from knowing Clara has already been through so much and the treatments really have not had much of an impact on her cancer. The pathology report from her surgery simply said "treated, but viable" meaning that the tumor segments which were removed showed signs of being treated, but were still alive and well. Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? That's kind of what it feels like every time we meet with the doctors to get more bad news.
The next step after this round of chemo is to go to Seattle for a stem cell transplant, which will likely take 6-8 weeks. That will be followed by a month of radiation and seven months of immunotherapy, which one nurse described as so much worse than chemo. We have been researching alternative therapies, in hopes that we can find something that will offer Clara a better chance of survival without the horrible side effects of the traditional treatment. Sounds too good to be true, right? Clara's original diagnosis left her with a 10-15% chance of survival, based on the research we did. There has got to be a better way.
Natasha and I are both well aware that we may come to a point in Clara's treatment when we need to step back and evaluate whether or not to continue. How much can you watch your tiny child suffer before you say enough and allow her to return home to God who gave her life? Eternally, we will be reunited, but the decision to let go is beyond my personal capacity right now. In spite of the anxiety we feel, when all is quiet and I have time to ponder, I still feel the calm reassurance that everything will eventually be okay.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
We have been so blessed by the many hundreds of people who have fasted and prayed for Clara and our family during the past four months. I know the prayers and faith of many of you are responsible for Clara's smooth surgery and rapid recovery. There is no scientific or medical explanation for how well the past five days have gone. Thank you.
So many times we hear people apologize because they can do is pray. Last week I was talking to a man I do business with. He said something that was profoundly insightful. He said, "I will pray for Clara. It's the most I can do."
Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
Clara hopefully singing her way to an appetite
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Clara started eating today, though she doesn't have much of an appetite. She also ventured out of bed for about an hour. Part of that was spent in the wagon, and part on the plasma scooter. She definitely hasn't lost her spunk.
We still don't know much about the mass that was removed from her abdomen. The surgeon said some of it was calcified, but we won't know until the pathology report comes back how much of the tumor was "dead" from Clara's chemotherapy treatments. For now we are just focusing on healing and keeping Clara comfortable. Hopefully we can take her home later this week for a while before her next hospitalization.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Today was the day we had been anticipating for nearly four months as it was one of those milestones along the path to Clara getting better. Knowing that the tumor had not shrunk any since the initial scans the hope was that the surgeons would be able to remove as much as they safely could. After 5 hours of surgery, the surgeons were able, as far as they could tell, remove 95-99% of the tumor. It was a very delicate surgery involving many blood vessels, main arteries and vital organs. Quite miraculously she only lost 5-10 cc's of blood! We are anxious to hear the pathology report to learn the make-up of the removed tumor tissue.
We have been through a similar experience with Carson when his brain tumor was removed. For the most part Carson's tumor resection was the end. With Clara it is just the end of the first phase of her treatment. She has many hurdles yet to overcome, but as we saw today and have seen many times before in these past 4 months she strengthened and protected in her afflictions. The peace and comfort Brian and I felt today was remarkable. We know the prayers of others petitioning our Father in Heaven on our behalf lifted us today. And without a doubt guided the doctors throughout surgery. We trust He will continue to bless and heal her as she recovers.
Carson and Clara in the ICU post surgery----our 2 tumor kids. He was a great distraction for us today.
The long road that remains will continue to test and try us, but experiences like this certainly help us to know that we are not alone. In addition to countless friends, family members and complete strangers, the Lord has strengthened and comforted us, helping us to know of His love for us and His knowledge of what is best. He knows what we need more than we do and His timing is always right. We continue to pray for understanding and for patience as we wait on the Lord to heal Clara as only He can.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
We met with the surgeon yesterday after getting notice on Thursday afternoon that she was scheduled for surgery on the 7th. We were surprised they wanted to operate since the tumor had not shrunk. Yesterday, we asked the surgeon why they are moving forward despite lack of progress in shrinking the tumor, he simply stated, "We need to get it out of there." We totally agree! It is our hope that the mass is dead tumor and there are no active cells remaining. So, at 8:30 am Clara will go in for surgery to get that monster out of her abdomen. There are lots of critical arteries and vital organs involved so we will pray for the divine guidance of the surgeons' hands. We feel at peace and know the Lord is, as her surgeon acknowledged, the greater physician. Assuming she is able recover from surgery well enough, chemo round six will begin 12-14 days post surgery. After she recovers from that round we will head to Seattle for transplant about 14 days later. We are grateful for your continued prayers offered on behalf of Clara and our family. Thank you from all of us.