Sunday, September 25, 2011

Go forward with faith

Tomorrow Clara begins round 6 of chemotherapy. She will receive the same drugs for this round as she did for round 4 and the side effects are awful. After 4 days in the hospital she will likely get out of the hospital for a day or two. Then she will spike a fever and be readmitted for 10 days, battling fevers, headaches, and the heart-wrenching mucositis, which coats her entire digestive tract in sores, making it impossible for her to eat, or even swallow. She will most likely contract c.diff, which will put her in isolation for a week and prevent her from leaving her room. I tear up just thinking about what is in store for her.

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.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Spokane apartment

18 comments:

Marilyn said...

Brian and Natasha, I simply cannot imagine the pain, heartache and stress that you two are facing. I am so sorry. We will pray and pray and pray for peace and comfort for your hearts.

Kauer Family said...

The gospel is wonderful and comforting. Stay strong and the answers will come. I have felt the need to tell you to get with Jenn McClure and have her tell you about Doterra Essential oils. They are amazing and I have seen them do amazing things in my family and in hers. I have had these oils take a fever of 101.8 to 101 in a matter of minutes with no other meds and eliminate colds etc quickly. It is gods pharmacy in action today. Love them. You never know they may really help. The Lord will continue to bless you and you and your family throuought this trial. Some days you just have to look for it more than others, but it is always there. We will continue to keep you in our prayers. When you are up here in Seattle if you ever need anything just let us know.

Shannon Lybbert Low said...

Thanks for sharing the reality of it all...the good and the gut wrenching.

Whitney said...

Brian, you and Natasha are in my thoughts and prayers. There are no words. I can't imagine what you are all going through and just pray that you may be comforted and lifted up and know what to do when the need arises. Hugs and love to all of you.

Kori said...

I can't imagine going through the struggles you and Clara are facing. There are so few of us in this world that can say we have faced anything even a fraction as difficult. Despite all the things she is facing, Clara is so blessed to have you two as parents. I can't imagine what it would be like to go through all she has without the love and comfort devoted parents provide, especially at her age. God picked you two as Clara's parents for a reason. What a blessing you are to her! We will continue to pray for miracles.

rebecca goodro said...

I have tears running down my face as I just read this post aloud to my husband. We cannot fathom the pain and exhaustion that your battle with cancer is causing your family. Sincerely so sorry that it has to be THIS hard.

Katie said...

Just praying for God's unexplainable strength for you guys right now. I know you need it.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Katie Nelson said...

We are all learning so much from that sweet girl of yours! Some lessons more difficult than others, but the biggest lesson of all is the one of HOPE. My fervent prayers continue for Clara and your family. Hang in there, Brian.

MichelleB said...

I feel that your honesty is most appreciated. This is the most difficult thing a parent can go through. Just know that your family is thought of constantly and prayed for daily.

Michelle Bellessa Frost said...

Thank you for this heartfelt post and openness about what you are going through. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers constantly. I can't imagine what this would be like to go through, but I hope that you can continue to be buoyed up at least to a small extent by the love and prayers of all in your faith network so that you can make it through this.

Emily Ferrell said...

This post broke my heart Brian. I can't imagine what you and Natasha and the rest of your family are going through. I pray every day for you guys that she will be healed and that you will be able to handle whatever comes your way. I'm sure everyone who knows you wishes they could take away your pain. I just wanted to tell you that we love you and will continue to pray for you.

Sherri said...

Brian and Natasha, We are so sorry for all that your family is having to go through. We pray each day for your family and for little Clara.

Jodi said...

I cried last night while reading this and didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, but I wanted you to know that our continued thoughts and prayers are with your family and Clara's doctors.

luvdolls said...

I know God is a God of miracles. He has all power, all knowledge, all peace, all love, and all strength. I know he is with Clara. Stay strong for your girl! Stay positive! With love!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you all. Constantly praying for Clara and your family (I have not taken off my CLARA bracelet since getting it at the Dust Devils game.)
I can imagine that you must receive TONS of information here regarding help for Clara, but I just wanted to share the link to this foundation that was set up by the parents of a little girl that had Neuroblastoma. Not sure if you already know about it or if there might be any help there for you, but didn't want to miss passing it on: http://laylagrace.org/
May our sweet Lord's grace shine on your sweer Clara and the rest of the family.

Chad and Emily said...

Prayers and faith from our family to yours that Gen Conference will bring hope, inspiration, answers and comfort to press on.

Momnmb said...

Brian, when my brother was fighting Leukemia we felt the same anxiety. We fought until we felt the Lord telling us the fight was over. There was peace. You keep listening to the Spirit and it will guide you and you will have peace. If Clara's battle results in life or death you will have peace with your own actions and that my friend is worth all the heartache.

Karen said...

Prayers being sent your way!!!