|Chandler and Clara enjoying some carefree playtime today.|
Last Saturday while Clara was still inpatient, her oncologist visited with us about the next phase: stem cell transplant. He presented us with two options. Number one: we could enroll her in a clinical trial in which she would be randomly selected for either one transplant or two transplants. Number two: we could opt out of a clinical trial and proceed with the standard of care which is one transplant. You can probably imagine the burden such a decision places on a parent. So we did the only thing we know how to do in time of uncertainty, we made it a matter of fasting and prayer. Meanwhile we read over the literature we had been given, searched the scriptures, and poured over the words of our church leaders.
By Monday morning Brian and I independently had our answers. We both knew with no amount of uncertainty, Clara was to receive no stem cell transplant. Medically it makes no sense. But we can make no excuse for the answer we have been given. There is a blessed assurance of peace and comfort that has accompanied this decision in knowing it is God's will. But, it is hard. Really, really hard. We pray every day, as we have since May 23rd, for a miracle of healing, but if not, trust in the Lord's plan for her and our family. We have had many tender mercies this past week reminding us of a loving Heavenly Father who is watching over us. We are grateful to know that we can be together forever as a family. Knowing that, well, it makes trials like this, easier to bear.
Wednesday and Thursday, Clara underwent a barrage of scans and tests. This evening we were given the results of most of them and are encouraged. In comparison to the previous work-up the neuroblastoma cells have greatly decreased in number. Initially she had "spots" in dozens of places within her body, and now the only seemingly active areas are her optic nerve region and the location of her primary tumor in her abdomen. It is possible these sites are actually scar tissue or dead cells, unfortunately there is no way of knowing.
The road ahead is long and uncertain. We will take it as it comes and trust in the Lord to direct us in the decisions we make for Clara. Meanwhile we will savor the time we have together as a family spent at home.