Susana has completed a total of 3 rounds of chemo therapy, but Mission Hospital has only given her 2 of those 3 and since Mission has her on a different protocol than they had her in Miami, they are counting her technically as having completed 2 rounds rather than three. So, she completed her second round last week, and she came through with flying colors! She didn’t have any negative side effects, nausea, pain, etc. The whole time she was in the hospital, she was like a happy little butterfly. They even began her chemo sooner than the normal three week interval because she was doing so well.
Now, we are at Duke Hospital where she is getting ready to have what is called a stem cell harvest procedure. We arrived last night, spent most of the day at the hospital today even though it is all outpatient, and will probably be spending the week here as she gets this procedure. Here’s how it works: (spoken in a non-technical way) She will get a tube surgically placed in her chest tomorrow (she will be under anesthesia for the procedure, and it really won’t hurt her, maybe just cause some discomfort temporarily). Then on Wednesday, they will attempt the stem cell harvest. The goal is to collect a certain number of healthy non cancerous stem cells from her bone marrow. These cells will be extracted by a machine that will basically draw them out while putting everything else back. These stem cells will then be frozen and saved for a later time when she will really need them, like after her 4th or 5th round of chemo, which will be so high dose, that it will destroy her bone marrow (and hopefully every micro fiber of every stinkin’ trace of a tumor) Since her bone marrow will be destroyed by this super high dose of chemo, that is when they will re-infuse those healthy stem cells that will be collected this week. Does that make sense?????
So, today they needed to give her blood and platelets because she was low and they need to have her super healthy so that they can do these procedures. She will get more platelets tomorrow morning just before getting the tube placed in her chest.
So, here is what we need you all to pray for: Please pray that the tube is inserted without any complications under the anesthesia. Then pray that they are able to collect all the stem cells that are needed in just one day. If they don’t get enough on the first day, then we have to stay another day, and possibly another. Basically, we are here until they collect the amount of healthy stem cells that are needed. So, please pray for God’s favor that they get all the stem cells they need on the first day. That way, we’ll get to go home.
Susana will then begin her 3rd round of chemo as soon as her body is healthy enough to begin. After the next few rounds, they will do surgery and try to remove the tumors as much as possible. Then they do the stem cell transplant (re-infuse the healthy stem cells). Then, they will do radiation therapy for a period of time. And finally, they will do a special antibody therapy.
So…that’s the update. She has been doing great ever since we got to Asheville. The doctors continue to give us good reports stating that she seems to be doing really well.
The good reports are nice to hear. Seeing our little girl run around the hospital play room gives us joy. Watching her play with her big sister brings a smile to our face. But you know what? The moments still hit us at times like a ton of bricks. Our daughter has a stage 4 aggressive cancer. People die from this often. Our little girl is essentially fighting for her life…and we are fighting with her. That reality hits sometimes and it just breaks us. Those are the nights that Maria and I sit on the bathroom floor and weep and cry out to the Lord for healing for our little girl. Those are the moments where our faith is sitting in the midst of the fiery furnace and all we can do is look for the Son of Man who comforts us in that furnace. And when we come out of that furnace, whether for a brief moment or an extended time, our prayer is that we are changed and our faith is proved genuine, which will result in praise, glory, and honor given to Jesus Christ. That is our prayer.
As much as we want to “claim” total healing…we cannot. The bible simply does not give us permission to do so. The only thing that we can claim, and we continue to claim from the bathroom floor as well as from the roof tops, is that God is good. He is faithful. He is loving. He is strong. And He never changes. His grace is enough…even from the bathroom floor…His grace is enough. – Cody