Back on April 13, after two rounds of Hyper-CVAD, our boy's doctor handed us his next round of treatment. An abbreviated (because of the previous two rounds of a different protocol) "Induction Phase". That confusing thick stack of stapled pink pages became our road map. We learned the pattern, the drugs, the side-effects. It was changed, altered, delayed - countless times over the next eight weeks (weeks longer than it originally called for), but today?
We crossed that very last chemo treatment off the pink list. The first phase (of three) is done.
This is a huge milestone for all of us. Obviously.
But the amazing part is that our boy has been WELL, lately. He had a rough ROUGH April and first of May. Several ER visits, one emergency surgery and three admissions for hospital stays. But these last few weeks he's been better than we could have imagined! We are so thankful.
Our idea of "well" has changed, obviously. The round-the-clock nausea meds, the regular blood transfusions, the vomiting, and shiny bald head with it's occasional fuzz...
That's really, really good around here.
I know we have more rough seasons ahead. But we are learning every day to enjoy the good moments. The times when he DOES feel like eating, or visiting with friends, or even going for a SWIM (thanks to a skin infection that led to having his PICC line pulled).
As for the other troops, one just returned from Mexico, another from Chicago, and we sent one off to Africa for two weeks. The Coach is re-doing the garage - paint, shelving and floor. We finished cleaning and organizing the attic last week, while Little Man had basketball camp. I'm back at bootcamp in the mornings, since it's earlier to beat the heat and our boy is usually still asleep. The other big boys have started their summer jobs and the girls are working at VBS while Little Man attends this week. Daughter (#2) is back to her nanny job - at least when she's not in Africa.
Life almost feels normal.
But then again, normal has changed so much here. Cancer is a part of our daily lives with its treatments, medications, and nasty side effects.
But so is laughing and teasing each other and working hard side by side.
I remember in those early days after diagnosis, a couple of precious friends who have walked much much harder roads than I, told me that the sweet fellowship with Jesus would come through the pain. I scoffed. I didn't want the pain so much that I was willing to risk the deepened fellowship, as well.
Of course. I couldn't imagine my boy's suffering bringing any good. How could it?
OH BUT IT HAS.
I've watched him do this WELL. Not in his own strength, but leaning hard on the Lord and finding Him sufficient. It's grown my faith in leaps and bounds to see him walking so faithfully. To see how he's a picture of God's grace to his siblings and cousins and friends and doctors and nurses and every one he meets.
The Coach and I have shared more heart-ache than I could have imagined, but we've also found a new, sweet closeness that I can't think about without tears of thankfulness. To walk through the hard of life and be loved so well. How could I not thank the Lord for that?
I've watched the troops in their own sadness and grief and fear. Sat with them as they've cried and been frustrated with so much change and pain and loss. I've been blessed to see them find our Heavenly Father sufficient. Each of them, in their need for answers and comfort and assurance, seeking the Lord on their own and finding Him always there.
Many of you have heard the Coach tell how faithful God has been to our family. And some of you have heard our boy say that the most important thing is knowing God and trusting Him. I'm in awe of God's goodness to us.
On Tuesday, one week from today, we start the 6 week interim phase of the treatment protocol. Lots more chemo. And in a month or so, after more scans and biopsies and tests, we may know if we are looking at maintenance treatment... or a bone marrow transplant.
I'm not sure how we'll do it. Just like I wasn't sure over 4 months ago how we'd do it.
But I know God will still be faithful. Tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year.
He never changes and we can trust Him. Always.
Thank you all for your precious prayers and for continuing to intercede for our boy. Thank you for feeding us, folding laundry, running errands, helping with kids, sending the sweetest notes and cards and gifts. It takes my breath away to think of HOW MUCH HELP you've given us. I would never be able to thank all of you enough. I pray that your eternal reward will be great. The Lord sees your hearts and your love. It matters. It's lessened the burden for us and given us such comfort. There really aren't words.
I'm thankful today that we are further along in this journey. Remembering God's faithfulness all of the way. He'll be faithful tomorrow, too. Whatever we have ahead of us, we can continue to trust Him in it.