Where we are:
Today is day 41 of a 57 day phase and CJ received the final dose for this phase of the treatment! He did well and is now home relaxing. Praise God! We were told to bring him back Tuesday morning just for counts. I assume the concern is that he could need a transfusion of blood or platelets so they are going to check his blood and see how he tolerates this increased dose. We are praying he tolerates it well and remains free from the common side effects. By the grace of God he has made it this far with no mouth sores or severe side effects to speak of. We are amazed at God's grace towards him and thank you all for your constant prayer covering him. Please continue to pray he suffers no side effects and fervently pray for his organs (particularly his liver) to remain unaffected and healthy.
Day 57 will end this phase on Feb 4th. We are grateful for the 16 days between now and then for CJ's body to process this medicine and recover from any affects. He will then go into 're-induction/re-consolidation' which is somewhat like repeating the beginning phases of his treatments. The doctor mentioned today that this will be his toughest phase and then he will enter long-term maintenance. We have had our eyes set on maintenance knowing he will only need to be seen about once a month and will receive most his chemo meds at home, but when the doctor said this would be his toughest phase coming it jolted me back to reality. The reality is we need to focus on getting him through this next phase strong and well before we set our eyes on maintenance. It will be a 7 week phase that will be "tough" because he will be at the hospital 3 days a week again like he was in the beginning. He will be receiving new medicines, strong medicines, multiple shots, and it will include a hospital overnight and home health chemo. At that time, I will be beseeching you again for prayer to cover us as we pass through that 7 week valley.
Where we've been:
As I sit here tonight and process how far we have come and how far we have to go I find myself feeling as if I am passing through the mountains. We began by entering a dark unknown valley surrounded by many hills. At times it seemed as if the walls of the mountains were narrowing in and the path was dark except for a few steps ahead. At other moments in the trek, there were beautiful rays of light that shone down on us to light our path. Even a rainbow would peek through now and again. Then there would be a break in the valley and we would find ourselves in a wide open expanse enjoying the fresh air, the still waters and the beautiful view. Now, I see the path narrowing and leading us to a new valley. A 'tough' valley. I don't know what challenges and obstacles lie ahead, yet I am comforted that we have the experience of having walked through the previous valleys. We gained strength and knowledge in those valleys that will help us through those ahead. We were comforted in those valleys by a covering of prayer and our Father's constant presence. As the hills loom ahead in the distance and there is a temptation to wonder where our help will come from, I am reminded that "my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth"! There is comfort in the valley. Along with the great psalmist David, I am reminded that even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for He is with me. His rod and his staff will comfort me. I also take comfort in His promises. I was reminded today that even if I forget them, or I do not know them, He does not forget the promises he made towards me. He keeps them regardless of if I know them or not. And regardless of whether a little boy of 9 can fully grasp the promises His Lord has made regarding His life, they are still his promises too and the Lord will not forget. "The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." Psalm 145:13b So we will cling to His promises as we enter the valley. And we will come out victorious shouting praises to our great God and King.
Speaking of promises:
I lift my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you-
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm-
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.