Thursday, May 15, 2014

Catching Up

I'm so sorry that I haven't updated the blog like I promised; sickness came through the house, which meant that I didn't know what day of the week it was, missed Esther's updates on Facebook and was out of the loop for a bit. I'll bring you up to speed on the past week as chronicled via Esther's posts on Facebook:

Friday, May 9:
"we wait until she is asleep before we break down. we never show our doubt. we make her believe it will be okay. and even when our hearts can't take it, we wear that smile because that's all the guarantee she needs to know that everything's gonna be alright. that's how we beat cancer--one miraculous smile at a time. prayers are great too.

we will beat you [cancer] or die trying."

Saturday, May 10:
"dropping tears like crazy tonight for all the babies fighting cancer. and mine too.

held ava close today as she toughed out some major stomach cramps from a bug that's been going around. finally couldn't stand it anymore and started to cry with her. and that's when she saved the day again.

ava:(stroking my hair) don't cry mama. i'm okay. i'm okay.
me: i feel so sad when you are hurting. i'm sorry you feel so lonely through this whole thing. i wish i could take the pain away.
ava: it's okay, mama. cuddling with you makes me feel better.

and then she proceeded to ask me a whole bunch of questions probably to distract me from crying. "what makes you happy? what makes you sad? what makes you scared? what makes you nervous? what makes you excited?" and on and on. then she asked me if i liked my mother's day card. she said she picked it because the rainbows on the card reminded her of me--beautiful and colorful. i asked her if i was colorful because of my freckles and she nodded. the laughter bubbled up past my tears.

she is wiser than I am, smarter than I am, more lovely than I am, and more godly than I am. i'm honored to call her my daughter. i'm going to celebrate her today and every day."

Sunday, May 11 (Mother's Day):
"To my daughters,
Because of you, I am me. Thank you for giving me the gift of being called mama. If I could do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. The chocolate you gave me today was sweet but the real gift is you.
With all of me,

Monday, May 12:
Despite Ava having severe stomach cramping/diarrhea from a stomach bug passing through the family, Ava was able to have her central port surgically placed as scheduled and it was successful. This gives Ava more freedom and mobility since there is no IV line in her arm and a central port also no IV line care for Mike & Esther. This also allows any "harsher" chemo agents to be administered with less trauma to surrounding tissues. Ava also received chemo in her spine.

However, around midnight, Ava spiked a fever:
"Barreling toward hospital for a fever of 102. Asking for prayers that the stomach flu didn't get more serious or that her port surgery didn't introduce bacteria. Mike sick with fever too and gwen will wake up to no parents and sibling again this week. Feeling like things are out of control but I know that prayer is powerful.

James 5:13-14 NLT
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord."

Tuesday, May 13: (No chemo given as originally scheduled)
"Thank you SO much for your prayers! They were powerful and effective!

We arrived at Lurie's around midnight last night with a fever of 102 degrees. Within an hour of receiving just one dose of tylenol, Ava's fever broke and her labs came back with great blood counts. Her neutrophils (the blood cells that fight infection) were DOUBLED since her counts from yesterday. In fact, the doctors were surprised at how high her numbers were. We were officially discharged at 3:00 am but needed to be back at Lurie's by 7:30 am for chemo so they let us sleep in the ER room.

In the morning, Ava woke up with severe stomach pain and pain near the operation site but NO FEVER! We got more labs drawn today and 2 x-rays that didn't show anything alarming. We won't get chemo today but we won't have to be admitted either. Ava is in great spirits after her pain medication and we'll be heading home soon to get some rest. We believe 100% that you all were a part of her healing and we thank you for faithfully lifting us up when we were too weak to do it all by ourselves."

Overnight, Ava spikes another fever of 102 and goes back to the hospital. Around 5am her fever broke and she is discharged. Her ANC (neutrophils) went down to 3000. It's Wednesday.

Thursday, May 15:
The family is all home now. Mike had some fevers yesterday as the stomach bug seemed to have gotten to him (it passed through all Lee members in some form). He is feeling better today; thank you for any further prayers for a full and quick recovery!

Ava and Gwen have been enjoying their time at home! I'll let Esther share more about that when she gets a chance.

Ava will continue to receive chemo every Tuesday over the next couple months. She is more likely to become neutropenic this round (decreased neutrophils and therefore decreased infection-fighting ability), so your continued prayers are an incredible blessing.

We keep saying it, but it bears repeating. Thank you for your faithful prayers. Thank you for your encouraging notes, messages, comments and countless thoughts that don't even get mentioned. Thank you for walking this road with the Lee family. Thank you for checking the blog (even when the updates aren't as timely or frequent). THANK YOU for standing alongside them in faith. May the Lord continually increase our faith in Him, for He is an amazing God!

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