Monday, February 28, 2011

Evening Update

Good Evening!
Thank you for your continued prayers!

Overall, today was a good day.
Elena only slept until 6:30 this morning and has been up ever since!! Even as a toddler, she never was a big napper.

Today, she stayed on the couch ALL day. I guess that equals a nap for her. She woke up with a fever and continued to battle a headache and cough throughout the day. Her appetite was fair. We were allowed to give her Tylenol today and cold medicine. However after tonight, she's no longer allowed Tylenol. If she runs a fever in the morning, we will have to call the clinic. She is holding on to a low grade fever now (99). Keep praying!

Perhaps the best part of the day was when a friend called to check on us and said she was bringing over dinner! In the rain! What a surprise and a blessing! Thank you Karen! You are so wonderful and thoughtful! We are going to bed full and happy.

The best part of Elena's day was seeing one of her favorite teachers from elementary school! Thank you Nancy for bringing home Liv and for buying them vanilla milkshakes!

As we came upstairs to get ready for bed, Elena asked about going to school tomorrow. I told her it depended on if she ran a fever in the morning or not. She said, "I hope not. I don't like missing stuff. I really want to go to school tomorrow." It makes me happy that she loves school so much. She is a fighter and continues to be brave in every situation. I am proud of her resilience and determination.

Hopefully, tonight will be filled with plenty of restful sleep for all of us.

We'll send out another update in the morning.

In Him,
The Tates
"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears own burdens." Psalm 68:19

We're Home!

Thank you for your prayers! They worked! Praise the Lord!

Elena's ER admission and dismissal were quick.
Round trip, including the drive, we were only gone four hours. Her counts are good and the doctors and nurses were great. They think whatever Elena has is something viral.

I just tucked her in her own bed. : )
Her head and throat still hurt, but right now she is fever free.

We are thankful we are home and have the peace of mind knowing her body is strong enough right now to fight whatever is going on.

As we were waiting to check in, there was another cancer patient in front of us. He also had a fever. Sweet little William. As we were leaving, we saw William again. He wasn't leaving, he was headed to the Aflac cancer floor. His counts were not good. He and his mom will be staying at Scottish Rite until his counts recover.

This was only our fourth visit to the ER due to fever. It is another part of dealing with this dreadful disease. We are so thankful to be home and we will be praying for William and his family as we go to bed.

In Him,
The Tates

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Please pray

We are on the way to Scottish Rite with Elena. She is running a fever and has a sore throat. She has been saying that her head was hurting since we got home from church this afternoon, but didn't start running a fever until around 9:00 this evening. Please pray for a quick and easy ER admittance and for her blood count numbers to be good. Everything was fine at her last clinic visit a week and a half ago, but we know how fast things can change. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, and for patience for us as we try to figure out what is causing the fever. It has been a while since our last late night ER visit, and the anxiety level shoots up pretty quickly.

Thank you for boldly asking God for healing for Elena, and for keeping us all in your prayers on a continual basis.

In Him,
The tates

Weekend Wrap-up

We hope everyone had a great weekend! It was a beautiful one!

There's something special about weekends. Just the word, "weekend", can make you smile.
Most of the time it brings much needed rest, relaxation and family time. This weekend, it did just that.

Friday night: always a favorite, pizza and movie night!

Saturday: In the morning, Elena participated in a service project at a local middle school. She made crafts with other children who were attending a Success Saturday event at their own middle school. This particular school holds Success Saturdays twice a month. It is a program geared to provide students with enrichment in Math and Language Arts. Students have three hours of instruction and one hour of activity time.

The afternoon was filled with playing outside with friends and some homework.

Saturday night the girls spent the night with some friends. Brittany and Carly had invited the girls to their house for some sleepover fun! These two sisters from church have been very encouraging to our girls over the years. They are older than our girls and are both bright examples of how someone can truly show God's love through their actions! I pray that our girls not only see and appreciate their kindness, but they learn from them and will model their own lives after these two beautiful examples! This family has had a tremendous impact on our own spiritual lives. In fact, I am a Christian today because of their mom. God has definitely blessed us with their presence in our lives!

Sunday: After church, both girls got some much needed rest. They both actually slept! Then, more homework and family time outside playing soccer and basketball.
It has been a FABULOUS weekend!

Now for the week ahead:
Our biggest prayer request is for Wednesday at 1pm. We will be having a meeting at school for Liv. The teachers and other support staff at the school will have reviewed her test results from the neuropsychologist and will be having a discussion with us about how to proceed from here. Will the learning disabilities identified by the neuropsychologist be recognized by the school?
Will further school testing be needed? What recommendations will the school make?

We want Liv to get the help she needs. We just aren't sure yet what that plan will look like. We need to be patient and above all else trust that God already knows the plan and will reveal it to us!
Pray for all adults involved in the meeting.
Pray that Liv's needs will be properly identified.
Pray for God to be in the details.
Pray for peace of mind for us.

In Him,
The Tates

"I trust in You, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' " Psalm 31:14

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Update

We are glad to say that last week ended happily. Elena felt better on Friday.
Of course it was also Friday night, pizza and movie night, how can it not be happy! It is definitely the one night we can count on to be fun, relaxing family time.

Once again we have been trying to sort out our stress filled homework nights, it appears that Elena has been bringing home "unfinished" class work to do as homework on top of regular homework. Elena doesn't like feeling so far behind the rest of the kids. It is overwhelming to her. We talk about that unfortunately due to the chemo treatments to her brain and the resulting leucoencephalopathy, her pace is slower now and that it's ok to be at a different pace than the other kids in her classes. She knows this. We've talked about it since we found out the results of her MRI and neuropsych testing back in November. But, accepting it and handling it is a different story. It is obviously going to take time for Elena to continue to adjust to her new "normal". It has to be frustrating to know how you once were, what you could once do, and accept your new self and learn new ways of thinking and doing things. Please continue to pray for her. I can't imagine going through what she is going through at the age of 11.

I think that from now on we will have to constantly stay on top of her, make sure she is working at her best pace at school and that the necessary accommodations are being made before things get too overwhelming. Her teachers really are trying to help her. They have been kind, understanding and flexible. I think everything just gets "lost" in the translation between school and home. Today, her teachers started a new homework communication sheet with her. This is a great idea! I think it will definitely help. Elena continues to try so hard to keep up, sometimes to her own detriment. We don't want her hard work and determination to prevent her from getting the rest and exercise she also needs.

As we think about Elena and her struggles, we still can't believe that we will have some of the same battles to fight with Olivia. It's hard to see the big picture right now. There seems to be so much work ahead of us for both girls in terms of their learning.

Please continue to pray for us:

*to have a clear frame of mind

*be able to find the best resources to help our girls

*figure out a reading remediation program to use at home with Liv

*and for us to have the patience and stamina to do it all

Thanks for continuing to check in on us. It has been such a very long journey.

In Him,

The Tates

"The God of all grace..will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1Peter 5:10

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Faith in Action - Week 4

Here's this week's Faith in Action verse and suggestions:

Week 4 - February 20th

"And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching." Titus 2:7

*Ask God to help you share Christ with someone He brings to you, and watch for he opportunity to do that
*Check in on someone who you know is alone
*Invite someone to church
*Leave a church invite card on a restaurant table when you leave your tip
*Leave a bouquet or a flower or some other surprise on a neighbor's doorstep
*Tell a manager when a sales clerk has given you good, pleasant service
*Write a note to a missionary

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Tough Day and a Tough Girl

Yesterday was the first day during Elena's entire treatment process (23 months!) that she went home from school feeling bad. She called from the clinic around lunchtime saying her stomach hurt. She had been nauseous Tuesday night after chemo and took Zofran. Nausea is a side effect from the steroids. She takes Zantac morning and night while taking her monthly round of steroids to help with this problem.

She tried to stay at school but got dizzy in PE, so for the first time she came home to rest. Obviously, she's had days where she's missed school, but she has never left school feeling bad. It breaks my heart to know that she is hurting, while at the same time fills my heart with joy knowing what a fighter she is. I'm proud of her determination, her strong will, her perseverance and the joy she still clings to in the midst of it all.

Last night was tough, please pray today will be better.

In Him,

The Tates

" We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance (perseverance) and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. "
Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Peacefilled Week

Thank you for your prayers! They have helped sustain us through this week.

Sunday night, a dear sweet friend sent us an email that told us when fear and anxiety would try to creep in this week that she was praying for God to guard our hearts and minds and give us peace.
Thank you friend!!

With all the uncertainty of life and appointments, we were not anxious this week.

Thank you Lord, for hearing our prayers!

Today, Elena's appointment went very well. No problems at the clinic and her counts are good. Her white blood count is a little low, but nothing alarmingly.
She had fun visiting with the staff and playing arcade games.

Olivia's appointment on Monday also went well. The neuropsychologist has now worked with both girls and is so very knowledgeable and helpful.

She has diagnosed Liv with a learning disability in reading and a cognitive disorder in relation to attention and executive function (how the brain organizes and generates information, plans and problem solves). The learning disability does not appear to be related to the brain tumor due to the location of Liv's brain tumor, but is neurological in nature. The cognitive disorder is related to the brain tumor location and subsequent surgery.

While all of this was a lot to digest, God has put several people in our lives who will be able to support us as we navigate this new, unknown journey. Please continue to pray for us as we begin to work with Liv's teachers and school to determine how to best meet Liv's academic needs. We will be meeting sometime in March. Please also pray for us to be able to find out how to best support Liv at home. If anyone has been on this road before, we welcome your suggestions and input.

As a parent, it breaks your heart to see your child struggle, but it is comforting to know that this road is yet another that God will be on with us.

In Him,

The Tates

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be toubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Update

Good Afternoon,
Hope you have found time this weekend to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and the sunshine! We have.

Please continue to pray for us and our busy week ahead. I’m a little anxious about Liv’s appointment tomorrow and Elena’s appointment on Wednesday.

I keep reminding myself of the verse and its promise….”Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:9

Here’s this week’s Faith In Action verse and suggestions:

Week 3 - February 13
"Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others."
1 Timothy 6:18

*On Valentine's Day, do something special for someone who would least expect it
*Send $20 or whatever you can afford to someone who is having financial difficulties
*Ask God to help you share Christ with someone He brings to you, and watch for the opportunity to do that
*Try to re-establish a relationship that ended badly
*Ask a waiter, "How can I pray for you today when I give thanks for my food?"
*Write a note of encouragement to someone who needs it
*Do a prayer walk or a prayer ride around your neighborhood or a local school
*Call a school and offer to mentor a child or teen, read to a class or help in whatever way is needed
*Check out some opportunities for service at a non-profit organization

Here are some organizations that we have been involved with.
You may be want to check them out.

Family Promise of Gwinnett
Stop Hunger Now
Camp Sunshine
Lighthouse Family Retreat
Brain Tumor Foundation for Children

Have a blessed week and we will update along way between appointments!
In Him,
The Tates

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Busy Week Ahead

After having both girls on the same schedule at the same school for three years, things now never really seem to settle down with the girls attending different schools and having different schedules. We weren't prepared for all of the juggling or for the quick pace of middle school. It can be pretty exhausting at times.

That being said, we have a particularly busy week ahead and would really appreciate your prayers for God to be in the details.

Here's a look at next week:
Sunday - Elena's weekly appointment with a counselor
Please pray for Elena to be honest and open and to listen.

Monday - Olivia has a 2pm appointment at Egleston with her neuropsychologist to complete the neuropsych testing she began last week and for us to hear the results of the testing
Please pray for the results to show a clear picture of Olivia's strengths and weaknesses and for there to be a clear diagnosis of any disability.

Wednesday - Elena has a 9:30 am appointment at Aflac Scottish Rite for chemo via port today, no sedation
Pray for strong counts and no negative side effects. Elena will also begin her monthly round of steroids today - this is always a difficult week, filled with anxiety and sleeplessness.

Thursday - Elena has occupational therapy every other week from 5-6 pm- of course it happens to be this week. She began this in January and really enjoys going. She likes being challenged and it's good to see her strengthening her muscles and her spirit!

Of course this doesn't include Sunday church, choir and youth or Wednesday church, choir and youth.

Thank you for praying for a smooth and peaceful week.
In Him,
The Tates

“Surely God is my(our) help, the Lord is the one who sustains me(us)” Psalm 54:4

"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts..." Colossians 3:15

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You." Psalm 143:8

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Glimmer of Sunshine

That glimmer of sunshine came in the form of a wonderful weekend.

Mark and I were fortunate enough to be able to go away this past weekend.
Friends offered us their house in the north Ga. mountains for a get away. It was exactly what we needed! We hadn't had a night "away" since our anniversary in June. I told a friend on Monday that I felt so well rested and renewed! Amazing what 48 hours of peace and quiet can do for the body and spirit! It also helped that there was no laundry or cleaning to do : )

We are so very thankful to our friends for this blessing and to my parents for keeping the girls. I think the girls loved the weekend as much as we did!

Now for a Faith in Action update..
Hope you had the opportunity to be intentional about serving Jesus last week.
It was harder than I thought! To me it's "easy" to be nice to others, but it was a challenge to be intentional in my actions. I get caught up in the "busyness" of life and neglect those I love and care about. Does someone really know I am praying for them? Do my actions truly show I care? Maybe this week will be easier...

Sorry this week's Faith in Action suggestions are late!
Here are the suggestions and verse:

Week 2 - February 6
"Dear friends...Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear."
Philippians 2:12

*Ask God to help you share Christ with someone He brings to you and watch for the opportunity to do that
*Smile and speak to at least three strangers or people you don't know well
*Refrain from criticism or saying anything negative to anyone this week, and let it become a habit
*Offer to let the person behind you in the check-out line go in front of you
*Collect food for a food bank or Co-op
*Make a phone call to check on someone
*Don't walk by trash, pick it up and throw it away
*Put a valentine in the mail to someone who is alone or having difficulty

Thanks for your continued prayers and for how you are putting your faith in action by supporting us!
In Him,
The Tates

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect."

Romans 12:2

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looking at Life Differently

Sunday night was the final night of our church's Missions Celebration Weekend. Our church has held this yearly event for several years now. It is a wonderful time to see the local, national and international missionaries we as a church support, hear how they are helping others, and how we can become involved.

This year's event ended a little differently. Instead of completing a life commitment card describing how you would like to serve the Lord, we were given a Faith in Action guide. This guide is designed to help you begin or continue your life in service for Christ. There are suggestions for each week to help you be more intentional in serving Jesus every day.

On the guide is this quote, "It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual or haphazard manner. There will be a need for some intentional commitment and some reorganization in own our lives. But there is nothing that will enrich our lives more than a deeper and clearer perception of God's presence in the routine of daily living." William O. Paulsell

I'm excited about this forty day challenge. I thought that maybe some of you would also like to be encouraged to be more intentional about serving God daily. Each week, I'll post the suggestions from the guide. I'd love to hear your suggestions too!

As our speaker Friday night put it this way, "God gave us his ALL. What are you going to give him?"

Here are this week's suggestions and verse:

Week 1 - January 31
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

*Begin or continue a daily time of Bible reading and prayer. It will make a huge difference in your life and give you a desire to serve Christ daily.
*Call a school and offer to mentor a child or teen, read to a class or help in whatever way is needed
*Return a neighbor's garbage can from the street
*Write a note of appreciation
*Ask God to help you share Christ with someone He brings to you, and watch for an opportunity to do that
*Write something nice about your wait person on the bill
*Round up blankets, coats and warm clothes to donate to a Co-op or a homeless shelter
*Pay for someone's meal behind you at the drive-thru and leave your church's card

I'd love to know your thoughts and what you are doing!