Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Reality of Childhood Cancer

As the weekend is ending, we are happy to say that despite the rain, our weekend was filled with much sunshine!! We enjoyed great love, rest and relaxation. Just what we all needed! Thank you Lord! God's love was so evident through the love and actions of friends last week and into the weekend. Thank you God for making your love shine through the love of others!

We have also been thinking...with the anniversary of Olivia's and Elena's diagnoses coming up, the reality of childhood cancer seems to be on our minds more than ever. As you may know, we have experienced many highs and lows over the last seven years. However, every week as we are facing our own battles, we are hearing about the battles of those we have met on this road. Just in the last 16 days, one friend has suffered her third relapse, another friend is undergoing a series of tests to completely rule out a possible relapse and another child in our own neighborhood was diagnosed with leukemia.

A friend recently posted on her daughter's blog her own thoughts about the realities of childhood cancer. I asked her if I could share what she wrote. Here it is:

"The ups and downs of childhood cancer are so extreme. The good news we’ve heard of this week deserves great celebration and joy! The bad news brings tears and reminds me that we are not in heaven yet. It also reminds me to pray even harder for these kids, and that we all need to keep working towards finding a cure! It will motivate me to find ways to raise money and help this important cause.

I know this isn’t the kind of post you want to read when you come to Sarah’s blog. I wish it could have stopped with the good news! I share this to ask you all to pray hard for these kids….pray for those finishing treatment to remain cancer free, for God to bring healing to those beginning or re-entering treatment, for God to guide the doctors and nurses caring for these precious kids. I also hope this post encourages you to think about what you could do to help the world of childhood cancer. Remember – 46 kids EVERY day will be diagnosed with cancer and 7 of those will not make it. Cancer is the number one cause of disease related death in our children. The only thing that kills more children than cancer is accidents."

Thank you Heather for allowing me to share your words!!

You can follow Sarah's journey at

In case you are now thinking...what can I do?

Heather came up with some ideas. I also added to her list.

  • donate time and/or money to CURE Childhood Cancer. They raise money specifically for childhood cancer research.
  • donate time and/or money to other organizations that support families going through childhood cancer – such as:
  • Camp Sunshine -
  • Jay’s Hope Foundation -
  • Lighthouse Family Retreat -
  • Brain Tumor Foundation for Children -
  • CURE Childhood Cancer -
  • give blood and platelets – lots of children going through treatment need these! Over the last two years, Elena has had to receive blood 12 times and platelets 6 times
  • volunteer at a local children’s hospital
  • check out Lauren’s Run at to see about participating in that on May 1st
  • encourage your place of business to get involved in raising money and awareness
  • raise awareness
  • keep praying!!!!
Thank you for your prayers not only for us but for every child and family having to make this journey!
In Him,
The Tates

"Against all hope, in hope we believe." Romans 4:18

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts on Suffering

Wednesday, a friend shared the following passage on her daughter's CarePages site.

It comes from a daily devotional book, Streams in the Desert. We also happen to have the same devotion book. We could definitely relate to the message.

“The most difficult ingredient of suffering is often TIME. A short, sharp pain is easily endured, but when a sorrow drags on its long and weary way year after monotonous year, returning day after day with the same dull routine of hopeless agony, the heart loses its strength. Without the grace of God, the heart is sure to sink into dismal despair."

The passage goes on to say....

"Today we may be unable to see the final outcome of the beautiful plan that God has hidden "in the shadow of his hand" (Isaiah 49:2). It may be concealed for a very long time, but our faith may rest in the assurance that God is seated on his throne. Because of this assurance, we can calmly await the time when, in heavenly delight, we will say, "All things (have) work(ed) together for good" (Romans 8:28)....There is a reason behind every lesson, and when we are ready, our deliverance will definitely come....Don't steal tomorrow from God's hands. Give Him time to speak to you and reveal His will."

Yesterday, I told a friend that I often have such a hard time waiting and listening. I always need to be reminded that peace can only come from God alone and that only God knows the plan. This devotion was that reminder.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

In Him,
The Tates

The End of Another Week

It seems like it has been forever since we posted an update!

Last weekend was a dark valley sort of weekend, but I'm happy to say that this week the sunshine has been brought back into our lives. Thanks to friends for unexpected gifts and for sharing devotions!

This week turned out to be quite busy. Filled with homework, studying, a little playing, a visit to a learning center that helps kids with learning difficulties, and scheduling upcoming doctor appointments for both girls.

I don't think we have ever been SO ready for Friday to come. We pray the weekend brings with it more 'sunshine' for our family in the form of much needed rest, laughter and togetherness!

Thanks for continuing to follow our journey and for your prayers.

In Him,
The Tates

"(Our) hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What a Week

We knew going in to this week that it would be one with the potential for many stressful nights and anxious moments. We also had the comfort of knowing that God would see us through it no matter what. We just had to make sure that we rested upon that knowledge as we sought to help our girls gain the scholarly knowledge that they would need to be successful at school. This proved to be a wonderful arrangement for us. While we did encounter some late nights and short tempers, they were overshadowed by the love and caring and goodness that comes from being a family.

We also found out that some of the many facts and figures that were flying around all week actually stuck. Elena learned today that she scored a 96% on her math interim, which was not only the highest grade in her class, but her entire team! (that's four classes!) We are so proud of her! And to think that two nights ago she was genuinely concerned about what would happen if she failed this test. GOD is GOOD!! While we don't know all of the results from all of the tests recently taken, we do know, as Jesus says to us in Luke, that there is no end to the things we can do with faith as small as a mustard seed. We can count on God to give us what we need even when we are not sure of what that is, because He is always sure!

Thank you for continuing to lift our family up in your prayers and for surrounding us with your love!

In Him,
The Tates

" If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Monday, March 14, 2011

Clinic Update

Today, Elena's counts were fabulous! She had a great clinic visit, all is well.
Thank you Lord for these answered prayers!

Please continue to pray this week:

for minimal side effects from today's chemo and the steroids, and for us to make it through end of nine weeks interim exams.

Elena had one test today, two tests tomorrow, two tests Wednesday and one test Thursday.
Olivia has one test Thursday and one test Friday.

While all is looking good here at the Tate house, our hearts are very heavy for another family in our neighborhood. A little eight year old girl, Abby, was diagnosed with leukemia on Friday. She was admitted into the hospital today where she has undergone a series of tests and she will have surgery in the morning for her port to be put in.
Last night 75 men, women and children gathered to pray outside of this family's home. It was an amazing sight! You could feel God's presence and hear His voice. We were blessed to be able to visit with the family. It was special to see Elena and Olivia with Abby. Today after Elena's appointment, she was able to deliver a bag of goodies and some balloons to Abby in her hospital room.

Please lift up this family as their journey is just beginning. Thank you!

In Him,
The Tates

"I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you, I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Beautiful Weekend

We are enjoying beautiful spring weather this weekend. Yesterday, we went on a hike and picnic. We went to the same place we went last October.
This time it was all four of us! : )

Enjoy the pics!

Now for the week ahead....
Elena has a clinic visit tomorrow at 2:30pm
She will receive chemo via her port and begin her monthly round of steroids. She will continue to take the other two types oral chemo at home as usual.
Please pray for strong counts and no complications.

Also, please pray for Elena to be able to focus this week at school.
It is the end of the nine weeks and Elena has six tests in the next four days. In the past, this has been a very stressful time for her (and us!).
Please pray that the side effects from chemo and the steroids will not interfere with her ability to study and do well on all of her tests.
She also has her regular occupational therapy appointment from 5-6pm on Thursday night.

It's hard to believe that we are quickly approaching the two year anniversary of Elena's diagnosis and the seven year anniversary of Liv's original brain tumor diagnosis. April 6th.
It definitely makes you stop, think, reflect and see God's face and blessings.

We are so happy that after Elena's appointment tomorrow, she will only have FOUR more appointments! We will only have five more monthly treatment calendars to complete!

Below is a picture of the medicine filled tin that sits on our kitchen counter, along with Elena's pill box and current treatment calendar. We can't wait for that space to be empty!!

Wishing you a peace-filled week!

In HIm,
The Tates

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Quiet Weekend

It was a great cold, rainy weekend. Nice and quiet. Just what we needed! One of the best things in the world is snuggling up on the couch together!
We filled our weekend with movies, baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, playing inside with friends and playing the wii.

We also have a quiet week ahead - no appointments or meetings!
Thanks for being with us and for your continued prayers!

In Him,

The Tates

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Good Day

Thank you for your prayers today!
Our meeting at school for Liv went very well.
We're not sure if everyone agreed with the learning disabilities identified by the neuropsychologist, but everyone did agree that Liv needs extra support in reading and perhaps other areas. They agreed that it would be appropriate to refer Liv for special education services at school. They also plan on doing further testing. In the coming weeks, a few different types of tests will be completed. They assured us that a clear education plan would be put into place before the end of this school year. Other meetings about the specifics of this plan will take place later this month or next.

We know for the remainder of this year she will continue to receive wonderful instruction on her level, as well as be challenged and encouraged by her two exceptional teachers. They know her so well. They know her likes and dislikes, her strengths and her weaknesses. They also know we need to look at doing something different and more in depth with Liv in terms of her reading instruction.

We also talked about some different types of activities we can do at home to help fill in the gaps with Liv. It will be fun having some new things to do at home and having a routine to follow at night.

We are thankful that God knows the plan and are trusting in HIm to continue to lead the way.
Thank you for continuing to lift our family up!

In Him,
The Tates

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:1

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prayer Request for Tomorrow

This is just a reminder from our post on Sunday.

Tomorrow is our 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.
We wonder....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? How quickly will a plan be put in place?

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!
Please pray with 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.

Thank you in advance for your prayers!
In Him,
The Tates

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

His Mercies are New Every Morning!

Just like our verse on the side says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

Today is a new day! We were all sleeping by 8:30-8:45 last night and this morning Elena woke up fever free! Praise the Lord! We all feel rested and ready for work and school.

Thank you for your prayers. Please pray for Elena's cold or sinus troubles to go away. We are down to just a stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing this morning.

Have a glorious day!
In Him,
The Tates