Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All is Well!

We are still happy to be home and happy Elena is bouncing back from surgery!
Yesterday was a do nothing kind of day.

We all slept in and got some much needed rest.
After going to Sonic for lunch, we came home and read and played games.

Elena's chest and back are a little sore, but other than that all is well.
Praise God!

Today we are venturing out for a little back-to-school shopping.

Thank you for the prayers!

In Him,

The Tates

"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're Home!!

We are so very grateful for all of the prayers lifted up today on our behalf!
We are so happy to say that we are home!! Thank you Lord!!

After continuing to monitor Elena at the hospital, her nurse felt comfortable enough to send her home, even though she wasn't feeling better. We were all in agreement that it would be better to feel bad at home instead of at the hospital. So home we went!!

Elena is now resting on the couch and would like to eat some mashed potatoes later : )

Even though today did not goes as planned, we were reminded, "the Lord is near." Philippians 4:5
We can bring every worry and concern in our heart to Him.
Because He is near, we do not need to be anxious about anything.
Because He is near, we can have peace.
Because He is near, our hearts and minds can be renewed.

While fretting, reading scripture, and reminding myself that the Lord really was near, I thought of a song a dear sweet friend told me about, At Your Feet by Casting Crowns. I had it with me and quickly began to listen to it. "Here at Your feet, I lay this day down. Not in my strength, but in Yours, I've found all I need. You're all I need." As my friend reminded me, it really is the best place to be, at His feet!

Thank you for continuing to follow our journey!
With much love and thankfulness tonight,

The Tates

The necklace we gave to Elena this morning.

Happy and ready to go!
This was during the first hour : )

Really struggling, not so sure now.
The quick turn of events and sudden fast pace of it all
really threw us for a loop!

Liv eating a slushie, patiently waiting for Elena to wake up.
Little did we know what the next hours would bring.

Not feeling too good

Love this one!
The ice pack wouldn't stay up without someone holding it.

The girls on the way home.
My view from the front seat....I felt the same way!

Treats were waiting for us both inside the house and out!
Here's the outside treat!

Second update....

Elena woke up about 2:00. She has had a headache and been nauseous since then.
Her nurse has tried a number of things to help her, including giving her a second bag of fluids. At 3:15, she was given an antinausea medicine. Her vitals continue to be good.
Still unsure of when we will be able to go home....

Today has been much more emotional that we ever thought it would be!
It has been a long day....and it's not over yet....
Praying we will make it home before bedtime!

Olivia has been a wonderful sister! Holding Elena's icepack on her head and rubbing her hand.

Please don't stop praying!
In Him,
The Tates

Afternoon Update

Elena is now back in the room with us. She was teary eyed at first, but is now sleeping peacefully. Her first set of vitals were good. Not sure how long it will be before we can go home....
We are breathing easier now and praising God for a successful surgery!

Please continue to pray for:
Elena to not be anxious or scared when she wakes up
Elena to be able to go home as soon as possible
Elena to not have any adverse effects from the anesthesia
Elena to not be in any pain
for us to be patient in this period of waiting...

In Him,
The Tates

"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 minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Surgery Update

Good Afternoon!

We thought we'd have a nice leisurely wait this morning before Elena's actual surgery....that quickly changed when within 20 minutes after check-in, the nurse informed us that Elena's surgery time was moved up. We were now in the fast lane and didn't really want to be there. Our little room was bustling with activity. Everyone was ready except us!! Within 40 minutes, we were meeting the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the OR nurse, signing consents, verifying medication info, changing Elena into a gown, and Elena was taking sleepy medicine!! It was nonstop and a little overwhelming. By 11:15, Elena was in surgery. We had to leave her while she was crying : (
Since then, the surgeon has told us that all went well and that she was receiving her final chemo treatment via a lumbar puncture. We now have Elena's port in a jar and are patiently awaiting her arrival.
She should be here any minute now!

Thanks for being with us in prayer!
In Him,
The Tates

"....the Lord is near." Philippians 4:5

Friday, July 22, 2011

Surgery Plans on Monday

On Monday, July 25th, Elena will have surgery to remove her port!!
We still can't believe this day is here! This is such a BIG day!!
The end is actually here.

This is the first email we sent out after Elena was diagnosed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Evening All,
Where do I begin....those of you hearing this for the first time, please forgive has been a whirlwind 30 hours! Praise the Lord that we are in his hands....Yesterday at 3:30pm, Elena was diagnosed with leukemia. We found out this afternoon that it is "the good kind" of leukemia to have, it is called ALL. It is highly treatable and curable. We were admitted to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital (same as Liv) last night. Today, has been a day of tests and figuring out exactly what is going on in her precious body. She had to have a blood transfusion today and an EKG.
Tomorrow morning, she will have a platelet transfusion. At 1pm, she is scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, spinal chemo, and a port will be inserted and she will have chemo through the port as well. All of this will be done at the same time while she is sedated. Prayers for Elena to not be anxious, tense or scared. We did tell Elena her diagnosis this morning, she was upset and scared. She asked about chemo and losing her hair. Ok, deep breath...looking ahead....if all goes well after tomorrow, no bad side effects, no bad reactions to the drugs, we may possibly go home Saturday. Looking way ahead...a doctor mapped out her treatment plan for us today....of course this may change and vary....we are looking at chemo every week for the next six months, and chemo once a month for two to two and half years. Six to ten months out , she should start to feel "normal" again and her hair should start growing back. This is when we would enter the "maintenance phase".
By the grace of God, we are all doing well. Please pray for Elena's pain to be well controlled, she is still experiencing severe back pain, for God to grant her the strength and courage to get up and move when she needs to, for her to tolerate the chemo, and for it to do its job. We are so thankful for each and every one of you and that once again you are storming heaven with prayers for us.

With thankful hearts,
Much love, Christy and Mark

Psalm 33: 20-22
"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Most of you know that that course of treatment did change and Elena's body did not respond to treatment as quickly as it should. She was then moved to the high risk protocol map and had to repeat the first six months of treatment. She did not enter the maintenance phase of treatment until August 2010.

Here's part of another email update from April 8, 2009:

Good Afternoon Mighty Prayer Warriors!!!
GOD is so GOOD!! Elena has come out of a successful surgery to install her port and her other procedures and is resting comfortably in her room. The port is working as it should and things are progressing nicely. We will know more about how she is feeling when she wakes up later this evening.
We are in awe at the countless emails we have received, some from as far away as Switzerland and Aruba : ) Thanks Renee, Tim, Rebecca , and Taylor!! We told Elena that people around the world were praying for her.
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

We had no idea then just how long and difficult the road would be! Here, 28 months later, this part of the journey is ending.

We will head to Scottish Rite at 9:00 on Monday morning. Elena has an arrival time of 10 am and surgery is scheduled for noon. This means it will be popsicles for breakfast at the Tate house that morning : )
Elena will also receive her final chemo treatment to her brain and spine via a lumbar puncture at this time.

Please pray for:
*Elena to not be tense, anxious or scared
*Dr. Bussey to not experience any complications during the surgery
*Elena's incision to heal well
*no negative side effects from the final lumbar puncture
*Elena to have no pain or discomfort following the two procedures

Thank you for traveling this road with us and for being mighty prayer warriors!
In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Friday, July 15, 2011

Snapshots of Today's Visit

Here are a few pictures from Elena's clinic visit today:

This is Elena's chart.
They do not use file folders here!

It is a great visual reminder.

Elena has endured so much over the past 27 months.

Can you believe it!?
The final time Elena's port will be accessed.

We can't!

Here it is...the actual poke.

Sweet Nurse Kim giving Elena chemo in her port for the very last time.

Elena and Kim
She's the best!

Our survivor!
We are so happy to have reached this milestone!

Elena, we are so proud of you!

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes today!
It has been a good day, Lord. Yes, a very good day!

In Him,

The Tates

"But now, this is what the Lord says-
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.
For I am the Lord, your God,
The holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:1-5

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Countdown is On!

We can't believe it.
After 27 months, we are nearing the end of Elena's treatment.
Here's a time line of the events:

*Tomorrow, Friday, June 15th at 11am - Elena will receive her last chemo treatment via her port. Her final round of steroids also begins on this day!

*Monday, June 18th at 8:15 am - Elena will have a pre-op appointment

*Monday, July 25th - Elena will have surgery to remove her port as well as her final chemo treatment to her brain and spine via a lumbar puncture.
This will be an outpatient procedure at Scottish Rite.

*Wednesday, August 3rd, Elena will take her final chemo pill!!!
In the evening, one hour after eating, just like she has been doing for the past 347 days!Although the past two years have been challenging, we have been richly blessed with amazing support

We are excited to share this good news with you! It's hard to believe it is here! Although the past two years have been challenging, we have been richly blessed with amazing support from our dear friends, family, church and even strangers. Our lives have been forever changed, but God has been in the details and He continues to bless us every day.

Please pray for God to continue to be in the details of these final events in Elena's treatment.

In Him,
The Tates

"For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise." Psalm 96:4

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer in Louisiana

We have been enjoying our days here since our trip to Louisiana. Our days have been filled with going to the pool, being with friends, reading, playing games, baking treats, staying up late, and sleeping in. We LOVE summertime!

Our trip home was jam packed with family fun. So jam packed, I created another Smilebox!
Hope you enjoy just a few of the images from the trip.

In Him,
The Tates

"I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind."
Proverbs 9: 30-31
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:1

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Fun

Sorry it has been SO long between posts!

It has been a jam packed summer filled with lots of traveling and fun.
We just returned from Louisiana less than a week ago. We had a wonderful time visiting all of our family and eating really great food!
We are all well and ready to enjoy the last few weeks of summer here in Georgia.

Elena left yesterday for her first TLC Camp with the youth at our church. TLC stands for Teens Love Christ. I believe this is the 21st year of the camp. Elena was a little nervous since this was her first time going to youth camp. Please join us in praying for her to experience the love of God in a mighty way over the next three days.

We would also like for you to pray for our friend Chuck. He and his family are dear friends. Chuck was diagnosed yesterday with leukemia. Chuck is an amazing example of a godly husband, father and friend. We are still stunned that this family who has been with us through both of Liv's surgeries and Elena's diagnosis and treatment are now experiencing the same thing. Over the years they have helped us through some really hard days, nights, and storms. Please pray for Chuck's complete healing, and for strength and peace that passes all understanding for this family.

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 troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27