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