Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

During this season of Christmas, many things went undone. We tried to focus on the positives... what we could do, what we believe, and on one another. Today, we have been trying to figure out what to say in a Christmas post - - how to expresses the joy we have in the midst of a year of pain; how to wish each of you, near and far, a very Merry Christmas.

We found the words we were searching for in today's post by Emily Freeman at "Chatting at the Sky".

"May your Christmas be filled with laughter. As you miss those who can’t be with you, as you feel the truth of where you are right now, as you move through the packing and the cooking and the coming together, may the miracle of Christmas carry a lightness into the center of your being.

The world is broken, but Christ has come. Light wins. Hope lives. And the souls of the saints breathe a sigh of sweet relief."


We miss who we can't be with. We feel the truth of where we are now - sometimes it is oh so painful, sometimes it is oh so wonderful. We are cooking and wrapping. We are thankful that the four of us are together in this wonderful place called 'home'. We thank God for the miracle of Christmas for it brings us joy, peace, light, love, grace, and ever-lasting life. We are broken, but we are not alone. Christ is here! 

We wish you blessings today and every day!
Enjoy your Christmas!

In Him,
The Tates

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Friday, December 21, 2012

What a Day!

 
What a day! One we were so happy to see!
After nine long months,
Elena had her central line removed today!
No more painful dressing changes!
No more flushing the lines at home!
In two short days, showers can start again! YAY!

We thank God that Elena has never had an infection with her line, that her line functioned well for most of the time, and that this line saved her from countless needle pokes! We also thank God that she will be able to put this part of her journey behind her!
 
 Our reminder to flush Elena's lines

  Where Elena's line enters her chest and
then goes through a vein to her heart
 
 How the nurses are able to access Elena's line
 
 Our chest of medical supplies
needed to care for Elena's lines

 Flushing Elena's lines at home for the last time!
 
 Elena this morning - feeling no pain - ready for surgery!

 Elena after surgery - feeling good!

Elena with our friend Erin
She is three years post BMT!
Erin was one of many at CHOA
who took great care of Elena today
 
 NO more reminders needed! Woo hoo!
 
Elena happy to be home
with another souvenir from the hospital
 
Thank you for praying for this day!
 

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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surgery Tomorrow

Elena's clinic visit went well again on Wednesday.  All of her counts went up.  Praise God!  That helped reassure us and the doctors in making the decision not to do a BMA with the CVL removal surgery.  The procedure is scheduled for 8:00 Friday morning with an arrival time of 6am.  Please pray for safe travels to the hospital. 

We are all very excited for the surgery to take place tomorrow, especially Elena.  She said tonight that it is going to feel weird without her line.  Imagine getting so used to something so out of the ordinary that when things get back to normal, it feels weird!  Please pray for her to feel normal again real soon.

Please also pray:

- for peace and patience in the waiting

- that God will guide the doctor's hands in the removal and that all will go smoothly

- that Elena will heal quickly

Thank you in advance for covering us in prayer once again!

In Him,
The Tates



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Update

Elena's pre-op appointment went well today.  We met with the surgeon who will be removing her central line on Friday.  He explained the procedure to Elena and asked her if she had any questions.  Her only one was, "when can I take a shower?"  He laughed and told her soon.

Elena told us after the visit that it wasn't as bad as she thought it was going to be.  It has got to be hard on her not knowing what to expect.  She has said all along that she just wants it to be Friday already so all of this will be over! 

Not yet, however.  Tomorrow brings with it yet another visit to the clinic for more lab work and testing.  The doctors are being very thorough in making sure that everything is on track for Elena's line removal surgery and we are grateful.  She, however, is getting a little frustrated with these seemingly endless checks and re-checks. 

Speaking of, we received a call this afternoon from day surgery at Scottish Rite wanting to set up a pre-anesthesia appointment for Elena for Thursday.  With this being her only day without a scheduled appointment, combined with the fact that she has already had her share of procedures requiring anesthesia, we politely asked if this visit was absolutely necessary.  They said that they will get back to us.  Hopefully it will only be to tell us what time to arrive on Friday morning. :) 

Please pray for Elena to have the patience and stamina needed to endure these next several days.  Pray for good lab results and answers to questions tomorrow.  Pray for God's hand to be in all of the details and for complete and total healing for Elena.

Praying and Believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord."  Psalm 31:24

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Update

Today Elena had her regular BMT clinic visit at Egleston.

Big praises that the day did indeed go smoothly.  Elena said today went by more quickly than she thought it would.  That's always a great thing! 

Here's a recap of today: Elena did have her pentamine breathing treatment that is designed to help prevent pneumonia.  Her counts were up and down.  Her red cells and platelets went up, but her white cells and ANC went down. She did not have the adrenal gland test, so, unfortunately, they want Elena to return to the BMT clinic on Wednesday for counts and to have this test.  Elena is not happy about adding a FOURTH appointment to this week.  We do not have any news about her blood chemistry results yet, we should know more on Wednesday.


One thing that did come up at today's appointment that we weren't expecting was being asked if we wanted Elena to have a bone marrow aspirate on Friday while sedated for her line removal surgery.  We thought that since Elena's latest chimerism test results showed 100% donor cells, she was not going to have a BMA.  We decided to put off making this decision until we see what Elena's counts are on Wednesday.
Please pray for God to grant both the doctors and ourselves the wisdom in making the right decision whether to have a BMA on Friday or not.  Please pray that what decision needs to be made is clear and that we have peace in the decision made.

Tomorrow Elena has to be at Scottish Rite for her 10am pre-op appointment.
Please pray that nothing will prevent Elena from having her central line removed on Friday.

Thank you for continuing to lift our family up in prayer!  Thank you for your notes of encouragement!

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Week Ahead

Since hearing the great news of Elena's latest chimerism test results, we have been trying to let go of the seemingly constant worry and concern and simply enjoy each day. While there is still so much that we can't do, we can enjoy playing games together, watching movies, decorating for Christmas, baking cookies, and thanking God for each new day.

Elena has a busy week ahead. 

Tomorrow, she has her regular BMT clinic visit at Egleston.  She will also go to the pulmonary lab for a monthly breathing treatment designed to help prevent pneumonia. We are unsure if she will have the adrenal gland test tomorrow or not.  On Friday, there was confusion about whether or not it had been schedule.

Please pray that Elena's counts will have risen, that the day goes by smoothly with no unnecessary waiting, and that all lab and blood chemistry results will be favorable.

On Tuesday, Elena will be at Scottish Rite for a pre-op appointment.  Yes, pre-op!  Elena will be having surgery this Friday to remove her central line!!  She is so happy and ready to have her line out!! No more painful dressing changes! No more itching from the tape! No more flushing the lines at home! Showers can start again!

Elena's line has been in for nine months. We thank God that Elena has never had an infection with her line, that her line functioned well most of the time, and that this line saved her countless needle pokes! We also thank God that she will be able to put this part of her journey behind her!

We will keep you updated after each appointment this week and post prayer requests for Friday's surgery.

In between these appointments in Elena's life, Liv will be performing with her school chorus on Tuesday night.  Unfortunately, Elena and one of us will not be able to attend. Liv will also be counting down the last three days of school before beginning Christmas vacation. We are all already for some much needed rest and family time. Time to focus on one another and the birth of our Savior.

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!

In Him,
The Tates

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Monday, December 10, 2012

No More Waiting

Dr. Q just called - - chimerism test results are in - -
100% DONOR CELLS!!

Hallelujah!
Praising God for this gift!
We are overflowing with thankfulness and joy!!

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him." Psalm 28:7

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Waiting...

Today was another long clinic appointment day.

Tonight we are wishing we had more good news to share than not so good news.

Focusing on the good - Elena's kidney function tests were stable and one slightly improved, so it looks like we are on track to have Elena's central line removed before Christmas. That would be a huge praise!!

All other news from today's visit - not so good.
First, all of Elena's counts dropped. What does this mean? We aren't sure yet.  A one time dip in counts would not be a big concern.  If this is the beginning of a downward tread, then it would be concerning.

So, when you combine this news with a chimerism test showing less than 100% donor cells - - could we possibly be dealing with another relapse.  Yes, we could be. But for now, no one, other than God knows for sure. We have not had the "this could possibly indicate a relapse" discussion with Elena.  At this point, she's not interested and for now that's ok. We wish we had her carefree, trusting attitude! She's beyond amazing!!

Now, the plan is to wait on today's chimerism results. 
We were told that we should know these results by next Tuesday or Wednesday.  If the results are less than 100% donor cells, a bone marrow aspirate will be scheduled.  If they are 100% donor cells, we will once again be thanking God for another answered prayer and praising Him.

Regardless of the chimerism test results, Elena's next clinic appointment will be on Monday, December 17th.  As usual, labs will be drawn, but due to other not so good news, Elena will also have a ACTH stimulation test to test her adrenal gland function.  Because Elena has been on steroids for so long, her adrenal gland function could be suppressed. We didn't really ask many questions about this, we figured we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Another negative about today was that two blood chemistry tests showed that Elena's liver enzyme levels rose again and that there are signs of inflammation.  Some medications adjustments were made to see if we can get these liver numbers moving in the right direction.

So, how are we feeling tonight..
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, stuck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8

Praying:
for 100% donor cells
for the peace that passing all understanding in the waiting
to see and feel joy in each and every day

In Him,
The Tates

"For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies (leukemia) to give you victory." Deuteronomy 20:4

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Clinic Visit

Tomorrow morning is Elena's BMT clinic appointment at Egleston. She will have another chimerism test.  While blood will be drawn for this test tomorrow, we will not know the results from this test for about two weeks.

Please pray for this test results to show 100% donor cells.

Please also pray that all other lab results will continue to be good and clear of any complications or concerns.

Pray that Elena's kidney functions tests will be favorable and we will be able to move forward with making plans to have Elena's central line removed.  The two top things on Elena's Christmas list are to have her line removed and to be able to stop taking pills.  We are so thankful and praise God for his protection of Elena's line to have remained infection free  and for no major complications with the line for these past eight months!  That is huge!

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!!

In Him,
The Tates

"For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies (leukemia) to give you victory."  Deuteronomy 20:4

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks


 Settling down tonight, thanking God for a wonderful week. Despite the waves, we have so much to be thankful for today and every day!


 A simple table full of history - one which has had four generations around it when it once sat in Tennessee. Now, it sits in our home where we gather to eat, talk, laugh, do homework, play games, celebrate birthdays, read the paper and more.
 
 The girls made these cute turkeys.
Thank you Mrs. Beck for all of the supplies!
 
 We enjoyed time outside.
 
 Always LOVE our hammock!


 Perhaps being unable to travel or spend any time with friends this past week would make you go stir crazy....not our girls!  They just got creative!
 


 The BEST way to end our week!
Going to church together for the first time since July 8th!
 
Elena's doctor gave her the ok to go - if we had Elena wear her mask from the time we left the house til we got back home, we sat alone in the balcony, we arrived late and left early so that Elena would not come in contact with anyone. Elena agreed and we did it! Praise be to God!
 
Thank you for continuing to pray for our family!
Please pray for God to be in the details as the three of us return to work and school and Elena readjusts to us not being home with her.

Closing this post with great words from Emily at "Chatting at the Sky" :
May your week be filled with the secret things of the Spirit. May your difficulties, disappointments, and deeply felt pain hold within them the chief goal of reminding you how deeply you long for God. Listen to the whisper of desire, the kind that comes from your new heart. There is no depth or height that can separate you from the love of God.
Enjoy your week, friends.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Thinking about our lives over the past nine months, we easily remember the days filled with uncertainty and pain, frustration and the unexpected. Now in this next phase, we are definitely feeling the tiredness one would feel from such a long journey and as you know this journey is still not over. Even though we are worn out and tired, we are still so very grateful.

Today, we talked about some of the things we are thankful for.

Elena said she is thankful she is alive - we are too!

We are grateful for each new day. We find joy in so many things: being together, a quiet morning, pizza and movie nights, music, books, naps, cooking together, an evening walk, telling one another good night each night...

Other things that topped our list:
God for His presence in our lives - his peace, his grace, his constant love and answered prayers 

Liv - who brings joy and laughter to us each day

Elena and her strength, perseverance, and amazing attitude

Our home which has always been a safe haven for us

Our families and our friends - who love us - forever, for always, no matter what

Our employers - who have, and continue to support us throughout all of our ups and downs.

So many friends, family members, and strangers who have supported us in countless ways - - through prayers, cards, emails, texts, meals, gifts, money, services, and more!  The support is simply amazing and so very appreciated!!

Our army of prayer warriors  - you are so big and so faithful!

Today and every day, we try to focus on the good and not let the bad drag us down. We continue to choose joy. We are blessed and for that we are grateful!

Hoping you found time today to give thanks to God and to count your blessings.

In Him,
The Tates

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day +119 XXWHY???


Almost nine months ago, when we found out that Elena had indeed relapsed, we said it felt like we were in the ocean.

From February 27, 2012:
"One moment, we are standing at the water’s edge, feeling ok. The next moment, we are being knocked down by an enormous wave, gasping for air, body aching, struggling to stand up. Then, we find our footing and stand, only to be knocked down again by the next thought, feeling, or action."

Today, and so many days since then, we have felt the same exact way.

We feel that way today because we were told that Elena's most recent chimerism test results show that 99.5% of the cells in the sample were XXY (donor cells) and .5% were XX.

What does this mean?
Elena's cord blood donor's baby has Klinefelter syndrome.  

Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic disorder in which there is at least one extra X chromosome to a normal human male karyotype, for a total of 47 chromosomes rather than the 46 found in genetically normal humans. While females have an XX chromosomal makeup, and males an XY, individuals with Klinefelter syndrome have at least two X chromosomes and at least one Y chromosome. 

After Elena's doctor shared this news with us, she said that this should not have any affect on Elena.  While it shows up in blood testing, it does not affect her genetic makeup.  The two things are completely different.

It is so weird and strange and does not make any sense. After today's clinic visit, we once again have more questions than answers.

Why did Elena's doctors wait almost two months to tell us these results?
Why do companies not screen cord blood for genetic disorders?
How many cord blood transplant recipients have also received cord blood with Klinefelter syndrome?
Can any physician anywhere tell us if it could have a negative effect on Elena?
Does any of this really matter?


As if that wasn't enough to deal with, we also have the added factor of the .5%; that one cell in the sample of 200 was XX.  That could mean one of two things.  From the Oncology Cytogenetics report:  "The single XX cell may be of patient origin (Elena - female); however a donor cell with artifactual loss of the Y chromosome cannot be ruled out. Repeat testing to evaluate engraftment status is recommended."  How do you lose a Y chromosome??

So, Elena will have another chimerism test on December 3rd.  The results of this test will take about two weeks.  We do not want Elena's blood cells to be in her body. We want 100% donor cells.

How are we feeling?
Overwhelmed
Anxious
Angry
Concerned
Numb
Tired

We are feeling all of these things.

We are also feeling thankful, grateful, and hopeful.

We are thankful for each new day.
We are grateful that we have friends, family, and strangers praying for us.
We are hopeful that even though we do not know what lies ahead, God does.

We are trusting in Him.
We are praying and believing.

We ask for you to do the same.

In Him,
The Tates

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you , being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day + 112 Clinic Update

Overall, today was another good day at the clinic. Praise God!

We had plenty of time to ask questions and talk about how Elena is doing. The sty on her eye is pretty much gone and is not a concern. Nausea every once in a while ok, not sure why it would be happening? The new rash on her arms and legs a slight concern. 

Could it be GVHD of the skin? Yes. Is it? That is uncertain at this time.  What are we going to do about it?  Her doctors are going to hold her steroid at its current dose, not continue with the taper this week. Elena will start using a topical steroid cream on the rash twice a day and use a moisturizing lotion all over twice a day. Since Elena had acute GVHD of the skin while in the hospital, she is at a higher risk of having chronic GVHD of the skin now. We will treat the rash topically this week and return to the clinic on Tuesday, November 20th for another checkup and more blood work.

Speaking of blood work, Elena's counts are good, but some of her blood chemistry levels are not where they should be. Everything that Elena has been through - chemo throughout the first battle, high dose chemo during this second battle, and other oral drugs have really taken a toll on Elena's kidneys. Two certain blood tests that measure her kidney function have risen for the second time in a row.  Her kidneys are stressed.  Please pray that the adjustment made to Elena's current meds will help increase her kidney function.  Please also pray BIG that Elena will be able to drink the required 64 oz a day.  We fight the battle daily.  She has to drink and it is not an easy task for her. Basically, drinking that much daily will be like taking her pills, something she has to do and Elena really doesn't like being told she HAS TO do anything.

We are still waiting on the CMV and IGG levels for this week. Praying for no setbacks with either of these tests.

Elena's body is still in the early stages of recovery. We know that complete and total healing will take time and we are trying to be patient in the waiting.

Please continue to pray with us for complete and total healing.

In Him,
The Tates

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day + 111

After months of fighting and praying and waiting, Elena finally came home after her bone marrow transplant.  While we are so very thankful that Elena is home and that we are all together again, life is still hard.

Last week, a dear friend, who is also living in the world of cancer, summed up how we have been feeling.  For us right now, life is on hold and spinning like crazy at the same time.

Life feels like it is on hold right now because we can't do any "normal" family things outside of our home.  Family life is still unbalanced with only half of us leaving to go to church and with no family outings possible right now. It's very strange feeling "stuck". Life feels like it is full and crazy because of all of the "normal" things filling our lives as well.

Tomorrow morning, Elena has another clinic appointment.  Elena has had a few new issues we are a little concerned about - including a sty on her eye, a couple of days battling nausea and now a new rash.  She was feeling 100% better today, but the rash is still there.

Please pray for:
wisdom for the doctors
a clear explanation for the rash and other issues
a quick resolution to any problems
Elena to not have GVHD at all!
all of Elena's blood levels and counts to be where they should be

We also ask for you to pray for our friends currently in really hard battles with cancer and its terrible side effects. Tim, Lily, and Grace.

Please continue to pray for complete and total healing.
Thank you for all of your prayers today and always!

In Him,
The Tates

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace in time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day +103

Big praises for a great clinic visit!

We received some good news tonight after a long day at the hospital.  Elena's counts look great with everything holding steady.  The CMV virus once found in her blood is no longer detectable, which means that she can stop the anti viral medication she has been getting every night through her CVL.   And third, after a little bit of a delay, Elena's CT scan went very well.  We hope to hear soon that her lungs are clear and there is no sign of the nodules seen on her earlier scan.  The infectious disease doctors will view the scan tomorrow and give their recommendation for future treatment plans.

Another praise is that we are continuing to decrease Elena's steroid dose weekly and hope to have her off of it completely by Thanksgiving.  Slowly but surely, we are reducing the multitude of medications Elena is on and allowing her body to do more of the work.

Please continue to pray for complete and total healing.

Thank you for all of your prayers today and always!

In Him,
The Tates

"I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me." Psalm 13:6

Friday, November 2, 2012

DAY +100

After a bone marrow transplant, Days +30 thru +100 are considered to be a part of the early recovery stage. These days are the most critical. They are when the most complications and infections are seen in patients.

We are praising God that today is Elena's DAY +100!!

So many times, we could not see this day in our future. There were days we lived hour by hour, moment to moment.  Today is a celebration!  A celebration of new life - of this day - of this moment!

We are thankful to each person, known and unknown, that God has placed in our lives.

You have prayed for us without ceasing.
You have fed us.
You have carried us.
You have given gifts, food, gift cards, money, time, and love.
You have reached out.
You have cleaned our house.
You have done our laundry.
You have mowed our grass.
You paid our over $600 bill at the Ronald McDonald house.
You have showered Liv with love and cared for her.
You have cried and laughed with us.
You prepared our house for Elena's return.
And you did it all cheerfully and without us asking.

You have truly been the hands and feet of Christ.

We would not have made it to today without Christ or without you!

THANK YOU!!
We will be forever grateful!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

In Him,
The Tates

"...On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers, then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayer of many."  2 Corinthians 1:10b-11

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fun

Even though Elena couldn't go trick or treating this year, both she and Liv made the most of it. 
Elena made a mask to wear and dressed up for pictures. Liv said she would take two bags and collect candy for Elena.
 
Hope you enjoy the pics!
 
 Two temporary visitors to our home
 
 Mummy dogs for dinner - with homemade chili!
 

 Ready for a fun night with friends!
 
 Perhaps the best part of the night - sorting candy!
 
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day + 97

As you can clearly see by the lack of blog posts, we are settling in to our new life at home together. This recovery phase is definitely different and a little strange. We are so thankful to be HOME, but Elena's day is far from normal. Things like masks, isolation from visitors, no outings, OCD handwashing, flushing her central line, changing her line dressing, and setting timers to give medications on time around the clock all remind us that we still have a ways to go before we are done.

Some of you have asked why Elena has so many restrictions now that she is home. Basically while Elena is on immune supressing drugs and her body is trying to rebuild and recover, she is especially vulnerable to infections - viral, fungal, and bacterial.  These can range from mild to life-threatening.  It is critical that we take extra percautions to protect Elena from the germs that are around us all the time in the environment, on food and spread by animals and people. So everything that Elena can't do - go to school, church, stores, movies, resturants, eat anything prepared by anyone other than ourselves, and go outside without a mask, are all things we have to do to protect Elena. While these changes are restricting and can be frustrating at times, they are all things that are necessary for her recovery.

With all that Elena can't do, we are LOVING what we can do! Cooking at home, eating meals together, watching movies, decorating the house for fall, playing games, organizing all of Elena's new craft and scrap booking materials, sleeping in our own beds and more! Even mundane things like taking care of the house and laundry are welcomed after life has been so abnormal for so many weeks!

At Elena's last appointment, they told us she didn’t have to come back to the clinic until Monday, November 5th.  So, we will continue to enjoy these days at home.

Thank you for praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day + 92

Today is the 3 month anniversary of Elena's bone marrow transplant!  Wow!  We are in awe of God's amazing love and grace and we give Him all of the praises and glory for Elena's continued healing. 

We also praise Him for a great clinic visit yesterday.  Elena's red and white cells have gone up and her platelets are holding steady.  She feels good and continues to work on her strength and stamina by walking and exercising.

Elena's next clinic visit will be on Nov. 5th, day +103!!!  She will have blood work done to check counts and the status of the CMV virus.  She will then have a CT scan to check her lungs for any sign of infection.  Please pray for the CMV to remain undetectable, for Elena's counts to continue to rise, and for the CT scan to show all organs clear of any infection. 

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"...Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."   Eph 5:19-20

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day + 88

Twelve and a half weeks post transplant finds us settling in to our new routine at home for this phase of our lives, and we are loving every minute of it!  This is what we have been praying and hoping for over these last several months, and now we are living it! Praise God for answered prayers!

Elena is doing well physically and emotionally.  She is working hard to regain her strength and stamina by taking walks and doing other exercises.  She loves to plan meals and help to prepare them.  She is keeping up with her school work with the help of the home bound teacher, and can't wait for the day that her isolation restrictions are relaxed so that she can do even more.

Olivia has begun her second nine weeks at school.  She ended the first nine weeks with great grades and perfect attendance.  She is also enjoying dance class and chorus during the week.  In December, her fifth grade chorus group will be performing at a Gwinnett Gladiators ice hockey game and at the state capitol.  On weekends she likes playing outside and hanging out with Elena.  She has been very understanding about the fact that we can't go places and do certain things as a family right now.

Elena's clinic appointment is on Wednesday this week.  Please pray for continued healing for her body.  Pray for the CMV virus to remain undetectable and for her counts to continue to improve.

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:5

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day + 83

We found out today that the CMV virus was not detected in Elena's blood yesterday!  We are rejoicing and praising Him over and over again!

Elena will now only have to receive the antiviral infusion medication once a day instead of twice. Another HUGE step toward her complete and total healing!

We are going to bed tonight praising God for His continued blessings of improved health for Elena and thanking Him for each of you.

In Him,
The Tates

"I will praise you. O Lord, with all my heart. I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day + 82

Happy Monday!  Sorry that it has been so long since our last update.  We've had quite a bit of catching up to do around here, doing all of the things we haven't been able to do for the past 87 days.  We have been hanging out and enjoying being together. It has been so nice all being in the same place at the same time.  This weekend was the most wonderful weekend we can remember!
 
We have also been trying to settle in.  We are having to adjust schedules, organize medical supplies and medications, and coordinate Elena's three infusions around our work schedules. While there have been some challenges, it is definitely better figuring it all out from HOME than from any where else!
 
Thank you so vey much for your prayers!  Please continue to pray fo Elena's complete and total healing. We will update more this week after we hear what Elena's CMV levels are.

In Him,
The Tates

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens ..." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day + 77

HOME SWEET HOME
Tonight words can't begin to describe how we feel.
Here's a tiny glimpse into our day.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
Saying bedtime prayers together and
tucking in both of our girls tonight
was absolutely wonderful!!
 
Thanking God for His faithfulness!
Praying for His continued protection over Elena and each of us.
 
"I will praise you. O Lord, with all my heart. I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2
 
 
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day + 75

Clinic visits are always filled with waiting, wondering, questions, and sometimes answers.  Today wasn't any different. We were there for over two hours. Most of it was spent waiting.  We wondered what Elena's counts and levels would be.  Her counts were mostly stable.  Potassium was good.  Magnesium was low.  The CMV level was not negative. It has increased slightly.  Liver enzymes were also slightly elevated. Lots of good and not so good. Then, the big question - - when can Elena go home?  Today, a clear plan, an answer - - Wednesday!!  

On October 10th, Elena will be going home!  For the first time since July 15th, Elena will sleep in her own bed.  For the first time in 87 days, our family will be together in our home.  We are beyond excited!  We can't believe it!  We are also guarded.  We do not want anything to happen between now and then to change this. Please join us in praying for no fevers and no problematic side effects ever.

We also need you to know that Elena coming home doesn't change her condition.  She is still in the early stages of recovery.  Her body still has a long way to go before achieving  full and complete healing. Even though Elena will be home, she will still be in "isolation".  We can not risk Elena's health.  The same restrictions she has had for the past 85 days will still apply. 

Elena can not eat any food prepared by anyone other than ourselves.  Elena will not be allowed to go any where other than our home and the clinic. When she goes to the clinic, she will still be required to wear a mask in the car and until she gets into the BMT unit at the clinic. Visitors will also have to be restricted.  :(

We are praying that nothing will get in the way of Elena finally coming home.

Always praying and believing!!

In Him,
The Tates

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day + 72, + 73, and +74



 

We have enjoyed a weekend filled with quiet, laughter, rest, and relaxation. We are so very thankful for every moment and every day.

We are thankful to have another one tomorrow, as it is a three day weekend for us. Even though tomorrow morning brings another clinic visit and not another lazy morning, we are thankful we will be there together.

Praying for good counts, Elena's blood to be negative for the virus, good potassium and magnesium levels, and a clear plan for when Elena will be allowed to go home.

In Him,
The Tates

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day + 71

Today was another good day!  Elena's clinic visit went very well.  We found out that the level of CMV in Elena's blood went down significantly!  Praise God!  They will check the level again on her next visit Monday morning.  Please pray for Elena's blood to be negative for the virus at this time.  We need two weeks of no virus before they will start reducing the anti-viral medication from twice a day to once a day, and then two more weeks without detection before they will stop the medicine altogether.

We also found out that Elena's counts are doing well with her white cells holding steady and her red cells and platelets going up slightly.  This is encouraging because some of the medicine she is currently taking actually cause counts to drop, so having them go up is wonderful.  Another big praise!

Elena spent the rest of the day planning fun activities for our family time this weekend!  She is so excited about seeing Olivia and getting to hear all about her week.  It is so nice to see her get excited about things again! 

Please pray for continued healing and for a clear plan on when we can move Elena home!

Praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise you forever."  Psalm 30:12

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day + 70

Today was another good day!  We spent time working on a puzzle and making lists of things Elena wants to do when she gets out of here; doctors permission needed of course.  She is getting stronger and stronger, and is feeling more and more like her old self.  Praise God! 

Elena also had a visit from the county home bound teacher today to keep up with her school work for the week.  This is always a nice change from the same old routine here at the RMH. 

Tomorrow is another clinic day.  Hopefully we will get some good news on all of our outstanding issues and questions.  Please pray for a smooth visit, for Elena's counts to have risen and for the virus to have gone dormant.  Please also pray for complete healing for Elena!

In Him,
The Tates

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, "The LORD is great!"  Psalm 70:4

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day + 69

Still no word on the status of Elena's CMV.  We hope to get good news tomorrow or Thursday at the latest when we go for Elena's next clinic visit.  Please continue to pray for the virus to be negative and for Elena's counts to continue to rise.

Still praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."          Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day + 68

Today marked the start of Elena's 12th week of BMTmania.  More than eleven weeks of treatment and recovery, followed by more treatment, and more recovery.  Seventy-eight days away from family, home, church, school and the town she has lived in for the last 13 years. 

We had no idea what to expect when we checked in to what was once a new hospital for us. One that we had never been to before, but has now become a home away from home of sorts.  We are so thankful to have this type of medical facility and care so close to home so that Elena can benefit from the cutting edge treatment that she has received over the past several weeks, right along with the loving, healing family time she can now enjoy on the weekends.  God is so good!  He always gives us what we need, when we need it!

Elena's clinic visit went very well this morning.  Her counts have remained steady from last week and she is handling all of the changes in her care like the seasoned pro that she is.  We are still waiting on the results of her blood work to see if the level of CMV detected last week has gone down. Please pray that the test done today will be negative for the virus and that Elena will continue toward complete and total healing.

Please also pray for no negative side effects from any of the medication that Elena is taking to help get her to where she needs to be.

We are still praying and believing!

In Him,
The Tates

"As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right."  Jeremiah 26:14