Monday, July 29, 2013

One Year Appointment Update

Thank you for your prayers today for Elena's one year BMT appointment!

Many prayers were answered! Praise God! All of Elena's appointments went very smoothly. The best news of the day... Elena was officially discharged from the bone marrow transplant team! For the next year, she will be monitored by her leukemia oncologists. After that, she will then be transferred to the survivor clinic! At that point, she will be under the care of the childhood cancer survivor specialists at Aflac Cancer Center at Scottish Rite. 
Perhaps the best news for Elena was that she can get her ears pierced (again!) and stop taking the weekend antibiotic Bactrim. We will also be going to our pediatrician in a couple of weeks to begin Elena's re-immunization process. Remember the BMT process wiped out Elena's entire blood system, she now has to get all of her infant immunizations again. 
We will have to wait a couple of weeks to hear the results of Elena's pulmonary function test, echo and blood tests. We did receive her routine blood counts which were good even though her ANC went down some.
Thanks again for praying!
We will post pictures from Elena's Make A Wish Hawaii trip real soon. We will also be soaking in as much summer lovin' as we can in this last eight days before school starts!
In Him,
The Tates

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2

One Year Appointment for Elena Today

Today we will be returning to Egelston for Elena's one year post BMT appointment.
We ask for prayers for all appointments to be on time and go smoothly. Please pray that Elena's bloodwork will come back clear, that her counts will be great and that all tests will have favorable outcomes. Today in addition to blood work, Elena will have an echo and a pulmonary function test.

We thank you in advance for your prayers!

In Him,
The Tates

"We wait in hope for the Lord, for her is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Today is Day +365!

Today is the one year anniversary of Elena's life saving bone marrow transplant!  We can't believe it has been a year!

At this time last year, Elena was in the hospital.  During the days before her transplant Elena received both chemo and radiation. This was to kill any cancer cells in Elena's body and also to help prepare Elena's body to receive the new, healthy blood stem cells. These days were very hard on Elena physically and mentally. We had lost our summer and joy was hard to find.
We all continued to struggle over the next 87 days as Elena fought to recover and come home.  We were feeling overwhelmed, scared, and sad.  Liv was lost in the storm of it all.  The 189 days that followed Elena's return home were spent with Elena unable to attend school.  More challenges to overcome, more opportunities to choose joy! 
We asked you for your prayers, for our focus to remain on God moment by moment, day by day.  Our friends reminded us that God is faithful.  He knows what we need before we ask, and He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine.  We asked Him to direct our steps every day.
We shared with you a list of specific prayer requests. Do you remember?
Here's the list and added updates:

That God will protect Elena from the potential long-term side effects she could face from treatment. (such as damage to the brain, heart, liver, bladder, kidneys, thyroid and other glands, and eyes (cataracts), risk of other secondary cancers, and more)  
.:. so far so good, keep praying .:.

That Elena will not develop any complications that will lead to time in ICU or other problems (such as VOD pneumonia)
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That Elena won’t be allergic to anything she is given
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will help Elena deal with having to stay on the BMT hall and not being outside for 4-6 weeks 
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will help all of us deal with the time apart, and that it will pass quickly
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will keep us from getting sick during this time
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will use us to share His love with others we meet in the hall and in the hospital, to encourage them and/or to point them to the source of our hope – Jesus
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will protect Olivia during this time
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will help Elena need as few transfusions as possible and let her counts rebound as quickly as they can
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will guide all our nurses and doctors to take great care of Elena
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

That God will help us get the rest we need throughout this time
.:. answered - Praise God! .:.

WOW! It is amazing to see how God has worked in our lives!
Now, a year later, we have the gift of another summer! We have new joy and a new appreciation for life!  We are so happy to be together as a family and are enjoying life.

We know that God brought us through this past year to today. We know these truths remain - God is faithful, He knows what we need before we ask, and He is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. 

We continue to ask Him to direct our steps every day.  We continue to lean on Him and on you when fear and doubt creep into our thoughts.  We are so very grateful to Him and to you.  There are no words to completely express our thankfulness to you for your prayers and your steadfast love.

In the book, Bittersweet, the author says, "Heartbreak brings us lots of places - to despair, bitterness, emptiness, numbness, isolation.  But because God is just that good, if we allow the people who love us to walk with us right through the brokenness, heartbreak can also lead to a deep sense of God's presence."  She continues to say she believes that God does his best work in our lives during great heartbreak and loss.  "I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over."

For us, these statements are so true.  We lived them.  Thank you for walking with us, and at times carrying us right through our brokenness.  Thank you for doing God's work and for showing us who God is, over and over and over!  We are so very grateful!

In Him,
The Tates

"Carry one another's burdens, in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

"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." Psalm 9:1-2

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Make A Wish

Do you know where you were a year ago? We do!

We were preparing and packing for Elena's almost three month stay at Egleston and for her life saving bone marrow transplant. At this time last year, we were saddened about our lost summer and the time we would not be together as a family. We were scared about Elena's nine day chemo, radiation treatment plan and transplant. We couldn't imagine life a year later.

Today, here we are. A family together doing all the things we love to do. Not a day goes by without us giving thanks to God for this day, this moment, this summer, this life.  For He has blessed us with the love of family and friends who take such great care of us. He has also blessed us with experiences that would not have happened if Elena had not had cancer.

Tomorrow, we will be beginning one of those experiences. Elena has been granted a Make A Wish trip to Hawaii. We are so excited and very thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. We still can't believe it!

We ask that you please pray for safe travels, physical strength for Elena, daily protection for each of us, and a wonderful trip filled with lots of great memories.

In Him,
The Tates

"In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you."
Psalm 33:21-22

Family Time

In July, our summer fun continued with a trip to Louisiana. We spent time with our families and loved every minute of it.

We enjoyed our favorite Louisiana foods : beignets, shrimp po-boys, fried fish, pork roast with rice, turtle cookies, meatball stew, eggplant and shrimp casserole, and snow cones!! Boy was it good!!

We spent time together laughing, talking, playing, swinging, swimming, driving golf carts, shopping, fishing, and cooking. It was so much fun relaxing and simply being together. We are thankful for the love of our families!

Enjoy the pics!




We loved being "home" in Louisiana!

In Him,
The Tates

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13