Friday, August 21, 2015

Tears

"'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.'” (Joshua 1:9)

Today has been a day of tears, as we just learned that Krista's leukemia has returned. She discovered that her blood counts were low last week when she went to the emergency room for a very unusual stomach attack that was brought on by a cough. We see in this that the Lord is still with us and that He was trying to get her to medical help through this strange malady (which the doctors could not explain).

The oncologist at City of Hope says that we have options, but many of those options are not favorable. If we do nothing, her body will be depleted of life giving blood within weeks to months. She can receive transfusions of blood to nurse her along, and this would extend her expectancy out to 8 months to a year. The regular chemo is also an option, though the side effects are horrible and have lasting effects which would reduce her already low quality of life. The best options seem to be to participate in a clinical trial, of which there are 3 that the oncologist knew of at City of Hope. She will need to be off her immune suppressants, as the trials require that there be no active Graft-Versus-Host-Disease in participants. She'll be weaning off those, with the hope that any remaining GVHD will attack the leukemia cells and then back off.

While we were waiting for the results of the bone marrow biopsy which confirmed the relapse, Krista shared Joshua 1:9 with the boys and let them choose a heart-shaped rock from her collection with the verse reference on it to keep in their pockets. When they feel it in their pockets they are reminded to be strong and courageous and to pray for her. Since the results came back, we have been reminded of the wider context of that verse. This promise came to Joshua at the end of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, as the Israelites were finally permitted to enter the promised land. Soon afterward, they entered the land, crossing over the Jordan river, and purified themselves as they camped on the bank before starting their conquest. The following took place in that context: 
"Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, 'Are you for us or for our enemies?' 'Neither,' he replied, 'but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'" (Joshua 5:13-14) 
This stranger was an angel of the Lord who came to give Joshua instructions for the first part of the conquest. Though the whole story of the taking of Jericho is an amazing story, what struck me is that this warrior/angel was not on Joshua's side. The Lord has his own plans, and those may or may not be in line with ours. Clearly, the implication is that Joshua was to join God in His plan, and he did so before the instructions came. And that may be where we find ourselves as well. This is not part of our plan, but it is somehow in His plan. He may bring healing, and we earnestly pray that He will, or He may not. Either way, we will trust Him, that even in this He will work in all things "for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Ultimately, this world, as wonderful as it is, is full of trouble (John 16:33), but that in heaven "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4).

So we are back to waiting. While we wait to know if she is a candidate for a clinical trial that will accept her, she'll be monitored by the local oncologist to make sure her blood levels don't deteriorate rapidly. She'll probably be getting some sort of port because her veins are getting difficult to find and she's getting bruised up when the needle insertions go in the wrong place. We have to save as many platelets as possible! Her experience with getting ports has not been pleasant, so she's dreading that a bit. Please be strong and courageous with us and pray for us, as the battle is just beginning again.  --with love in Christ, Mike

16 comments:

Rob said...

Such sad news, but such encouraging words. You are, and have been, an inspiration to all of us. No one would choose to go through what you all have, but God has chosen you to suffer for His Name's sake. We have been and will continue to pray for you - for healing, for comfort, for,strength and for an outpouring of God's Grace and Mercy. God bless you!

Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis said...

Krista & Mike, my heart goes out to you and your family. I am wondering if you have considered looking into other avenues - perhaps holistic healers - acupuncture, herbalists, etc - there are also medical programs that combine all of these, including the importance of foods as medicine, keeping your body alkaline instead of acid, etc. I will continue praying.

Krista English said...

Unfortunately, this type of leukemia is very aggressive and doesn't respond to those types of therapies as we tried in the past. Thank you for your hope and prayers though!

Kim Newton said...

We stand with you, Mike, Krista, Adam and Trevor.

"For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 100:5

Christy Newton said...

Oh Krista! I have tears reading this. I know how much you have gone through physically but I'm sure the emotional and spiritual toll has been heavy as well.

Lord - let Krista's life be a shining testimony of your faithfulness to her and her family throughout all of this - and bring glory to your name because of it. Thank you that you have sustained her and will continue to do so, and in the face of eternity, this will be a distant memory and a reminder of how great you are. Heal her body Lord and bring her rest from all this in this life. Come to her in her times of weakness and in her victories - let her know you're there ALWAYS and will help her overcome this. Amen.

Ben Siebert said...

Krista, Mike, Adam and Trevor,

I am as always in awe of your stregnth, courage, love and above all faith. You are an inspiration and example for us all. We are praying for you and that your doctors have inspiration from God to bring your recovery swiftly. I am without doubt that God is going to move powerfully through the English family to impact His Kingdom for good.

Regina said...

Krista I'm so sorry that mean old leukemia is back! I will be praying for you and the rest of your family.

Dawn Lyman said...

I struggle for words through the tears and realize I am powerless to take this away. So grateful for our Jesus who hates leukemia too and promises to heal us either now or later. ..and grateful to walk this hard path of hardest peace with you. Love you 4. Xoxo

Dawn Lyman said...

I struggle for words through the tears and realize I am powerless to take this away. So grateful for our Jesus who hates leukemia too and promises to heal us either now or later. ..and grateful to walk this hard path of hardest peace with you. Love you 4. Xoxo

Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis said...

Will keep praying.

Inga-Lill said...

Krista, Mike and boys.
WE are ever amazed at the grace which you have displayed through this journey. At every turn, there have been many, it seems that His grace is there to strengthen and be sufficient for you. There are very few days that pass where we haven't mentioned you and the family in our prayers together or separate.
We pray that this bend along the road will be filled with grace as well. Grace to grow in, hope in, rest in, be refreshed in, challenged in, encouraged in and most of all stand in.
He holds you all in His loving arms and knows your need before you do.
Continue to trust in His unfailing love.
David and Inga-Lill Guzik

Kalon Kelley said...

Krista and Mike:

I have little strength or courage to add to the abundance you have shown. Just a favorite word of hope and encouragement to offer -

"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines through. We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly."

Kalon Kelley said...
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Kalon Kelley said...
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Shaun and Betsy said...

Oh Krista, Mike and boys, I don't even know what to say...We are heartbroken. You have been though so much.
Praying.

JJ Gobbell; Allison Gobbell said...

Oh Krista, you were made for heaven. On that day you were born again, you entered in to His plans. May your hearts cry be, Not my will Lord but thine. May your true belief be, to live is Christ, to die is gain. May you be enveloped in the perfect love of Christ, which casts out all fear. I love you sister and I can promise it will be worth it all, in Christ, though for now your heart is heavy. I will be praying for you, and I still want to come organize for you! ������