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