Half Way Through

Joseph at the Start of Week 4
Joseph at the Start of Week 4 Delayed Intensification


Joseph is still at home and did not have to be admitted to the hospital!

Last week I took Joseph in for his last infusion of “red devil” and they took a blood count. We were amazed that we had gone through the whole week and Joseph had not gotten a fever of become seriously ill. When we returned home the nurse called me with the result – Joseph’s neutrophils were 0.1, which means that he was very much at risk of serious infection. Over the next couple of days, Joseph became very pale as his red cell count would “bottom out” before he would begin the process of recovery. We suspect that his neutrophils hit zero the day after his infusion as he seemed to decline in so many other ways those next two days.

Then on the third day after the infusion a bit of color began to return to Joseph’s cheeks and he was being more active. These few days were the closest we have been to how ill Joseph was at the beginning.

All of the week following this last infusion, Joseph was on steroids which helped his bone marrow to recover more quickly, but also made him irritable and anxious. He needed more comfort at night and a few 3:00 am excursions to the kitchen to make scrambled eggs. However, we could tell we were being carried along on prayer. Joseph was still playing and eating and functioning quite well, even when his body was at its lowest.

Yesterday Kate went with me to take Joseph in for a blood count. We were able to see several families who are on a similar journey. Then it was time to see the doctor and get the result from Joseph’s blood count. When the doctor received the results he showed it to the nurse and she said “better get that checked – that seems far too high”. The result under consideration was Joseph’s neutrophil count – it came in at 1.0 which was again amazing for the treatment that he had just finished. Other results showed that he was not fully healthy but that he was recovering well.

Joseph now has a few days with no treatment at all to give his bone marrow a chance to recover before the second half of this block of treatment starts. He will go in Monday for another blood test and if his numbers are fully recovered he will start the next phase on Tuesday. If he is not fully recovered he would get another week off before starting the second half of this treatment block.

During these past two weeks we have received many indications that people were praying very specifically that Joseph would not have to go into the hospital with an infection during this block of treatment. Even though we were not in contact with many people directly we did have a great sense of protection and encouragement. Thank you for praying!

In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus is telling what it will be like at the day of Judgement when He  commends His own and invites them into heaven and when He condemns those who are not His to eternal punishment. Among the things that Jesus commends is when His people came to visit Him when He was sick. Now when Jesus says this, they all reply, “But Lord when did we ever see you sick and minister to you?” It is interesting to notice they have no desire to take credit for what they did not do. Then Jesus tells them the surprise ending, that every time they visited and helped someone who knew Jesus, they were visiting and helping Jesus Himself – because Jesus lives inside each of His people.

Jesus says that all those who had ministered to Him were welcome to enter His heaven – not because they were kind people and deserving of it, but because they were His. The people who belonged to Jesus did kind things because they had a family resemblance to Jesus. They knew Him and He knew them. Because they were part of Jesus’ family, heaven was their home, not because they were good people.

“When the Son of Man comes in his