For the past three weeks Joseph’s neutrophil results have been stuck on the edge of the treatment threshold. His chemo treatment was reduced to allow him an opportunity to recover but he has continued to remain right at the edge. Now this can be caused by many things – one of which is fighting off a low level infection of some type.
However, Joseph remained active and to all appearances healthy and vibrant – that is until Monday when we began to notice that the white of his eyes appeared to be a bit yellow or jaundice. Kate and I were not really sure if was just our imaginations or if his colour was off. So late Monday night we called to the pediatric haematology ward at the hospital. They always tell us to call – day or night – if we ever have any concerns so we called and they worked with us to determine he was not at immediate risk and could sleep at home and come in for a check up in the morning.
When I took him in, his blood results showed that his neutrophil count was still on the edge and when they did a liver function test those results too were right on the edge of the treatment envelope. It was clear that his liver was not functioning at 100% but not serious enough to take any action at this stage. So he is scheduled for another liver function test next week and a possible ultrasound scan of his liver.
For those who have so often prayed to Joseph, we would request that you ask Jesus to restore Joseph’s liver function to 100% and his neutrophils back up to the normal range.
Of course as parents anything that could impact Joseph is a concern for us. But when we got up on Tuesday to take Joseph in for a check up we were struck again at what a miracle each day of life is for all of us.
Last Friday the NICFC (Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children) organised a special evening at the zoo. This was only for children and their families who are being treated for cancer or a life limiting condition. We were not sure if we would be able to go, but at the last minute we gathered the children in the car and off we went. Joseph never gets in the car with the whole family so he said “I get to go?” , “I get to go with everyone?” Then the questions started flowing – “where are we going?” to which we replied – “you will see very soon, it is not far away.” Then as we arrived at the zoo and began to drive into the driveway, Joseph said, “THE ZOO! I AM GOING TO THE ZOO!” and he began to giggle with pure joy. But none of us realised what NICFC had in store for us. It was not just a special time to come safely to the zoo, but there was a helicopter, fire engines, motorcycles, classic cars, food, games, clowns, jugglers and treats upon treats. Then we found that the children were invited to feed the giraffes. So Joseph got to hand feed a giraffe. Then we found a brand new children’s play park in the zoo and the boys loved it. Joseph was just running from one climbing frame to another faster and faster, smiling and laughing. Then when it was time to go home, as we passed through the exit gate men were there to give the boys each a gift packet. When we got in the car they found sweets and a wonderful stuffed toy as their good bye for the evening. As we drove home the boys were thanking God for such a lovely time.
All of this was such a picture of the overflowing love and generosity of God. We almost missed the wonderful night at the zoo – shall we miss the incomparable delights of eternal life?
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32
The question is not whether God loves and cares for us – it is are we willing to receive what He is offering? Not just forgiveness from sin but adoption. Not just freedom from the power of sin but the freedom to do what is right and delight in it. Not just squeak into the gates of heaven but to have the gates thrown open and received as a child in whom He delights.