Joseph Has Started His Race

The message that I sent out about Joseph and his dangerous infection has gone out widely and been shared by many people. So much so that it is is hard to get new information out to everyone who is praying. We have received hundreds of emails from many people really wanting to know what is happening with Joseph. To help the communication process we are launching this blog to share updates and fresh prayer requests. 

Day 1 of Joseph’s Journey

Joseph is still alive!

The highlight of the day was the results from a CT scan done to determine where the infection was in his body. Joseph’s face was very red and swollen and there was concern that the infection might be going into deep tissue and into the lining of the throat. If the infection enters the lining of his throat or his lungs it would be dire. Late Thursday afternoon the results were back – the infection is confined, so far, to the visible places on his face that we can see. This was very encouraging to all of us as it indicates there is a bit more time, if the infection stays away from vital areas. This infection can still spread quickly and kill him, so we need much prayer, but we would see this early result to be an encouraging answer to many of your prayers to Preserve Joseph.

Praise : The infection has not spread to deeper nor more dangerous areas.

Prayer Request : The Lord will protect Joseph from the infection and remove the infection.

For Joseph to fight off this infection he needs an immune system and for that to happen the leukemia cells that are totally filling his bone marrow need to be killed, removed and healthy blood cells need to begin growing and building an immune response. This initial process would normally take many weeks to start to build an immune response, but that just is too long for Joseph’s need. We need to see the Lord remove the infection supernaturally, confine the infection and protect Joseph until there is an immune response in a month or more. Or the Lord could make the medicine work amazingly well, more quickly than normal, and produce immunity capacity much quicker than would be expected.


Joseph started the treatment leukemia and that is complex involving several drugs and procedures. Many of these drugs are very powerful and have several potential side effects. It was critical that Joseph respond well to the various drugs. During the first day of treatment he did not have any adverse reactions, that is a matter of praise.

Praise: Joseph did not have any adverse reactions to treatment today.

Prayer Request: The leukemia cells will be very sensitive to the drugs and be deeply purged from his system.

Prayer Request : Joseph will not have bad reactions or really serious long term side effects from the drugs.

Another encouragement is there are physiological indicators that the drugs are already working hard at killing the leukemia cells. One of the things that will happen as the leukemia cells die is they will flood his system with proteins that his body will need to excrete. This is such a heavy load for the kidneys to process that they have given him a drug to protect his kidneys from damage. To help the body in all this process he is being given a lot of IV fluids. To deliver IV fluids, Joseph has tube into the vein in his groin. This tube is really important as it allows for fluids, treatments to be given and blood samples to be taken without a new needle stick each time. Because of the infection they have not been able to place the type of long term “port” in his chest that they would normally use for his treatment. This tube in his leg has additional little tubes that come off of it where fluids or medicines can be connected. It is very awkward and easily damaged. Please pray that this tube will be stable and functional for as long as needed at this stage. Right now it would be considered good if it continued to serve him well for another week, but he really needs this to work for many weeks.

Prayer Request: The tube in Joseph’s leg will be kept safe and serve him well for a long time.

Prayer Request : Joseph’s body will process all these fluids and his kidneys will function well and be protected.

Because of the infection, Joseph’s face has been swollen and angry red. His lip is VERY swollen and painful. I would not post of picture of Joseph like this as it would be very distressing to see. However, one of the positive side effects of one of the drugs was a significant reduction in this inflammation. In just the first day Joseph is looking a lot more like my little boy of a few weeks ago. It has not changed anything about the infection but it has removed a fair bit of discomfort for him. All the medical staff commented on how much better he looked.

Praise : For the positive impact of the drugs on Joseph’s swollen face and the relief it has already given him.

Lastly, I want to mention how Joseph is doing emotionally, spiritually and physically. Joseph has been, of course, very frightened by all the poking, prodding and needles that needed to be involved in his care. Yet he has been very responsive to encouragement and prayer. He is resting very well. Many have commented on how peaceful and relaxed he is at rest and his vital signs have been excellent during his resting times. Joseph has also been very aware and tuned-in when awake. When doctors or nurses have been in talking to me about his condition he has looked at them with a steady and comprehending gaze that they have commented on. Yesterday when we had to take him for a surgical procedure and were wheeling his bed through hallways he was quiet and looking about very attentively and even showing surprise and delight as some things in the walls. When he came out of surgery I was called to recovery to greet him.  A couple of days ago he was VERY distressed to wake up to a nurse. This time I found him smiling and playing with a toy they were showing him. It was almost shocking to see him acting so normal in such a foreign environment  when he is so very sick. Then when we came back to the room from surgery a nurse asked if Joseph would like anything to eat and I asked him ” would you like some tomato soup” this got vigorous  head nods.  When the soup arrived he wanted to hold the paper cup and drink it himself and proceed to drink a cup-and-a-half of soup, two cups of water and eat a piece of toast. The toast was difficult as it was hard for him to get it in his swollen mouth and chew without bitting the sides of his mouth. At one stage he did bite the side of his mouth and let out a huge cry, not for the pain but because he really wanted to eat that piece of toast! All these signs of awareness, adaptation and independence have been an encouragement to the medical staff and me. He is a very sick little boy but he is still a very vital little boy.

Praise : That Joseph was able to feed himself and be so aware and engaged with his environment.

Prayer Request : Joseph will be resilient and adaptive in the middle of this treatment.

Thank you for praying – please continue to petition the Lord to Preserve Joseph.

34 thoughts on “Joseph Has Started His Race

  1. Little beautiful Joseph is forefront in my thoughts and prayers continuously. Indeed all of you are. Where there is life there is hope! Love Great Auntie. Deirdre

  2. Thanks for updating – we all eagerly await any tidbit of news. Know our hearts are knit with yours in prayer pleading for the life and health of your little one. How is Kate doing? Is she able to spend time with him as well. Know she is torn. We love you all.

    1. Kate was able to come in yesterday and see Joseph, but because she is breastfeeding Ezra she really can not leave him for any length of time and Ezra could not come into the infection control area where Joseph is. It is very hard on her, but we talk and text throughout that day on how Joseph is doing.

  3. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever….Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts.” Psalm 125,2&4

    May all of you know God surrounding you. Neal

  4. The Valley of Vision

    Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. (The Valley of Vision)

    We are knitting our prayers together with the body of Christ on behalf of you guys. Joseph is being brought before the throne of grace with prayer and fasting.


  5. Others have already expressed how we feel in this situation. Our prayers are with you and all your family and our souls have been uplifted by your trust in and submission to the will of our sovereign and loving God. “The Lord is my strength and my shield: My heart trusted in Him and I am helped” (Psalm 28:7) C& M

  6. Ed, We are praying for sweet Joseph, you and family often. Thank you for the updates. Tried to share on Facebook, but it didn’t like the URL. Many are praying there as well. Hugs, love, and prayers from across the ocean! Love, the Callahans

  7. May Joseph be receptive to all treatment that the Doctors and staff administer for his healing and that all of his body functions sort the good from the bad. We pray a special strength for you, Kate and all of your sons.

  8. We are crying out to the Lord for little Joseph and for your family. Thank you for setting up this blog so we can keep up to date. This is heartwrenching but Jesus is in it, and I have no doubt that the strength of your faith will give Him glory. Know that our prayers will continue. With love, Carey and Lynne Sullivan

  9. Ed, Laudon and I are praying long and hard for Josephs body to respond to the medicines. We’re also praying for the rest of the family because it’s got to be hard of all of you. This blog will help us know how to pray more effectively.

  10. Thoughts and prayers for you all….Joseph,you keep soldiering on wee love…Our Lord is a great,great God,there is nothing that he cannot do!!!

  11. We are grateful that you have the “means” to keep us updated on the latest news of Joseph. I imagine you are exhausted, so thank you for the effort you put forth in the updates and allowing us to join with you in prayer. We are praying, even in the middle of the night, and thinking of you all, and asking the Lord to Preserve Joseph.

  12. Ed and Kate,

    Holly and I are praying for Joseph and for your family, as well as the medical staff, along with all the Briarwood FLC families. We’ve shared Joseph’s need for prayer and there are prayers going up all over the State of Alabama and around the globe by the faithful. We pray for healing and restoration for Joseph as we also pray for God’s mercy and grace to shower down upon you.

    May Christ comfort you and give you peace,

    Holly & Mike Strayer

  13. What a wonder it is to be able to know about Joseph here in New Jersey, USA, through Cecil on Facebook (which I said I would never use). The Lord has His very special ways of getting his children together when prayer is needed. I consider it a great privilege to know Joseph and his family and to be able to pray for them. It is a great blessing to me to be connected to brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere in the world. I will prayerfully follow Joseph’s progress. Thank you so much.

  14. Ed, It’s been years since we were together at Briarwood, but that doesn’t lessen our concern for your precious Joseph and for all of you. I think there is nothing harder for a parent to endure than to experience the suffering of our children…but you know well that our Great Physician is sovereign over every detail of Joseph’s life. Our prayers are joined with so many other brothers and sisters in Christ as we lift our hearts in prayer for Joseph’s healing and for peace and comfort for you all. “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from destruction; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies….” May you all know His lovingkindness and tender mercies as you walk this valley. From miles away, we walk it with you in the deep prayers of our hearts. Lovingly in our Lord, Richard and Janet Vest

  15. Ed and Kate, we are praying for your family and that the Lord would do a miracle in Joseph’s life!!! Thank you so much for this blog and for the update on Kate and Ezra. How are Moses and Elijah doing? They have been on my heart and I have praying for them too during this hard time.
    For the Maces,


    1. Moses and Elijah know that Joseph is in the hospital but do not know how sick he is.
      They are missing their brother but being very helpful to Kate.

  16. Ed and Kate,
    Thank you, Ed for the updates. Frank and I are praying for you and Kate and the boys. We have a grandson named Moses and it is special to know someone else with the same name.. Our love to your sweet Joseph and so glad for the good news (swelling of the face ect), I pray you and Kate get more good news each day..
    much love,
    Sheryl Spear

  17. We are praying for all of you that God will watch over and protect especially Joseph.
    What we see is bad, God will use for good.

  18. I am praying for healing for precious Joseph. May the Lord give you and Kate the strength to go through this. May God bless you and your family, and you ministry there in Ireland.

  19. Thank you for update Ed with the praise/request format. We are praying hard for Joseph and your amazing family.

  20. Thanks so much for setting up this blog. This will help us all stay in the loop. We are looking daily for the wonderful results from all these prayers!! For this, the Internet is wonderful!!! We care so much about all of the Underwood family!! May God’s angels continue to encamp around precious Joseph!! Love from all the Entrekins, Liz

  21. Ed,

    Anna and I are praying earnestly for Joseph and the rest of your family. The prayers of His people and your faith are bringing glory to God. Thank you for your faithful witness and thank you for keeping all of us who love your family updated on Joseph.

    Peter for the Barbers

  22. We are continuously lifting Joseph up in our prayers, praying for miraculous healing and preservation, morning and night and throughout the day. May God’s power be made perfect in Joseph’s weakness. Sending love to your family,
    John and Sara

  23. Thank you for keeping us updated!!! Praying for you and your family often – sharing with others to ask them to pray as well!!!!

  24. We thank God for his goodness and continue to pray for Joseph’s preservation and recovery. May God sustain you and give you peace in this difficult time.

  25. Praying so hard, Ed! Asking The Lord for a miracle …..glory to His mighty name!! Astonished by the depth of your understanding of sin’s consequences and His plan for our ultimate eternal life in the midst of this unbelievable stress. What a wise leader you are for your family and an example for all of us who love y’all. Will keep praying.

  26. We and our church are praying for little Joseph for Christ healing hand to touch Joseph. Our hearts and prayers go out to you, Kate & family. Thank you for all the updates keeping everyone informed. We love you all.

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