30 Days Till Tomorrow

Joseph On First Day of Treatment
Joseph On First Day of Treatment

Highlight: Joseph had another good night. He was a bit fitful in his sleep, but over all did very well.

Highlight: Joseph officially started his formal, full-leukemia treatment yesterday and had a chemo treatment today. He had no adverse reaction to chemo.

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When Joseph was admitted to the hospital just over a week ago he may have been a few hours or a couple of days from dying. Our Prayer was that the Lord would Preserve Joseph, and so He has to this day. Medical and Spiritual warfare have been fought for Joseph so that he might live to be treated for the Leukemia. Yesterday he formally entered into that full treatment process. Normally that treatment lasts 30 days, so Joseph will live in this isolation room for the next month as his bone marrow is scrubbed of Leukemia and his body is inspected with a fine-toothed chemical comb, seeking to purge his body of all leukemia. Then as the Leukemia is purged, we pray that his bone marrow will start to recover and he will start the long, slow process of building up healthy bone marrow while knocking down the leukemia’s efforts to return over the next 3 years.

Right now tests are away being evaluated to see if the Leukemia in Joseph’s body is the type that is receptive to treatment or resistant to treatment. These test results will have an impact on his treatment and potential side effects of the drugs used in his treatment. In general the more intense the treatment the higher the risk of bad side effects.

One result is back. Joseph’s bone marrow was 97% Leukemia cells upon admission to the hospital. That did not leave much room for normal bone marrow. We are told that this high level of “packing” is not unheard of in young children who arrive in a health crisis with Leukemia.

Today a social worker interviewed me to see how our family was holding up. As I shared with her how the Body of Christ has rallied around us tears began to well up in her eyes. When I described someone coming to our home to freshen the linens on our beds and tidy just to take the pressure off Kate, this social worker said, “That just runs a chill down my spine to think that there are people who really care so much”.  I have to say that Kate and I feel much the same way. We feel carried along in a strength not our own and supported and encouraged in ways that are beyond what we would ever imagine.

Joseph is looking bright and alert.  He ate a big breakfast and was playing at his toy kitchen and doing a bit of walking on the hall with me. We were told today that the treatment can result in some children forgetting how to walk, for a period of time. The doctors were pleased with our efforts to get Joseph on his feet and playing or walking.

After a bit of walking Joseph had another record-breaking lunch.

He received his chemo this afternoon and more steroids. When I asked the consultant (US specialist) today about what will be the biggest challenge we can expect, the answer was: “Infection” . It will always be lurking in the background for someone with a very low immune system (or no immune system). That is why the first 30 days of treatment is in the hospital. Afterward, if all goes well, Joseph can go home and receive many treatments as an outpatient but with some scheduled time in the hospital for segments of intense therapy to keep the leukemia knocked down.