Highlight: The results of Joseph’s MRD test indicate that he is in the “low risk” group. That is the group of Leukemia patients who have the best chance to have a long term cure from Leukemia.
It was a busy day and around lunch time Kate’s mother, Marie, came to see the boys and sent us off to have lunch together. We packed up Ezra and went to Ikea where we had lunch and looked at storage ideas. (Just the kind of date that married people love.) Just as we were siting down to lunch a call from the hospital came in. The MRD results were back early and Joseph was found to be in the “low risk” group. That means they did not detect 1 leukemia cell in a group of 50,000 bone marrow cells. As we heard the news tears welled up in our eyes and we thanked the Lord for such good news as we laughed and smiled. We are not sure what the people near us thought had happened to us but we had the sensation of both a weight rolling off us and joy welling up in our hearts for Joseph.
He still has a long three years of treatment in front of him. The three years of treatment is because they know that there are still leukemia cells in his body. They just cannot be seen with the current tests. Even at the level of less than 1 leukemia cell in 50,000 healthy cells (a removal rate of some 99.998%), because there are roughly 37,200,000,000,000 cells in the human body, there could be almost 750,000,000 leukemia cells still in Joseph’s body. So they will continue to work at killing all the leukemia cells possible. But he has the best chance possible of a long term cure and of fewer long term side effects.
This good news transformed our Ikea lunch into a celebration, because Joseph’s long term prospects are good, even if he has short term challenges and difficultly ahead of him. In many ways this good news was like the Good News of eternal life in Jesus. There was nothing that I could do to make things work out. I could not make Joseph’s leukemia respond to treatment nor could I make Joseph’s body tolerate treatment, just as I cannot do anything to make myself right with God.
I could certainly invent my own “treatments” for Joseph but in the end they would kill him. I could also work really hard at trying to make myself righteous before God and at the end of my life find that I had failed. No, it is not enough to just receive the news from the hospital I still have to take Joseph in for treatment. And if I accept the Good News about Jesus I need to come to Him and be made new without trying to add my bit to it.
Just like a little cancer can kill, so too even a little sin kills us as well. Only the supernatural work of Jesus can really cleanse me until I am blameless before God. There is no sin too big nor too small for Jesus to cleanse and forgive if I will come to Him and ask Him.
Yet, I must ask Him. Jesus said that He did not come to save those who were convinced they were good enough (just like a doctor can’t treat someone who does not believe they are ill), but He came to save those who knew that they needed to be rescued. He also promised to never turn away anyone who would ask Him to rescue them from sin and He will do so with joy that far exceeds what we have felt for Joseph.
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10