Hi Everyone!!! Forgive me for not posting anything recently and leaving many of you in limbo with Andrew's situation, but Jennifer and I have been so overwhelmed lately with many divergent emotions that have bogged us down. But by God's grace and prayers of many, we are back in action, so to speak.
Before the scheduled bone marrow biopsy on the January 5th, Andrew went to the oncology clinic at Children's to see if his blood levels (hemoglobin, platelets, white blood cell counts) were still running abnormal. The blood work showed that all of the aforementioned levels were more abnormal then before. We sat down with our oncologist of three years, Dr. Elaine Morgan, and she basically said that based on the blood work that there is something definitely wrong and that she thought it was a.m.l. (acute myeloid leukemia) as opposed to a relapse of his first cancer, a.l.l. (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). I was completely floored that this was possibly happening again. Andrew got the bone marrow aspirate (taking a sample of the bone marrow) and we went home. After a long weekend, Dr. Morgan called on Tuesday the 10th to tell us that the aspirate showed that this was not a recurrence of his first cancer, but another form. The aspirate wasn't completely conclusive, so a bone marrow biopsy (a gathering of a sample of the hip bone) was scheduled for this past Thursday and a complete c.t. body scan to see if there was any cancer in the lymph nodes around his heart and unearth any other issues in his body. Again, after a long weekend, Dr. Morgan called yesterday to say that Andrew may have a rare cancer that there is very little research on. They think that Andrew has a cancer called Myeloid Proliferative Disease, which is a blood cancer, like his first diagnosis. Dr. Morgan wanted to get back to us tomorrow so she could talk to other oncologist and talk to the pathologist more to get a more definitive diagnosis. As far as chemo protocol, we won't know anything until they iron out what the specific diagnosis is. And that is the frustrating part, we are not sure what the cancer is and we need to wait again! The c.t. scan showed some questionable things around his pancreas. As many of you know that have been following Andrew's health the past few year, the word pancreas creates a lot of angst in our family. Andrew has been hospitalized over 40 times with issues that stemmed from his pancreas. Also, there were some question with some small masses around his heart.
Whatever the diagnosis is, this being the second case of blood cancer for Drew, Andrew will need a bone marrow transplant after the cancer is in remission. Andrew has been put on a transplant registry donor list and Emily (Drew's 14 year sister), Andrew's mother and I were tested Friday to see if we are a match. As far as a donor, Emily have the highest probability of being a match with his mother and I having a remote chance. So we ask that as you pray for Andrew, that you would pray that Emily would be a COMPLETE MATCH and that we get a definitive diagnosis!
If not, we have to rely on the transplant registry donor list. Emily is willing to be a trooper and do whatever it takes to get her big bro back to health. And I know that our 9 year old Bry would do ANYTHING to help her big bro get back to health if she could, but she is too young. I know many of you have asked how you could be tested to see if you are a donor match and our family is truly humbled and grateful for these gestures. I will get to the logistics of who many be a more likely match than others and how you can get tested. In the mean time, please goto this website for more info:
If you look at Andrew, you could not guess that he has a life threatening cancer in his body. The only issue is that he gets tired easily because of his low blood levels. He is taking this like a true pro! The poise and wear with all to ask some many intelligent question to his oncologist and taking such a proactive approach to his care is amazing. Andrew has come along way from the initial diagnosis 3 years ago! I know that there is some trepidation, but this kids is STRONG! He is a model of courage and bravery!
He is trying to be a normal teenager these days and with that being said, Andrew finally got his license today!!! Jennifer and I couldn't contain ourselves as we waited with him in the area where you take your picture. When they called his name, Jenn and I did our best to embarrass him by shouting hurray and encouraging him to smile for the camera! He was delayed a year in getting his license because he was too ill to take drivers ed and that is why we are so ecstatic for our Andrew that he finally got it!!!!
Before I end, I would like to share a story that shows how God is working in the midst of our suffering. Last Thursday, before Andrew's bone marrow biopsy, I ran into a fellow high school classmate in the fourth floor oncology clinic who I have not seen for over 25 years. His name is Brett Kaiser and I was surprised as he was to connect in the most unlikely of places. Brett and his wife have a newborn that may have leukemia and were at Children's to get consultation for his beautiful newborn daughter (beautiful!) Taylor. I was pretty down that day and it was good seeing someone from the past. Brett told me that he had a feeling that he would meet someone he knew and low and behold we met. Brett had told me that he had read that Andrew had a relapse of his cancer a few days prior and it was weird because he doesn't frequent his facebook page often. It resonated a bit more to Brett because his oldest son is named Andrew as well. Brett told me that I inspired to him to stand up tall and lead his family through this difficult time. There have been many times I wondered why this was happening to Andrew and our family, but I believe that there is a sovereign plan for Andrew and our clan. If it means that we suffer so others can be encouraged and helped, praise God! Please pray for Brett and his wife Shanda and their newborn daughter Taylor! Pray for health and wisdom for the doctors so that they may be able to diagnosis what is going on correctly. Thanks!
Lastly, after Jenn and I took Andrew to get his license, we went to a hospital to visit an old friend, Kim Cho, who was just diagnosed with Lymphoma. Those that know Kim, know of her wonderfully gentle and kind spirit, who is a Godly woman and mother of three young children. Kim taught Emily and Andrew's Sunday school at our church when they were younger. Kim is the type of person that no one can say a bad word about. She is an angel and she looks like one too. It was great seeing Kim and her husband Peter, who is a Godly man, and the encouragement they have given to us by their example in the midst of a very turbulent two week stay in the hospital. I think it was good for Kim to see Andrew and the example he has shown in his battle with cancer. We had a brief stay, ending with an uplifting time of prayer for one another. Please pray for Kim that the chemotherapy would eradicate all the cancer from her body and that God would continue to sustain Peter and the rest of the kids. Specifically, there is fluid build up around her heart so, please pray that this fluid buildup around the heart would dissipate by Friday so that no further surgery or hospital stay is needed. If you would like see more on Kim's condition and more importantly prayer requests, please goto the following site:
I know this update was rather lengthy and I thank you for reading through it all. I ask that you continue to pray for Andrew and the rest of the families I listed in this post, which is in bold. I don't know what we would do without you all. Your prayers have enveloped us and put a hedge of protection around our family and we feel them! Know that your prayers are not in vain, but God does listen. By God's grace, we press on! Love you all! Look for an update soon!
THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF ANDREW'S ARMY!!!!