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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

HUGE NEWS!

Andrew going into remission... unbelievable,  chromosomal defect miraculously gone...praise the Lord, and now ladies and gentlemen, wait for it... wait for it...ANDREW HAS FOUND A MATCH! NO, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GOTO THE EYE DOCTOR, YOU READ RIGHT,  ANDREW HAS FOUND A DONOR MATCH!

This past Thursday, we had a scheduled meeting with Dr. Sonali of the transplant team to discuss a time table if a match was found, there is a lot of prep going into a bone marrow transplant.  Dr. Sonali started by saying since his chromosome 7 and 8 have diffused and with Andrew being in remission, his chances of survival just got much better and he is in IDEAL shape to go into transplant.  And then she broke the news that there is a 41 year old female in the states who is a 6 of 8 high resolution match.  If Andrew chromosomal abnormality was still present, 6 of 8 match would not have been considered, because of the heightened risk of complications and failure.  For transplant patients a  match closer to a 8 out of 8 high resolution match cuts the chance of GVHD occurring.  GVHD, graph versus host disease, is a common and occasionally serious complication of  bone marrow transplants, with symptoms affecting the skin (mild to severe skin rashes), liver (jaundice), and the intestines (cramping, diarrhea, blood in the stool). Also, a male donor could have cut the chance of GVHD occurring.  Although it isn't a perfect match, we will take it! 

So, we left last Thursday's meeting knowing the transplant team would reach out to the donor and ask for dates for the donation.  The ideal date with Andrew's chemo schedule was May 8th for donation.  WELL, WE JUST GOT WORD THE DONOR WILL BE DONATING HER MARROW FOR ANDREW ON MAY 16TH AND ANDREW WILL HAVE HIS TRANSPLANT NEXT DAY, 
MAY 17TH.  Alright guys!  HIP HIP.............HURRAY!  ONE MORE TIME, I CAN'T HEAR YOU....HIP HIP....HURRAY!  Sorry for not telling you earlier, but Jenn and I wanted to wait until we got the word the donor agreed to a date.   Some of you may be wondering if there is a closer match, could we take it?  You betcha!  So, let's pray for it!  So for as the time line, Andrew will get another round of inpatient chemo in a couple of weeks with a bone marrow biopsy to see if the cancer is still in remission.  Then he will recover and then eight days before transplant, Andrew will go into pre-transplant which consist of 5 days of two a day total body radiation and then three days of intense chemo to deplete his blood counts to ready him for transplant.  As well as the good news for Andrew,  more wonderful news, a boy named Connor who you have read on my blog, who we met through our similar plights in finding a bone marrow donor and is a fellow patient at Children's Memorial with a rare immunodeficiency called X-linked hyper IGM, recently found a match!!!  Andrew and Connor have their transplants days within days of each other.  So with that being said, I ask you to pray specifically for several items:

-Pray the next bone marrow biopsy would be negative for cancer and Andrew's next round of chemo would be painless as possible.
-Pray for both Connor's and Andrew's donors will carry out their donation.
-Pray for both Connor and Andrew would have little or no GVHD after their transplants.
-Pray for the transplants would be an overall success and give our boys a chance to live a "normal" life.
-Pray for both our family and Connor's family that God will continue to provide the grace to stay strong physically, mentally and spiritually as we go through the arduous task of caring for our son's post transplant.
That's it for the immediate future, but I will continue to post prayer requests.

As far as Andrew's health, this stretch of almost two weeks has been the longest we have been at home in god knows when.  Andrew has been cooped up in the house for the most part because of his neutropenic state, where he is susceptible to infection, but his counts are slowing getting better and he is getting stronger.   Andrew still is getting around the clock meds through his port line in his chest administered by the most loving and sexy nurse I know: Jennifer.  Come on guys!  You knew it was Jennifer;-) 
Andrew did step out last Friday, with a mask on at most times,  to go on a shopping spree at the Apple Store in Oakbrook courtesy of Cal's Angels, a pediatric cancer foundation to grant wishes to cancer patients and to offer financial assistance as well.  Click here to learn more about Cal's Angels: calsangels.org  Andrew was greeted by all the Apple Store employees and Ray, a rep with Cal's Angels, with a loud ovation as he entered and exited the store.  Andrew was given an iPad 3 with cool accessories!  Andrew is giving his iPad 2, which he graciously received from my friends to use for his hospital stays, to his grandma in Florida, so she can watch and view Korean videos and newspapers anywhere in the house!  What a kid, huh?  
Rick and Theresa, you are the best!  They took care of Andrew for almost 2 hours!

Okay, switching gears a bit, these pictures show the myriad of emotion I have gone through the past few months and they "speak" volumes on how I have felt and feel.
Grief
CONTINUALLY PRAYNG GOD WOULD BE GLORIFIED THROUGH OUR TRIALS AND LIFE IN GENERAL AND  FOR ANDREW'S CANCER WOULD BE ERADICATED FOR GOOD.

JUMPING FOR JOY IN ELATION!

Even through the miracles and God's hand of grace so firmly and evident in my life, I still struggle with faith and often times not, doubt.  
But I know my faith grows and doubts diminish  as a I take time out of my day, seek God in  solitude and meditate on what God has graciously done in my life.Psalm 77:11-15
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph. 



I recently read this about faith:

faith (feyth)
–noun
strong or unshakable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), Scottish theologian and chaplain to troops in WWI, said, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”  Knowing that God is real and that His word is reliable is hard amidst all the competing messages in the world. To live your life like you know it is even harder. Harder still is making the pursuit of that knowledge, with increasing faith, your life’s highest priority. This is the kind of radical faith we are being called to; a strong, unshakable, deliberate confidence in the character of God, even when you do not understand His ways and when the rest of the world says you are mad.
I know my faith compared to other Christians is small, but I know I have the "mustard seed" of faith that will grow and grow as I continue to cultivate my faith.  With each passing day, this faith I possess brings me closer to God and this developing relationship gives me a peace in the midst life's storms. The rest of this world may think I am "mad" and crazy as I thank God for the trials and tribulations I have gone through and I have gone through many.  But I hope my friends and family could see a snap shot  inside of my head and body and see the peace that passes all human understanding guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4:6-7).  
Thanks again everyone for all that you have done and continue to do!  Let's keep Andrew's Army active and fight until we get this cancer eradicated!   And remember, if you or others haven't registered for the bone marrow registry to possibly save a life, goto marrow.org and register!  It could save a life, like it is going to for Andrew!

Leave a comment!  I would love to read how you all feel!  

11 comments:

  1. I'm still in tears bro. God is so good....so good.

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  2. PRAISE THE LORD!!! HALLELUJAH!!!! SO, SO, SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS!!!! Our family will continue to pray hard for Andrew. My girls will be SOOO happy to hear the news. They've been praying daily for Andrew to find a match! :)

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  3. Wonderful news!!! We've got God who hears. I'll keep praying for Andrew.

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  4. I discovered your blog and your family's story through Peter and Kimberly Cho's blog...it was through their advocacy that I registered with Be the Match and helped to facilitate a drive at our church (Parkwood), which occurred this past Sunday in partnership with Restoration Community Church. It was an honor and blessing to meet Connor's mom Stephanie there, and to contribute in some small way to the need for more Asian American bone marrow donors. So thrilled with your family's news, so encouraged by all the faith and courage you have demonstrated through such difficult trials. Between your family, the Cho Family, and Connor's family, you have all taught us so much about bearing with life's greatest challenges with grace, strength, faith, transparency, and even humor. I will continue to pray for your family and for Andrew as you continue down this path, and hope our paths cross in person some day in the future. Blessings to you all!--Helen Lee

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  5. PRAISE THE LORD!
    I am sooo happy for all of you and thank God for His grace and mercy. Through this, He has brought many people on their knees and through this He has shown us his grace (once again). We will continue to pray for all of you and pray that all people will see & sing HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!

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    1. What great news!! I know many at CEC are (and will keep) praying for Andrew constantly, as well as for Emily and Bryanna and you and your sexy nurse. :) Such great news. Praise God!

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  6. Wow! Such wonderful news! I had faith all along- never wavered...I pray for a flawless transplant and for Andrew to come out on the other side headed towards living a normal life that every teenage boy deserves. Praying for your whole family too!! Be well- joe us all posted!!
    -Tobey and family

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  7. Joe -- your blog has been inspirational, informational, and incredible! As someone that has walked in your shoes, (watching my sister suffer with AML, and donating my bone marrow to her) you bring back memories and emotions of her journey with leukemia. I feel the same as you do...I wouldn't want a "do-over" either! Although my sister passed away just 7 months after her diagnosis, going through her journey changed me forever! I am so happy to hear about your many blessing with regard to Andrew and his prognosis! I speak with many people every week that are also walking in your shoes...Andrew is a miracle!
    Please let me know if I can help in any way.
    Molly Isbell
    Leukemia Research Foundation

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  8. All praise to God! We rejoice with your family and will continue praying!

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  9. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!!! Praise God from whom all blessings FLOW!

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  10. hey park family! i meant to leave a comment earlier but i never seem to be able to when i'm on my phone :oP anyways, just wanted to say how GREAT & AWESOME this news is, and how happy we all are for you guys! it was nice to see you all at church this past sunday, and we'll keep you all in our prayers. i was really encouraged by this sermon that came up during one of our csm bible studies and thought maybe it'd encourage andrew with how he's feeling now. it def was an encouragement to me. :o) -meeyoung

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/ruth-sweet-and-bitter-providence

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