Trusting Him and Staying the Course
From Elaine's CaringBridge Site
Journal entry by Laura Roberts — 8/5/2015
Last week was week 9 and Elaine stayed 5 days in the hospital getting Ifosfamide and Etoposide each day. I'd like to say that it was a breeze and we sailed right through the week but the truth is that the week was very hard for Elaine. She dreaded going to the hospital and she cried a lot of the time while in the hospital even with all the extra provisions I had taken. We had a warmer putting out scents of cucumber melon so the room would not smell like a hospital. Every nurse and doctor that came in commented on how nice the room smelled. She had sheets, pillows, blankets, towels and washcloths from home. We rolled in a large cooler full of food from home so she didn't have to eat hospital food. I even took hand soap so our hands would smell like we were at home instead of the hospital. The car looked like it was packed for vacation we took so much stuff with us. Elaine said all the stuff helped her although I'd hate to see what it would have been without it if it did help her because she was pretty upset most of the week. It got a little overwhelming during the week for me too because I remembered the number of stays we have ahead of us. I was concentrating on getting us through this stay like this was the only one there was and sometime during the week it dawned on me that we were at the beginning and not the end. Thankfully someone close to me reminded me of earlier words I had used about this being a marathon and not a sprint and so it is.
In addition to it being the first time that Elaine had received these particular drugs, Elaine also received her first blood transfusion. She did well with this too as there were no negative reactions to receiving the blood. As I've mentioned before this is roller coaster, the chemo drugs knock Elaine's blood cell and platelet counts down and when they come back up its time for more chemo so they get knocked down again. This kills the cancer but also kills fast growing cells that are good too. Last Friday when they were reviewing Elaine's lab results her platelet counts were borderline and our choices were to go ahead and get blood or wait and see if she needed it later. We were seeing the doctor again on Tuesday and if we needed it on Tuesday it would be a 4 hour process. If we went ahead and got it in the hospital it would be a 3 hour process. If we opted to wait there was a possibility that Elaine could get so sick over the weekend which would most likely mean we would end up in the emergency room which would lead to being admitted back in the hospital to get blood. The doctors talked that it was a foregone conclusion that she would need it so since we had a choice we opted for the blood while in the hospital to avoid and an all day stay at the clinic and to avoid having to be readmitted to the hospital over the weekend. It has proven to be a good choice.
We are now in week 10 and we have no chemo this week; an off week for us. We start the whole 4 week cycle again next week with a 3 day stay in the hospital. We saw the doctor on Tuesday and he is pleased with how Elaine is doing. I asked him, "So how do you think Elaine is doing? You see lots of kids on these drugs, so, what do you think?" He said, "I think Elaine is doing wonderful." We'll take that until our next round of testing which is week 19!
School starts next week and we have a meeting with the school this Friday to discuss Elaine's homebound plan. We are very blessed to have two teachers who have agreed to work with Elaine this year so she can complete her junior year. I mentioned to Elaine about taking less hours and possibly graduating in 2018 instead of 2017 but as you can imagine she did not like that idea. I even tried to sell the new school Alabaster is building and that she could go to the new school (which is going to be really fancy I might add) but she would rather be in the last graduating class at the old school than the first graduating class in the new school. I'll give more of an update on what school will look like in later updates.
I finished my study of Habakkuk. Verses 17 and 18 say, "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord and I will be joyful in God my Savior." For us it is even though we have no life except back and forth to the hospital and doctor appointments, even though Elaine's junior year will be spent at home instead of at school with her friends, even though we can't go and do the things we want to do and love to do in the summer and fall, even though there are big events that I planned to attend but now have to miss, yet I will rejoice in the Lord and be grateful for the blessings He is providing during these dark times. And verse 19, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." I've heard this verse so many times but never had it spoke to me so clearly than when I read it during this study. I've known since the beginning that I would only walk through this leaning on God. I've felt at times that I couldn't do it only to have Him carry me until I could walk again. When I should be paralyzed I am making decisions and moving forward and that can only be from Him. We are doing what we can do with His leading and He is doing what only He can do.
Please keep praying! Please keep us on the prayer lists at your churches, your Bible studies; any and every prayer list you know of please put us on it. God is hearing us and answering our prayers. I don't know if this journey is something He is doing for His purposes or if God will take this and use for good what was meant for evil. Either way God has it and is in control. We will trust Him and stay the course.
Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12