Updates for John, January 21-27, 2004
Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 11:07 pm
Ok, I've got whiplash. Plans got changed when we were told the cat-scan showed a kidney mass.
We canceled our plane flight when my brother-in-law shook things a bit. God provided time today
so that John could, under general anesthesia, have both the knee and kidney biopsied. The knee
showed osteosarcoma as predicted and the kidney showed a benign cyst (which needs no
treatment). Thank the Lord.
Then the chest CAT-scan final report showed definite
evidence of small amounts of cancer in John's lungs. The treatment for now is an agressive all out
attack with chemotherapy in the hopes the tumor is sensitive to the stuff. We are
flying out Wednesday morning and will arrive in Ft Wayne at 1 pm. Hopefully, we can get
John's braces off Wednesday afternoon. If all goes well, (and God doesn't blow everyone's
mind with an immediate miracle) we hope to get a central line put in and start
the cell war on Thursday.
I'm sure it won't surprise you to hear that a cancer center is
an interesting place to get into conversations with people about Jesus...
I haven't gotten much reading done.
Thanks for your prayers...
Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 11:15 am
About forty-five minutes ago, yesterday's CT scan was being reviewed and
John's uncle found a 4 cm mass on John's kidney. We are reeling, but
trusting for God's peace. Phil and John will not be able to come home for
a while. Johnny's uncle is really shaking things up at MD Anderson. It
looks like they will be able take both biopsies this afternoon under
Pray for wisdom. Thanks.
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 at 10:33 pm
Big day today...
Johnny had a chest CAT-scan that looked clean, yeah!!
I met with the oncologist armed with questions. The conclusion was that we can
reasonablly follow through with John's treatment in a Ft. Wayne hospital under
the care of a pediatric oncologist named Dr. Hill, someone I have refered many patients to.
I contacted Dr. Hill by phone and he said he would be happy to help in any way he can. The
biopsy I thoght was scheduled today was actually just a consult to prepare for the biopsy
that will take place on Thursday. I would be happy to leave some tissue behind for their
research but I don't think I can hang until Thursday...time's a wastin'. I just got tickets
for home and we will fly out Tuesday and arrive in Ft. Wayne at 9:57pm. I plan to let Dr.
Hill know we're on our way tomorrow and hopefully he'll be able to arrange for a biopsy and
port placement Wednesday or Thursday. After that, we can get on with chemo if God
doesn't heal John between now and then.
I also met with another oncologist who
takes care of Adult (16+) sarcoma patients. He brought some interesting issues to the
table that will help a lot as we decide on what course to take in John's care. God
answered your prayers for clear direction. Now pray for a smooth transition and perhaps
a little faster pace in getting John the care he needs.
Finally thank you for your
continual prayer for John's miraculous healing...if that is not the course God chooses it
won't be for lack of prayer!
Resting in God's peace and joy,
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 at 10:20 pm
We had a restful day and great worship service today. John went to youth group
with his cousins tonight, saying "if I'm going to be down here for a while I might as well
get to know some kids." Tomorrow is a big day. A cat-scan of his lungs looking for
metastasis, blood tests, and a biopsy of the tumor. A visit with an oncologist friend of
my brother-in-law who deals with adult sarcomas early in the day to help me know what
questions to ask John's oncologist when I meet him later in the day. Some times it is
helpful to get a heads up on what the issues are. I would like to come to some conclusions
on a plan of treatment tomorrow. Then another issue is before he can start chemotherapy
he needs a port put in and this is not scheduled until a week from tomorrow. My
brother-in-law knows someone at another hospital who does these on adults for him
with a one day notice. I'm hopeful we can move things along a bit so we can go home
and perhaps get the remainder of the chemotherapy in Ft. Wayne. Pushing poison isn't
rocket science once you decide which ones. Also John needs his braces off for
chemotherapy. Chemo causes mouth sores and the braces would aggravate the situation. Our
orthodontist is making arrangements with an orthodontist here...pray this doesn't
hold things up.
Thanks for your prayers...we feel God's peace and even some joy.
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 at 8:56 am
I spent a few hours in the medical center library yesterday researching
the various options available to John. There is a surgical operation for an
above knee amputation that involves converting the ankle joint into a new knee. It
has been done for at least 15 years. Kids who have had this operation often
can be involved in athletics and have a gait very similar to their pre-amputation
gait. Sounds like the best of a host of rotten options...these are not the kind
of decisions I would wish on anyone. Other treatment decisions include whether
to do chemotherapy before or after surgery, the research is not clear cut.
You can specifically pray that if we need to make those decisions that
God will make the correct way obvious. I know in my heart that it really doesn't
matter which way we decide because God can make even man's wrong decisions right.
I'm working hard not to dwell too much on the future. God's grace is sufficient
for each day and the trouble therein. He will give us the grace for tomorrow
when tomorrow comes. I know the path of self pity is a hole that leads nowhere
good. Scripture, prayer, and love and encouragment from other believers help keep
me on track.The Lord is good and his mercy endures for ever, his faithfulness
continues to all generations.
John and I are so thankful for all your prayers...
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 2:40 pm
Woke up today fantasizing about God healing John
between the biopsy on Monday and the MRI scan of the tumor
Tuesday. Imagining the unbridled joy.
I think thoughts
of faith that heals and my mind drifts to the father in Mark 9
"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief." Then
Jesus healed his son. I know the path to Christlikeness often
comes by way of adversity endured. I am grateful God doesn't ask
me to choose between my son's healing or knowing Him more
intimately...maybe I can have both.
God knows best and
He always acts in love...these are the things on my mind
today...thank you God.
Romans 11: 33-36 is sweet!
Posted Friday, January 23, 2004 at 8:40 pm
Tough day today.
We were told yesterday
as we left the medical center that they are scheduling more
tests and would call us with the details today. We waited and
finally heard at 3 pm that we would have some tests Monday and
Tuesday, then perhaps see the surgeon again Thursday to discuss
options. Did I make the mistake of asking God to teach me
Lots of conversation with God today...mostly
surrender...man this is hard...at least I can cry.
brother-in-law, an oncologist at the same hospital in a
different department, called me at 4 pm to see what had happened
today. When he found out nothing he was outraged....hopefully he
can grease the skids. I just rest in my fathers hands and trust
He will take care of things in his time. Johnny is doing
great..."I just wish they'd cut my leg off and get it over
with." We talk a lot. Scripture comes to life in they
valley....check out Ps 73:25-28. "It is good to be near
Nothing medical planned this weekend...
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 11:55 pm
Johnny and I spent the day talking with the
oncologist and the surgeon.....and waiting.
to be made about saving the leg with the likelihood of the knee
being weak and needing lots of attention vs. amputation and
hopefully a functionally strong and useful remnant. The
institution leans toward saving the limb. Johnny and I are
leaning toward amputation and a prosthesis.
already planning some great practical jokes for his new leg,
we've had some great laughs. Regardless, Johnny will need 4
courses of chemotherapy 4 weeks apart to treat lung metastisis
that is likely there but not yet seen on xrays. Good likelihood
of complete cure but the chemotherapy is rather harsh...hair
loss, low blood counts, risk of infection, damage to the
...Not a whole lot of other choices on the table
short of a miracle. God's peace is here, sleeping well, lots of
tears and crying out to our Father for intimacy with Him..taking
our brokenness to him and asking Him for more of
Him...relationship with the Father. We feel your prayers and are
so grateful for the outpouring of love..God is real, He is good,
and He is faithful. Read Hebrews 12: 7-11 and insert the words
"spiritual child training" whereever you see the word
discipline (which is what my study Bible says the greek
implies). Tomorrow we expect a bunch of tests to complete
staging of the tumor.
Thank you for your concern and
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 10:30 pm
Phil and John were amazed by the skill and kind
consideration of the people at the cancer center today. They saw
the cancer doctor (oncologist) in the morning and the bone/joint
surgeon (orthopedic surgeon) in the afternoon.
coming to grips with the amputation ahead. The doctors gave him
other options involving keeping some of his lower leg and foot,
but he would have limitations in his activities and a fragile
"knee" that would require constant surgeries to be
useful, and ultimately, amputation anyway. Phil has been very
honest with the doctors and they have responded candidly that
most parents don't come in ready to talk amputation, even though
that is the most likely treatment to give John a useful, active
limb in the shortest time, and a cure.
Tomorrow will be
more tests, but the policy of this cancer center is any painful
procedure will be done with the patient well-medicated.
You'll have to ask John next week if he remembers any of these
Chemotherapy will probably be one course every
month for four months with a five-day hospital stay each time.
The chemo is imperative because almost all osteosarcoma patients
have tiny specks of cancer cells already in their lungs that are
invisible on a bone scan. The chemo should clear all those
We're not sure yet about the timing of the
surgery. John will probably be in Texas for a couple more
Phil and I are feeling less in shock, and more of
the "peace that surpasses understanding." We are so
grateful for the prayers you are making on our behalf. Thank
you! Thank you! Thank you!