Friday, September 08, 2006

Relapse



A quick search on Google yielded the following medical definition:

Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a patient has enjoyed a remission.

I'm not entirely sure how much I've been able to enjoy this brief remission, but just being home has been a huge blessing. Every minute with my baby becomes more valuable in my sight with every passing day.

Preliminary results from yesterday's oh-so-painful biopsy resulted in a phone call from my doctor today, telling me that I have relapsed. What a way to ruin a perfectly good Friday. The leukemic blasts are back at about 20%. I knew, I wondered if I was sick again before Tuesday's appointment but when I saw my blood work I knew. Yet still...hearing it on the phone...there just aren't words. A relapse this quickly? "Not good" is an understatement.

I'll be going back into the University Hospital on Tuesday to begin reinduction therapy. They will be using different chemo drugs this time but the side effects will be similar to the original induction. The doctor said to expect to be there for "a while." In the meantime, my siblings will be typed for a bone marrow donor match. As I've said before, each one has a 1 in 4 chance of being a match, and I have eight siblings, so statistically the chances are good. Our prayer is for a sibling match because that lowers the risk of graft versus host disease. GVHD can be really horrible to the point of fatal. Bone marrow transplants are not the "fix all" we tend to think they are -- this is honestly a last resort -- I have a transplant or I die, no options. The results may be wonderful, but it is also a very real fact that a lot of people don't survive, and a lot who do have a very poor quality of life due to GVHD, radiation, etc.

Once I am in second remission, I will be going to Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital in St. Louis for the allogenic bone marrow transplant. I don't know how all of that will play out yet, so I won't waste time and words speculating.

Psalm 118
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!

16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"

17 I WILL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

(Thanks to Emily B. for sending this to me yesterday.)

65 comments:

Ched said...

Your faith and strength through adversity is encouraging. The accuser has no response to a faithful believer saying "the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be his name." Although we are strangers, I am praying for you. I hope you can feel it.

Amber D.M. said...

Words do not express how deeply I feel this for you all! I love you all, and wish I could be there to give you a hug! You are and will always remain in my thoughts and prayers. *hugs!*

Lisa said...

Amy - My husband is undergoing treatment for ALL - I have corresponded previously with you. You are NOT at the end of the road here... I correspond with a gentleman who has lived with a similar disease for 7 years and has had 3 stem cel transplants. There are new drugs and even the promise of a vaccine - custom-made from your own cells - in clinic trials right now. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring - just take it day by day, week by week and know you are the Lords!

If you want to read the diary of someone who has just had a stem cell transplant for AML and is doing quite well, read http://leukemialetters.blogspot.com/2006/05/treatment-begins.html.

As always, you are in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

Amy, You are in my thoughts and prayers. You have been such a good witness of trusting the Lord through faith during adversity and pain. Keep your eyes on him.

Wendy

Amanda said...

I know that my words cannot possibly say enough. IN fact I feel pretty dumb posting anything because I have no idea what you are going through. But as I read your post I kept thinking to myself, "DON'T GIVE UP AMY, DON'T GIVE UP!!!!" I am sending out a prayer request on my blog. I will not quit praying.

Andrea said...

Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry to hear this. I feel so inadequate to encourage you but I want you to know I'm praying and I pray for you every day. I've been following your story from the beginning. But I'm with Amanda - when I read your post, all I could think was "Don't give up!" God is on your side and holding you close. God bless you and your family.

Rachel Davis said...

Love you so much! We're all praying and our God is mighty.

Anonymous said...

Amy, Brandon and Family,
Know this requires greater strength from our Lord who is able to bear us up. The comments already given are an encouragement to you as they are to us too. You have some blessed folk around you.
Mt.28:18 "All power is given unto me..." Jn. 17:2 "As thou hast given Him power over all flesh..."
We pray for healing, strength, and peace for you and trust His will be done.
Our Love to you all,
Don and Lilan

Lacey said...

I found your blog through Sarah at In The Midst of It. I have been reading & thinking of you, always checking for updates, thanking God that you have been home with your baby.

Don't let go, don't lose hope!! I think of you & pray for you daily. Actually, I just said one after reading this post. "Lord, give her strength. Help her remember, at this time of darkness, what she knew in the light. That your grace is sufficent. And that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. For when we are weak, then we are strong. I pray for healing & hope. Amen."

Kevin P. Larson said...

The Larsons and grace church will keep praying. We are so sorry to hear this.

Barb said...

God bless you, Amy. I'm sending out a call for prayer. Your faith is beyond inspirational. We will go to battle for you.

Barb
A Chelsea Morning

Brenda said...

Amy, my prayers for you continue.

Grafted Branch said...

I'm so grateful that Brenda alerted us to look and pray.

I don't know what to say except that I hope it helps somehow to know that you clearly have an expanding community of believers who have you in its fervent prayers!

The Lord bless you, Amy.

*****

Oh Lord! That you might let Amy live awhile longer here with her earthly family. That you would bless her with good health. That You would be pleased to heal her body as You already have her spirit.

That you would bring bone marrow matches amongst her siblings.

And that you would increase Amy's faith. That you would award her Your peace. That she would be comforted to know that You really will accomplish her best on her behalf. Guide her and guard her Lord through the pain and the uncertainty that You are asking her to walk through now.

Megan said...

I'm praying for you too.

Susanne said...

Continueing to pray for your Amy!

V. said...

I just want you to know that you have another prayer warrior ( in Canada!) praying on your behalf.

..other than that, I feel like words are so inadequate. Know that you are loved so dearly and God knows the future.

V.

Anonymous said...

Dear
Amy, May the Lord bless you and keep you is our prayer. This testinsg will be for good as Romans 8:28 tells us. We will bath you in our prayers everyday. Keep repeating those very precious words from Psa. Blessings on all who support you. Trusting Jesus!!!! Joe and Marilyn

Mississippi Girl said...

Sorry to hear this news. Am still praying for you!! Hang in there.
Jennifer R.

Anonymous said...

Amy, I found your blog through Barb at A New Chelsea Morning, I'm keeping you in my prayers.

Stay strong in your faith and take it one day at a time, we're all praying for you and will help you through this hard journey.

May God watch over you and yours, you're in my thoughts and prayers,
Sandra

Big Mama said...

I found you through Barb. Please know that you are being lifted up in prayer.

Paulette said...

Amy,
I have never stopped praying, I come here all the time and pray. You are in the Lord's hands and I will never stop praying.
Father touch Amy with your peace, and healing. Father I know you perform your miracles everyday. I pray Amy would be the reciepient of your healing touch.
I love you Amy

Linda Gifford said...

My sister-in-law, Cherie Gifford had her bone marrow transplant in 1988 and she is still teaching special ed today!

Paula said...

Amy, I don't have any up lifting or inspiring words. I can only offer prayer. So that is what I will give you.

Lawauna said...

My comment never posted : (

I will be continuing to pray for you and your family. I will be asking for prayers for you at church tomorrow.

God Bless!

Dawn said...

I am in tears as I read your post and the comments. I, too, know someone who's been to Seattle for bone marrow transplant and is still a university professor years later. It is possible! The Lord bless you and keep you and your wonderful family.

eurogirl75 said...

Dear Amy,

I will continue to pray, pray, pray....There are no words to express how sorry I am that you have to be separated from your sweet family again. Please keep up posted.

With love and prayers,
Amy in AZ

shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

Praying and praying...

Glass Half Full said...

Prayers are sent your way. Last spring I witnessed my father go thru chemo/radiation with an extensive GI surgery (esophageal cancer). God is good....His mercy lasts forever...be strong!!!

JenMom said...

Prayers for you from Georgia, Amy. I have had my own battle with life threatening health issues as a Mommy...I understand that emotion. God is Sovereign and you are honoring Him greatly by continuing to give Him glory through this trial. Bless you!!!

Holly said...

My heartache is only a fraction, so I can only imagine.

Praying for mercy and the incredible grace that only God can offer.

You are in my family's thoughts and prayers.

Life full of blessings said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Life full of blessings said...

HI Sweet Amy,
You are a shining LIGHT of faith and trust in our great God...I will continue to lift you up before the Lord...You are an inspiration to us all...
I love your heart and your true thankfulness for your precious son and family...God is GOOD and He is using you all over the world!
Praise HIS name...
I will continue to lift you up in prayer and pass your God glorifying story to other memebers of the body of Christ, there is POWER in prayer...
IN HIM,
Liz

Kate said...

Oh I am going to drench you in prayer girl. You've got another prayer warrior fighting for you in Georgia. He can do exceedingly abundantly all that we ask and think! Amen! (Eph.3:20-21)

healing hoves said...

I am a friend of Paulette's at My Life Shifting, and while I do not know you in the flesh you are my sister in christ and I do pray for God's Healing Hands to Proctect You. While I can not see you to give you a hug, I am giving you one In My Heart Right This Very Minute, A Heart That IS Own and Operated By God and God Alone........YSIC Sonja Brooks

gracie said...

words fail... but God will hear the wordless prayers from my groaning heart for you.

Overwhelmed! said...

Amy- you don't know me. This is the first time I've posted on your blog, I followed you here from Barb's blog. I will be following your progress from here on out. I hope you don't mind if I link your blog on mine.

I'm so sorry you're experiencing a relapse and that your remission was all too brief.

I will be offering up prayers for you and your family.

Please don't give up hope!

Barb said...

Oh Amy, he's just adorable. And you're looking pretty cute, too!

Anonymous said...

Amy~ You are in my prayers.
~Caroline

Anonymous said...

We never stopped praying and will continue to do so. I've been thinking of you a lot lately. It was hard to hear the news when Rowena called to tell me. I keep praying for you-"His mercies are new every morning!" Praying for your strength today.

Much love,
Rachel E

Anonymous said...

Dear Sweet Amy,
I mention you every Sunday during the prayer time in our Sunday School class. This morning we prayed Romans 8:28-29 for you. Your trust in the Lord is so encouraging to everyone who reads your blog. Keep your deep faith in God. He knows your heart and will be with you every step of the way in your treatment and bone marrow transplant. God bless you and your family. Much love, Jackie Dennison

LauraLou said...

Lord,
I ask for you to heal Amy. I don't even know her, but you do and I ask that you would hold her close and strenghten her body right now. Thank you for her faith in you. Thank you for Amy's testimony, and that many people who come to this sight see You high and lifted up. Be with her family and give them strength during this difficult time. We love you, Lord, and trust that You are in control.

Dianne said...

Adding my prayers here as well.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

You are such an inspiration to me! I am so grateful how you share your journey. May you feel the presence of Christ in each struggle, and know you are loved by many!! My prayers will continue for you.........

In Christ,
Lynn Hensel
Grace Church of Columbia

Paulette said...

Hello Amy,
Today is Sunday and I want you to know we prayed for you in our Sunday school hour today.
I pray for healing and a peasce that passes all understanding.
You are loved.
The picture is precious, your baby is adorable.

Lauren said...

Found you through Brenda. I'll be praying.

DK said...

Amy, know that there is an Army of people out here praying for you and every single member of your family! You hang in there, and when you feel alone, remember us!
DK
http://aflyoverblog.typepad.com

Laura said...

Still praying for you... so glad to read you are keeping the faith, though I know it is hard during these trying times.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

praying so hard for you.

flipflop said...

rPraying for you.

Rachel Davis said...

Did I miss that picture earlier? Hmm. Gary is so adorable. I think you and Kristina should throw American culture to the wind and arrange a marriage between him and Analise.

Eric M Schumacher said...

We are praying for you!

-----------------------

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

~William Cowper (1731-1800)

Anonymous said...

Amy,
I love you!
Always praying!
Your little sis,
Lizzie

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Praying for you still.

Abby Ymker said...

I'm praying for you Amy!
Love, Abby

Dawn said...

We prayed for you in SS class. What beautiful blue eyes Gary has!

Anonymous said...

Amy, Im so sorry you have to go through this again. We will not give up praying and believing in God's sovereign hand upon your life.
I am also sending you an email through your and Brandon's account with some of my favorite versus.
"He heals my brocken heart and binds up all my wounds." psalm 147:3
"Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for You are my praise." Jeremiah 17:14

Anonymous said...

'sorry that last entry was from alea canning. :0)

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, I've already wrote and told you I am praying, but I've been thinking about you and praying for you today. I wanted to let you know. You are never far from my thoughts. I pray for you to have strength and to lean on God through all of this. Your light shines bright to others and God is using you in amazing ways.

Wendy

monicac2 said...

You are in my prayers. I pray that you would feel the mighty arms of the Lord wrapped around you! God bless,

Shushan said...

Praying for you here that you will find grace in His sight for successful treatment and full healing. Praying also that your side effects will be reduced and that Christ will keep you in His peace throughout it all!

*hugs*

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

You are in my prayers still, and the prayers of my family.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I just wanted you to know my I, my whole church and all my friends are praying for you. We have youth prayer meetings, and we pray for you there too. You are so beautiful and SUCH an inspiration. Love, Donna McDonald

Tonya in KS said...

You are still in my prayers.

Christina said...

Im wondering if God wants to make sure you get all the treatment you need and he let you come out of remission so you could see the next step more clearly. Keep fighting and I will pray for you. You are such an inspiration and I think God has many plans for you in the years to come.

Anonymous said...

Amy, your writings are so eloquent and flow so beautifully - without a trace of "poor me"... what a precious gift of transparant expression God has given you.
I will continue to pray for your our Lord's loving hands,
Amber Davis