Friday, March 02, 2007

Update

Narrator: Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.
Harold Crick: What? What? Hey! HELLOOO! What? Why? Why MY death? HELLO? Excuse me? WHEN?
(quote from Stranger Than Fiction)

I was sitting in the waiting area of Ellis Fischel too early this morning when CNN broadcast a news story about several teenagers who died from a tornado yesterday, as well as a bus crash in Georgia that killed several college students. I was pondering the fact that life is so brief, and none of us know when we will be taken, or what will take us. Even now, it's easy for me to think the question is pretty much answered, but ultimately I don't know what will take me home, or when. I know I may sound hopeless or morbid to some of you, but that is not the case. I am preparing for a possibility of death. I think it is only prudent to do so in my situation, and honestly, I think it is prudent for everyone to do. None of us are immortal, and care should be taken to consider what comes next. I shared with a friend recently that I had been reading several articles on John Piper's website (www.desiringgod.com) regarding Heaven, as though studying up on some country I'm visiting on vacation soon. It's just all of a sudden become a very interesting topic to me. Sad that only the prospect of death has me at this place, because I believe as Christians we should be focusing on the fact that our stay on earth is quite brief and very temporal. Very little matters when you view it in light of eternity.

I told my husband the other day (who has kept me faithful all these months) that I am finally learning how much God hates sin. I HATE cancer. I am sick of it. And I realize cancer is just one more visible sign of sin in this world. So ultimately, I hate sin. And how much more does God hate sin? I am also realizing how helpless I am in this battle against AML. Just as helpless as I am, totally depraved and living in sin from the second I was born. Ultimately God is the cure, and He chooses to show mercy and grace as He wills. (Titus 3:5) He has already rescued me from the ultimate death of sin, and I trust He can rescue me from AML if He chooses. But if not, ultimately the price of sin has been paid, and I know I am secure, and I am thankful every second for the gift of faith. "My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand by grace." - Caedmon's Call

We've decided against pursuing treatment out of state at this point. A change in environment right now poses significant risk, and we've seen the Lord pretty effectively close the doors on a few options we were considering. The Phase One clinical trials my doctor mentioned are being conducted at Ohio State University. After speaking with an RN who heads up the AML trials there, we've decided against that route at this time. She pretty much summed it up with the statement, "If they don't kill her, which they probably will, she'll wish she were dead." We're not at that point yet. I think it is a noble thing to dedicate your body to science before your death, but I also know the people who do so have no other options.

At this time we are trying to get insurance approval for the chemo drug Decitabine, which is being used in conjunction with another drug at a trial in Ohio. It was recommended to us by Ohio and my local team as an "easier" (i.e. side effects) chemo drug, but they said they are having a hard time getting it approved by insurance for use at Barnes or MU (University of Missouri at Columbia, to clear up some confusion). We contacted the insurance company and they said they would look into covering it, so the social workers here are working on it. I hope to have an answer early next week, and if it is a yes, will probably go back into the hospital very soon. I'm already neutropenic, so there is a possibility I will end up there from an infection rather soon, anyway. It's only taken a few days for me to be reminded of how swiftly this disease works. Assuming all goes well with the chemo, I would also receive a stem cell booster from my brother -- some frozen, and possibly some newly obtained. I am being told that it is doubtful this will put me into remission. At best it may buy me some time. We'll see.

We've also been offered a second stem cell transplant by Ohio State. I don't know how feasible an option this is. Right now I'm kind of considering it a last resort, and again, I'm not quite there yet.

In the meantime, I'm getting regular bloodwork at Ellis Fischel. I'll need regular blood and platelet transfusions over the next weeks. (Thank you again to those who donate blood products, I have certainly mooched quite a bit over the past months. Barnes always emphasized a special need for more platelet donors.) I'm also continuing to use the Mannatech products, along with several other natural supplements and diet changes. Those who know me best know what a challenge this has been for me. I have yet to see an effect in my bloodwork, but it's only been about a week.

Thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf. I know the Lord hears them. Please always remember that even if I do not continue here on this earth, I will achieve ultimate healing in heaven. One way or the other, your prayers will all be answered. It is a miracle that we are not consumed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16)

51 comments:

Imajackson said...

I am praying for your full healing Amy. Just want you to know.

Barb said...

Bless your heart, Amy. I'm tempted to say you can't begin to know how covered you are in prayer, but I think you know. Truly, you are covered.

Alicia said...

Sweet Amy, I'm praying God's peace over you and your family.

Pamela said...

"My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand by grace." - Caedmon's Call

You have encouraged me with this quote.

I've been reading - but today am prompted to respond to you speaking into my life.

Anonymous said...

hi I have been reading but have not put in a comment until now... you truly are a strong woman, I will continually pray for you and your family. May the Lord's peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

I do not know you, but I read your blog...I sent you blog to another one of my friends who works for Mannetech, she wants to help in any way possible...please contact her...I think she sent you an email...I am a new mom and all I can think about is Gary...I just want to lift you guys up in a big hug...I pray that the Lord holds you near and takes away your pain and sufffering...Keep your heart and mind going...you are at your best when your heart and mind are too! If you need to please email me...I don't know if you ever got the email from my friend at Mannetech...we are in Texas...

-Cara

davidncara@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

Amy,

There are many folks in TN/VA that are holding you all up in prayer. I too thought of how life is like a vapor after the last few days and that we need to constantly be reminded to live each day as a testimony and in thankfulness to our Lord and Saviour for what He has done for none of us know how many days the Lord will give us.
Thank you for what you have written which is truly a testimony of God's continued grace in your life. I have seen you grow through
the years physically but now I have been able to see you grow spiritually as well over the months. Your testimony is touching lives.
Praying for God's peace as you make decisions.
Love, Aunt Kathy

FunkyMonkeyJunk said...

Amy, I am praying for you this morning!

Tammy C said...

Thanks for the update.Wow lots of decisons to make.I will keep praying for you.

Since I lived near OSU for 6.5 years-it is a good hospital.

Linda said...

This is my first time here, Amy, and I'm glad I stopped by. I am a "stranger" who cares very much about your situation and feelings. I think about heaven a lot, too, and I agree that we should all be thinking a little more about its imminence for each of us. I'll be praying for you and your family.

Dunn Family said...

Amy,
You are so right...life is a vapor. Heaven really is just a heart beat away. That is one of the things that brought me comfort when I thought about my family and if I should be in heaven before them. They would be just a heartbeat away and could be joining me very soon, and in fact, would be joining me very soon in light of eternity.
You are also right to hate sin! How much more must God hate it and yet at the same time, in His mercy, He has made provision for us so that we do not have to live continually in sin and death. How awesome is that!
John Piper has greatly encouraged my heart as well is these times. Thank you for sharing his web-site with everyone.
I am so thankful you have such a supportive husband as well. I know it was my husband who kept me "faithful", too, during those long months of treatment.
You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly.
Love,
Gina

Paulette said...

Amy,
I just want you to know that I am so honored to be a part of your journey, even if I don't know you personally. I know you spiritually because frankly I believe you to be the most sincere Christian I have ever known in my life. Your unwavering faith has been a true testament to who God really is. No pastor has ever taught me what you have about faith. You sweet girl walk the walk and talk the talk even facing death and that is what true Faith is all about Amy.
I told you back in the beginning of your journey about my dear friend Linda who had cancer and I was so priviledged to walk with her through that. What I didnt say was how very much you have reminded me daily of Linda and the Faith she had even in her last days. How she touched SO many lives by staying faithful til her last breath. Linda died two years ago in April and I miss her everyday. I also know what she left me and am a stronger Christian for it. I also learned that death is not the end, it is the reward and God does indeed heal through death. I will see Linda again and I can't wait!
I admire you Amy and I LOVE your Faith.

Leslie said...

Your strength and peace in the face of death is amazing. I am praying for you every day, for grace, comfort, peace, strength, wisdom...and for your family. I am moved to praise God for the good He is working in you through this terrible trial. To HATE sin, to realize we are all terminal, mortal, dying people...those are truths and feelings that transform a life (and a death). Which reminds me--you're not dead! Live well today, Amy!!

Anonymous said...

I love you Amy!
~Lizzie

Rachel said...

Thanks for the update. I have been checking back. Your post is very encouraging to me, the way you are handling this and the witness that you are. I know it is not easy, and I continue to pray for you as you go through this. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for some time and just wanted to tell you today that I'm praying fervently for you. There have been several times in recent days when I've awakened during the night and you've come to mind. I am in awe of the peace you have when contemplating what the future might hold. May His grace be sufficient for every need you have today and in the days to come, precious sister.

Carrie said...

You have been on my heart often the past couple days. There are specific times throughout the day that I think of you and stop to pray, as it sounds like God is doing with others as well. I don't know if it's in the moments you are struggling the most that God places you the strongest on our hearts, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were true! I am amazed by your faithfulness to cling to the Savior, and unrelenting faith to exemplify Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be on my mouth." You encourage countless other believers as you are going through this! We love you and are praying continually!

Kim said...

What a beautiful perspective,Amy! Our lives are so short and sin has affected each one of us in different ways. I'm so thankful that you are trusting God through this trial. You are such a wonderful example to me of courage,strength in the Lord,true beauty,perseverance,endurance, faithfulness, and gentleness.

I have never met you,but I love you in the Lord. What a tremendous impact you have had on me. I wish I could come see you and give you a hug! I would!!!

Our family continues to pray for you,Brandon,and Gary.

Kim

Anonymous said...

Amy,
Like so many others I've come across your journey through a friend. Megan mentioned you in her blog and I wanted you to know that our Housekeeping staff in Colorado Springs prays for you and your family continually.
Jeff
jeff.beird@navigators.org
Glen Eyrie Conf. Center

Andrea said...

Your strength is amazing to me. Your acceptance so mature that I cannot even fathom. I continue to pray healing for you - and peace. God bless.

Elisabeth said...

Love you Amy!

April said...

Dearest Amy,

There are no words to convey how much my heart weeps for you and the trials you are enduring. And then I come and read updates that sound as if you are more concerned about the lot of us! Your strength, faith, grace, and life are an inspiration more than you will ever know.

I pray for you each and every day, and you have no idea how many times you cross my mind through my days. You have been a huge blessing to me and I know that sounds very backwards but only God can understand such gifts.

Amy, I hold you in my heart and lift you up in prayer. As my tears fall for you I somehow get the impression that you are not weeping for yourself as we weep for you but that you are rejoicing in the coming journey to that new country that you will call your home. How blessed, and what a blessing, you are.

Jungle Mom said...

You are a blessing and an encouragement to us all. I shared your story with my teen age daughter and she prayed also. You are a reminder to us all of our mortality. Any of us could go to glory tomorrow. We do not know. You are obviously ready to meet God. But are we??

Sis. Julie said...

Our family and our church are continuing to pray for you and your family. You're outlook on this situation and the faith that God has blessed you with is such a blessing and a testimony to all who read. I have had many of my readers who have come over here to read your story and to pray. I know there are two people in our church that have read it and have testified of what a blessing you have been to them. May God continue to bless you and your family and continue to use you to help someone else that might come in your path. God truly knows what He is doing!!

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for sometime but I've just been moved to write.

"I shared with a friend recently that I had been reading several articles on John Piper's website (www.desiringgod.com) regarding Heaven, as though studying up on some country I'm visiting on vacation soon." This touched me so deeply. Your courage and example at such a time of your life is beyond inspiring.

I am praying for you and your family and I will continue to do so.

Linds said...

Everything we do or experience on earth is merely preparation for our lives in Heaven, Amy, and what a wonderful prospect that is. This is such a small part of what God has planned for us one day. You are covered by prayer, as always.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

I found your blog through another site. I don't know you or your family but I am praying for all of you. Your faith is an amazing withness to others. Truly you are a shining example of God's love for all of us.

God Bless You!

Maureen

Anonymous said...

You don't know us, but me and my friends and family are all praying for you. Even though it seems strange since we don't know you, you are almost a continual presence in my mind. So we pray for you, Brandon, and Gary. We don't know what to say sometimes, but we are praying!!!

Rene' Losurdo said...

Dear sweet Amy,

I hope you have a video camera and are making tapes for your daughter. Not only will she want to know what her mother looked like, but she will then know what you sounded like and have a glimpse into your personality. Though I think your journal entries will be an amazing source of inspiration for that little girl some day when she is desperately longing for her mother and facing her own demons.

Your unwavering faith is something for the rest of us to aspire to.

You continue to be in our daily prayer. May God continue to grant you strength and courage as well as peace and comfort for you and your family.

Love,

Rene' Losurdo

(Gina Dunn's cousin)

mother to a 6-year-old cancer survivor, Christian

www.caringbridge.org/visit/christianlosurdo

Jammy said...

You are an inspiration, and a beautiful example of faith. I will pray that the decision you should make will be made very clear to you.

HUGS<
Jenn

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy:
As I told you on the phone the other night we are studying Revelation in our Adult Education Sunday School class. We finished the study this morning where we talked about heaven and what it is going to be like and not like.

We also talked about what we will be doing for eternity with a basic premise that we will be possibly engaged in work where God fully uses the gifts and talents he gave us. Since we cannot work our way into heaven, we can know for certain that we can get there only through our belief in His Son and His grace. So our good works here on earth are for His glory. I know you know this and you are a strong example of the faithful person He calls us to be. Finally, we additionally commented that our earthly professions may in some respects be our heavenly professions, but there will be many earthly jobs that are completely unnecesary and will be obsolete. No police, no attorneys, no nurses, no doctors, and no insurance agents for sure. Won't that be a blessing? What you say about sin is profound; humans have invented and developed earthly professions that have no place nor need in eternity. (So I suppose these folks need to have a backup set of skills!?!)

Keep your faith strong, we haven't given up on prayer for you and will not until God calls you home which we trust will be many, many years in the future. Miracles abound in our world and we ask for one for you each day.

It was so good to hear your voice the other night. You sounded upbeat, positive, and your laugh was a hugh boost for us. Stay strong.
Uncle Cliff and Aunt Karen

Anonymous said...

Dear Amy,
A friend shared your blog with me and I am blessed to read what you are going through and the faith that you have no matter what happens. You and your family are in my prayers.
May 'the LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.'Num.6:24-26

~ Christina

Monica C. said...

You have not left my mind since I read the last post. Please know that I am praying for you daily. You are a blessing to us all.

Heather said...

Amy, I was just sitting here with Sweet Beulah Land running through my mind. None of us knows our flight date- you are so right. And we should be longing for heaven...every day and leave a print of this hope in all we do. I will be singing Sweet Beulah Land this coming Sunday morning with a prayer for you on my heart. Praying for the day that we will all ultimately have complete healing in that far off "country" Beulah Land. You are such an encouragement.

Toni (In The Midst Of This Season) said...

God knows the plans he has for you (and for me), Amy. I'm sure of one plan. That is, your words were meant to pierce my heart and to cause me to think on what is eternally significant waaaaay much more than I do. Thank you. Praying for you, dear sister in Christ.
Blessings,
~Toni~

Grafted Branch said...

What a grateful and inspired post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts -- I don't think they're morbid at all. We should all be ready, and I'm coming under conviction lately that I'm not on so many levels (eternal security being the greatest exception).

I just saw Stranger Than Fiction over the weekend, so your opening really caught my attention. :)

Praying for you in the use of the Mannatech products. The Lord bless you...

Amber said...

Amen! Amazing thoughts...thanks for making us think.

Anonymous said...

Amy, Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us and encouraging so many people.

I love you and am praying for your FULL recovery.

Amanda

Corey, Kelle, and Jack Franklin said...

I found your blog recently through another site and have spent a few days catching up - I am in awe of your faith and inspired by your strength. We are praying for you and for your healing.

Deidre said...

I'm continuing to pray for you and your family, Amy. Your faith is amazing and has touched my life. Thank you!

Lacey said...

Your words encouraged me. Once again! My only sister passed away suddenly at the age of 21 just a month ago. Although I do not share your same story, I feel we have an understanding of the hurts & disappointments. Why her? Why so young? Why MY sister?

"My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand by grace" that spoke volumes to my soul. Thank you.

You are always in my prayers. Hoping for your miracle.

Lacey, AL

Charline Willey said...

Dear Amy,

I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. But, I have to admire your strength and determination, which I know can only come from the Lord. How strong your faith is and we can all learn something good and wonderful from the words you've shared with all of us!

I wish you would be able to live a long and healthy life, Amy. But, it seems you have crammed an awful lot into the short time you have had on this earth and God has given you wisdom that is usually only found in someone much older than you. So, from my standpoint, you have truly been blessed!

Thank you for all your postings, Amy. They have blessed my heart immensely! And, I promise to pray for you and your family starting today.

May Jesus give you and your family the peace and tranquility you all need right now!

God Bless You!
Charline Willey
St. Louis, MO

Rene' Losurdo said...

First, I would like to apologize - I was mistaken and mentioned about your "daughter". Gina corrected me and now I know you have a son! (I am partial to boys as I have three! ;)
.

I have the most BEAUTIFUL story to share with you! Another mother of a cancer child had it posted on her site and it has profoundly touched me...I am hoping you will love it, too:

.

.
.
.

The Brave Little Soul
by John Alessi
.

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?"
.

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts." The little soul was confused. "What do you mean," he asked." God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone."

.
The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer - to unlock this love – to create this miracle - for the good of all humanity."
.


Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!"
.

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you."
.
God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and I will bring you home."
.
Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.
.
.
.


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)




You remain in our thoughts and prayers...


Love,
Rene' Losurdo
(Gina Dunn's cousin)

www.caringbridge.org/visit/christianlosurdo

Teresa said...

Dear Amy,

I haven't written in quite a while but I check here all the time. I pray daily for you and even when I wake during the night. Brandon, I am asking God to continue to give you wisdom and comfort. Recently the song "O Great God by Bob Kauflin from the Valley of Vision CD has meant a lot to me. The third verse says:

Help me now to live a life that's dependent on your grace.
Keep my heart and guard my soul from the evils that I face.
You are worthy to be praised with my every thought and deed.
O Great God of highest heav'n
Glorify Your Name through me.

Amy, your battle with AML has brought into clearer focus our true purpose.

Thanking God that through your blogging testimony, many of us are
drawn closer to Christ.

Teresa

Karen said...

I found your blog through another link at Five Minutes For Mom. Just wanted to extend a hug.

annie said...

We're praying for your healing, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
blessings~
Annie

Laurel Wreath said...

Amy my continued prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

(praying)

Anonymous said...

your story and testimony has touched my heart...I see the sufficient grace of God through it, all that happens to us is for eternity.....and God's glory ultimately....I was reminded that today in II Cor. 4---
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Jane said...

As I was reading your thoughts about death, these words came to me. I've lived with chronic pain and other issues and will welcome death as the entrance to new life. God be with you always. I'll meet you over there!

I do not long for death;
I long for life.
Life without pain.
Roses without thorns.
Paths without stones.

I do not long for death;
I long for life.
Extreme life
Without coarseness
or rudeness
or impatience.

I do not long for death;
I long for life
In the brilliance of His presence,
In the quiet of His being,
In the knowledge of His care.

I do not long for death;
I long for Life Himself.

Lauren said...

Oh Amy, I've been away from my computer for a month or so and havn't been able to check on your progress. Know that I am praying for you still.

Though we've never met, your story has touched me in so many ways. This is NOT the end.

God bless you,

Lauren