I believe in my heart that someday I will be able to update you all with good news on Andrew’s condition, but today is unfortunately not that day. As many of you know, we were discharged from the hospital last Monday but quickly needed to be readmitted just two days later on Wednesday. We tried to bask in the comfort of finally being back in our own home, but I had a gnawing feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. So I called our doctor and told her what I was seeing and feeling and she agreed he needed to come back in for further tests and scans. A day later, the result from those scans and test did not look good.
Andrew’s disease has become extremely aggressive. It has transformed from a lymphoma into leukemia; this means it is no longer a targeted mass that we can treat, it is now running through the veins of his entire body in his blood. I won’t mince words; this is very, very bad news. We are worried. We are scared. We are devastated.
At this point, the transplant has failed. Essentially, this vicious disease has chewed up and spit out every single drug and treatment we have tried in the past two years like it was nothing. So, we potentially have one final treatment option left and that is a clinical study. Our incredible team of doctors is fighting endlessly on our behalf making phone calls to every potential institution that might have a trial for us to be a part of. But at the end of the day, we need a miracle.
So, to the thousands of you who bless us by reading this blog and praying over us, this is what we need prayer for:
- Healing: It’s simple, we need a complete, miraculous healing over Andrew’s body. Healing first and foremost from this disease, but also from all of the side effects and setbacks that this sickness and the drugs have caused. His poor, gigantic body has been battered and beaten for two years straight. He needs renewal. He needs rejuvenation. He needs healing.
- Strength: I won’t lie, this news has knocked us off of our feet and left us broken hearted. It has rattled our faith. It has made us question the purpose in the past two years. It has left us feeling completely helpless. We have screamed and cried. I can’t eat or sleep. This has cut deep into the innermost parts of my heart and soul and at times, the pain seems absolutely unbearable. We need prayer for strength; both for the journey ahead, but also just for day-to-day functionality.
- The perfect treatment option: We need an incredible, beyond powerful drug to help control this disease. There is nothing within current, tested, regulated treatment options that will cure this. We need to find a needle in a haystack. First, we have to find clinical trials that Andrew even qualifies to be a part of. Second, we have to choose the place to go. Lastly, it has to work so that his new donor cells have a fighting chance in beating this thing once and for all.
- Wisdom: Once clinical treatment options are found, Andrew and I have to weigh pros and cons and make the decision on where to roll the dice. Can you imagine being faced with a decision that will either save your spouse’s life or waste precious time of it? The burden is heavy and very real. We need prayer that Andrew will be in the right frame of mind to make this decision together and to feel confident that that is where the Lord is leading us. As I mentioned, we have an amazing team of doctors behind us. Our main doctor has been incredibly kind, incredibly empathetic, and incredibly strong. She has made it clear that she is not giving up and that we will be presented with the best options we have. So we are hoping to draw from her confidence, but mostly draw from strength in the Lord and His leading our paths to whatever institution in the States that has a place for us.
- Perspective: We struggle to believe that God has pulled us through the last two hellish years to only have it end here. We are trying to stay positive and trying to keep the fight inside of us alive. Admittedly, those things are more difficult to do some days more than others, but we are trying to see the good. The good is that the doctors didn’t come to us and say, “We have absolutely nothing else to do for you.” They said they have one more option. The good is that Andrew’s continued, tumultuous story has brought thousands of people to their knees in prayer and some to Jesus Christ. The good is that TWO people from the many that have added their names to the Bone Marrow Registry in Andrew’s honor have been matched with someone in need of a transplant. One of those two people matched is our dear friend and former teammate Emerson Kampen. We see the good and we are doing our best to focus our thoughts on that instead of the glaring difficult reports that come in every day.
We don’t know why this is happening and why this battle never seems to end for us, but we so deeply, deeply appreciate the outpour of love and prayers covering us. Please continue to lift Andrew up in your prayers. We need a massive army behind us storming the gates of Heaven and praying for each and every step we make in the days to come. We will be treading carefully.
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)