Blue Sky

the hunts in prague


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No more port!

Just a quick note to say: the port is gone! We had to wait awhile because of an operation ahead of us, but when the oncologists noticed we were still there, they made some calls and got us in. After that, things were easy. The operation took less than 30 minutes, and Eliza slept through most of the time before she could eat and drink. Then she pretty much ate all afternoon, so we think she’s good to go.

When we started going to the oncology ward, it was mid-summer, before it gets hot here. Now it’s cold. Some of the same kids are there, but a lot of new ones. It’s so sad to see the ones in mid-chemo, and the freshly-diagnosed moms and dads trying to be brave as they learn the ropes. If you would, while you thank God for Eliza’s health tonight, pray for those families. Pray that their stories will go as well as ours seems to be.

Cancer is awful. And God is good. We are grateful for this big step for E today.

And now for something completely different: Foard made his own sandwich for the first time today. He was very proud. He has no idea how thrilled his parents are.

And now for something completely different: Foard made his own sandwich for the first time today. He was very proud. He has no idea how thrilled his parents are.

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Out, @^&#ed port!

With the exception of the weeks after her surgery, Eliza has had a chemo treatment basically every other Tuesday since July. Every time, she would really hit a stride– eating well, gaining weight, generally happy– the weekend before, just in time to get knocked down again by those wonderful, terrible meds.

She hit that stride again this weekend, and today she didn’t have another round of chemo. Instead she had her regular weekly blood count, which showed continued good news. And tomorrow, she’ll have a brief surgery to remove the port that has delivered those chemo meds.

You’ll recall that our oncologist told us “I think you just have bad luck with ports.” The first one got a stubborn infection and had to be removed. The current one has flipped over repeatedly, so that it takes a surgeon coming in to make it usable. So we’ve had our share of frustrations with it, but the technology is really incredible. It has done its job, and now we are happy to say thank you, goodbye, and good riddance.

Other steps coming soon: At the end of November E will have another round of scans and tests. Some of these will be to verify that there’s no sign of any cancer left in her body. Others will be to look for any side effects of chemo: hearing loss, immune problems, etc. From what we understand, if all the news is good then, we’ll go into a pattern of regular check-ups, but be finished with treatment.

Again, all signs are good so far. The liver markers they watch in her blood are approaching normal levels, and falling each week (falling is good). She is happy, growing and getting stronger. Most days we don’t feel very fearful. I expect that if the tests in a few weeks are good, that will help us exhale. Please pray for us to trust that God will do what is best for us, whatever the circumstances are on a given day.

Pray for E tomorrow as well: for her not to be too fussy (she can’t eat before anesthesia), for the surgery to be quick and uneventful, and for them to send her home in the afternoon. Thank you as always for praying.

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5 Comments

Ooh-La-La!

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We have been loved very well the last few months. Our Prague friends have been amazing and have not tired of asking what we need. On top of that, we’ve had a steady stream of people coming from the States to stay with us and pitch in. We want to tell you about some of them, and the obvious place to start is Grandma Cindi, or as she’s better known around here, Ooh-La-La.

Like many people, Cindi would have been happy to jump on a plane the second E was diagnosed. She held her herself back admirably until mid-August, when we looked at the calendar and everything that had to happen and said “time to call in the big guns.” So she came over, dove in, learned how our house runs, and stayed two months, keeping us afloat.

Just a few of her accomplishments:

  • Mastered driving a foreign car in a foreign country
  • Taught Eliza to climb up the stairs
  • Learned the boys’ schedules, including varying pickup & dropoff times, which days Sam needs to take PE clothes and goggles, and what lunch items are most successful
  • Made countless loaves of sweet potato bread
  • Taught Foard to write two letters
  • Stayed with Eliza anytime we had to be 2 separate places, giving her a familiar face when she was super clingy
  • Knew that cheese rohliky differ from one grocery store to another, and which are ok for Foard to snack on
  • Accompanied Foard on two field trips with moms she barely knew
  • Finished making the lunches & packing the bags that our brains were too scattered to carry through on.
  • Didn’t bat an eye when Melissa chose a crazy complicated hat for her next knitting project
  • Continued working through all her “down” hours to keep things going at her real job with real kids who also need her love & expertise.

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We are so grateful to Cindi for stepping into our world. We’re grateful to Grampa and the rest of the family who gave her up for so long, the friends who gave her buddy passes to fly, and the understanding coworkers who freed her to be here indefinitely. And of course we’re grateful to God that all these pieces came together to help us keep our sanity during a really trying season. We love you Ooh-La-La!

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6 Comments

Just one more!

Eliza’s in the hospital today for her last round of chemo! We don’t know exactly what happens next– we know there will be frequent scans and tests for a while. But God willing, after tomorrow we should be in a check-up phase instead of a treatment phase. Unbelievable.

The surgeon came in and flipped her port without surgery again– we’re pretty sure our oncologist makes him do that to punish him for putting in a port that keeps flipping around. And she’s up to her highest pre-fluids weight yet– just over 9 kilos. The doctor was very happy with that.

Please pray for an uneventful rest of today, that the needle will stay still and not cause problems, and that the girls will be released tomorrow afternoon. And pray that this is the last cancer treatment Eliza will ever have to have.

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3 Comments

#winning

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Remember the elusive Daily Double? Even more elusive is pulling it off twice in one year. That’s called a Double Down Double. Hunts win again!

Eliza had her weekly blood work scheduled today. She’s been doing so well that we felt pretty good about them just sending her home, not making her wait for results. So we had a friend of Sam’s coming over to play, a friend of ours watching them for a couple of hours until Melissa got home, and me going to 2 meetings, but ready to pick up Foard and/or come home if the girls took longer than we thought. Oh, the plan was beautiful. Until…

Sam’s thumb got slammed in the car door. While getting out from picking up his friend. It was bleeding. He was screaming. Our babysitting friend arrived. She held Eliza while M tended to Sam. So Eliza screamed.

What worked out nicely was that we suddenly had 2 kids who both needed to go to the hospital. So we all went together. Our friend took Sam’s friend home. (Foard’s still at school, blissfully unaware.) They recognized us in the foreigners’ department, again. Melissa went with E to get her blood drawn. I went with Sam to get cleaned up, then X-rays, then shots, stitches, splint and bandage. We all finished at the same time, just in time to head to pick up Foard. Just like we did it in practice.

Sam’s fine. He’ll need a lot of Tylenol for a few days, and the bandage gets changed Friday. He enjoys explaining all the things he can and can’t do with his “cast.” (It’s a bandage, but just let him have this one, ok?) Eliza’s fine too– stomach and diaper rash improving, aggressively crawling and tumbling all over the place.

So the moral of this story is: keep praying for us!

  • Pray for Eliza’s continued improvement, for strength for one more round of chemo next week, and that it will be her last treatment, ever.
  • Pray for Sam’s thumb to heal quickly, that it won’t get infected, and that he won’t be in much pain.
  • Pray for God to protect our family. It certainly feels like we have a target on our backs.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”  He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)


4 Comments

More Praises

Thanks for praying & checking in!

Boys’ checkups were good.  Both of the their BMIs were low… doctor calls them, ‘solid muscle.’  This is not news to us.  Wrestle with them sometime and it won’t be news to you, either.

Eliza’s diaper rash is clearing up!  Makes me feel silly for not having asked yall to pray about it last week.  Thank you, Lord!

After doctor’s appointments we had a lovely day with friends hiking around the fields near our house, then dinner with our neighbors two doors down.  A sweet full day.

Normal weekly blood tests tomorrow, a play date for Sam, dinner with another friend, and haircuts to come.  Life is indeed returning to normal.  We are thankful.


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Back to (the new) normal

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Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Still lots of comings and goings in our world!

Eliza had her 5th round of chemo this week with no problems. They were able to get her port flipped without surgery, meaning without anesthesia, which was great. I stayed in the hospital with her so Melissa could get lots of time in with Carrie, whose visit was a sweet gift to all of us, but especially M.

On Wednesday they were going to let us out at 6 pm, but I boldly negotiated a 3pm release with a promise of giving her lots of fluids. Meaning I’m a better negotiator than most of the US Congress, apparently. *rimshot*

She had her usual tiredness & (relatively) low appetite for a couple of days, but a good week. I don’t wish to be indelicate, but she has had some stomach issues, and diaper rash related to same. We think those are slowing down, and are probably related to her digestive system getting back into gear. Extra tests haven’t shown any infection or anything. And the liver markers they watch in her blood are approaching normal levels, coming down just as they should. All signs everywhere are good. Thank you God.

It is so great to see her thriving: making more sounds, crawling more easily, pointing at what she wants, laughing, smiling, waving. Today we went to the playground and she was all about checking everything out. A glimpse of a normal second year that we believe is on the way.

The boys have well visits and vaccines tomorrow. Part of the new normal is that every doctor’s visit is scary for us. I’ve never been afraid to take a kid to the doctor before, but now I’m sort of terrified that tomorrow our world will implode again. So please pray for good health for them, and for our hearts as we fight against fear.

Please pray for good numbers on Tuesday at her checkup, and for her strength to build up before her LAST ROUND OF CHEMO at the end of the month. Pray for the diaper rash to go away. (Sam’s first reply Saturday when M asked “What’s something you’d like to see happen today?” was “I hope Eliza’s bottom will feel better.” It hasn’t, so help us pray.) Pray for continued good results from all the tests, and that November starts a post-cancer season that lasts the rest of our lives. Pray for our hearts as we seek to live in trust and not in fear.