I need you to know something.... each one of you that have emailed, left comments, or mailed us cards, you are so precious to us. I cry humbled tears of encouragement and delight each time I read something from you. When I say that 'words cannot express' what your caring concern and prayers for us means to me - I'm serious. I cannot find words that can truly express how sincerely touched and overcome we are that you all care so much. Please let my feeble "thank you" settle deep into your soul, and know how truly (truly, truly, truly, truly, truly!) grateful we are for you.
As for an Ethan update, the doctor came in this morning and felt Ethan's spleen and was pleasantly surprised at how it has continued to decrease in size! It's still not back to normal, but the fact that it continues to get smaller is such an answer to prayer. His white blood cell count continues to remain in a safe zone, so each of those things mean that Ethan responded well to his first round of chemo. Thank you, Lord! His next rounds of treatment will start next week. As long as his spleen continues to stay out of danger, then he will begin chemo treatments by mouth a few times a week. This round of chemo will not be as aggressive as his 4 days of IV chemo was. It will be more of a long term maintenance plan of treatment, to prep and ready his body for a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in a few months. The preparations for the BMT are currently underway. All of the testing that is involved makes it a very lengthy process. Please be in prayer that they find a perfect match right away. Since it takes so long to determine a perfect match, we don't want precious time wasted on "wrong" matches. They've advised that if they found a perfect match the first time, the soonest we could be ready for a transplant would be about 2 months from now. If they have to go through several people before they find a match, of course, it could be longer before Ethan can get the BMT. That's not ideal because he really needs the transplant as soon as possible for hope of a successful cure (of course, we know God can cure him without a transplant at all!).
Since I'm talking about the bone marrow transplant, let me take a minute to thank everyone who is on the National Bone Marrow Donor list. What a selfless and generous thing for someone to volunteer to do. That very thing is understood to be the only cure for JMML, among other diseases. Let me also thank anyone reading this who has ever given blood or platelets. You may have gone on your lunch break to run down the street and donate at a local drive, and not think much of it. But do you realize, that without someone donating blood and donating platelets, Ethan would not be alive day to day (outside of the Lord's intervention). He gets transfusions almost everyday to help keep his body functioning the way it should. I am so overcome with thankfulness to all of those who donate... you are keeping someone, somewhere alive. What a wonderful blessing you are to some family out there. What a wonderful blessing someone who donated blood, platelets, and bone marrow (many someone's) have been to this family.
I've posted website links at the bottom right of this webpage just for some FYI's in case anyone is interested in learning more about JMML, general leukemia information, or other "stuff" that's related with Ethan's situation.
My sweet little boy, I'm looking at you right now... Ethan, you've only just begun to shine His light.