|TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 1997|
THE BIG QUESTION ANSWERED
Yesterday, shortly before noon, the oncologists met with us briefly to let us know that Ashley's pathology report showed her brain tumor to be cancerous. Technically, it is classified as a Medulloblastoma (MDL), "a fast-growing, invasive tumor which frequently metastasizes to other parts of the central nervous system via the spinal fluid" (from A Primer of Brain Tumors, A Patient's Reference Manual, Sixth Edition, American Brain Tumor Association, page 44).
At 3:00 PM today, Ashley will undergo minor surgery to implant a porta-cath just under the skin in her chest. The porta-cath will be used as an access point for Ashley's upcoming chemotherapy treatments. While in surgery, the doctors will extract bone marrow and spinal fluid, which will then be tested to see if the cancer has spread, and if so, to what extent. By this evening, we should have the answers to those questions, and will then be able to sit down with the oncologists to discuss treatment schedules. The good news is that "this tumor is very responsive to treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy" (op cit).
SMILES AND LAUGHTER
Sunday and Monday were good days for Ashley. Her tummy problems were apparently being caused by her medications, specifically the steroids which were being given to control post-surgery swelling. On Sunday morning, her steroid dosage was cut in half, and she was given a stronger anti-nausea medication. By late Sunday morning, she was much more comfortable and relaxed. Sunday afternoon, Ashley was feeling much better, and even smiled and laughed several times.
Monday, Ashley showed even more signs of progress. The physical therapist worked with her for about 30 or 45 minutes: getting her out of bed, walking her down the hallway, climbing stairs, doing exercises with her arms and legs. Ashley was still quite wobbly when she walked, but did remarkably well for her first extended length of time out of bed since surgery. Later in the day, she went down to Speech Pathology and sat in her wheelchair for about an hour. This was also the first time she had sat up for any extended period of time since surgery, and she did quite well. These were both very encouraging signs.
Monday evening, Ashley had lots of visitors, including family, church friends, friends from school, and her school teachers. Ashley was in wonderful spirits and spent most of the evening talking and laughing with her friends. She is such a delightful and beautiful little girl! We had pizza for supper (Ashley, too). She took a bath and watched TV for a while, still giggling and laughing at things she found funny! I was worn out and ready for bed by 9:00 PM, but she was just getting her second wind!
HOW ARE WE DOING?
Many people have asked, and continue to ask, "How are you and Susan doing?" We had hoped, prayed, and expected that the pathology report would come back showing Ashley's tumor to be benign. Obviously, that was not God's will. We accept that, and still believe firmly that our God is more powerful than even a malignant brain tumor. I know God's will is going to be done, and in fact is already being done, in this situation. I also believe with all my heart that "all things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). God is going to cause some kind of good to come out of this whole situation. We are already seeing some of that good, but in my limited wisdom, I don't pretend to know all the ways in which God is causing or will cause good to come from this. We continue to put our trust in Him. He has given us the strength to come this far, and I believe Him when He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).