|WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 1997|
Ashley's porta-cath operation yesterday was a complete success, with no complications. The doctors did go ahead and do the bone marrow extraction in order to test for the presence of cancer cells in Ashley's bone marrow. They had originally intended to also do a spinal tap, in order to test for cancer cells in the spinal fluid. However, upon looking at Ashley's record, it was noted that spinal fluid had been drawn during her original surgery one week earlier. The lab report was obtained on that original sample of spinal fluid, and showed no presence of cancer cells. PRAISE GOD!
Today, we FINALLY had our "sit-down" with the oncologists to lay everything out on the table and talk about the future. First, the official report on the bone marrow showed no presence of cancer cells there, either! PRAISE GOD AGAIN! With no cancer cells present in the spinal fluid or the bone marrow, all we have left to worry about is the small amount of tumor which remains in Ashley's head, and the spots which showed up on the original spinal MRI (the oncologists strongly believe these spots to represent the presence of small tumors in that localized area).
HERE WE GO
The other information we received today, which overwhelmed us because we weren't really prepared for it, was the plan of treatment which the oncology team has laid out for Ashley.
We will probably go home from the hospital tomorrow. Then on Monday or Tuesday of next week, Ashley will begin a six-week radiation regimen, requiring us to travel to Dallas each day Monday through Friday, for about an hour to hour-and-a-half radiation treatment. The radiation will target the tumor area in the brain, and the area on the spine where the spots showed up on the original MRI. In conjunction with her six weeks of radiation, Ashley will begin her first set of chemo treatments.
THE LONG HAUL
After the radiation treatments have been completed, we will begin a one-year schedule of chemotherapy, introducing four different powerful drugs into Ashley's body on an intermittent basis, to fight off any remaining cancer cells. During this time, Ashley will lose all of her beautiful blonde hair, and will probably experience extensive nausea and vomiting from time to time. Other side effects, with varying degrees of severity, are possible as well. She will be required to be hospitalized for five days every six weeks while receiving one of the four drugs, because she has to be monitored very closely while receiving that particular drug.
I had no idea that the treatments would be this intense or would cover this long a period of time. Susan and I are somewhat overwhelmed at the scope of the journey on which little Ashley is about to embark. I would trade places with her in a heartbeat, if I could. But I can't.
We will have to stand by and watch our child suffer (my, how God can understand that!). We will have to keep reminding ourselves that this is what is best for her in the long-run, and that we are doing the right thing.
I know that thousands upon thousands of prayers have been offered up to God by Christians all over the world on Ashley's behalf, and I know that God is a loving God and that He answers our prayers. Therefore, I can't help but believe that this is God's will. We are still putting our faith and trust in Him. We still believe He is in control, and we are willing to submit to His will. Even though we don't always understand His will, we accept it.
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