This message was sent via e-mail on Wednesday, July 8, 1998, while Ashley and Justin were both at summer church camp, and having a great time!


This will have to be brief, so let me try to catch you up quickly on the events of the last several weeks.

Ashley has been having severe sinus problems for a couple of months, and it has really been giving her fits. There have been numerous times when the drainage would get so bad that it would actually choke her, and she would end up throwing up big gobs of mucus (my apologies to those of you with weak stomachs). We took her in for a CT Scan of her sinuses several weeks ago, and the pictures came back showing severe sinus blockages. In fact, the doctors even talked about the possibility of having to do sinus surgery at some point to ultimately correct the problem. That is still an option that we may have to pursue in the near future. However, for now, we have been able to bring the problem under control, at least temporarily, with medications.

In early June, I took a group of teens from our church on a mission trip to Arkansas, and Susan and the kids went with me. We were working with a children's home in a little town about an hour's drive from Little Rock. Ashley started off the week not feeling good, and got worse instead of better. I have lost track of what happened on which days, but basically here's how the trip went for her. She spent a couple of hours late one night in the local emergency room in Morrilton, Arkansas, and spent the better part of a day in the children's hospital in Little Rock. We had to fly Ashley and Susan home early in the week because she just wasn't getting any better. They got off of the plane in Dallas and went straight to Children's Medical Center, where Ashley was admitted as an inpatient. She stayed there for the rest of the week (5 days, I believe). When Justin and I arrived back home from Arkansas, we went to pick up the girls from the hospital in Dallas.

Ashley's last chemo treatment was scheduled for June 29 - July 1. We made the trip to the hospital that Monday morning, anxious to get this last treatment behind us. As usual, the first stop was the Hematology/Oncology Clinic to have her blood drawn and tested. Well, the test came back showing that her blood counts were too low to begin chemo. So, the only option was to come back home and try again in a couple of weeks. Ashley was heartbroken. She was so excited about FINISHING her chemo FOR GOOD, and it really hit her hard when she was told that we would have to wait.

The plan now is to admit her to the hospital this coming Saturday, after she returns from Camp on Friday evening. She will be an inpatient for three days, hopefully being released on Tuesday NEVER TO GO THROUGH ANOTHER CHEMO TREATMENT AGAIN!!! I truly believe that. I am convinced that God answered our prayer to take away the cancer a year ago. Now that we are about to be done with the medical part of it (at least the treatments), she can put it behind her forever. As I have said before, we will still maintain a relationship with the hospital for the next 8 or 9 years or so, going back every few months for checkups to make sure nothing is coming back. If her cancer does return at some point, then we will deal with it at that point in the same way we have dealt with it all along -- by turning it over to God, relying on His strength to help us make it through, trusting in His power to heal, and leaning on His mercy and compassion. However, unless something proves me wrong somewhere along the way, I will remain convinced that cancer is HISTORY in Ashley's life. PRAISE GOD, FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!

I don't know yet when Ashley's eye surgery will take place to correct her double vision. I also don't know any specifics about sinus surgery, or about physical therapy. All of those things will be determined in the very near future, as we enter the next phase of Ashley's road to recovery.

We have tentatively scheduled Ashley's "NO MORE CHEMO" party for Saturday, August 8. YOU ARE ALL INVITED (all four hundred and eighty- or ninety-something of you!!)!!! [NOTE: That's how many people are on my address list to receive these updates via e-mail.] As plans begin to solidify, I will keep you apprised. Susan and I want to again say thank you for your concern for Ashley, your love, your many, many, many gifts, and most especially your prayers.

May God richly bless you and your family.

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