|THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1999|
LATEST MRI IS CLEAR!
Now that Ashley has completed all her chemo treatments (about a year ago), we will be monitoring her progress for about the next 8 or 9 years by doing periodic MRI's to make sure the cancer has not come back. Her latest MRI was done a couple of weeks ago, and came back CLEAR, showing no signs of any recurrence. That was actually no surprise to us, because we continue to believe that our prayers for Ashley's healing (along with the prayers of thousands of other people from all over the world) were answered by God way back at the beginning of this whole ordeal. It appears that the cancer is gone and is not coming back!
A MINOR SETBACK
Back when Ashley had her radiation treatments, one of the possible side-effects mentioned to us by the doctors and nurses was that Ashley's growth might be stunted. Recent tests have revealed that, even though Ashley is twelve years old, her bone structure is still that of a ten-year-old, the age at which she had her radiation treatments. We are now awaiting consultation with the doctors to discuss possible remedies to this situation.
Ashley is in Junior High School, and things are going relatively well. Junior High has been a tough adjustment for her, but each day seems to get a little better.
The worst part of Junior High, so far, has been the homework. Ashley has been staying up until midnight or later, just about every night, in order to get her homework finished.
I don't think the cancer treatments have had an adverse effect on Ashley's intellectual capacities. She is still a very bright young lady, and seems to be able to retain knowledge and learn new concepts without much difficulty. She has also consistently made "straight A's" on her report cards, throughout the entire time when she was receiving treatments and since her treatments have concluded.
The most dramatic performance-related effect we are seeing as a result of the treatments (and probably specifically as a result of the radiation), is that it takes Ashley much longer to accomplish most tasks. When we sit down as a family to eat, Ashley is always the last one to finish her meal. Walking is still a slower process than it used to be. She still writes left-handed, which she taught herself to do when the brain tumor surgery left her with severely diminished fine motor skills on her right side. Those skills have improved vastly over the past two years, but she is not back to 100%.
Whether these losses are permanent or temporary, only time will tell. Most of the time, it is really no big deal. We just sit and wait for Ashley to finish eating, and we walk a little bit slower so that we don't run off and leave her behind. The one area in which the slower pace seems to really be taking its toll is the nightly homework ordeal. Her teachers are wonderful and understand the challenges that Ashley faces, and are working with us to try to find some solutions to bring Ashley's homework back to a manageable level.
All things considered, the challenges that Ashley is facing as a result of her brain tumor and resulting treatments are minimal. We still have her with us, and that is the greatest blessing of all!! We can learn to handle walking slow and eating slow, and even the homework. We are just so thankful to God that we still have Ashley, and that she has a bright future ahead of her.
Susan and I would like
to extend a special "thank you" to everyone who has continued
to mention Ashley in your prayers. Also to those who have e-mailed inquiring
about Ashley's condition. Thank you for your concern and prayers. May
God richly bless each of you.