At 3:00 PM on Monday, September 17, we are to meet with doctors at Children's Medical Center to begin discussing a treatment plan. Ashley's primary oncologist from her previous treatments is expected to be on hand for this meeting. Dr. Winick is a precious lady who we grew to love dearly because of her genuine compassion for Ashley and for us. Medically, we have the utmost respect for and confidence in her, and we trust her as a friend. We eagerly anticipate her input and advice.

We are in a quandary concerning this meeting, however, and seek your specific prayers asking for a special measure of wisdom from above, both for ourselves and for the doctors, as we discuss treatment options. From a conventional medical perspective, I believe that our only option is going to be chemotherapy. We have already been told that the Neurosurgeon who performed Ashley's original tumor resection surgery has ruled out surgery on these new tumors, based on last week's MRI, because of the dangerous location of the new tumor spots. (One of the spots is rather small, and is located right on the brain stem. The other spot is more spread out, and is in the cerebellum area.) We also understand from initial discussions with the doctor who read the MRI that radiation is not really an option because of the intensity of Ashley's previous radiation therapy. That leaves chemotherapy.

Susan and I are very concerned, and somewhat scared, because we don't know how much more chemotherapy Ashley's little body can handle. She experienced some very serious side effects from the chemotherapy last time, and this time around she will be starting out in a more weakened condition than last time because of some of the lingering effects of the radiation and chemo. I know that there are some alternative therapies available out there. Some of them (or perhaps most of them) seem pretty far-fetched, and a few of them seem to hold some real promise.

We want to consider all options available, and certainly we want to do the absolute best thing for Ashley that will have the best chance of successfully eradicating these new tumors, while causing the least possible harm to her fragile little body. That is probably a very difficult tight rope to try to walk, but we must walk it and walk it well. After all, she is our little girl, and her life is at stake here.

Again, please pray for our meeting, that it will be productive. Please pray that God will show Susan and me the direction we need to take with Ashley's treatment. Please give thanks to God for providing us with such a wonderful angel of a doctor as Dr. Winick, and pray that God will use her to point us in the right direction. As I said previously, we have much confidence in her, and we trust that she will help us explore all our options.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I plan to post updates on this site periodically for those who wish to follow Ashley's progress.

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