Ashley had another MRI done today at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Winick did not want to wait another month to see if the tumors were responding to treatment -- and, quite frankly, neither did we.

I won't beat around the bush. The report we got from the MRI was not good ... not good at all.

Dr. Winick came around the corner, after a visit to Radiology to look at the MRI pictures. She grabbed me by the arm and led me to a seating area to sit and talk. Ashley and Susan were in the bathroom. Choking back tears and searching for the right words, Dr. Winick looked at me and said, "This is not good". She proceeded to tell me that, in fact, the situation is much worse. The MRI showed significant new tumor growth since the September 11 MRI. Not only have the chemo treatments not arrested the tumor growth, they have apparently had no effect on the tumors at all.

We will take Ashley back up to Children's in the morning (Thursday) to have a feeding tube surgically implanted in her stomach, so that we can feed her through the tube. Ashley has lost eight pounds in the past month, and just isn't eating enough to maintain a healthy weight. She has been too weak to walk for about two or three weeks, and gets around using her wheelchair.

While Ashley is in surgery tomorrow, Dr. Winick will sit down with Susan and me and explain in detail what Ashley's situation is, and what hope there is -- if any -- for further treatment options.

From the information we were given today, the situation looks bleak. We will never give up hope as long as God is in heaven and there is one breath left in Ashley's little body. But we cannot hide our eyes to the stark reality of Ashley's situation. I know that literally thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people have been praying fervently for Ashley's healing, as we have. At this point I honestly do not know what God's answer will be. I do not doubt for a moment that God has the power to heal Ashley. But neither do I pretend to see things from God's perspective. And so I don't know what His answer will be to our prayers for Ashley's healing, but pray we must.

Ashley has so much life still to live. I want to watch her show pigs at the County Expo next Spring. I want to watch her graduate from high school in a few years. I want to walk her down the aisle some day and give her away in marriage to the second luckiest young man in the world (I'm the luckiest). I want to watch proudly as she realizes her career dream of becoming a Child Life Specialist and helping other children cope with the struggles that she knows all too well. I want to bounce her children on my knee some day and see in their eyes the same beautiful sparkle that I see in Ashley's eyes.

Ashley is my "sweetie pie", my princess, my precious girl. I am not ready to give her up or to let her go. And so I beg of you to get on your knees and implore God's mercy and His healing hand to intervene on Ashley's behalf one more time.

Susan and I thank you for your prayers, and for your love.

God bless you and all of yours.

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