September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each day a different guest blogger will be featured who will generously share their personal experience with childhood cancer. Stories are always more potent than statistics.
By Anne Won
It has been quite a journey for our family from the day our daughter Ella Joy was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkins cancer on October 8, 2013. She immediately started treatment and when the results from her enlarged lymph nodes came in, we realized that they were not under 1cm where they needed to be.
Soon after, we were told she had a significant amount of cancer in her bone marrow and would be needing a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. I could not sleep for 3 days thinking about the low 30% likelihood that she would be able to survive this transplant. On that third day, we found out that Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago sent a dot graph to Seattle and the lymphoma expert there declared a case of a possible false positive MRD.
Since it was only a dot graph, we needed to do a new bone marrow extraction to be sent to both Seattle and Lurie’s. We had to wait a few weeks because Ella Joy’s ANC (absolute neutrophil count — a measurement of how functional the immune system is) was too low for the bone marrow extraction. When she finally got to do it, we found out it truly was a false positive! Praise the Lord! Ella Joy did not need a bone marrow/stem cell transplant after all! We were so incredibly thankful to God, and even though we had a lot of unanswered questions, we accepted this as an amazing miracle from our Lord!
We are still going through treatment in the maintenance phase of chemotherapy and will continue even into the year 2016. One thing that has been so phenomenal for our family is the prayer support we have received from so many people! We believe in the power of prayer and a loving, faithful, and sovereign God who hears these prayers! Time and time again, we remember markers of His faithfulness and the indescribable ways He has answered each and every single prayer we blogged about from the beginning of Ella Joy’s fight against cancer.
One concern I had was finding help to watch Ella Joy’s brother when she was undergoing procedures and chemotherapy treatment at the hospital. There was even a long period of time that siblings were not able to even be in the hospital. God provided each and every single time wonderful people to help watch Asaph! Another concern was driving to the hospital in downtown Chicago. The first morning I drove in rush hour traffic, I was 3 hours late for my appointment! God once again answered this prayer by providing fantastic people who were willing to help us with rides every single week! Also, we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House many times when Ella Joy had chemotherapy treatments and procedures. This allowed our family to stay together, which was so instrumental for us in such a challenging time in our lives.
We would like to take this time to ask you to pray for our daughter Ella Joy. Please pray for zero and negative (zero cancer, negative MRD). Please pray that God would protect her body as she is in kindergarten this year. Even catching the common cold could mean a visit to the ER. Right now her ANC is low and has been for over a month now. She has struggled with sweating through naps, leg pains (to the point where she could not walk for periods of time), stomach pains, and possible enlarged lymph nodes. With t-cell lymphoblasts, her stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer is aggressive and has a high recurrence of relapse. Please pray with us that God would continue to protect her little body and that she can be cancer-free. My prayer is that she would grow to have an amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness in her life with her battle against cancer so she can be a light to so many and of course to children who are also battling cancer.
You can read our blog and follow Ella Joy’s treatment HERE. Please lift up prayers with us for our Ella Joy! Thank you and God bless!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18