I really wish I had more of an update, but unfortunately... I don't. I guess my no update is the update!
-We have been praying, and remaining as patient as possible, as parents desperate to hear back from the one place which might be able to help their boy in this battle for his life! The Dr in Iowa was out of town all week last week, so we had hoped and anticipated hearing from her on Monday... Monday came and went, so did Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now Friday :-(. We have called the Dr's nurse twice this week and emailed once and nothing. We are holding onto hope that for some reason God is allowing this delay. I'm trying to fight the temptation to fear that the reason for the delay is because they have reviewed Andrew's images, pathology report, etc and don't feel like they can help him in this battle. We have felt like the Lord was leading us to Iowa, but we can't help but wonder if for some reason God is closing that door in some way. We want a team of Dr's who are led by the Lord in wisdom and skill, passionate, and hopeful in treating Andrew. Will you please pray that we would not get ahead of God, He would lead us clearly, and that we would rest in the shadow of His wing?
-While we've been heavily focused on Andrew's battle, we are reminded this coming week that Grace's battle continues too. For those not familiar with Grace's journey, you can go to the very beginning of the blog, I started it when Grace was born. Grace has a cardiology appointment on Monday to measure the gradient across her mitral valve. If the gradient has gone up and/or any other area of her heart looks strained, we will have to go back to Boston for another dilation. Will you please pray that on Monday's echo, Grace's heart looks super happy and there is no need for any intervention anytime in the near future (even better... not for a long time ;-)?
A new, precious, generous, and talented friend took pictures of our family as a way to document the beginning of this journey. I typically hate taking family pictures because it's just too much work, so this time I had very low expectations because I didn't pick out everyone's outfits until just before we left for our photo session, we didn't take much time getting ready because we were all exhausted, and it was a wildcard as to if Andrew was going to have tummy pain or what kind of mood Grace would be in. In fact, as we were driving down the street to meet our photographer, I look over at David and he is wearing a random shirt, not the one we had discussed (I guess he thought we did discuss that shirt) and it didn't really match what the rest of the family was wearing, so we had to turn around for a last minute outfit change (I, David, edit the blog every week before it is posted and as I do so now, I am fighting the temptation to defend myself; however, I will not make a fool of myself and just state, I misunderstood the options;). We were pleasantly surprised that the photo session was super low stress and in some ways even fun. Our photographer captured our raw, beautiful, and exhausted hearts in such a way that makes these my favorite photos we have taken as a family yet. They tell such a story! Thank you so much, Courtney Griffin!!! If you need a great photographer and amazing person to capture your families heart, you can find her on facebook under Courtney Griffin Photography.
***Before we left for our photo session, we did a family devotional and prayer (each of us prayed). Andrew prayed first and left me confessing to the Lord that my boy's faith was bigger than mine at that moment. In his prayer, he praised the Lord for how powerful He is and said "God, I know you are a big God and nothing is too hard for you, so I pray that you would heal me from cancer, but I also know your will is what is best, so if you don't, I know that is what is best." Abigail prayed next and echoed Andrew's prayer... by then I was fighting back tears as I witnessed the raw, humble, faithful, and steadfast prayers of my little people, which God used to both break my heart and bolster my spirit all at the same time. What a simple and profound reminder of how big God is, only He could work in the hearts of little people in such rich ways.
***In case Andrew ministers to you like he does me, here is one more (of many) stories about comments Andrew makes that start with "if God calls me home early or at a young age..." On our way home from a Dr appointment last week, Andrew asked me how many stages there are of cancer. I tried to soften the answer as much as possible, but being honest, I stated the fact that there are only 4 stages and he has stage 4. He asked what all the different stages meant, so I explained it. I took a deep breath as I prepared to help him process the information I had just shared, but he beat me to it, saying "if I had stage 1 cancer, the Dr's could easily just take it out and that would be it, so maybe God let me have stage 4 because it will be a long hard battle and that way He can use me to minister to more people and He will get more glory?" Again, as I fought back tears, all I could say is "I couldn't agree with you more, Buddy! God is so good! I'm so proud of you!"
***UPDATE- We now know what sent us to the ER last weekend, with Andrew having shortness of breath... an anxiety attack :-(. It happened again this week at school (him having shortness of breath) and the school nurse helped me identify what it was. Between her and the school counselor, they were able to help him through it and within 15 minutes or so, he was back in class. Praise the Lord for answers and the amazing staff at his school that helped us identify the problem and solution for how to handle it when it comes on.
ANDREW'S ARMY, WE LOVE YOU!!!