Side note- the jumper I'm wearing seriously feels like pj's, it's so comfy and super cute, everyone needs to own one! If you think you need one, its a Cabi piece and you can reach out to Kathryn Self to find out how to get one. I seriously love it so much! And my sweet friend Kathryn found me a zebra belt (made also by Cabi) that I can wear with it. In case I haven't mentioned, the reason behind my new found love (or obsession) for all things zebra, it is the "color" that represents Neuroendocrine Tumors (Andrew's type of cancer). Exhibit A- check out my new Zebra print sneakers ;-)
Ok, getting back on track now-- at the fashion show, I spoke with a precious friend (her name is Brooke, she was in the trenches with us during Grace's journey and is now joining deep in the trenches on Andrew's journey as well) who shared with me that while she was praying for Andrew with a friend from her Bible study she learned the person she was praying with had a brother who also had a neuroendocrine tumor and sought treatment from Dr. Eric Liu in Denver (he is a surgeon that specializes in Neuroendocrine Tumors) and couldn't speak highly enough about him. She told me that she had two important things to tell me, but we didn't get to finish our conversation at the fashion show because we were both pulled away to different conversations. She texted me later that afternoon to tell me the two things she needed to share with me 1) she was passionate about us going to Denver (in the event that is where God was leading us) to see if they could help Andrew (I'm certain she would have just shown up on their doorstep with us, if we couldn't get an appointment to be seen by them) and 2) her family wanted to help us get there! David and I quickly researched who this Dr. Liu guy is and we were super encouraged to see that he trained in Sweden (many of the latest/most cutting edge advancements in Neuroendocrine Tumors have been used in Europe for years, but are still not approved by the FDA here in the states, yet) and was a surgeon at Vanderbilt, before opening the Neuroendocrine clinic in Denver. He is considered a thought leader in this type of cancer, having taught/spoke at any and all conferences related to this type of cancer, and he has people come from all around the world to see him. David and I were feeling pretty discouraged having not heard back from Iowa yet, so we thought, maybe God is allowing Iowa to drag their feet to get us to stop knocking on the closed door and to look at the door He has opened in Denver. At that point, it was 4:10 pm last Friday when I got Brooke's text, so David and I thought "well, what can it hurt to try", so David left a message for Dr. Liu's assistant. Within 30 minutes he got a call back from the assistant and had a ton of medical documents in his inbox needing to be filled out by us and sent back in order for them to schedule us an appointment. Also, before Dr. Liu's assistant even called David back she had asked Dr. Liu if he would be willing to see Andrew, since he was a child (with an adult disease) and Dr. Liu (who is an adult Dr. said "sure, I would like to see him." What?!?! We have begged and pleaded with Iowa to just return our phone call(s) and emails for 3 weeks and at almost 5:00 pm on a Friday evening Denver was ready and willing to help us get the ball rolling. By Wednesday of this week we had an appointment scheduled! Praise the Lord! Lord willing, we will head to Denver from April 25th-27th to meet with Dr. Liu (the surgeon), an oncologist, and to get a gallium 68 PET scan.
While this second round of chemo has been a doozy for Andrew and there have been some really rough days/nights, God has been faithful reminding me of Isaiah 40:29-31, "He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not grow faint." Andrew has been in so much pain and feeling so sick that he has said "I feel so discouraged" or "it's hard not to want to give up", but it has been so awesome to see the Lord speak into Andrew's heart in ways that has brought him to tears (whether it's through His word, worship music, through the love and prayers of His people surrounding him/us spiritually and physically, etc). Prior to Andrew's diagnosis we were talking to the kids a lot about how to listen to God and not always go to Him and do all the talking. They would often times ask "how will we hear God speaking to us?" We did our best to explain how He speaks to us, but it wasn't until they had experienced hearing from God for themselves that it became real to them. I have to say, hearing your child share about how God spoke to them is one of those parenting moments I will always treasure!
PRAYER REQUEST- Will you please pray for Andrew's pain and chemo side effects? Will you please also pray for all of the logistics surrounding our trip to Denver (safe travel, peace for the girls as they stay behind on this trip, that the Dr's would have supernatural wisdom, skill, and hope as they treat Andrew and anything else you feel led to pray for)?
***I'm not sure what's going on in downtown Denver those 3 days we are there, but many hotels are sold out and the others or are expensive. If you or someone you know has the ability to get a discounted rate at a Marriott (or any other hotel in the area), please let us know!
There is so much more on my list of things to share with y'all, but I want to respect your time and eyeballs, so I will save it for the next post :-).
Andrew's Army- THANK YOU for every single thing you have done, are doing, and plan to do to support our family. We seriously couldn't endure this journey without each and every one of you! This journey is a constant David and Goliath type battle that can best be illustrated by a few of the pictures a friend took at one of Abby's soccer games this weekend. Abby is already tiny (but fierce;-) and her team is playing up an age bracket, so that sort of explains the extreme size difference!