Thursday, February 28, 2013

Update on Jonah, 2/28/13

Jonah on our walk this morning, with a view of downtown Spokane. 

The last couple of months have been, on the whole, a period of rest and restoration for Jonah. His most recent treatments have not hit him quite as hard as many others have in the past. Delayed Intensification, his current eight-week phase of treatment, began three weeks ago, and we fully expected that he would need to live in Spokane during most of that time. His body, however, tolerated the chemo well enough that he was able to go home in between his treatments. We are very grateful for that unexpected time together away from the hospital. 

Tuesday night was the first one we have had to spend in Spokane during this phase, and, ironically, it was the first Tuesday of this phase of treatment that Jonah did not receive chemo—but also the worst night of suffering he has endured in months. This week is supposed to be a brief respite from the drugs before the doctors administer a series of very powerful (and toxic) drugs next week. This "week off," however, has turned out to be the most difficult week of Delayed Intensification that he's had yet.

Jonah had suffered through a few days of digestive troubles and abdominal pain due, his doctor believes, to overgrowth of yeast in his system, and she wants him to stay in town to make sure it clears up sufficiently. If his counts are high enough, and his gut is doing better, Jonah may be able to go home for the weekend. But in the meantime, he has been dealing with some new trouble—sudden hair loss and severe withdrawal pains from going off of a potent steroid he was taking last week. Not only was Jonah's hair coming off in handfuls on his pillow—a distressing (and itchy) experience—but Jonah's legs were in such pain that he was unable to sleep most of the night Tuesday night, and yesterday he was unable to rest comfortably throughout most of the day. Today, however, the hair loss has slowed down just a bit, the pain has lessened dramatically, and Jonah was downstairs making pancakes before I was even out of bed and wanted to go out for a walk through the neighborhood right after breakfast. 

While we are grateful for a better day today, we are also anticipating a rough time for Jonah in the two weeks that lie immediately ahead. One of the drugs he will be receiving was, in the past, responsible for his very worst bouts of nausea, and he will also be given another truly nasty drug that can result in longer-lasting (and more serious) side effects. Some of these side effects may not appear until years later, which makes the prospect even more daunting. None of us, as you can imagine, are looking forward to these treatments, but we are grateful to know that we are being held up by all of your love, help, and prayers. And we have not forgotten that we pray to a God who, Himself, knows what it is to suffer. 

As we anticipate a difficult few weeks ahead of us, we'd very much appreciate your prayers for our entire family—for Jayson and me as we try to give all of our children, including Jonah, the love and attention they need; for our other boys as they live with the disruption created by our separated family; for my mother-in-law as she takes care of the house and kids while Jayson and I are away; and, of course, for Jonah. Pray that his courage, his faith, his patience, and his body will remain strong. And, as always, please pray that these difficult treatments would result in a long, healthy, and fruitful life for him. Our hope is that the present trials will result in deeper wisdom and grace that will remain with him, and with all of us, for many, many years to come.

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