(editor's note: the attached photo is NOT one of Luke's actual tattoos!)
On Thursday Luke became the first member of my immediate family to get a tattoo. Part of the mapping process for his radiation treatments involved inking three small permanent tattoos on Luke's chest. These insure that Luke's body will be in exactly the same position each time they do radiation. If Luke ever ends up taking the prescription marijuana to help his appetite (a possibility!), he's going to have quite the reputation at school!
Luke will be home from G.R. tomorrow night, after 5 days of chemo and radiation. We are thankful. And tired. Our prayer remains simple. Can't stop, WON'T stop praying for God to heal our boy. (James 5:14-16)
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay & Luke)
Luke is an amazing young man. Today I was thinking about all he as been through, and continues to go through, and I felt so much respect for his courage and perseverance. His life is filled with challenges. They come at him one after another. It's perpetually something. Take today for example. Luke underwent the first of 28 radiation treatments, with the goal of completely eliminating the cancer in his chest. On top of that he began another round of chemotherapy, one that will last through the weekend, one that will likely bring more fatigue and nausea. Luke's body is weary, and continues to be stretched emotionally. Yet he presses on. I am proud to be his father.
A few ways you can be praying:
1) Typically radiation patients experience fatigue, but there are also some rarer side effects that are possible. We pray that Luke will tolerate this treatment without consequence.
2) Luke is a freshman in High School. He just completed his final exams for three classes from his first trimester. He received two A's and we're waiting on the final grade for his other class. We are very thankful that Luke has been able to resume his schoolwork. He is now working on his next wave of classes. Please pray for him to continue this progress.
3) Luke's wrist is healing nicely. His surgeon gave him the go ahead to stop wearing his brace and to begin using his wrist normally. Pray for strength and full healing in his wrist, especially for him to be able to begin using his crutches again.
4) Luke's physical therapy is progressing, but very slowly. He wants to learn to walk on his prosthetic leg, but the weakness and fatigue in his body make it challenging. His wrist injury was a setback as well. Pray for accelerated progress.
5) Pray for safety for Luke. He needs solid railings, ramps, and equipment, and safe procedures. No more falls!
6) Pray for our family. Daily trips to Grand Rapids for the next month, plus this week Jay began his senior season of Varsity baseball! We need rest, help, and peace. We are grateful to God for His provision.
Also, our meals page has been updated to include future months. Click here if you'd like to help out.
Our prayer remains the same. God heal our boy. We can't stop, WON'T stop praying for God to heal our boy. No more cancer. No more tumors. We're so thankful that we have Jesus.
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay, & Luke)
Whenever Luke checks into the Children's Hospital they attach a wristband that says "fall risk" on it. The whiteboard in his room and the name plate outside of his door will say the same thing. Luke needs to be careful. The combination of Luke missing a leg and the fatigue associated with chemotherapy put Luke at risk for a fall. With his blood counts so often compromised, any bruising or injury resulting from an accident would be a threat to Luke's health.
Two weeks ago, for the first time since his surgery, Luke took a fall. His blood counts were very low from the chemo, and he got dizzy as he was crutching back to his bed and fell forward. It was nothing major, but still very scary. He had a scratch and bruise on his eye, and we just found out from his PET scan on Wednesday that he has a hairline fracture in his wrist. The original XRay had not shown anything, but the PET scan revealed the break. Luke has had difficulty putting weight on his wrist to walk on his crutches, and he has not been able to play his flute or piano. It's a setback, but he is adjusting. He is wearing a brace on his wrist (no cast!), and he has a new attachment on his walker and on his crutches that enable him to move forward with physical therapy.
The primary purpose of the PET scan was to monitor progress with the cancerous tumors in Luke's body. As was true with the January scan, there was no new cancer visible on this PET scan. We are so thankful for God's healing mercies in this, as it shows that for the time being the chemo treatments have halted the cancer that was growing aggressively in Luke's body. At one point early on there were 11 or 12 lesions in Luke's hips, lungs and liver that "lit up" on the PET scans. Spots that "light up" are very likely cancerous. The PET scan on Wednesday showed only three "lit" spots, two in his lungs and one in his hip. The others have dissolved or died. The spot on his liver is no longer visible. Again, we are so thankful for God's healing mercies, and yet we know there is much more healing that needs to happen. The only acceptable number of cancerous spots is zero!
Luke has a longer break before his next chemo treatment begins on March 17th. Once that round of chemo begins Luke will also be undergoing radiation treatments for one of the tumors in his lungs. While chemo addresses any cancer throughout the entire body, radiation enables them to laser focus on a specific tumor. Over a five week period Luke will have around 15 chemotherapy treatments and 25 radiation treatments. The goal, as always, is to completely eradicate the cancer from Luke's body.
Here's how you can pray and help:
1) Pray for minimal side effects from the radiation. Luke will likely experience fatigue, but there are other nasty side effects that are possible (though very uncommon) and we are praying for none of those to appear.
2) Luke, Laura and I would both welcome companions in our daily trips to & from Grand Rapids. Please contact me if you'd like to take a ride with us!
3) Speedway gas cards are a huge blessing. We'll essentially be driving to and from Grand Rapids each day for about 5-6 weeks.
4) Jay starts his senior year on Mason Varsity baseball soon! Pray for him...he is very excited. We also might need help with rides for him to / from practice and games.
5) Our meals are full through March...thank you so much! We will update with the April & May openings soon :)
6) Please pray for continued progress with Luke's physical therapy and prosthetic leg. It's been slow so far, and he would like to be up and around ASAP.
That's a lot! Thank you for reading this. Thank you for caring about Luke. Our prayer remains simple...God heal our boy. We can't stop, WON'T stop praying for God to heal our amazing son Luke! (James 5:14-16)
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay & Luke)