Luke's Doctor continues to believe it is inevitable that this cancer will take his life. The most recent scans were further evidence of this reality. The kind of cancer Luke has is very aggressive and difficult to eradicate. The tumor on Luke's lung has gotten larger, and there is evidence of the cancer showing up in some new places in Luke's body as well. While Luke's condition is stable at the moment, the disease is showing steady progression in the face of treatment. The Doctors have no specific timeline, but they would be surprised if he lived much beyond the end of this year.
There is so much we hate about our circumstances. We hate the cancer, and we hate that Luke's life has been changed so dramatically. We hate the conversations we are forced to have with Luke and his brothers. We hate having to tell our family and friends terrible news. Through our tears we hate the thought of life going forward without Luke. We hate all of it.
The hate we feel is magnified by our love for Luke. He is clever and thoughtful. He loves to learn new things, and he has a gift for teaching others. He is generous. Even though he feels lousy most days, we treasure each day we get to spend with Luke, because we just love being with him. We are thankful that he is still with us today.
We are grateful to all of you for your prayers, your tears, your presence, and your kind words. There is so much to be praying for:
1) Luke has decided to participate in another clinical trial, one that involves an experimental protein therapy drug that has shown some promising results in adults with cancer similar to Luke's. He chose this one because it's not chemotherapy, so the side effects are minimal, and he will only need to visit the clinic every other Thursday. While it is unlikely this drug will eradicate the cancer, it could stabilize the growth and give Luke a longer life.
2) Luke is laser focused on his upcoming Work Crew assignment at TimberWolf Lake. It's been a dream and goal of his to serve at a Young Life camp, and we are hopeful that he can make it happen.
3) We just need prayer for overall wisdom in knowing how to best care for Luke.
4) Pray for healing. The observable medical evidence says this cancer will take over Luke's body, but that hasn't happened. God isn't bothered by long odds. We know that at any point He could reach down and scrub the cancer completely out of Luke's body. We are praying every day for that to happen, expecting Him to heal Luke and bring much glory to Himself.
As always, our prayer remains the same. We can't stop, WON'T stop praying for God to heal our boy. (James 5:14-16)
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay, and Luke)
Has it really been 42 days since Luke's last scans? Apparently, it has. We know this because his regimen consists of two cycles of chemo (21 days each) and then they check progress with a full battery of tests. Since Luke has scans scheduled again this week, it must be that 42 days have passed! We will be spending two full days in Grand Rapids this week.
The past month has been rough. The chemo has really affected Luke. He battles dizziness and fatigue. His appetite is low, and he's lost a few pounds. Because he's lost weight, his leg wasn't fitting correctly, but he was able to get it adjusted last week. His primary Docs at DeVos have been proactive about adjusting his chemo regimen, but they haven't found the sweet spot yet. Also, another one of Luke's friends from DeVos passed away, and Luke attended the visitation in Grand Rapids. There really are no words. It's just so heartbreaking.
On Thursday, once we know the results of Luke's scans, we will be discussing the next steps in his treatment plan. The scans are always terrifying. We never know what we're going to hear. We are grateful that Luke's overall condition seems stable, but at the same time we continue praying that there would be zero cancer in Luke's body at the end of this treatment cycle. That's always the prayerful goal...zero cancer.
Thankfully, Luke has had a BUNCH of visitors this week. It's always amazing how quickly his attitude and countenance improve when folks come over. He just loves people, and he is energized by these frequent interactions. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you'd like to come spend some time with Luke.
To be praying:
1) For the "right" balance of diet and meds, that allow Luke to feel better and be more active.
2) For "NED" (no evidence of disease) in the scans this week.
3) For rest and peace for everyone in our family...we are all so very tired.
4) Luke continues to be excited about Work Crew...we're 7 weeks away! We want so much for Luke to feel strong enough to be able to serve and have a great experience.
Thanks always to everyone who has prayed, encouraged, sent notes, and stopped to visit. We are thankful we are not alone. Our prayer remains the same. We can't stop, WON'T stop praying for God to heal our boy. (James 5:14-16)
James & Lu
(for Sam, Jay, & Luke)