The tradition on the 1oth floor (Pediatric Oncology) at DeVos Children's Hospital is that whenever a child completes their chemotherapy treatments, the entire staff holds a big "no mo chemo" celebration in their honor. The Doctors and nurses and other professionals line up by the exit doors of the clinic with huge signs and banners and applaud the courage and perseverance they've observed over the previous weeks, months, or years. Luke has enjoyed watching a bunch of these ceremonies happen for other kids, and always dreamed of the day when he would finally be finished with his own chemo treatments so he could celebrate with his caregivers. Once Luke found out he would no longer be receiving chemo (his current treatment is a different kind of therapy), he immediately requested a "no mo chemo" ceremony of his own. It was bittersweet, because in Luke's case the chemo treatments have not eradicated the cancer from his body, but it was a really meaningful (see photos!) milestone for Luke.
Luke was treated with chemotherapy for 20 consecutive months, which is about 10% of his entire life. Crazy. Overall, he feels much better without it. He no longer feels dizzy and foggy all the time, and his nausea and the other stomach discomfort is mostly gone. His hair is growing back. His blood counts are strong. We are thankful for these blessings. At the same time, we know it is likely that, without the chemo, the cancer in Luke's body will progress. He has already begun to experience a nagging cough and some difficulty catching his breath because of the tumor in his lung. His Doctors are hopeful that his new treatment will stabilize the disease, but we have no way of knowing. The expectation is that eventually the cancer will grow, but so far that hasn't happened, and we continued to pray that God will reach down and scrub Luke's body completely clean of this awful disease. Zero cancer. That's the goal.
Thank you all for your continued prayers. We are so thankful. A few updates:
1) We are 20 days away from Luke's Work Crew assignment at at TimberWolf Lake. Please pray for Luke's overall health to remain strong enough for him to participate. He really wants to fulfill his dream of serving on Work Crew at a Young Life camp. He's been assigned to the laundry and housekeeping crew :)
2) Over the past few weeks Luke has had a steady stream of visitors to our home. That makes a huge difference. It's amazing how much brighter things are for Luke when he gets to hang out with others...he's always been energized by people.
3) We continue to receive a steady stream of encouraging cards, emails, and texts. Because we continue to make trips to Grand Rapids once or twice each week, the Speedway, Amazon, Chick Fil A, and Jersey Giant gift cards continue to be a huge blessing.
While our circumstances continue to be heartbreaking and exhausting, we are so grateful for every single day we get to spend with Luke. He's the best. 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)