Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thank you, Father

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;"
Hebrews 12:28

Thank you, Father, for...

...little girls and their dolls.
...little girls and their hugs and their tender emotions.
...trains and buses and all the other things children pretend with their preschool chairs.

~ For AWANA and its timeless lessons, thank you Father.
~ For victory and defeat, thank you Father.

~ For my sweet preschoolers and friends at AWANA, thank you Father. Beth on the left, a visitor at AWANA until next Sept., and on the right, Mary--watching her car win the Derby race. In ten years of parenting, no one had ever cut their own hair...until Mary decided to butcher her bangs, as shown in the picture. Yes, it could have been worse. They've grown a bit in the last month.

Thank you, Father, for...

...baking with children.

...being at home with them.

...the priviledge of shepherding their hearts through you.

...a warm, happy home.

...two good visits with our relative, in which the children shined your light.

...Peter introducing our Compassion children to our relative:

"This is Divya; she is from India. This is Raphael; he is from Burkina Faso, Africa. This is Nelson; he is from El Salvador, Central America. They are very poor and they don't always hear that they are loved. We love them and we write them letters and send them money. Our letters mean a lot to them, and we get letters back from them." 

I was so proud of him! Our visitor just said, "That's nice." But the heart of a child for other children, half-way round the world, maybe it planted a seed destined to bear fruit later, in her heart? I suppose I'm desperate for something to bring a heart change, but I know God is in control and I trust him. Hard hearts don't easily melt.

Thank you, Father, for...

...a husband who cherishes us and serves us with his life.

...giggling girls in bathtubs.

...the Geo Trax train set making a comeback in their playtime.

...never-ending grace.


...gingerbread pancakes (thank you, again, Jess, for the recipe)

...wrinkles and wisdom.

...nature-center classes.

...backyard nature.

...dressing dollies with my girls.

...the hope of spring.

...the upcoming gardening season and my children's enthusiasm.

...a simple life.

...a shampooed carpet.

...thrift stores to go to when Peter's jeans all have holes.

...fancy pink sparkly shoes and white fancy socks.

...babies in the nursery.

...a homemade chocolate cake, with Beth's love all over it.

...a bed for everyone.

...the worst of Beth's flare subsiding.

...hope of a letter soon from our Compassion children.

...the difficulties that force us to lean into You.

They want to start Beth on a low-dose cancer drug to address the swelling in her knees, which, apparently if left as they are, may be headed for cartilage damage. (I would demand an ultrasound to see cartilage damage before giving consent to this drug.)

She is not a good candidate for the drug, in our opinion. She has three siblings to pass germs onto her, and it suppresses the immune system, making it hard to fight infection. She is already terribly thin, and it can cause appetite and nausea problems. It can lead to hair loss, mouth sores, kidney damage, lung damage, and to certain kinds of cancer, later in life. It must be used for two years, with some of that time involving a lower, maintenance dose. It is administered by injection once a week (parents do it at home) or by pill if she would swallow one, but the pill causes more nausea.

It puts some children into remission, but this disease is a long haul. Remissions rarely last and then the drugs have to be repeated. If cartilage damage becomes a reality, there are total knee replacements that would possibly affect her life far less, in the long run, than these strong drugs at such young ages.

Although this drug has been used for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis for a while now, it is only FDA-approved for adults.

We want what is best for her...for her quality of life, for her long-term comfort, for the best overall health outcome. We don't know what would best achieve these goals. Normally, they offer a steroid joint injection into the knees, particularly the right one, which is more swollen and diseased, done under light general anesthesia, before pushing this methotrexate cancer drug. We would push for this before giving consent to the cancer drug.

To say we are unhappy with even the mention of this drug, this early in the disease, is an understatement.

Please pray for...

...wisdom and peace.

...a turn around in the weight issue. Although she's grown in height, there's been no net weight gain in the last seven months. Her clothes hide a lot, but she's extremely skinny--tall for her age (about 3.5 years) and only 29 pounds. And she's always been an eat-to-live child, rather than a live-to-eat one. That makes the battle even harder.

...a good relationship with her caregivers.

...peace with those we know who may not agree with our drug decisions.

...reduced swelling and no more flares, before our next appointment in early June, in which the cancer drug will come up again. I can more easily reject it if the swelling has lowered.

We thank you in advance for any prayer time you spend on our Beth. We'd be so grateful for your help, and would love to pray for you, too.


Tesha said...

Hi Christine, I love your thankful list. I am having a really low day and it helped me to look at the list. Funny I was just taking pictures with Shayla and her baby Dolls. I will be praying for wisdom and peace for you and the doctors. Also for your sweet Beth that the arthritis would not flare up again. Hugs sweet friend.

Christine said...

Tesha, you are so thoughtful. Thank you!

Lisa said...

Still praying, dear friend! As always, you point me back to being thankful for all the Lord has given me. Thank you.

Christine said...

Thank you for your prayers, Lisa. I appreciate you and your wisdom!

TerraD said...

I have on eat-to-live kiddo, too. She's six and only weighs 33 pounds, but she is happy and active and growing at her own pace, so doctors aren't worried. Hope Beth's health only gets better, making your decisions much easier.

Christine said...

Oh, Terra! Thank you!

Terri H said...

I love the joy in your girls' faces in that top picture. How precious are they?