This has become a sort of motto for the family of Emily Love. Each new day brings more numbers to dissect and understand: blood counts, cure rates, vital signs, months and years of treatment… But the number we are trying to keep close to our hearts is just one: 100%.
Emily spent the morning with her Oncologist at U.C. Davis today and we received more numbers. But not the numbers we were hoping for. The bone morrow biopsy Emily had last week revealed that her first month of chemotherapy has not put her completely into remission. It was close, but not close enough. Emily will, beginning today, be back on an Induction treatment plan for two weeks. This means two more weeks of her steroid; four more doses of her chemo drug Vincristine; one more dose of Peg-asparaginase; and one new chemo drug, Daunorubicin.
Daunorubicin is what the Oncologist is calling a “kick-start drug”. Normally given only to adults, Emily is receiving a small dosage in hopes it will give her body the jolt it needs to stop the growth of the Leukemia cells in her body. The downside of this new drug is that it has increased side-effects, including loss of hair, nausea, and decreased blood counts. Emily has experienced all of these side-effects with her previous chemotherapy but we expect they will be worse in the days ahead.
Emily will be retested in two weeks to determine if the extended Induction treatment has done what is needed to place her in complete remission and gotten rid of her Minimum Residual Disease. Until then, we are praying that the pain, discomfort, and poor temper will not get the best of our Little Stitch.
So far, Emily has been part of a protocol study, or standard treatment plan, used across the country. This setback in her progress means she will be taken off the standard plan. Her Oncologist is now creating a new treatment protocol specifically geared for Emily. He isn’t making up something new, just adjusting the standard treatment to account for the fact Emily’s body needs a more aggressive plan. He says that though Emily isn’t quite where he had wanted her to be at this stage, she isn’t that far off. Ultimately, this delay won’t change what he is expecting, but it will mean the road will be bumpier ahead.
Emily is now considered High Risk, and her permanent cure rate has been lowered to 76%. This isn’t a huge drop, and is still a positive number. A number, we believe God can make 100% with your help.
Please pray for Emily this week. Pray that the physical side-effects of her new and increased chemotherapy will not be more than her little body can handle. Pray that the bright smiles we’ve seen in the past week won’t be completely dampened by her going back on the mood-altering steroid. Pray that her blood pressure, which has begun rising again, will be controlled by her blood pressure medication. And pray that she would begin to gain some much needed weight.
Please also pray for Christina, Jason, and the older Love children. Pray that God would wrap His arms around them in mercy and peace. Pray that they have strength and courage as they care for Emily and deal with the physical and emotional effects of her battle. Pray that they find comfort and encouragement in one another. And pray for the witness that they, and all of us, provide in how we support each other and trust in the Lord through difficult times.
Below is a prayer card, created by Auntie Jennifer. Please feel free to save this image on your computer as a reminder to keep Emily in your thoughts and prayers.