Loving Julia through luekemia

The world is broken. Cancer sucks. Our hope is in the good news that through Jesus, God will restore all things and with Christ’s return, everything sad will come untrue.

“… Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation. 21:3-4

Latest update …


“After our last note, Julia’s journey has taken a bumpy ride into better territory.

Last time I wrote, she was just coming out of a rough patch, with lots of hospital time.  She came out of the hospital with a long-lasting cold, so she got a two week reprieve from chemo.  On balance, this was a good thing. As she put it, it was really nice to feel almost normal again.

She’s still on the three week cycle, in cycle 8 of 9 within the intensification/consolidation phase.

The first week of the cycle has always had a couple of really bad days, as I described in my last note.  Almost like clockwork, on day 5, it’s time for a visit to emerg for a high temperature, or for IV hydration, and maybe a few days stuck in the hospital to recover.
Unlike the early days of “If I don’t get out of here, I’m gonna go crazy”, Julia’s become quite graceful at rolling with these punches, more so than us.
To avoid the worst of the side effects, Dr. Tam has continued to make adjustments to the meds, and things have been getting better.  Last week, it was day 6, and we all went to church together; that’s a first.  She wasn’t feeling great, and quite tired, but she was getting out of bed, and getting out of the house…way better than the previous cycles have been.
Oh, and she’s regrowing a soft and fuzzy head of hair!  Enough hair that she will soon be trying to decide what to do with it.
And there’s a lightening of her burden just around the corner.  Between Christmas and the new year, she moves into the “maintenance” phase, the long tail of the treatment that runs out another 16 months. The doses will be lower; steroids are cut in half, and the nasty Asparaginase is gone entirely.  From what we’ve read, this is when patients can go back to work and school.  This is Julia’s hope, as she’s planning to ease back into university in January.
In the larger scheme, her treatment is unfolding according to plan.  We are assured that the side effects and sickness, which have seemed so drastic to us, have been fairly normal for this kind of disease/treatment.
Left untreated, ALL creates a flood of immature white blood cells; which crowd out functioning mature white cells.  This program of treatment is widely accepted, developed over decades, and based on the results of many clinical trials and many treated patients. Each weekly cycle of chemo targets potential cancer cells, while also damaging the bone marrow’s production of healthy blood cells; I imagine it as a kind of a reboot, or a cleanse. This is followed by a short reprieve for her body to recover. Weekly (or more frequent) blood tests check how well her blood cell production is coming back, along with a dozen other metrics. (That’s a lot of needle pokes!)
Often, her hemoglobin levels (red blood cells) drop dangerously low, so she’ll get a transfusion.  Julia has received about a dozen units of blood by now, so we have a fresh appreciation of how valuable blood donations are (hint, hint  🙂
So, as the snow falls, she’s settling in for a long winter’s … fight?  Yeah, a long winter’s fight, with a somewhat softened opponent.
Again, and still, thank you all for your prayers, kind words, and deeds.  We are in God’s good hands, and we feel His love through you.

~ Paul, Debbie and Julia

Let’s continue to keep Julia, Paul, Debbie, Amberly & Brooklyn in our prayers.
May God continually give His perfect strength in Julia in times of weakness and to her family as they rally around to love and support her.

Thank you to many of who you have supported the family in practical ways.

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