Friday, 29 January 2010

A brother for Catherine!

Catherine's brother was born on January 21 2010 at 11.10pm :)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Special news

"We may make our plans, but God has the last word." (Proverbs 16:1)

I was talking with a friend the other day about a tragedy that had happened to someone. I had felt sad about the tragedy and frustrated that the person involved would now be limited in what they could do. My friend said 'But we do not see the whole picture - we do not see what God is doing'.

Today we received some special news about Catherine's treatment. You may remember that last year Catherine was offered randomisation as part of a trial concerning treatment for ALL. The usual treatment for ALL was two intense doses of chemotherapy, and each of these chemicals, whilst being the right chemicals to kill the bad cells, meant that the risk of long-term side effects could increase.

At the time, God told us that we would only receive one dose of chemotherapy: http://catherineisgreat.blogspot.com/2009/01/randomisation-results.html
We were both a bit nervous about this because if we agreed to the single dose, we didn't know if it would be the best decision. However, because we both felt so strongly that God was saying Catherine would and should receive one dose, we went ahead with the single dose.

Today at the hospital we bumped in to a lady whose daughter was also receiving treatment and she told us that the results of the trial had come through.

The single dose of chemotherapy has now become the standard treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. No benefit can be found in having the two doses of treatment. It will also mean that for some children diagnosed with ALL in the future, they will have a shorter and less intense treatment regimen. Less side effects, less nausea, less time with hairloss, less time with infections, less time with low immunity.

One dose of chemicals such as Doxorubicin will reduce the possible side effects of additional cancers and leukaemias that could have been prompted by over treatment.

A year later we have found out that Catherine has been on the best possible treatment for her particular diagnosis. She has received the best possible dose and did not receive the second dose of chemotherapy. In the future, because of the trial and the hard work of the research doctors, children will be able to receive lower doses of chemotherapy with the same excellent results.

I thank God for his guidance in this decision and the fact that Catherine received exactly the correct treatment plan, even amid the uncertainty at the time. Trusting God may not always be easy when we cannot see the fuller picture, but I thank him that he continues to hold us in the palm of his hand.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Holidays

Catherine is now back at school and has been enjoying seeing her friends. Her 'anti-spot' medicine has meant that she has avoided the chicken-pox scare again and she is feeling good. Since Catherine was diagnosed in August 2008, we have pretty much been unable to book any holidays as the effects of having a low immune system through her treatment has meant that even if we had booked something, she may have become ill and we would have lost the holiday. Catherine is due to finish her treatment in October this year, and so tonight we sat together and discussed what we might do to celebrate. Catherine would like to go on holiday somewhere with a pool, so at the moment we are thinking that a trip to Center Parcs would be good (it is also somewhere we could take her baby sibling). So at the moment, we are planning a celebratory holiday at Center Parcs to mark the end of her treatment. Tonight, Catherine asked to pray that one day she will definitely not have to have any medicines anymore - I think she will be amazed when, in October, there are just no more daily medicines to take and no more trips to hospital to have 'wobbly medicine'. There will, of course, be regular check ups. I've also heard that when treatment finishes, it can be quite an emotional time for everyone as we reflect upon what happened. But this holiday will mark the brand new 'no medicine' start for Catherine. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ballerina

Catherine is doing really well on her treatment at the moment. Her hair is growing thicker and more lovely by the day, and her Consultant is extremely happy with her progress. Thanks to all your prayers, Catherine continues to do so well. This year, Catherine is hoping to start some proper ballet lessons. Just before she was diagnosed, she was attending some ballet lessons, but the illness (we didn't know what was wrong at the time) was making her too tired and weak to do them. Now she is strong and lively, and is really looking forward to getting back onto the dance floor! It is great seeing her leap around the room in her various ballet outfits. Thank you for your ongoing prayers. They still mean so much to us.