Friday, June 22, 2012

Victorious Is Her Name


We named Esther after Queen Esther in the Bible.  We have prayed for her that she would be brave and victorious throughout her life.  Queen Esther was beautiful, smart, calm, and stood up for what was right.  She risked her life for the good of a nation about to be unjustly destroyed.  She was brave.  She was victorious.

Thanks to Illumination Photography for a last minute photo shoot.
Today our 3 1/2 year old daughter, Esther, was diagnosed with cancer.  Over the last week she has been so brave, so calm.  She has trusted us and it has been beautiful to see. 

About a month ago we noticed a bump on Esther's head.  She hadn't hit her head that day and we thought it could've been a bug bite.  We waited a couple days and went to the doctor.  Because the bump was soft and could move a little, he wanted to watch it to see if it would shrink thinking it could be a cyst or a benign, fatty tumor.  I called back after a week and a half because it wasn't getting smaller and the doctor ordered an MRI.  The results of the MRI revealed that there was a mass going through her skull bone and that she needed to be seen by the doctors at Children's Hospital in Denver.  At this point we were still thinking it was something benign. 

We met with a couple of neurosurgeons who took a full skeletal x-ray and evaluated Esther's MRI.  They had a plan to do surgery to remove the tumor and portion of her skull.  However, after passing the images onto other doctors and oncology, the surgeons thought it was too risky to cut into the bone because if the tumor was malignant, it could risk spreading cancer cells. Instead, they scheduled a biopsy for today, Friday, June 22.

Esther was such a brave, calm, beautiful little girl.  Her biopsy was scheduled for 1:30am...that meant no food after 5:30am and no drink after 11:30am.  We woke her up at 5 and she choked down some yogurt and a few cheerios.  We actually didn't make it into the OR until about 2:30pm.  She was so calm and patient and never fussed about being hungry.  She was only anxious just before the biopsy when the anesthesiologist came to talk us through the process.  Esther asked for us to "leave now."  That was hard...to just hold this little girl and ask her to trust us, to tell her we love her and that Jesus loves her, and that it's going to be okay no matter what.  Especially when we know the road ahead could be extremely painful for her.  She did trust us.  We walked back to the OR, I held her tight.  When we got there, she laid on the bed and held our hands.  Such a gift of a sweet girl.

We went down to the cafeteria to eat some lunch and waited for a call from the nurse who was going to check in about half way through the procedure.  She never called, so we went back up to the surgery center.  Shortly after that the surgeon, Dr. Wilkinson, and our oncologist, Dr. Garrington, came out to tell us that the procedure was successful and they were able to get a conclusive result from the biopsy.  They found a blue-celled, malignant cancer.

We listened as best as we could, losing the fight with tears.  We had talked with Dr. Wilkinson the day before and he told us that they were suspecting this type of cancer, so we knew a little of what to expect.  The tumor is either a neuoblastoma or a Ewing's sarcoma.  We are desperate for prayer that it is a neuroblastoma because a Ewing's tumor is very dangerous.  I know it's a strange request to pray for cancer, but we covet your prayers.

We should know on Monday what type of cancer it is.  Tuesday we will go back to Children's Hospital and she will have a chemo port put in, a bone marrow biospy, and lots of other tests.  Dr. Garrington said that we should expect to stay at Children's through the weekend so they can run all the needed tests to determine if it has metastasized anywhere and what is the best treatment plan.  We can expect to begin chemo next week as both of these types of cancers have to be aggressively treated.  Dr. Wilkinson told us that when contained, neuroblastomas generally melt away with chemo. 

Please pray that the tumor is contained and has not metastasized anywhere in her body.  Initial blood tests and skeletal x-rays did not show anything alarming as far as we know.  Pray that this tumor would melt away and not come back.  Pray for her to handle it all with bravery, grace, patience, and trust.  Pray for wisdom as we figure out how to do this as a family and for Rourke, Lydia, Frannie & Zinnia to trust us, yield their hearts and to trust God.  Pray for us to be united and on the same team, to be selfless and patient with each other and our children.  Pray for Esther to be healed...Victorious Is Her Name.

41 comments:

  1. Oh Sam and Anthony!! Our hearts are hurting with you right now. We are praying for the best scenario and that this will be a milestone in sweet Esther's life in which to see God's faithfulness!! Hugs from London!!! Monica and Chris

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  2. I don't know you but have read this blog posted by a friend.I am praying for Esther and for all of your family according to your wishes. May God Bless you in every way and keep your little girl in His constant care and give her peace with what she will endure. Our God is an awesome God. <3

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  3. We will be praying for all of you! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  4. Most definitely praying for your family!! We will pray for peace and understanding throughout this process, as well as that little bump to melt away. Please know we are here for you and understand in many ways the challenges you face. Please reach out for help and let us know what we can do!! Love and much prayer to you all.
    Cole, Lonna, and Tulla Jensen

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  5. Sam and Anthony. I am so sorry to hear about your sweet girl! We are praying for God's grace and love to rain down on your family. You have amazing faith and courage.
    In Him
    Holly

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  6. Sam, we love you guys and I am so very very sorry that you are going through such devestating hardship. I loved the title of your post--she has such a strong name, and I pray that God will give you victory over this, and little victories everyday! I want to help out in anyway I can, so I'll email Robin. Love you and praying for courage, power and healing! Liz

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  7. We are praying and fighting for you out here in slc. "as you days are, so shall your strength be." Debt. 33:25

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  8. We are praying for you and for your beautiful daughter! We are so sad that you must walk this route, and are praying you know His peace and strength. We love you all. Sending you a huge hug!

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  9. We are praying for you. Please let us know if you need our house! We are about to leave for ID - so it is yours if you need it. Even if it is just for a 2 hour play time.

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  10. Alvarados,

    We are praying for wisdom and strength, peace and purpose in the midst of tremendous trial. Lifting up Esther and asking God for a "meltable" neuroblastoma and continued bravery and ultimate victory.

    You are loved,
    Stacy and Dane

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  11. I don't know you, but my sister posted this on FB. I will be praying and I will be passing this along to my other friends and asking them to pass it on too. Know that you have an army of people praying for you and crying with you.

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  12. Oh sweet friends, I'm so sorry. Praying God brings much peace, comfort, and healing.

    In faith,
    Sandy, Trevon, and Avery

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  13. We are here for anything you need! We love you all and want to serve you any way we can.

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  14. Sam and Anthony,

    I don't know if you'll remember us, but we used to go to Summitview with you. Our hearts are heavy for you and our whole family will be joining with you in prayer for your precious daughter. May God give you His peace and hold you in His arms.

    Alan, Wendy, Molly, Noah and Lexi Metzger

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  15. May gods light shine upon Esther and the family. My prayers and love to you all

    I love you

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  16. Sam and family,

    We Freemans are so thankful for your family- for your faith and your testimony! We are lifting you up to the Father as we wait to see what Esther's testimony will be, believing that His great love changes everything. We love you!

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  17. Praying for Esther and your family, Sam.

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  18. Sam, praying for Esther and your family. Confident that God will use this scary, unknown time in your lives in mighty ways, as only He can do!!!!!

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  19. Praying for Esther and your family, Sam! Confident that God will use this scary, unknown time in mighty ways, like only He can do! Your family is beautiful and your love for the Lord and trust in Him has always been an encouragement to me!

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  20. I am sorry hear that Sam and Anthony this hard thing to go through. I will pray for Ester that she is healed. And I trust God that he will be your family every step of the way. you are not alone you have a lot people there.

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  21. Sam and Anthony,

    These words come very slowly and with determination to hold back my tears. We know the road that you are starting to journey down all to well. Having a child with cancer is hard to describe. I know the emotions will swing high and low as you walk this out but I also know that God will supply you with the peace that surpasses all understanding. We are praying for all in this and for healing

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  22. Sad and crying, with you and for you.

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  23. I cannot believe what you are all going through. Our family will be praying for sweet Esther.

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  24. Sam and Anthony,
    I just read this now and my heart goes out to your whole family. I will be praying continually for you and for Esther especially.

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  25. We do not know each other but a mutual friend posted this and i wanted to let you know that yiur family is in our thoughts and prayers. God be with you now and always

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  26. Sam and Anthony, there are no words for me and Brian to say. only just prayers that she will be okay through this nightmare. A parent should never have to go through this and brother should a sweet innocent little girl. I pray for
    healing and peace in your hearts. Love from Brian and Lynne and all our girls!!! Hands are laid upon your family every minute all the way from Virginia.

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  27. We don't know each other but a friend sent me this link and asked me to pray. I have walked a brain tumor journey with my daughter and I am amazed to report that our powerful God has provided everything we have needed at every point along the way. We have experienced peace that has no explanation, joy in the hardest of places, strength when we expected to fall apart, and His faithful followers to walk with us. As I look at an uncertain future--I stand secure in the God of Isaiah 40--He is faithful, strong, and a very tender Shepherd. Love to you all--Jo Dee

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  28. Hello! May I introduce myself? My name is Kristin. I read about your sweet Esther on Emily Maeda's blog. I grew up playing on the dirt roads around Emily's family's home, sometimes spending a week with them while my parents were out of town. My sisters and I enjoyed our experiences feeding goats, milking Pretty the cow, reciting the Lord's Prayer just before dashing out to the school bus and being part of a family that had "boy sisters", home baked bread and more entertainment outside than in. I am the same age as Emily's brother John, so I don't know her as well, but I do know that each member of the Roberts family has an incredible heart for Jesus and a faith I pray I will have someday.

    I will be praying for your precious Esther and I've added your blog to my daily reads.

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  29. Keeping you all covered in prayer, dear family-in-Christ. Mike and Robin

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  30. Sam, I'm praying for Esther and the whole family! I love you all!

    Katie

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  31. Oh Sam,

    We just heard about your sweet Esther and have been praying all morning. Please update and let us know what type of cancer it is when you get a chance - we are praying hard for the "meltable".

    Laura Polk

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  32. We haven't met in person, but Margarita (my mother in law) shares pictures, videos and stories of your beautiful family whenever we see her. You are in our hearts and in our prayers as you begin this journey.God bless you.From, Karina Patterson

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  33. Anthony, we are praying for you guys and for Esther. May God grant you peace in the days to come.

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  34. Anthony, You are your family are in my prayers..... My god be with you and take care of that precious little angel. Taz

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  35. We love you and are praying for your beautiful Esther. Am passing your story on to all my friends in Breck at St John's. It's the "Little Church that could" and we will keep Esther in our prayers. Much love to all of you, Barb Calvin

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  36. I have never met you but a friend has shared your story. I am so sorry for all the pain you are in. I am crying with you. I am unsure of what words could possibly bring you comfort from someone you don't know, but please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers and you are not alone.

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  37. I am Amber Constant's sister in law way over in NH. I will be praying for your family. Nothing is impossible with God! I will pass this request on to the prayer warriors at our prayer meeting at church as well.

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  38. I'm so sorry about your little girl. I was directed here from the SCM webpage.

    My sister is battling cancer, and I will remember to pray for your little girl and your family when I pray for my sister.

    I cannot imagine what you are feeling. I have two children with complex heart disease, but they are healthy at the moment praise God. I do know the fear is so real at times. I will pray for your family.

    Esther is a beautiful and precious little girl.

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  39. I'm so sorry about your little girl. I was directed here from the SCM webpage.

    My sister is battling cancer, and I will remember to pray for your little girl and your family when I pray for my sister.

    I cannot imagine what you are feeling. I have two children with complex heart disease, but they are healthy at the moment praise God. I do know the fear is so real at times. I will pray for your family.

    Esther is a beautiful and precious little girl.

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  40. Anthony, I only recently caught bit and pieces of this ordeal on facebook. It wasn't until today that I fully realized what was going on. I've read as many of your blog posts and am so glad to read about you and Samantha's deep faith and trust in Christ. I will be praying constantly for Esther healing, and for your family's strength. I'll be spreading the word to all of my prayer circles and my kids and wife too and my family will have you in our constant prayers too.

    We were once good childhood friends, separated by distance and time, but bonded still, but now by Christ. However unlikely possible it might seem, if there is ANYTHING we can do for you, your family or sweet Esther, let us know!!

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