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.|
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.