Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cancer FREE!!!

She's almost a Teenager!
   We have some very exciting news to share! The pathology report came back and Amy is cancer FREE!! We are feeling very blessed. God has been so good to us!
   Her doctors here in Philadelphia have released her to travel and we will be returning home this weekend. Her recovery is going well and she has been able to do more and more each day. For a very active girl this can be frustrating and challenging but she is staying positive.
   We are so thankful for all the encouragement from each one of you. We will close this chapter and open the next trusting that God has big plans for our daughter. His grace truly is sufficient! Please continue praying for us as in just a few months we will be entering the teenage years! We are not sure which is scarier...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Recovery Time

   Amy is doing great tonight! Her recovery is going well and we hope to be out of the hospital soon. She is right back to her talkative self! Her doctor told his staff that she was probably the strongest kid in the hospital! Thank you for all your prayers, calls, gifts and continued support of our family.
   The chest tube is out, the wires and iv have been removed as well. Amy has been able to move around a good bit these last few days. She is really enjoying having her sister's ( Maecy and Bryanna) here as well as her Maw Maw Linda, Granny and Aunt Dana. We have not received the pathology report yet but it has only been a few days and the last word was that it could take up to seven days to get back to us.
   If Amy continues to improve as well as she is now we will be going on family vacation in October. It has been quite a while since we were all together and are looking forward to celebrating all that God has done so far.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Surgery Completed and Recovery Beginning

  We are overjoyed to be updating everyone on Amy's progress today! The amazing drawing below is of the tumor that has been giving us so much trouble this past year. Her surgeon drew it for us to help explain what was done during the last 4 hours. First off we would like to say "Thank You" to everyone who was praying for Amy and our family today! God's hand was on her and the surgeon and we could not have asked for a better outcome.
Abstract Surgeon Art 
   The tumor was in four parts. It had projections into the muscle in her back ( the halfmoon to the left of the drawing), between her ribs( the funny rooster cone on the right), directly into her spine ( the little circles down the middle) and along the side of her spine( the banana/oval in the middle).  The general area is vascular and Amy did lose a fair amount of blood but not because of the vascularity of the actual tumor.  She did not need a transfusion but her blood counts will be monitored over the next week. We believe that the chemo may have reduced the blood flow inside the tumor making surgery a better option than before treatment. A chest tube was placed to drain any excess fluid buildup but will be removed before we are discharged. The surgeon reported that he did not have to go through the diaphragm, the nerves in the area were not damaged in any way, and that he was able to remove at least 90% of the tumor only leaving what was directly in the spine.
   We will be here in the hospital until next Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully, we will be going into a regular room and she does not need to go to the ICU. Amy is still sleeping right now but they will be getting her up tomorrow to walk. The surgeon said she should make a full recovery with only minor repercussions. She may have numbness along her left side where incisions were made. She may also have weakness in the left side of her stomach and some irregularities in the muscles around the stomach. Her surgeon and team believe, from analyzing what was removed, that the chemo did it's job and the cancer was destroyed. They have sent it to the lab and we should be receiving a pathology report in the next five to seven days. Her surgeon seemed confident that it would be benign but wanted to have testing done to confirm.
   Everyone here has been quite taken with our young conversationalist. She asked to be awake before going in and discussed openly with the doctors on what was going to happen. We did have a few trying times during the last few weeks and today's anxiety level was high. It is in these moments that we find peace in prayer and the knowledge that God has a plan for Amy. Please continue to keep our brave girl in your prayers. We are deeply grateful and overjoyed with all God has done in Amy's life and through our family reached others with a message of faith and hope. We will continue with updates as we have information to share.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Surgery Consultation and Visiting Philadelphia

   The consultation for surgery was yesterday morning. After talking to the team of doctors here in Philadelphia, we have decided that surgery is the best option at this time. Her doctors are confident that chemo reduced the vascularity of the tumor and the bleeding risk is much lower than before. Surgery is set for tomorrow afternoon and should take about three to five hours. The goal is to take as much of the tumor as possible at least 75-90% without causing any harm to the spinal cord. We ask that you just pause for a moment tomorrow and pray for Amy and our family. 
   Amy spent a little over a week in NY with Malinda, Paul Ray and Lola. She got to meet a lot of new friends and had a busy week of camping, working at a dog grooming salon, and relaxing with several good books. Lola really enjoyed having Aunt Amy read her stories and play toys with her. She had fun road tripping with Malinda to meet us here in Philadelphia. 
   There is so much history here and we would like to visit as much as possible before checking in to the hospital. We  have already spent some time touring the Brandywine Battle Field and the house that George Washington used as his headquarters prior to the battle. The plan is to visit a few more of the famous historical sites in the area including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. 
   Once the surgery is completed we will spend several more weeks here during her recuperation. We have been blessed with the use of an apartment here and are thankful that God provided for us a space to call home until we are able to return. After the doctors release her to travel we will fly back home to Arkansas and Amy will continue to be monitored by her team at ACH.  
   Many, many thanks to everyone for your support and prayers! We are blessed to have so many friends who continuously keep us lifted up in prayer

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Updated Treatment Plans

   We will be meeting with a specialist in Philadelphia to discuss the possibility of surgery. Although we were discouraged in the beginning from pursuing surgical treatment her current team at ACH feel that it should now be addressed. The consultation is set for August 24th. We have many questions for the doctors that we will be meeting during this appointment. If surgery is deemed the best option then we have a tentative date of August 27th.  Amy will have a long recovery period and the family will be spending some time in the area until she is released to travel back home.
   As for now Amy continues to do well. She is her usual bubbly self and is going to visit Malinda in NY for a few weeks before we go to Pennsylvania. We are so very thankful for her and what God is doing in her life despite the diagnosis.
Thank you so much for following along with us and keeping Amy in your thoughts and prayers. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Amy - Beloved

Her name means Beloved. It fits her well.     
Amy and Becca at Silver Dollar City
    The beginning of April was a trying time for our family. Testing was completed and we were anxiously awaiting the results. The doctors were optimistic and we were in constant prayer that this journey was going to end soon.
     Amy has a non-typical mass. This means that the usual plan for this type of tumor, chemo then removal, is not an option. The area where the tumor is located, and the amount of vascular tissue located inside the tumor prevent the use of radiation and surgery is not possible. The risks far outweigh the benefits to even try to obtain a new sample for biopsy. The news we received was that the tumor has not grown but it will not go away. It will be more like scar tissue and our option is to complete one more round of chemo and then more testing in three months.
     Amy is doing well. Her doctors are confident that the cancer cells were killed especially since her only symptoms have been caused by the chemo and not the actual tumor. She is tired sometimes and it has slowed her down some but she remains our same Amy. After the next chemo and testing she has been given the go ahead to return to normal life. She has plans for swimming, bike racing and horseback riding. We are looking forward to it as well.
     The tumor will not go away and it will need to be monitored long term but God has answered many prayers and we could not have endured this without His grace and mercy to our family. We hope and pray that in some way we have reached out to others during all of this and pointed them to Him. Our life will only count if we do not point to ourselves and say look at us but to point to God and say He painted our story. He brought us through a rough and frightening time and on the other side was His peace and love.
 We will continue to update everyone on her testing and progress as we go along. Thank you for all your support and continued prayers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Amy!

    We wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who wished Amy Happy Birthday and all those who have supported and continue to support her! Her 12th birthday was full of squealing pre-teen girl stuff, including but not limited to: slumber party with two good friends, movies, games and of course presents! She had so much fun! In true Amy fashion she used her birthday money to buy a microscope and has been examining all kinds of things around the house. The Allen family, cousins in New Orleans, sent her a box full of stuff for Mardi Gras! We decided it was time for her to receive her hope chest for putting away those treasures meant to last a lifetime. It is so hard to believe that our baby girl is growing up so fast. She keeps reminding everyone that in less than a year now she will be 13! Yikes!
     We are back at ACH this week for her last round of chemo. We had an x-ray this morning and hopefully will begin treatment shortly. As long as everything goes ok then we will only be here until Friday. Once this round is finished we will be waiting two weeks then returning for testing. The doctors will be looking to see if the chemo did it's job. Many of the initial tests will be done again to see where we are in this process. Please continue to pray for us and especially for Amy.

    Amy has such a silly side and just like her Daddy it can really shine at times. This week was no exception and the unlucky victims of her prank, of course, was her older sisters! Since the beginning, both Malinda and Bryanna told her that if she loses her hair then they will shave theirs as well. She really put them to the test! She tied bandanas around her head to make it look like she had shaved her head and took pictures. Then she sent them to Malinda and Bryanna, and called them to ask if they were keeping up with their part in the bargain! Both sisters were TERRIFIED that they would now have to shave their heads and one even scheduled an appointment with her hairdresser this week so she wouldn't chicken out!! Finally Amy came clean and said that she was just joking and that she still has the cute little blonde bob haircut and not a shiny bald head! Thankfully it wasn't too late but she really had them going! They both insist that she is a stinker and they wouldn't have it any other way!
    A big thank you to everyone following Amy. She really is a special girl and we know God has a special purpose for her life! How amazing is it that He decided that we would be her family?! We have been truly blessed with a little girl who is now a bright young lady.