Send encouragement ...

There are two ways: either send an email to prayformitch@gmail.com or click on the "Comments" button located on the lower right of any update entry.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Links

The celebration of Mitch's life will be at Timberview Christian Fellowship, Saturday at 1 pm. Details on the Timberview website: www.timberview.org

Mitch's obituary can be viewed here: www.mem.com

(I realize these are not links ... cut and paste into your address bar in order to view.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The race is finished!

Let us start by praising our glorious Father for the last 28 years of joy with Mitchell Alan. Early this morning Mitch graduated to throne of God, completing a journey that has been predicated on devotion and obedience to our Lord and Savior. Most of you can attest to the different manners in which Mitch reflected God's love. There will be time to celebrate Mitchell's role here with us at an upcoming memorial service (details will be forthcoming...check this blog or timberview.org). Thanks for faithfully, prayerfully partnering with the family through this challenging process and know that God's glory has always been the goal and Mitch is now reaping the reward of more than 20 years of fruitful service.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!
Blessings,
The Thomases
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (It's been Mitch's prayer and we encourage you to continue that prayer in your lives, even if you no longer desire to wear the "Mitch bracelet")

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekend update

Mitch remains in ICU.

The main concern continues to be his lung condition. He remains on heavy oxygen flow and they want to keep him here in order to watch him most closely. His O2 requirements moderate during the day but then he spikes a fever and requires more during the night and early morning.

We appreciate your prayer for healing in his lungs. As today's nurse commented (after reviewing his chart), "He's beat this thing before ... " - which he did in early August. The rest of his body is strong so we keep praying for him to "beat this thing again!!"

Thanks for your encouragement & prayers.

Marlene

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Move

Today is Mitch's birthday. We didn't exactly get "a clean bill of health" for a birthday present, as we had requested. Early this morning, Mitch had a serious breathing episode that triggered a great deal of activity and a transfer to the ICU. However, before they could get everything processed to move him from his regular room, his breathing and all of his vital signs improved enough that he could have probably skipped this move. Even so, the doctor decided to stick with the plan and move him to ICU, hopefully for just 24 hours of observation.

We appreciate your prayers for his lungs to improve/be completely healed; the cancer to be eradicated and for God to strengthen, bless & encourage. When you pray for Mitch - pray for Chelsea, too. Her beautiful smile continues to brighten the room, but you know it's got to be hard for her, too.

Trusting Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
(and imagining BIG STUFF!!),

Marlene

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Specifics

Mitch has been back here in the hospital for just over 48 hours and except for a very brief fever spike this morning, he seems to be doing well. He is on antibiotics for a minor bug related to his Hickman line.

The concern I want to have you address in prayer, however, is his lung situation. Once again, the doctors are concerned about his pulmonary function. Reduced lung function is definitely not optimum going into transplant. The lungs are often the first source for infection when his immune system is as compromised as it will be during transplant. The pulmonary team and his transplant team are a bit perplexed about his situation. His apparent health and activity level do not correlate with what they see on the CT scans. They expect him to be much sicker than he is.

As you join us in praying for a miraculous healing - would you pray for the specific details along the way?

Thanks,

Marlene

P.S. Thursday is Mitch's birthday. You can greet him by responding to this blog or via the email listed above. When we asked him what he wanted for his birthday, his response was, "a clean bill of health." We're all in agreement.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Since Friday ...

Since Friday's update, Mitch's health continues to perplex. His energy and activity level appear improved; his pain level has decreased; his numbers and counts fluctuate stymie-ing any previous pattern.

We had a wonderful excursion yesterday after he had finished at the outpatient clinic. We took a leisurely drive through the country and a brief walk around the beautiful grounds of Warm Beach Conference Center. It was a delight to enjoy the fresh air and ignore the "c-word" for a while.

Sundays always bring interesting developments and today is no exception. Mitch spiked a fever this morning and was re-admitted to the hospital by late morning. By the time he was settled into his room - all his vital signs had returned to normal; the fever had broken and he was feeling pretty good again. He will likely just be here for a couple of days for observation and then return to outpatient pre-transplant evaluation and treatment.

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated. God is faithful and we are grateful.

Seeking the Miracle-worker and His great work,

Marlene

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday request for prayer

We've been back in Seattle for 2 days now. Yesterday was the first time Mitch's blood was checked since our concert of prayer on Monday evening. Even though he has been feeling much better this week - he's stronger, more active, etc. - his numbers did not reflect that health. We are not discouraged. God is bigger than numbers and bigger than counts. He can give full life beyond what science tries to prove.

One hour from now, he starts most testing to determine his eligibility for the transplant protocol. We would appreciate your prayers continuing for a miracle. We would really like to hear some especially good news.

Thanks,

Marlene


Here are some pictures from Monday night (view from the outside):

View from the inside:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorry for the late update




I have been delinquent in updating you since our Monday concert of prayer. It was wonderful to have our home surrounded by prayer warriors battling on Mitch's behalf. I cannot adequately describe such a wonderful event but Matt did a blog entry while it was happening. Check it out using the link in the right column: The Best Concert I've Ever Heard.

Mitch has not seen the doctor since then nor has he had the type of bloodwork that would indicate whether or not God performed an instantaneous healing. He has been feeling somewhat better - less pain.

We leave in a couple of hours to return to Seattle for him to continue treatment and preparation for the bone marrow transplant for which they have him scheduled. I find myself praying that he doesn't have to go through the transplant but they find him completely free of cancer when we get there. I really don't want the doctors taking any credit for God's work!!

Thanks for your continued prayers & encouragement. He is incredibly faithful and we are reaping the benefits.

Marlene

Monday, September 8, 2008

Prayer - Monday, 6:30 pm - our house

In case you haven't heard ... Timberview will be running the bus from the church to our home starting at 6 pm tonight. You can park at the church and commute via the bus. (I hear it's a pretty big one - more reliable than good ol' Paco!)

Also, please remember ... our restrooms are not available for anyone to use. We must keep everyone away from Mitch and all potential germs on the outside of the building. Don't forget to make your plans accordingly. Thanks.

Thanks again for joining us.

Marlene

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back to Spokane

We're home in Spokane. The trip cross-state was wonderful as Mitch was energized and excited to be free from the four walls of his hospital room. It is a delight to be sleeping in our own beds tonight for the first time since mid-June.

We have been boiling water and sanitizing everything over and over since getting here. A major concern is to keep Mitch free from all bacteria that could cause infections. Please pray that we are able to do so.

Monday will be a concert of prayer. Independent of one another, Mitch & Chelsea each pictured our home surrounded by prayer warriors seeking healing for him. We are blessed that many have already committed to join us at our home at 6:30 pm. Those of you in Spokane who have been praying for Mitch are invited to join us. No one will come inside thus protecting Mitch from potential infection but Matt & I will join you outside for prayer. I'd like to ask the rest of you who are not in Spokane to join us at the same time whatever time that is for you. I know that for our Asian partners it will already be Tuesday morning while our friends in England will be in bed but we'd cherish as many voices as possible joining us in concert as we seek Mitch's healing.

Thank you for your continued faithfulness and encouragement. We are a blessed family.

Marlene

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Options

Sorry for the long silence. After several days of planning to "go home," we are now making arrangements to go home to Spokane and return next Thursday. Mitch's newest doctor has found another transplant protocol for which he qualifies. It is a high-risk option but Mitch wants to go ahead with it. He has to start preparation next Thursday so we will be granted about 6 days at home before our return to start the pre-transplant workup.

We will not be entertaining any visitors while home because of the precarious nature of Mitch's immune system but we seek your prayers that these days are sweet, saturated with the Holy Spirit and totally free from any infection or illness for Mitch or any of us.

Thanks again for your continued support.

Marlene

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ratchet up those prayers!

I haven't written for a few days. You've probably assumed that my silence means tough times ... and that is right. Part of the process to prepare for the radiation and transplant that is scheduled to begin on September 30th, is to wean Mitch off the steroids that have improved the status of his lung inflammation. (He cannot go to transplant while on steroids.) Unfortunately, weaning the steroids has caused the lungs to show more inflammation. Today, he had a bronchoscopy to see how to address this situation. At this point, the doctor says, "We're taking it day by day."

Your prayers for a miracle are greatly appreciated. The doctors are frustrated - you could pray for their wisdom, too.

Our fellowship with one another is sweet and the Lord is being glorified and trusted completely.

Thanks - Marlene

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hospital news

Mitch has been back in the hospital since Sunday. They were able to determine the exact cause of the fever that caused his re-admit and have been able to treat it with the correct specific antibiotic so he is actually feeling pretty good.

Yesterday, he had another bone marrow biopsy to see what the most recent round of chemotherapy had done. Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging. In order to qualify for the cord blood (stem cell) transplant, he has to be less than 5% blast. He is currently above that. We don't know if his numbers are still decreasing from the chemo or starting to increase again. That could only be determined by another biopsy next week. The doctors have decided against that and have, instead, recommended Mitch for a research treatment which will return to the option of Sam donating for the haplo-identical transplant. This treatment will require extensive radiation therapy which has to be scheduled well in advance. The first opening is September 30th. In the meantime, they are going to be watching him closely and working to keep the leukemia cells in check.

Again, we wait and pray. Many times each day, we ask God to heal in whatever method He chooses. However, I find myself praying more and more for that big miracle where He just fixes it all without the doctors! I know He's able.

Marlene

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to the hospital

Well, 65 hours outside of the hospital is better than none at all! Mitch was welcomed back to the UW Medical Center today around noon. He had spiked a bit of a fever over night accompanied with significant pain from the mucositis (definition: inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.)

I say "welcomed back" because everyone we've seen tells us how genuinely happy they are to see us ... quickly followed by, "but I'm sorry that you've had to come back." It's an ironic situation. To be here surrounded by familiar faces and good healthcare is comforting; but to be here surrounded by the familiar faces and good healthcare is frustrating, too - because it indicates how sick Mitch still is!

We don't know how long the stay will be this time. Mitch will see his regular doctor tomorrow and we will get an idea of the game plan at that time. For now, they are treating him for pain, inflammation & potential infections the same as prior to his discharge last Thursday.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Marlene

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Enjoying the freedom

Mitch has been enjoying freedom from the hospital for almost 48 hours now. We've been enjoying sweet fellowship with one another without the constant beeping of the IV machine or regular interruption of nurses & other care-giving staff. Matt teased Mitch & Chelsea that they will have to learn how to relate with one another as a married couple outside of the four walls of the hospital room.

Each day requires a visit to the outpatient cancer clinic for blood work. His first visit back to that clinic included an appointment with a new doctor and PA. New medical supervision is always quick to remind us that Mitch's situation is very serious. Even with the good progress he's made, his condition is tenuous. As I've mentioned many times, he must fit the perameters stipulating remission before he's approved for transplant. Our prayers only increase as the doctors hesitate to offer much hope. After those conversations, I often think of 1 Corinthians 1:25, "The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men ...".

We keep asking God to show His glory and work a big miracle. Thanks for joining us in that prayer.

Marlene

P.S. If you haven't yet seen Matt's blog and can take a minute to read it ... today's article, "Release Shock", particularly blessed me. There's a link in the right column of this page.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Miracle Man

The Miracle Man continues to be evidence of God "showing-off!" Yesterday Mitch was given a follow-up CT scan to see how his lungs have fared these past two weeks. Praise the Lord for His healing touch. The results reported today showed "significant improvement" including the disappearance of some of the nodules that have been a concern. Thank you for your prayers. Thank the Lord for His healing intervention.

In fact, Mitch is feeling so much better that he was disconnected from his IV pole and discharged to recuperate at home for the next several days. He will have daily blood work and clinical appointments at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance but that's not too much trouble in exchange for sleeping comfortably and resting at home.

In conversation with one of the nurses prior to our departure, I commented, "He's certainly living up to his moniker of 'Miracle Man.'" She responded by telling me that Mitch's turnaround is the most dramatic of any she has seen since she's worked on the floor. "Whatever you're doing - keep it up!" she said. Another great opportunity to share ... all we do is pray - it's the Lord who does the "doing"!

Thanks for your continued prayers. We're seeing many miracles and we're very thankful. We know we are not out of the woods as we wait for Mitch to be declared "in remission" and proceed to the transplant. However, we know God is doing a good thing and we are celebrating.

Marlene

P.S. Chris Rice's song, "Life Means So Much" has been ringing in my head these days. In it, he says - "Teach us to count the days, Teach us to make the days count". Also, "Every day is a gift that we've been given. Make the most of the time every minute you're living." It's a lesson we're learning!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chemo's done ... now we wait & pray

The final bag of chemo finish draining into Mitch mid-afternoon on Monday. Now, the waiting begins. As I've said before, we won't know for a while whether or not the leukemia cells were decimated allowing him to go into remission.

Mitch required blood transfusions today of both platelets and red blood cells. He is always more fatigued during the transfusions but, even now, is working out on the exercise equipment while the final bag of rbc's is transfused.

Thanks for your continued prayers. I was blessed to hear from Mitch & Chelsea's wedding photographer today that he's received almost 8,500 views of their wedding pictures. I find myself praying that everyone who takes the time to look at the photos is praying for Mitch's healing. (If you've not seen the album, you can view it at www.easternskyphotography.com. Choose the tab on the left - "Gallery" and select "Mitch and Chelsea Thomas." I know this is repeat info for many of you - please forgive this proud mama!)

God bless you for your faithful prayers & loving support. We are a very blessed family.

Marlene

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Almost finished chemo

Mitch started his last bag of chemotherapy this afternoon. It runs for 24 hours but the end is sight! Last update, I told you he was feeling poorly in response to this particular chemical. Within an hour of that email, he started to feel much better. His nausea and extreme fatigue subsided and he perked up significantly. They have kept him on steroids to fight the mysterious lung inflammation. Since steroids are known to increase appetite, it is great that his nausea has subsided allowing him to eat when hungry. He continues to exercise regularly and do a much as he can to stay as healthy as possible.

It will be several days - perhaps a couple of weeks before we know whether or not the chemotherapy has done its job and put him fully into remission qualifying him for the cord blood transplant. We continue to pray for a miraculous healing as we wait for medical science to do its part.

Reflecting on 1 Peter 5:10 recently, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." I find myself asking the Lord if Mitch hasn't already suffered "a little while" and "isn't time for you to restore him now?" I suppose it would be good for you to pray for my patience, too. :-)

Trusting Him who is able,

Marlene

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday's update - not posted 'til Saturday

Today they started the next two drugs in this chemo round which are running non-stop for 72 hours starting at 3 pm. By 4 pm, Mitch was nauseous and contending with a migraine headache. It was an obvious reaction to the new drug. After increasing his pain medication and sleeping for a couple of hours, he seemed to feel a little bit better but still feels significantly worse than this past week.

The meds are doing their job in killing off the cells. One of these new ones added today is geared to make the leukemia cells more susceptible to the chemo. However, as it works to meet the primary goal; the secondary effect is to suppress his immune system even more. Your continued prayer for his protection (as well as his complete healing) is greatly appreciated.

We're blessed by your support.

Marlene

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chemo and Prayer

Today marked day 5 of the chemo. Yesterday and today, Mitch has been more fatigued than earlier this week but, thankfully, his nausea has not been a problem. This part of the chemo regimen has consisted of one 3-hour bag once a day. Tomorrow, he starts 2 more drugs run concurrently, 24 hours a day for three days. We pray he will not get terribly sick from it!

He continues to walk and work out for at least 30 minutes a day earning his title of "Model Patient" from many of the staff.

We were blessed today to hear (once again) of specific prayers for Mitch. It was particularly sweet to hear of young children who regularly carry the burden to pray for Mitch. Some of them know him well; others have only heard of him but regularly pray for his healing. We have frequently talked about the gospel story of the four friends tearing off the roof in order to lower their lame friend to Jesus. A follow-up comment has often been, "I don't care who those four friends are - it could be four children or four prayer warriors in Iowa. We just want to lay him in front of the Lord for healing."

Thanks for bloody-ing up your fingers in tearing off the roof and helping us in this.

Marlene

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chemo Day 3 (again!)

I realize I haven't updated the blog in a couple of days and for that I apologize. I have not forgotten how many are passionately carrying Mitch to the Lord; so I don't want to keep you waiting for news. Thanks again for your prayers, concern & encouragement. We are very blessed.

Mitch completed his 3rd day of chemotherapy today. (Just 5 more days to go in this regimen.) We are thankful that he's not been sick, yet. I'm certain that is in answer to your prayers. We continue to pray that the chemo is doing the necessary destruction of the cancer cells even while he continues to feel well enough to eat heartily and walk a couple of miles a day.

Yesterday, Mitch's PA said to us, "you needed a miracle ... and you've had a couple of them to this point." It's obvious that she doesn't know the Lord but she acknowledged that something has happened when she said, "Alot of people on this floor pray for a miracle and then just lie there expecting it to happen. You've worked for yours." Then, she proceeded to wave as she left the room saying, "The force be with you." Again, pray with us that God will be glorified and people drawn to know Him ... not just to credit "the force" & self-will. Thanks.

Counting every day as a miracle & praying with every breath -

Marlene

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Update

Mitch started chemotherapy today - again. We counted - this is round #10! What a champ, however. He's out walking with Matt right now - trying to complete 3 miles before turning in tonight. Nausea and fatigue usually set in after a bag or two of the chemicals, so he's not feeling too poorly yet.

Medications have been adjusted and prayers continue fervently for healing. Medically, it appears that his best hope for survival is to have the double cord blood transplant. However, there are many mountains to conquer to be re-accepted into that treatment protocol. His leukemia must be in remission which means - after this chemo, the white blood cells need to start producing again but the leukemia cells must not start producing right away. Also, the nodule in his lungs (which has been a mystery for more than a month) needs to be identified and remedied.

We continue to trust our wonderful Lord who is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" knowing that He can heal Mitch immediately or He can conquer these mountains and use medical science. Either way - it's a miracle!

Thank you so much for your continued prayer. We are leaning heavily on the faithfulness of God's people to carry this burden with us.

Marlene

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Update

Wow! What a roller coaster ride. Often, I do not write because I don't want everyone else to be jerked around quite so much. I will try to bring you up to date on our past two days.

After our "glimmer of hope" on Thursday (when Mitch passed some potentially eliminating tests) we waited and prayed as the doctor went over the "final checklist" in preparation for the transplant. He told us he would come in at 5 pm on Friday to give the details on the gameplan. At 3:40, he came in, sat down and said, "here's what I want to talk about at 5." (It always makes my stomach flop when they come in - grab a chair - and start talking very stoically.) OK - the details: An imperative part of the haplo-identical transplant is use of a specific antibody to reduce possibility of rejection. Surprisingly, that antibody is not available - ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY!! They cannot find it at any of the transplant clinics; the company that produces it has none and has no idea when more will be produced! The doctor commented that he has never seen this happen. Bottom line - that transplant cannot proceed without it. It is a mandatory med because Sam & Mitch are only 1/2 matched and it is a very high-risk procedure.

The doctor did not leave us without hope, however. After consultation with the specialists, he has proposed another round of chemotherapy - different drugs than before. Their hope (our prayer) is that this chemo will put him fully into remission; contain the leukemia and qualify him, once again, for the cord blood transplant.

We've been given the "you can go home and be comfortable" talk far more than we'd like but Mitch refuses to give up hope. He has been able to witness strongly of his faith in Christ through all of this. We continue to pray for the hospital staff as they work so hard to help. We would love for him to be totally cured without all the medical intervention; but, daily we see God using Mitch to bless and minister to so many.

We see God working. Thanks for your prayers - we need them more than ever.

Marlene
-- Still clinging to: 2 Corinthians 2:9-11 "Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Update

Saturday was a special day for us. Mitch and Chelsea were married in a wonderful celebration surrounded by family and friends. Mitch was detached from all his IV's and look very handsome in a suit next to his beautiful bride. We are extremely blessed and thankful for our new daughter.

Following the ceremony and pictures; cutting of the cake; toasting the couple; they were wheeled off in a double wheelchair which was decorated with a "just married" sign and dangling cups and streamers, etc. The staff had decorated Mitch's room where they went back and Mitch crashed
absolutely drained but happy. (You can see pictures of the wedding at www.easternskyphotography.com.)

He continues to work hard to get healthy enough for transplant. He is not giving up and we thank you for not giving up in your prayers for him! Mitch is walking at least 2 miles a day and working at his breathing exercises. The clock is ticking and he is highly motivated!!

Sunday was also a very special day. Supt Matt Whitehead had sent out a request for significant prayer & fasting on Mitch's behalf . Around 3 pm, Pastor David Carr, Matt Whitehead & Richard Taylor came in to pray with Mitch for healing. We all continue to pray for a miracle. Thanks for joining us.

After the wedding yesterday, Dr. Bar (Mitch's chief attending physician) made a point to talk with me. She agreed that it is a miracle that Mitch is as well as he is. Two weeks ago she did not think he would be able to stand there without oxygen, but God has strengthened both his lungs and his body. I told her that we pray for her wisdom often and she commented, "we need that all the time around here."

We're clinging to Jesus,

Marlene

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Praying for a miracle

We've met with the doctors and, to be frank - we need a miracle. The leukemia is back & very aggressive. The decision we are facing (I guess, I should say, Mitch is facing) is what to do now. The only treatment option they are suggesting is to move toward a haplo-identical transplant. The cord blood transplant that was part of the original plan is not strong enough to combat the disease. Charese & Sam are (at this point) potential donors. Or, Mitch could decide to fore go further treatment and go home. The transplant is considered very risky because of his health status.

As Mitch said, "We're not grieving, yet." We're still clinging to the Lord and seeking a miracle. We know He "is able to far more than all we ask or imagine" - and we can imagine pretty big stuff.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Looking up!

Two weeks after being readmitted to the hospital, Mitch has weathered another storm and is doing well. His difficult breathing and constant coughing have improved. The doctors have not been able to discern the source of the lung infection that has caused all these challenges but they are encouraged because he is feeling so much better.

His progress toward transplant is dependent upon his healing from the current challenges.

Thanks for your continued prayers. Remember, if you want to get more frequent updates, send a request to prayformitch@gmail.com.

Marlene

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No news - not necessarily good news

I apologize for not updating the blog this week. It has been a difficult week for Mitch as he has been hospitalized very sick with an unknown fungus and bacterial infection. As of Saturday evening, he is still very tired and they have not been able to discover the source of his illness. He is on a constant rotation of many different antifungals & antibiotics but until they can determine the precise cause of the illness it's a guessing game to get the exact right treatment.

Please pray for God to intervene and heal Mitch miraculously or for Him to reveal to the doctors the best way to use medicine to help him get well.

If you want more frequent updates, please feel free to respond to the prayformitch@gmail.com with your email address and I will be happy to add you to my email update list. It is distributed more frequently than this blog is updated.

Thanks,
Marlene

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Map

This map shows where different ones who read Mitch's blog are located. I thought you'd enjoy seeing it. Thank you all for your interest and your prayers.

Mitch seems to have stabilized somewhat today. The initial reports from yesterday's bronchoscopy ruled out some of the more serious infections that were considered a possibility. So, that's encouraging news. Unfortunately, since the definitive diagnosis has not been made - they have not been able to target the infection with the medicine that would be most effective. He is still on broad-spectrum antibiotics. The preferred option would be to know what is the source of the infection and address it specifically.

Also, Mitch will have a bone marrow biopsy today at 1 pm PDT. We're praying that it shows clear - no leukemia cells whatsoever.

He is scheduled to start pre-transplant conditioning next week so it is important for these infections to clear up and for his marrow to be clear. Please continue to pray.

Thanks,

Marlene

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday afternoon

Mitch handled his bronchoscopy this morning very well. The full results will not be available for a day or two, but initial viewing showed that his airways are very irritated. They speculate some viral issues.

Possibly related, is the appearance of red bumps (some look like welts) on his legs, torso & arms. There will be a biopsy done later today which will, hopefully, give some direction to the doctors.

Bottom line - we covet your prayers and God's healing touch.

Thanks,

Marlene

Monday, July 7, 2008

Late Monday update

We were just told that tomorrow will be another day of tests including a bronchoscopy at 10 am. This is to further investigate the nodules on Mitch's lungs that I mentioned last week. They want to be determine what is causing the infection so they can treat it with the best possible medicine. At one point we were also told that Mitch's bone marrow biopsy (originally scheduled for today) would be tomorrow.

Please pray for good results so they know which meds are the best options to get him in optimum health and proceed with the transplant.

Thanks,

Marlene

PS - Thanks for letting us know from where you are reading this blog. We are blessed to have so many prayer partners.

Monday, July 7th

Several who read this blog also receive an email update from me periodically. For those of you who don't get the emails - here is the request I just sent out:

You've probably noticed a pattern. You get more email updates when things are a bit more desperate around here.

Two weeks ago, God specifically answered the many prayers requesting a turnaround in Mitch's fevers during chemotherapy. Therefore, I want to ask for you to pray once again - seeking God's intervention in ending the current round of fevers & coughing. Mitch is undergoing an echocardiagram & CT scan right now to see if there is a specific source of infection that should be addressed. Is he dealing with something bacterial? viral? fungal? If they can determine the specific source, they can target it with the right IV drugs.

Please join us in prayer. I'm beyond asking you to pray for specifics. You know the general challenge but, please let the Lord lead your prayers as you lift Mitch before the throne. God is good, faithful and able to heal instantaneously - we rest in that! However, His goodness is not in question even if He takes a bit longer to bring Mitch to complete health.

We are so incredibly thankful for all your prayer support. 2 Corinthians 1:9-11 says, "Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." We appreciate that you persevere in lifting Mitch & our family before the Lord so often. We would have despaired long ago, if not for that!

I know there are many people following Mitch's journey, of whom we are not aware. We are very thankful and would love to know (just for fun) how many cities/states/countries are represented by the blog readers. If it's not too much trouble, would you let us know by clicking on the "Comments" button (below this entry on the right) and just say, "Spokane (or whatever city/country you are from) is following." Or whatever ... . I realize you're busy, but it encourages us to know you're there.

Thanks,

Marlene

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday update

Briefly - Mitch's temperature has spiked and he has developed a cough. They are feeling that he is very well covered by the current range of antibiotics but he is definitely having trouble sleeping because he feels so poorly.

If you're up late, reading this - please pray for the cough to heal up ... that there is nothing more seriously wrong and that he can get some good rest tonight.

Thanks,

Marlene

Back to the hospital ...

It's Sunday. What better way to spend it than going back to the hospital? We would prefer spending the day going to church and worshiping with friends, but oh well ...

We got a phone call around 1 am this morning from the doctor. Mitch's blood culture showed some growth so they wanted us immediately to get to the hospital for some IV antibiotics. We were at the hospital until shortly after 3 am. The antibiotics were completely infused and they said, "Everything looks fine. You can go home."

We were scheduled for regular lab work & followup at the clinic this morning at 11 am but the triage nurse called us by 9:30 am to come in sooner. Once there, they found Mitch had started to run a fever so they decided he needed to be watched in the hospital. There doesn't seem to be any panic. They just want to watch him more closely than the past few days.

His scheduled bone marrow biopsy will be done tomorrow while he is in the hospital. We don't know how long he will be held here, but are hoping for a short stint this time.

Please continue to pray for clean marrow (both tomorrow and next Monday); quick recovery from whatever is infecting him right now; and God's healing touch overall. Even tho' we are trusting the doctors to make the right decisions, we know it is actually the Lord who is overseeing all the treatment. Thanks for your prayers.

Marlene

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How Hot is Too Hot?

Friends of Mitch:

Daily trips to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are comprised of lab work, injections and the occasional infusion of platelets or other sustaining substances. The key at this point is getting the white cell counts up and the temperature down. Fighting infection is the biggest battle. The number one evidence is a high temperature. So, well placed, cold soda cans and ice bags do the trick for the most part.

God is very much in the conversation and center of life. Praise the Lord! We continue to pray for healing and health and a thorough growth through all of this. Mitch's attitude is truly remarkable. Dad and mom took him to dinner at a favorite spot. He excused himself to vomit in the restroom for several minutes. Given the opportunity to leave, Mitch simply returned to the table and said, "Now I've made some room, let's enjoy our meal."

Now is the waiting game to see if more chemo is needed due to returned cancer cells, or if we can proceed to the transplant. Pray for healing and the latter. Chemo is not a welcomed bed-fellow.

Blessings,
Matt and Marlene

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday afternoon

It's not like we've disappeared or anything. There's just not much to report. Everyday we visit the clinic for bloodwork and a Neupogen shot. Then we're free for the rest of the day. It has been a nice change from the past two weeks.

Today we even went to watch "Kung Fu Panda." (We only choose the best movies!!) Matt arrived on Monday evening to spend a couple of days with us so we are enjoying the company.

Mitch's next biopsy is scheduled for next Monday with another one a week later. Please keep lifting him up. Even tho' they've warned us not to expect or be disappointed if his marrow isn't clear with next Monday's biopsy, we are praying that it is clear - both times!!

Thanks for your prayer partnership.

Marlene

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Dena Saying Hi

video

Mitch's kids from SoCal sent him a video greeting spoofing That 70's Show (what you see is not real!) If you're interested in delivering a video greeting to Mitch and/or his extended prayer family just go to www.yousendit.com, upload your clip, then send it to prayformitch@gmail.com. Typically Mama T will be filtering them so be aware that not everything will make the page. In fact, I'm pretty confident that this will be gone in a few minutes. Nevertheless, thank you for your continued support and prayer. Remember, we're talking about Mitch - one of the strongest individuals both in body and faith. Don't forget that and start treating him like a victim. Laugh with him like you always have.

~Samuel

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday evening


Today was a day of appointments and transfusions at the outpatient clinic. We are so very impressed with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Everyone has been so good to us and although they haven't always been bearers of good news; they have been most compassionate and considerate.

Today's reports were good. Mitch has responded favorably to the chemotherapy thus far and everyone we met with was pleased with his blood work. From the doctor to the dietitian, all commented that his numbers looked great.

It's a waiting game now. As I mentioned yesterday, there will be a bone marrow biopsy around Day 14 (counting his first day of chemotherapy as Day 1) and then another one on Day 21. We have been warned multiple times already, to not get our hopes up regarding the biopsy on Day 14. It may not show clear; it is just part of the protocol to do the test at that point in order to document progress. The most important biopsy is on Day 21 which will most likely be performed either Friday, July 11th or Monday, July 14th. Until then, it is crucial to keep the boy healthy - free from all infections, viruses, germs, plagues, etc.

When you're praying for Mitch's physical health, please remember to pray for encouragement. This is a long, tedious process which seems to be getting longer all the time!!

Thanks,

Marlene

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday

Mitch was discharged from the hospital today! He was sent home to recover from the chemotherapy in a more comfortable environment. We weren't able to leave until late afternoon since he required transfusions of platelets & blood, but now we're home and happy to be here. He will be followed as an outpatient at the SCCA (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.)

Samuel had to go home yesterday and Chelsea had to leave today. It was a wonderful blessing to have their company for a couple of days. Tonight, we will meet Matt for a brief visit while he has a 2-hour layover at the Seattle airport. We are extremely grateful for any family time we get!

Please continue your prayers. It is important that Mitch not spike any fevers since that would indicate the presence of infection. He will have a bone marrow biopsy on Friday (likely) which will be followed by another one 7 days later. The 21-day biopsy needs to show clear for the transplant to proceed. We are praying that he is in remission and does not require more re-induction chemo before the transplant.

Thanks again for your love, support & encouragement. We are very grateful.

Marlene

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Update!


I hope that this update finds everyone well! Thank you so very much for your prayer! The love and concern that you share for Mitch makes a world of difference and it is GREATLY appreciated!

Today was a good day for Mitch. Physically he is well, still fatigued but nonetheless exhibiting a thankful attitude with a humble heart! No major side-effects to the chemo seem present aside from minor nausea. Praise the Lord for His healing touch! We still pray for entrance into remission as this is the next step through this journey to full recovery (we say with great expectation)!

It is a blessing to see his warm smile and hear his laugh as he joked around with his loving brother Sam! Sam's visit was absolutely fantastic, bringing many laughs and much encouragement. What a beautiful blessing family is!

Countdown to leave the hospital (for this stay), has begun and we are anticipating discharge early tomorrow afternoon; which Mitch is extremely excited for! The main conditions to his release would be nutrition. Praise the Lord for an increase of appetite! I am so very thankful for the sweet blessing that Mitch has the opportunity recover in the comfort of a home, versus a hospital (although this hospital has been a wonderful atmosphere, with knowledgeable and compassionate staff).

Thank you again for your prayers! We continue to fervently pursue the Lord as we confidently claim victory over Mitch's life in Christ! God is so good to provide for amazing opportunities for communication such as this blog. We are very excited to hear from you and appreciate your genuine comments that truly spur Mitch on! Thank you!

With LOVE from our Daddy,

Chels
video

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday afternoon


Friday afternoon

Thanks for taking the time to find our new blogspot. We're hoping this will make things easier for everyone.

Chemotherapy ended yesterday and Mitch has continued to feel pretty good. He is very anxious to get out of the hospital in order to recuperate at home. His biggest struggle is eating. He does not have much of an appetite and the doctors will not discharge him before he is taking in enough nutrition. They discontinued IV nutrition a couple of hours ago, hoping his own appetite would kick in.

Something I have not mentioned before, but would appreciate your prayer is concerning Mitch's lungs. While in Spokane, they found some nodules on them and proceeded to treat him with antibiotics for a fungal infection. . The antibiotics appeared to be doing the job because the nodules were shrinking but they have not cleared up. The doctors here are watching this closely and seem to be trying to determine the source of the fungus. Several times he has been asked to document every place he has been in his life. They seem to be particularly interested in the fact that we lived in the Philippines. He will be tested for TB (however, the Infectious Disease doctor doesn't think that is likely.) We do not know how or if this will impact the transplant so please join us in praying that this clears up.

Thanks again for your continued prayer support.

God Is So Faithful!!!

Mitch has continued his good "non-reaction" to the chemotherapy. Thank you again for praying with us.

There have been no more fevers since that awful night two days ago; plus, the nausea is definitely under control. Today, the doctor indicated that Mitch may be discharged as early as Saturday to recover at home - depending on how well he is eating. Mitch's response: "If that's what makes the difference, I'll order a Thanksgiving meal!"

We are both delighted to have Chelsea (fiancee) and Sam (brother) arrive today to spend time with us. Obviously, Mitch would prefer waking up from his naps to see Chelsea's face more than having Mom staring at him!! :) And Sam always brings encouragement & entertainment when he comes on the scene.

Mitch's white blood count has almost bottomed out in response to the chemotherapy. Please pray that the leukemia cells are killed, dead, obliterated, erased, wiped out ... pick a phrase. As wonderful as it was to have God pointedly answer prayer two nights ago with the dramatic turnaround ... the job isn't yet completed. He must be in remission for the transplant to proceed. Remission is not confirmed until the bone marrow transplants show clear on Days 14 & 21. This recent direct answer to prayer is more reason to cling to Him and seek His miracles!!

Don't let up warring in prayer. We are still on the front lines.

Thanks so much.

Marlene