Andrew was diagnosed with Erythroid (M6) Acute Myeloid Leukemia on November 4th, 2010 when he was almost 5 months old. Andrew is currently in remission from his cancer, after finishing his 5 rounds of chemotherapy. He is a healthy, happy toddler.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So things have started to slow down quite a bit in the last day or so. After Andrew's surgeries on Friday, he had a pretty rough recovery, but the pain meds and just passing time have made things a lot more comfortable for him. We were so excited last night to hear him babble again, even though he still hasn't smiled for a while.

I was hesitant to let them hit Andrew with chemo on Saturday morning just because he was still pretty weak. He had trouble clearing the fluids they had been giving him, so he went from being barely 15 pounds on Wednesday to around 19 yesterday. His conjunctiva on his right eye were still protruding between his eyelids, and he hadn't eaten for some time, but he has started to get better in all of those areas.

There is so much we're learning about the hospital experience and how life is different for Andrew when he's on chemo. It is a poison, really, so I wouldn't have even thought that I would need to glove up when I change his diaper, but it's standard practice. Also, I wouldn't have ever made the connection that they need to over-hydrate him so that when he starts the chemotherapy, they can clear it well from his system. The nurses have been absolutely incredible. Even when I was a grump at the beginning, trying to accept this new part of my life, they have been so cheery. Our oncologist in particular has been a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy as well. His name is Dr. Barnette, which is actually a very endearing name for me because of my pediatrician growing up named Dr. Barnett. He has spent hours talking with us, telling us what likely outcomes are and what to reasonably expect.

We've asked the nurses a lot about the kinds of experiences they've had treating cancer patients over the years and parents' reactions. One thing that parents have said and I agree with so far is that chemo, although physically trying, is not as bad as they thought it would be. Even though I know that most of the time Andrew is awake he's either in pain or uncomfortable, most of the time he sleeps, which is so comforting to me. It used to be so hard to get him to have just one nap in a day, but now his day is one big nap with occasional interruptions. Thankfully all the draws are through a central line, and he seems to mind his temperature and blood pressure readings less and less.

It's all still so surreal for me. I've taken a step back from my life to see where I am, and it hasn't quite registered that Andrew has leukemia and that we'll be in the hospital for a number of months. Between periods of sleep I wake up, and then I remember. I'm in a hospital. I'm in a hospital because Andrew's got cancer. Is this really happening? I break down every now and then, but then that peace from the Atonement always returns.

Sacrament Meeting today was really, really good. I think feeling sorry for yourself/your situation is a really unhealthy, damaging attitude, and it doesn't take too much looking around to see people who have it so much worse than you. On the flip side, though, it's so inspiring to hear how parents have gotten through their experiences and how much they've relied on the Lord for relief from their suffering. I must admit that having close friends since I've gotten married has been somewhat difficult, but I think friendships with these parents will come a lot easier because we have so much in common. The assessments that we make of other people seem to disappear as you think about their situation rather than appearances. A lot of them have several other children at home miles away, so I can't imagine how they juggle life at home and here at the hospital, but they do. One lady I talked to today just exuded peace. She had such a humble, accepting attitude that was very comforting to me.

Although we miss playing with Andrew, we're looking forward to his recovery at the beginning of next week when he'll have more strength.


  1. LIzzie and Stew we love you and Andrew. Your strength is amazing.

  2. Stew, Lizzie and Andrew, you are in our every prayer... especially our 5 year old Rew's (probably because they share such a great name)... he always assumes he'll say the prayer at every meal, he often forgets to bless the food, but "please bless Baby Andrew..." immediately follows, "Heavenly Father, thank you for these things..." every single time.

  3. Lizzie and Stew, Thank you for all these posts. As we out here on the sidelines pray and think of you both and your precious little Andrew, it helps us pray specifically because you are communicating with us through this blog.

    We pray that you will continue to feel the comfort that you wrote of---that you said keeps returning. We pray that the inspiration of the Lord for decision making will rest with you and with the doctors. We pray for your health and stamina as parents through this marathon of faith and endurance just as much as we are praying for Andrew.

    Sending our love . . . Anita

  4. Dear Lizzie,
    Thank you so much for posting all of this on a blog. Some people might gawk at the thought of sharing something so personal and hard over the internet. However, I think its very kind of you to show us all how strong we all can be when we face a challenge. Challenge is such a small word for the amount of pain we go through to overcome it. Lizzie you have made me appreciate the gospel and to be grateful for every moment with my family. Thank you for being so strong. Your trials are so difficult and painful to deal with but you are such an example of pure love.
    Sam, Lily and I are thinking of you, Stew, and your precious Andrew. Stay the course and Heavenly Father will continue to guide you and help you keep that Peace and comfort.
    Love you muchos:)
    The Shull Family