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, December 12, 2010

Thoughts on a Sunday

I love having Sundays to remind me why I keep going and that I'm really living such a happy life. Oftentimes when I'm going through a rough time, I'll bargain with God and say something to the effect of, "Okay okay, I get what this is like, now what is it you want me to learn so I can be done with this?" My mom keeps telling me that we can't pick and choose the hardships we do or don't want to deal with, and we should certainly not try to tell God what to give us. But still, the question keeps running through my mind like a broken record: what is it I'm supposed to be learning? Even from the start of everything, I feel like many little bits of spiritual insight that I've gained have slipped so quickly away from me. I continuously forget the things that I have started to learn. I suppose that's why this trial is probably going to be with me for much of the rest of my life.

I've been trying to slow down a bit, reading church talks here and there about hardship. Two talks that have particularly stuck out to me that I think about every day, and sometimes many times a day are: "Come What May, and Love It" (the title of this blog),5232,49-1-947-9,00.html and the talk "But if Not",5232,49-1-439-25,00.html.

As I've struggled with the question of what it is I'm supposed to learn from all of this, I've realized from Elder Wirthlin's talk that I've learned at least two important things. The first is that I've come to understand, at least to some degree, what it's like to have a child that is really really sick. In other words, when I meet parents whose children are sick, I can at least partially empathize with their anxiety and feelings of helplessness. The second is that I've been a witness firsthand to other people's generosity to a huge extent. People close to us as well as complete strangers have gone above and beyond in reaching out to us. I'm trying hard to work on the faith to leave it in God's hands and trust that he knows exactly what he's doing. I'm trying hard to cope with the long-term implications of everything.

A lot of the issues I've had boil down to trust. Knowing that there's absolutely nothing I can do, and that's it's all in God's hands requires a great deal of trust and faith. Elder Simmons' talk "But if Not" has been particularly helpful on this point. Putting it in our own situation: Andrew's going to respond well to chemo, but if not... Andrew won't need a transplant, but if not... Andrew's going to be a healthy happy boy, but if not... We'll still have faith that everything will be just fine, that we're sealed to him, and that we'll have the patience and experiences that make us grateful for the many many blessings that we have. That we are doing this because we know it's the only way we'll get back to our Heavenly Father. How much trust Heavenly Father must be putting in us--trusting us to take care of one of his children!

We have so much to be grateful for! I really wish I had a picture of his eye when it was at its worst, but here are some pictures for comparison:

(at about 4 months)

(right after his biopsy)

And now his eye just looks fantastic:

Anyway, it's been super fun to see him this last week with more energy than he's probably had his entire life. Since his hematocrit has been in the 30s (a measure of the amount of blood that is made up of red blood cells), he's had so much energy. His motor skills and physical development have just skyrocketed since we've been home. Instead of holding his head up for 10 or 15 seconds, he's been doing it for minutes at a time. He's making huge strides with rolling over and crawling (which he kind of does--backwards and in circles). Anyway, so much to be grateful for, as always, and thanks again for your prayers.


  1. Dear Lizzie, I just cut and pasted the paragraph your wrote about trust and put it in my journal.

    I heard about another such lesson in trust yesterday in our wonderful Sunday School class. The story was about a healing from a rare form of leukemia of the daughter of our Sunday School teacher. The eventual treatment was a bone marrow transplant from a sibling, who had been in the womb many years before along with a tumor which terrified the parents upon its discovery. The parents (the Sunday School teacher and his wife) had been strongly advised to abort the child to save the mother, but had decided that they would not do so and would trust the Lord for the outcome. The tumor turned out (after the delivery of the child) to be benign and the baby was not affected at all. This was the child who grew to be the only possible donor for his sister when she faced leukemia. The transplant was successful and the sister is raising her children.

    How I thought of you when I heard this story! The main point that the teacher made was this: It is not the medical outcome (whether one lives or dies) that counts; it is only whether we pass the tests of mortality, which really do boil down to trusting the Lord and not leaning to our own understanding.

    Much love,

  2. Dear Lisa, Stew, and Andrew,
    Thank you for being an inspiration in our lives and helping us see things more clearly. We love you so very much!

  3. He does look so wonderful! I can't believe it! and good news, I think I understood every word of this post (thanks to your medical instruction)I'm coming to see you today, hope that's okay?

  4. That little guy is so cute. You guys are so amazing and an inspiration to us and so many others. We are keeping you in our prayers and are here if you need anything.

  5. Lizzie we love you guys. You are awesome, and we are truly blessed through your faith. Our prayers are with you always.