This is Sarah's Mom, posting on her behalf, as our tough cookie is not feeling up to writing...yet. She will soon. But she gave me permission to share with all of you the latest from Loyola Medical Center! Before I begin, let me thank all of the wonderful people who have participated in the Flat Sarah project on Facebook--she has enjoyed seeing the places that Flat Sarah has travelled!
As most of you know, Sarah had another bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture on Monday. These are very uncomfortable procedures, but the doctors and nurses adjusted her medications for this one and Sarah tolerated it much better than in the past. We were told that results would be ready at some point on Tuesday. Since the cancer had not gone into remission after round one of chemo, the doctors gave her much stronger chemo for round two. It was a tough battle for Sarah.
On Tuesday, just before noon, as we waited for results, we had a visit from one of the wonderful chaplains here at Loyola. This young nun knows Sarah well now, and when she learned that we were waiting on big news, she hurried back down to the chapel so that the noon Mass could be offered up for Sarah. When she returned, she spoke about the start of Advent. Just as we begin Advent longing for the birth of our Savior, she reminded us that Sarah and our family are in a season of longing as well. We wait, she said, in expectant hope. That phrase really resonated for us.
A short time later, both oncologists visited to give us the news: Sarah's cancer had been brought under control and was in remission. Remission! There were lots of tears and hugs. Remission, however, meant an immediate start to round three of chemo. It is important to keep the cancer under control since Sarah's type of AML leukemia is stubborn and tough. Patients who go into their bone marrow transplant while in remission have the best chances of recovery.
Since Sarah had been hoping to have a little break from the hospital, the news that round three would start right away was a bit sad. Remember, Sarah has been on the oncology wing since October--she cannot leave the floor and has not had a breath of fresh outside air--or felt raindrop--or felt the wind on her face-- since. Still, the incredible news about being in remission overcame that slight disappointment. So far, our tough cookie is tolerating the chemo pretty well.
One wall of her hospital room is so cheerful; it is packed with cards and notes and hand-drawn pictures that people have sent her. These surround her wall clock, so when she is having a tough time and we look at the clock as minutes pass, she sees so many expressions of love and support. I printed out a quote from Winston Churchill: "If you are going through hell, keep going." And she is!
Expectant hope. We wait--Sarah's family, her friends, her sorority sisters, her caregivers, even strangers who have heard about her fight--in expectant hope that this round of chemo goes by quickly and as smoothly as possible. We have expectant hope that the next step on this journey, which will be going upstairs to the bone marrow transplant unit, will be a seamless transition. And, of course, we have expectant hope that God will bring a complete healing to Sarah.
So, as we all look forward to the Christmas season, please keep Sarah in your prayers. And when you want to complain because it is too cold outside, or raining, or windy, think of our tough cookie and enjoy the snow and ice on behalf of Sarah! : )
I'm sure Sarah will post soon.