Finally home… for a couple weeks at least!
Hollis and Mom finally arrived back in Phoenix after 5 weeks in Cologne, Germany. It took 10 hours more than we planned to get home and thus, we feel more jet lagged than we’d hoped! Our American Airlines flight was supposed to leave Germany at 9:00 AM but at 6 AM it was delayed to 12 PM. They kept pushing it out gradually till we finally boarded the plane around 2 PM. However, it took another 2 hours until we left the ground! We ended up missing all AA connections from Chicago to Phoenix but they got us on a United flight that should have gotten us home at 11 PM. After running through the airport to catch this one, we found out it was actually delayed 2 hours! But, when we landed in Phoenix at 1 AM, we were happy to be home! Thanks Shane for staying awake to pick us up!
Overall, the treatments went well and we are glad we decided to stay in Germany during the 2 week break between treatments. It allowed Hollis to rest and recover, although it was tough to be away from home for so long and we missed Shane and Rhett terribly. We were able to meet with several locals who showed us places we probably wouldn’t have found on our own. One family even invited us over for an afternoon so Hollis could play with a boy his age! We found the people of Cologne to be very friendly and helpful. Luckily, we also found a couple supermarkets that carried a line of Old El Paso Mexican food so we felt even more at home! Hollis likes his bean burritos.
We will be returning for a 3rd treatment on August 3rd, 4th and 5th. This one will only be 3 days and will get us back home in time for Hollis to be there on the first day of school! He is very excited to return to his friends and the normalcy of school. He has responded well to the treatments and his energy level is almost back to what it was pre-diagnosis. At this next visit the clinic will test his blood to see if his immune system is responding to the treatment as well. If so, we will likely continue making monthly trips for an indefinite amount of time. Unfortunately, this treatment is so new that the Drs. aren’t sure how long it might take for your own body to really start fighting the cancer. We will schedule an MRI towards the end of August to see if it will show any improvement from the treatment yet. In the meantime, we continue to keep our eyes and ears open for additional treatments that might become available.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we travel this road full of unknowns. God continues to remind us that he is there through the words and actions of the people around us. As we were checking in for our return flight from Germany the American Airlines employee asked how long we’d been in Germany and why. When we told her, she asked if she could pray for Hollis. I said “Yes, please do”, thinking she might remember to do it later. Well, she actually called him over and prayed for him right then. She prayed as we would, calling on Jesus to heal him and remove the cancer from his body. She prayed specific scriptures, claiming the healing through what the Bible says. It was a bit shocking and encouraging to have this happen in a busy airport! She took the time with us and wasn’t afraid to pray what she wanted and believed! I gave her my Hope for Hollis bracelet off my arm so she would remember to keep him in prayer. Then, on the flight, my Mother sat next to a young Man from the Netherlands heading to Los Angeles for a Youth Conference. He also prayed for all of us!