On Friday October 28th we had an appointment to review the results of the MRI performed that Wednesday. The Doctor said the MRI showed that the cancer had not substantially changed since the MRI we had in August! He said it’s often hard to tell exactly what is going in inside the cancer but they could say the size was still the same. So, although we would love for God to miraculously make it disappear, He has not chosen to do that. I know He could and have seen such medical miracles even in my own family, but that’s not to be the story for Hollis right now. However, just his current physical state is a testament to God’s miraculous grace! The Doctors are amazed at how good he is doing right now. The reality is that DIPG patients have an average life expectancy of 9 months after diagnosis and by 7 months most have started to decline physically. So, every day that Hollis wakes up and lives as a normal 7 year old fiesty boy, I thank God!
This past Saturday he and Rhett played 2 football games in record breaking heat! We just set a record here in Arizona for the most number of days in October that were above 90 degrees. Yuck! But, Hollis got out there for an 8 am game to play center and occasionally trick the other team by getting more involved in a play. It’s always fun to watch them act surprised on the other side when Hollis grabs the ball and starts running. Their team won and played the next game at 10 am. Hollis got to play a bit of defense and chase some flags in this one! Again, they won this game and advanced to the final game this Tuesday night!
Flag football. Soccer. Volleyball. What seems like ordinary events taking place in little leagues around the world is still a miracle to us. I delight in watching Hollis play these games and get to laugh with his friends at school. On Halloween he was a blue ninja and walked the neighborhood with friends asking for candy that his Mom will never let him eat. Well, maybe a little of it. His costume was decided based on which had the coolest weapons and double swords on his back won! It’s easy for us to wonder if this will be his last Halloween with us, but we can’t allow our minds to go there. Our Facebook feed today is filled with grieving parents for whom that is the case. We pray God’s amazing peace over them because that is all we can do. There are no words that can comfort a parent who has lost a child so young and tragically.
Yet, we continue to be amazed at how God has provided the resources and ability to get Immunotherapy treatment for Hollis in Germany. Next Friday Shane and Hollis return to Cologne for his 6th round. They will meet up with the Cozzi family from Washington state and hopefully a couple new families as well. Sadly, I know of at least 2 more American families who are starting treatment in Cologne, Germany for DIPG this next week. I’m not sure why this cancer is still considered rare… Unfortunately, some of the families who were there over the summer are not returning because by now their children have started to decline physically and more drastic medical steps are needed, including hospice care.
Please continue to pray for Hollis and our family. We want to hear God during this time and make the best choices. We pray this story will bring others to know and serve Christ. In our flesh, we hope that will be because of a miraculous healing. But, if not we pray for peace and wisdom knowing that one day our whole family will be in Heaven with no more suffering. During this emotional time I take comfort in reciting certain scriptures like the 23rd Psalm. I’ve also found myself singing old hymns that I grew up with. Here’s a verse from one of my favorites… “Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow. Because HE lives, all fear is gone. Because I know HE holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because HE lives. ”