- 12-11-10: MARRIAGE!
- 5-18-11: THE DIAGNOSIS: MULTIPLE MYELOMA
- 8-14-11: THE NEW TREATMENT PLAN: COMPLETE DEPENDENCE
- 5-2-12: WHAT NOW? THE BATTLE BEGINS
Our wedding was Awesome! So many people that we loved gathered in one place to hear us make a commitment to love and serve each other for the rest of our lives... it was Epic. The wedding took place in our home, Seattle, on Lake Washington, just between Matt's work at the UW and Chelsa's school at SPU. We partied hard, ate well, and fit in as much time with friends and family from our of town as possible. Everyone was so generous with making it a truly special event... the food, the time dedicated, the stories shared... it was a lot like the best dream either of us could remember having... only it really happened... AND waking up after it found us preparing to leave for an incredible honeymoon week in Hawaii. We were deeply blessed.
THE DIAGNOSIS: MULTIPLE MYELOMA (5-18-11)
THE NEW TREATMENT PLAN: COMPLETE DEPENDENCE (8-14-11)
We scheduled an appointment to meet with one of the top rated doctors at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to talk about participating in a trial for a new Pharmaceutical drug treatment. Both of us were uneasy, but it seemed like an obvious choice. Again, God in his sovereignty lead our way... only about a week before our appointment, Chelsa decided on a whim to grab a pregnancy test at the market. After trying two of the tests, and a trip to her gyno just to be sure, it was confirmed that she was pregnant! This answered our question of what treatment plan to follow -- natural all the way is the only way with a bun in the oven.
While the pregnancy was not planned, and came a little sooner than we would have anticipated... it felt like a tremendous blessing to us both and a clear sign that God was leading us and would walk us through this to healing, joy, and victory. We were going to be parents! Chelsa began eatting healthier than ever -- hand-fulls of vitamins three times a day, smoothies with spinach, lots of grains and greens we had never even heard of, no coffee, no sugary treats, not even indulging in the big box of Sour Patch kids still in our cubbord. Never-the-less... His will be done.
During a weekend trip to San Fransisco, Chelsa came down with a short, but very scarey bout of stomach flu. We made it back to Seattle and she started feeling much better, until Saturday morning, August 13th, after a wonderful night in the park with some good friends, she came down with a wicked fever. We called the doctors at the birthing center we were assigned who assured us, but the fever got worse and we decided to head to Emergency, where again we were assured, listened to the baby's heartbeat, and were sent home with some anti-nausea pills. That night, despite our best efforts, Chelsa's fever reached 104.3 and we lost our sweet little baby. The only words that could describe those days are terrifying, traumatic, and devastating.
Besides losing our baby, Chelsa became very sick, lost a lot of blood, and was struggling to reduce her fever. We spent the next several weeks in and out of the hospital, receiving blood transfusions, antibiotics, ultrasounds, a D&C (awful!), having the infection spread to her leg, MRIs, more antibiotics, and finally being sent home to have visiting nurses come by every week while Matt administered IV syringes to Chelsa's pick-line and wheeled her around in a wheelchair for a few more weeks. By the end of the Summer, we were both exhausted and heart-broken. We read the Book of Job, in which God makes an agreement with Satan to remove his blessings and protection over the righteous man, Job, allowing Satan to afflict him with all forms of sickness and suffering. We identified with Job that Autumn and we grew in our understanding of his words that "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21). In the midst of that time of sickness and suffering, Jesus was faithful to us... he provided for our needs through caring doctors, a surprise offer of financial assistance from Swedish hospital that wiped away a good portion of our expenses, a community of friends and family that loved us so incredibly well, and even in the moment of losing our baby, a nightlight in the form of Jesus, given to Matt by a friend (likely as a joke), was empowered to give us an unexplainable peace, reminding us that our sadness was temporary, that our loss was God's gain, and that we will be reunited with our baby in heaven some day. We memorized Phillipians 4:4-7 by the end of that Autumn: "Rejoice in the Lord always... do not be anxious...but by prayer... with thanksgiving... lift your requests to Him...and His peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
WHAT NOW? THE BATTLE BEGINS. (5-2-12)
Now we fight. Almost one year after being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, we have begun to take the offensive thanks to a generous offer by Dr. Catanzaro and Dr. Angove at the Health & Wellness Center. Following a couple months of high-dose vitamin IVs, having a port installed with a mainline connection to her heart, another blood-transfusion due to a low hematocrit level, and enough bottles of vitamins and supplements to fill a swimming pool, on May 2nd a Dendritic Cell-based Vaccine and Peptide "Cocktail" was created from Chelsa's own blood with aim of training her immune system to fight and destroy the cancerous cells being created, with the hope that they will be wiped clean out from her body. This is cutting-edge stuff folks... it is new, it is promising, it has worked for many other cancer survivors who were told they have no hope... it is not (yet) proven effective by research, it is not (yet) funded by insurance, and it is not an immediate cure... it is a risk built on a foundation of hope, trust in God's leading, generosity by those serving us and serving Christ, and on a feisty woman who is a physical and spiritual warrior ready to conquer this enemy in the name of her King Jesus.
Now we ask for your prayers, for your support paying for treatment, for your friendship and words of encouragement, and for you to join us in this journey, placing trust in the larger story that God is telling about how he rescued us from evil through faith in Jesus, bringing us joy in each day, despite our struggles and imperfection, through his Holy Spirit.
Philipians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your reasonableness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."