Chase’s Story

Site created on April 29, 2019


Chase is a rising senior at Carrollton High School, a member of the Carrollton Trojan Varsity Football Team, and a volunteer in the Children's Ministry and is in the Student Ministry at Crossroads Church in Douglasville, Georgia. He was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma Cancer. This website was created to share his journey with those in our community that would like to walk with us and pray for Chase along the way.  We know that Chase will have a testimony to share like no other.  This is the story of his journey, but this is only the beginning....  


This last week has been harder than anyone in our family could ever have imagined. It has been surreal and unexpected. But even in the midst of our crisis, we’ve endured because God has held us together and He is making us all stronger!

Chase began having some stomach pains 2 weeks ago and after a few days of it not going away, Tracy took him to urgent care on Tuesday April 16th to get it checked out. The doctors at Urgent Care said that Chase had a stomach ulcer and prescribed some medicine to treat it.  On Friday April 19th, we went to church for Good Friday service as a family.  When we got home, Chase tried to go to sleep, but by midnight, his pain was unbearable.  We decided to take him to the emergency room.

When we arrived at the ER, the nurses immediately took Chase back and began running some tests, blood work, and hooked him up to IV fluid.  Later, the doctor came by and talked to us and Chase about his pain and symptoms.  He witnessed Chase’s pain level and said “I would not feel comfortable seeing him like this without ordering a CT scan”.  So, we had a CT scan done right away.  A couple hours later, the doctor came back in the room, sat down across from us, and told us that he had reviewed the CT scan and Chase had some spots on his liver that appeared to be “metastatic disease”.  Confused, I asked “What is that?” He said the word that no parent ever wants to hear: Cancer.  It felt as if everything in my body fell to the floor.  How could the Urgent Care doctor think it’s a stomach ulcer and this doctor think it’s cancer??? We were in total disbelief. He explained to us that they were transferring us to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to be seen by the Children’s Oncology Team. 

So super early morning Saturday April 20th, we arrived at CHOA at Egleston.  The Oncologist came to talk to us and let us know that she had reviewed Chase’s CT scan and saw some lesions on his liver that they were very concerned about.  They showed us the imaging of his liver and pointed out that all of the dark areas that we are seeing are not supposed to be there.  Those are the areas that they are concerned about.  They were all over his liver. I asked her what she thought was wrong with him.  I asked “Do you also think he has cancer?”  She said “It could be something very serious, but at this point we just don’t know.  There are many things that could look like cancer, but are benign. And there is always the possibility that this could be some type of rare infection that looks like cancer that we just haven’t seen before. There would be no way to know what this is without doing a biopsy of the lesions on his liver.”  So, she told us that they needed to admit Chase so that they could monitor him and manage his pain over the weekend and schedule a biopsy of his liver for first thing Monday morning.  Chase did not want that to happen because this was the day that was supposed to be his Junior prom.  He already had everything in place and ready for prom: his date, tux, shoes, friends, a scheduled photo shoot, and his hair was braided. This was terrible timing. He kept asking the doctors if he could just leave for the day and go to prom and then come back.  It meant a lot to him to be able to go.  And it was breaking my heart to think that he was going to miss out on his prom and be in the hospital instead.  The initial answer was “Absolutely not. We can’t allow you to leave”  We asked again, and the Oncologists met as a team and decided that they would allow us to make the final decision together as a family.  We decided to allow him to go to prom. We felt strongly that would be the best choice.  You can’t get that experience back.  And we knew that whatever was happening in his body, God was ultimately the one in control.  We agreed to bring him back first thing Monday morning.  So we left the hospital armed with some strong pain med prescriptions and headed back to Carrollton to get ready for prom.  So Saturday afternoon, Chase went to prom. It was a perfect day. We got great pictures and made memories that will last forever. 

Sunday morning April 21st was Easter Sunday.  We had 3 services at church that day.  Even though he was enduring pain, Chase served in Children’s Ministry for the first 2 services that morning. And we went to service together as a family for the 3rd service. Tracy, Karstyn, Chase, Sophie, and I all sat together and worshipped together as a family. After church, we gathered a few people from church around Chase and we prayed and believed God for his healing.  There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus will heal Chase.  And we don’t think it’s a coincidence that this whole thing happened on Easter weekend.  The scripture that kept resonating in my heart that day was Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  BY JESUS’ WOUNDS, CHASE IS HEALED!

Sunday afternoon and evening, we seemed to have control of his pain, but he spent most of that time asleep. In the middle of the night, his pain became heightened beyond what we could control with meds so we called back to CHOA and spoke to the Oncologist on call.  They told us to bring Chase back to be admitted.

So he was admitted at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston super early morning Monday April 22nd.  He’s in room 3227.  They put him on medicine that was able to manage his pain.  He also had a biopsy of his liver and then we began the long process of waiting for results. This was the hardest part of the process for me. Waiting. The biopsy was the test that would finally tell us exactly what was going on with Chase. Why has he been hurting for the last two weeks?  What is going on inside of his body?  The Oncologist said that we should hear something in the next day or two.  So I filled my time with highlighting scriptures in my bible about healing. It was encouraging to be reminded over and over again that God is a healer, He’s fighting our battles, and nothing is too hard for him. 

So, needless to say, we have all had a lot to process.  It feels surreal to hear that your child has cancer. And it hurts to watch him suffer. But we know that we can trust our Lord.  He goes before us in all things. He is with us always. He surrounded us with the best doctors and nurses you could ever hope for.  And he placed us at the best hospital in the world.  We know God is taking care of Chase and all of us.  He cares immensely for us and calls us daily to take our burdens to him.  Part of our calling is to invite others to walk with us (in the highs and lows) as we walk with the Lord. And we are inviting you to walk with us.  We will need our village to get through this journey. 

I know the biggest question has been "How can we help?!" Tracy and I haven’t really known how to answer that question, but we are quickly learning that we can’t possibly carry on our normal life responsibilities while also caring for Chase here at CHOA.  We will need to lean on our village. We will need people walking with us. 

 A friend sent me this scripture for Chase: Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?”  Did you catch the 32:27?  Same as Chase’s room number 3227!  God’s got this.


To Donate to Chase, go here: paypal.me/chasemcdanielstrong

 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kiki McDaniel

Chase has been in ICU here at Egleston for nearly an entire month now.  It has most certainly been the hardest month of our lives. I have not posted much since we’ve been here simply because I honestly have not had the strength to articulate the battle that we have been facing.  As a family, it’s been unimaginable.  Some days, I’m mostly able to hold it together and other days that I just can’t.  It’s been a painful process, but I think that I’m finally able to breathe and I’m ready to open up and share.  God calls us in Galatians 6:2 to carry each other's burdens, so my prayer is that these words will motivate even more people to join us in prayer for Chase’s healing from cancer, sickness, diseases, and fight this battle with us.

On Tuesday September 17th, Chase shared his story about his journey with cancer at the Matt Ryan dinner on behalf of CHOA.  Throughout the evening, Chase pushed through some pain that he was experiencing in order to finish the event. But as soon as the event ended, Chase collapsed in a chair. I touched him and realized that he had a high fever and needed to be seen right away.  We left the dinner and immediately took him to the Emergency Room at CHOA Egleston.  He was admitted and sent up to Aflac (the Oncology floor), but he was not stable so they transferred him to the ICU.  The first week in ICU, all of the doctors thought that Chase was in septic shock so they were searching for an infection that they could treat and get us back down to Aflac and on our way.  But Chase got very sick …..very quickly.  It seemed that things were spiraling out of control before our eyes.  His lungs, liver, kidneys, and blood pressure were all struggling.  By September 25th, he was struggling to breathe and he was put on a ventilator, sedated and paralyzed.  His kidneys were severely damaged and not working properly, so they began Chase on continuous dialysis.  His blood pressure was dangerously low, so they put him on a medicine to keep it elevated.  He was getting multiple blood transfusions and platelet transfusions every day.  We had no idea what was happening and even the doctors did not know what was going on. 

On the evening of September 25th, we had to face our greatest fears as all of Chase’s vital signs suddenly began dropping.  All of a sudden, teams of doctors and nurses rushed into Chase’s room and started doing different measures all at once.  I had no idea what was happening, but I could hear lots of discussion between the doctors about his heart. A cardiologist came in and they rolled in even more equipment.  It was a chaotic scene with lots of people giving orders and they were all working on Chase.  It did not feel real.  One of the doctors came over to me and explained what was happening.  She did not have good news.  My heart sank and I cried out like never before.  Tracy pulled me close to him, sat me down on the couch, held me tightly and we just began to labor in prayer for our son.  I realized something right then…. our faith had to be stronger than the doctor’s doubts.  We asked people everywhere to pray in faith for Chase’s healing and they did. A lot of our family and friends came to the hospital and continued to pray all throughout the night.  I got messages from people everywhere telling me that they were praying.  I will probably never know the number of people that were on their knees for Chase that night.  I just know that together, we stormed heaven and that night we literally saw God move mountains.

The next day, the doctors did a bone marrow aspiration on Chase and that’s when we realized that his cancer was much more progressed than we originally thought.  Even after all of the treatment that he has had, the cancer was still there and it continued to fill both sides of his bone marrow.  Not only that, but the cancer also triggered a rare secondary disease that was damaging all of his organs.  We were in a much bigger fight than anything any of us could have ever imagined.  Multiple teams of doctors worked together to come up with a plan for treating Chase and we started it right away.  For the next 12 days, Chase remained sedated and paralyzed.  There were many other hard and scary moments that we had to face, but God carried Chase through each and every one of them. We spent our time as a family talking to Chase, praying over him, and celebrating every improvement that we saw.  Those 12 days were hard for Karstyn and Sophie because they were having to see their brother unable to respond to them. And for Tracy and I, not only were we not able to see our son respond to us for 12 days, but we were also hearing the reports and concerns from the doctors every day.  We chose to focus on God's greatness instead of the obstacles the doctors described to us each day.  We chose to find victories to celebrate every day, no matter how small they were.  We chose to praise God for every single step towards victory. 

On September 30th, as I was sitting on the couch in Chase’s room, my thoughts turned to the journey that Chase has had with cancer.  It has been a difficult one for sure.  As I sat there reflecting on all that he’s been through, I found myself wrestling with what could God be trying to show us through all of this.  Why would Chase have to endure so much and now this...?  We have prayed and praised God and given Him all of the glory for everything we’ve faced.  What could be the purpose of all of this?  As I sat there, I looked up and noticed for the very first time a sign in Chase’s room that is above the sink.  It’s the only thing on the walls in his room.  It only says “4120”.  That is his room number here in the ICU.  As soon as I saw it, I instantly knew that I needed to read Isaiah 41:20. There was no question in my mind that God wanted to speak to me through that verse.  I grabbed my bible and opened it.  This is what it says: “I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means – that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.”  Wow!!! God spoke so clearly through His word.  Those are the words that I have treasured in my heart.  Those are the words that have carried me through the valleys and difficulties and times of sheer unknown.  Those are the words that I choose to cling to.  God's word!

On Sunday October 6th, they took Chase off of the paralytic medicine.  This was our second attempt at waking him up. The first time was unsuccessful and resulted in yet another scary night.  But this time, he opened his eyes for us for the first time!  He was finally able to respond to us.  It was a huge victory.  We are beyond thankful.  We give all glory to Jesus for this and every victory!  Little by little, he has made improvements every single day.  We are slaying giant after giant.  He has been weaned off of the medicine to keep his blood pressure elevated.  He is getting close to getting off of the ventilator and having his breathing tube removed.  And his vital signs are steadily improving every day.  God is moving mountains!! Big mountains!!  There is nothing too hard for Him!!  We still have a long road ahead of us, but God is the One in control of that road and we will continue to celebrate small victories every day.

And I just want to take a moment to thank you all for loving on our family and most of all for praying for Chase and our family throughout this unimaginable battle. It is what we need more than anything. I am often asked “What do you need?”.  My answer is always…. we need people to pray!  Just keep praying for God to heal our son.  Keep showing your love and encouragement to Chase.  We treasure every expression of love towards Chase and our family in our hearts. And if you know Karstyn and Sophie, shower them with some extra love.  They too are in the middle of this battle.  We all need an army of believers, our village, our tribe, faithful prayer warriors, standing in the gap for us and holding up our arms until we see the victory. We are all so very encouraged by texts, messages, notes, cards, to say that you’re praying for Chase and our family, thinking about us, love us, and that you are fighting with us.  Thank you!  You have ministered to our hearts more than you know.  One thing that we’ve learned in this journey is that no matter what battle we’re facing, we can choose to either chase after our fears or we can choose to chase the victory.  That’s what we choose to do……. #chasethevictory.

#chasethevictory
PayPal.Me/chasemcdanielstrong

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