Journal

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

Praise God and His mercy!  Yesterday at the time I wrote an update, Samuel was not doing well.  His health was definitely trending in a downward direction and his doctors were gravely concerned because he was already being so supported medically that they were running out of options to help him.  We had shared that his lungs were a very big concern.  The ventilator that he is on was giving him 100% oxygen and at a very high pressure, yet his oxygen levels in his blood were much too low.  Many have been praying for Samuel's lungs and God is hearing those faithful  prayers.  Last evening and throughout the night Samuel's oxygen levels have been climbing and they were even able to step down the level of oxygen he is receiving to 70%.  In addition, they have been able to lower his levels of some of his blood pressure medicines and his blood pressures have remained stable.  They are also removing excess fluid from his body through the dialysis.  When they weighed him this morning, he had lost over 4 pounds in just 12 hours.  That is also a very good thing because that can also help his lungs and heart.  
 
Samuel is still extremely sick, but we have been so encouraged by these baby steps forward.  While his situation is still critical with multiple organ failure, he is looking better than he has since he got here.  Now we can see that there is actually a path towards recovering from this.  We can only attribute this to the healing hand of God.  But he is not out of the woods yet and is still very much in need of prayer. 
 
This is such a roller coaster.  Samuel's condition is so unsteady.  It takes very little to change it from stable to dire.  While Barry and I both feel in our hearts that Samuel's story does not end here, we also have to face the hard reality of Samuel's situation.  We cannot begin to know the mind of God, but we can choose to trust Him no matter what.
 
PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • Samuel's lungs to improve and clear of fluid
  • Samuel's blood pressures to remain stable
  • For the slow baby step process of getting Samuel off of all of this medical intervention and life support to continue without any new complications
  • God's wisdom for Samuel's doctors, nurses, caregivers, and parents
  • Strength and peace from anxiety for Samuel's family
  • God to be a great provider and see to the needs of the family back at home
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish
 
 

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

I am weary and am struggling to find the words to write here.  Samuel went onto dialysis very well yesterday.  That is a big positive. His surgery to add an access line went smooth and well and he had no trouble with his blood pressure when he went on the machine.  We are thankful for all of the prayers.  The goals of dialysis are to filter and clean the blood and also begin to remove fluid volume from his body.  He started even, meaning the same volume that was taken out was put back in.  Since that went well the next goal is to start putting less fluid back in.  However, that will probably lower his blood pressure, so this is a concern.
 
Throughout the day yesterday and overnight Samuel remained relatively stable.  However his blood pressure and oxygen levels remain too low.  Overnight, his oxygen levels have been slowly dropping down, and he had needed increased meds to keep his blood pressure where it is.  This is concerning because it was hoped that he would be in a better, more stable place at this point.  
 
While I appreciate the honesty of Samuel's doctors, it is hard to talk to them.  We cling with hope to every small positive.  Because it is their job, they focus on the negatives.  It is hard to hear terms like "multiple organ failure."  But the reality is that Samuel's lungs and kidneys are being mechanically supported and his heart is being propped up medically.  Although Samuel's body has many issues, it seems that the biggest is his lungs.  He is on very high ventilator settings, yet the levels of oxygen in his body continues to slowly decline.  There is too much fluid in his body and especially the lungs.
 
Our prayer requests continue as before, but with an extra focus on his lungs.  It is God who provides the Breath of Life.  Samuel is in great need of that right now.
 
We continue to be humbled by Samuel's prayer warriors who are fighting with us for our boy's life on your knees.  Thank you!
 
PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • Samuel's LUNGS
  • Samuel's heart and blood pressure
  • His body to tolerate removing fluid volume
  • Protection from new infection
  • God's wisdom for Samuel's doctors, nurses, caregivers, and parents
  • God to move in miraculous ways in this boy's body
 
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

Just a quick update.  Samuel has remained relatively stable overnight in regards to his blood pressure and oxygen levels.  However, his kidney function is decreasing.  He needs his kidneys to remove excess fluid from his body as well as clear out several medications he is receiving from his blood stream.  Because that is not happening, he will need dialysis.  To do that, he will need to have an access placed.  Any surgical procedure is a risk for him right now. He is  especially at risk for bleeding.   He is not stable enough to be moved to the operating room, so this will need to happen in his room.  A surgical team will do the procedure while the ICU doctors monitor his status.  This is scheduled for around 12:30.
 There are also risks associated with hooking him up to the dialysis circuit.  He will be on a continuous dialysis that runs slower and filters the blood efficiently.
 Everyone believes that the benefit to Samuel with this is worth the risks.  We continue to be in a position of trusting God.  Words cannot express how grateful we are for the many prayer warriors that are joining us in lifting Samuel to the Father right now.  Thank you.  Please continue with us.
 My friend, Jennifer, has graciously set up a 24 hour prayer vigil for Samuel starting on Friday.  If you feel led, you can sign up for that here:  https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/9040845adaf2ba64-prayers
 PRAYER REQUESTS
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • God's wisdom and skilled hands for the doctors, surgeons, nurses, and caregivers
  • Surgery to go well without complications
  • The process of getting Samuel on the dialysis circuit to go well
  • Dialysis to work well
  • Samuel to remain stable and improve
  • God to wrap His arms around Samuel and provide him with healing, comfort and peace
  • Strength and peace for Barry and I
  • For God to fill in the gap and meet the needs of those at home
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish
 
 

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

It is 1:30 Am Tuesday morning.  I just got nearly 4 hours of much needed sleep.  Thankfully Samuel has been just stable enough that Barry and I I felt we could take a break from our constant vigil over him.  
 
I have been spending most of my time holding his hand, rubbing his legs, stroking his hair and talking and praying with him.  Samuel has been pumped full of so many fluids and has so much medical intervention hooked up to him that he doesn't look like himself.  Beside his bed are 12 IV pumps which are hooked to his body through many tubes.  He is hooked to several monitors with wires as well has an oscillator ventilator through large tubes.  To connect all of this stuff, he's needed to have more access points added In in the last day.  In addition to his port, he now has had a central line, an arterial line and two additional IVs placed. 
 
But under all of this mess is still my sweet boy whom I adore.  God and I have chatted quite a bit lately.   I can't begin to know the mind of God, and maybe this is just wishful thinking, but my gut keeps telling me that this is not the way his story ends. However, I need to look at my son's struggling body and say to Him, "I trust You."  My heart is submissive to His will.  Even if I don't agree with it.  No matter what, we still have a great Hope.  I know that if God chooses not to heal Samuel here on earth, He will heal him perfectly in heaven.  Samuel belongs to Jesus.  
 
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,"
Hebrews 6:19
 
PRAYER REQUESTS
Samuel's needs are so many, but i will try to list some specifics:
  • Complete and total healing
  • Samuel's lungs which are sick and have too much fluid in them
  • Samuel's heart which is weak from infection and struggling to pump well under these conditions
  • Samuels kidneys. Samuel has been pumped full of lots of fluid in the last day to help support his blood pressure.  He needs to output that, but his kidneys are no longer functioning well enough to do this.
  • Every organ and bodily function that has been affected
  • Infection to clear his body
  • Gods wisdom for each of Samuels doctors, nurses and caregivers who are constantly making decisions vital for Samuel's health
  • Strength for Barry and I
  • Strength for the family at home, who don't all know all of the nitty gritty details.
  • For Rachel to feel loved and cared for on her birthday, which is Tuesday, despite her parents not being able to spend it with her
  • We are tired and don't even really know all our needs right now, but God does and we ask Him to provide
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish
 
 

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

This is hard.  Samuel is currently in the ICU at Riley in critical, but somewhat stable condition for now, which is far better than he was last night.  He definitely has an infection in his blood which is affecting his organs.  His heart has been hard hit and is struggling to adequately pump blood and, therefore, oxygen through his body.  He went into septic shock and was on the verge of a cardiac arrest several times last night.  This was only averted with the use of rescue doses of drugs.  The ICU doctor caring for him had to have, as he called it, an 'excruciating" talk with us.  He did not give Samuel a good prognosis for making it through the night.  Despite that, we still had hope and we trusted in God no matter what happened.  Thankfully, God proved that doctor wrong and Samuel turned a corner and stabilized somewhat.
 
Samuel is still very sick and has many hurdles to overcome right now.  He needs his heart to start working better.  It has been injured by this infection.  He needs fluid to clear from his lungs.  His liver and kidneys need to keep functioning, too.  And, of course, this infection needs to clear from his blood.
 
Samuel is sedated and on a ventilator.  It is doing the breathing for him so he does not need to expend energy on this.  He is on many, many IV meds right now.  He is still not out of the woods and the next couple of days will be crucial for him.
 
Samuel still needs God's healing touch upon his body.  We have been humbled by the many prayer warriors who are lifting Samuel up to God.  We thank you and humbly ask for you all to continue praying.  We are helpless to do anything but plead for our boy's life to the One who holds it in His hands, trusting that He loves him even more than we do.
 
PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • Strength for Samuel's heart and his blood pressure to rise
  • Samuel's lungs to clear and his oxygen levels to rise
  • The bacteria to clear from Samuel's blood
  • Samuel to completely stabilize, and be able get off the meds and ventilator that are supporting him right now
  • Wisdom to know how to handle this with his siblings
  • Strength and peace of God for our whole family
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

I'm sitting in the ICU at Riley writing this update.  Samuel is in desperate need of God's healing touch right now.  It is believed he has some sort of infection.  This has caused his body to struggle to breath and get enough oxygen, and his blood pressure to remain stable.  He is currently on a ventilator, many meds, and is sedated.  It is serious.
 
As I sit here and pray, I keep hearing the lyrics of a song in my head:
"I know You're able and I know You can, save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don't.  My hope is You alone."
 
Please join me in praying for my sweet Samuel that God would have mercy and provide healing for him right now.
 
 

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

This week has felt quite busy.  That is probably because we spent 3 of the days visiting hospitals.  Tuesday, Samuel was at Lutheran, Thursday at Riley, and Friday at Lutheran again.  And, of course, normal life with the rest of the family must continue despite these unexpected events.
 
On Wednesday, I was concerned that Samuel's platelets were still low despite having a transfusion on Tuesday.  I called Riley and coordinated rescheduling his bone marrow test for Thursday.  This gave us the opportunity for the nurses and doctors there to take a look at his port and draw labs to check blood counts, as well.
 
Samuel has so much bruising, especially on his chest over his port that it looks like he was in a fight and got quite beat up.  It was decided at Riley that his port area was just too tender from all of the bruising to try and access.  And because they had so much difficulty accessing it at Lutheran it was x-rayed to check that it was still in the correct position and there were no obvious problems with it.  Thankfully it looks ok.  Not accessing the port means he needed to get an IV to draw blood.  The first attempt was unsuccessful, so it took two needle pokes to get a good IV.  
 
Samuel's platelet count was very low at only 8000, (Normal is 150,000-450,000) so he needed a transfusion before he could get his bone marrow procedure.  We also learned that his ANC (a measure of his infection fighting white blood cells) was 12, practically nothing.  So we need to keep Samuel extra protected from germs right now.  
 
Because Samuel can't seem to keep platelets right now, it was decided to check his blood again on Friday at Lutheran.  If he was low at all we would get him a transfusion so hopefully he would not need to get one in the ER over the weekend.  His platelet count was pretty good at 51,000 and we are hoping that will hold him out until Monday when we will return to clinic again to draw labs.
 
We also learned that Samuel's ANC is officially 0.  His body is not in a position to fight off any infection.  This is a first for us to have him home and not admitted into the hospital in this condition.  One of the doctors at Riley said smugly that he's fairly certain that we will be back to Riley this weekend to be admitted for a fever.  Oh, how I hope to prove him wrong!
 
This week has been rough on Samuel both physically and emotionally.  He has seemed so sad.  This is not his first rodeo so to speak, but I think he has blocked a lot of memories about what it was like going through chemo before.   He was so happy when he returned home from the hospital last Friday.  Everything was back to normal and all was well for him.  That illusion was shattered when the bruises showed up this week.  He just doesn't want to deal with it all.  I don't blame him.  I don't either!  I wish that I could take this away from him.  He has had to face some very hard things with bravery this week.  
 
Samuel has a bracelet that says "courage" that he always wears.  We have claimed Joshua 1:9 to go along with it.  It says, "Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  For the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go."  As we were trying to unsuccessfully access his port and it was painful and scary, I reminded him to "Be strong and courageous," and he cried, "I'm weak!"  Oh, my heart ached for him.  But later, I was able to talk to him about the fact that when we are weak, God is our strength.  I have a feeling this won't be the last time we have to claim that fact.
 
Hopefully we will find out the results of Samuel's bone marrow on Monday and be able to make the decision about what the next steps are.  For now, we pray continually that God protects Samuel from fever and infection.  We will take this one day at a time, knowing that we may be heading back to the hospital at any given moment.  

PRAYER REQUESTS
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • Protection from sickness, fever, and infection
  • The chemo to to be just as devasting or more to his leukemia as it has been to his good cells
  • Samuel to hold on to his platelets at least until Monday when we will be in clinic
  • Good spirits for Samuel
  • Peace, unity and love within our family
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

Praise God!  Samuel is back at home again.  He received his last dose of chemo on Friday and after waiting and being monitored for 4 hours was released to go home.  What mighty prayer warriors he has!  We had asked for prayer that this round of chemo would be uncomplicated, and it really was.  He has had only minor discomforts his chemo side effects have been minimal.  We are all so very grateful to God for that.
 
Yesterday morning Samuel awoke with quite a bit of bruising.  I had been told the Mylotarg he had received could lower his platelet count and bruising is a sign of that.  So I called Riley and we coordinated getting labs drawn at Lutheran Hospital here in town and to get a transfusion if necessary.
 
Unfortunately, it was a very rough day for Samuel.  First off, he was not thrilled to be going to the oncology clinic even if it was just here in town.  Secondly, accessing his port went absolutely horribly.  If you are unfamiliar with what a port is, it is a round button that has been surgically inserted under the skin.  It has a tube that connects to one of the large central veins in the chest.  The front of it is silicone.  To access it, a needle with an IV line is pierced through the skin and the silicone of the port.  Then there is access to draw blood and administer IV meds.  Needless to say, Samuel is not a big fan of having a 1 1/4" needle stuck into his chest, but he has learned to remain calm and still for it.  Samuel's port tends to shift at an angle and not sit flush with his skin making it trickier to access.  On the first attempt, Samuel's nurse did not get the angle quite right and hit hard plastic instead of the silicone.  She wiggled around a little, but wasn't in the right spot.  It hurt and Samuel was upset.  His chest instantly turned blue and looked bruised over his port.  Since It was important to draw these labs, it was decided to have a second experienced nurse try.  This was the awful part.  She was able to get the needle into the port, but is wasn't quite in position.  It would not draw blood and caused Samuel pain when she tried to flush it.  So she kept trying to manipulate the port and the needle to get it to work.  Let me be clear, both of these nurses were sweet and trying to be as gentle as they could be.  However, it was terribly painful to Samuel and he was bleeding a lot.  I don't know that I have ever heard him scream in quite that way. 
 
In the end, we gave up on the port and someone from the IV team came and put an IV in his wrist to draw labs.  Samuel was not thrilled about that either, but at least that went much, much smoother.
 
As it turned out, my suspicions were right and Samuel's platelet count was quite low and he needed a transfusion.  His platelet count went from over 120,000 on Friday to 10,000 in just 4 days.  Our "quick" visit to Lutheran ended up taking 6 hours.  Typically blood counts bottom out a week after chemo ends, which won't be until Friday.  So, I am thinking we will need to be checking these again fairly soon because Samuel's counts are probably still dropping.  He is currently scheduled for a bone marrow aspirate procedure next Monday to check the percent of leukemia after his round of chemo.  Originally this was scheduled for Friday, but they called saying they were overbooked and wanted to reschedule it.  I think I am going to call and talk about moving it back to the end of this week because he is going need labs drawn again before the weekend any way.  I think Samuel is a little traumatized and will not want to return to the Lutheran clinic anytime soon.  I also think Samuel and I would both prefer having his port issues addressed at Riley.  
 
PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • The chemo to completely devastate the leukemia
  • No complications concerning Samuel's port
  • Protection from sickness in our household
  • Good spirits and peace for Samuel and each member of our family
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

After nearly 7 months, Samuel is back on the Stem Cell Unit at Riley.  He is not only on the same unit, but even the very same room he was in back in February.  We have been blessed to have such a long break.  This is the longest time span that Samuel has spent out of the hospital since his diagnosis nearly 3 years ago.  Considering that we learned that his leukemia had once again returned way back in January, it is truly a gift from God that we were given this time at home together as a family.
 Samuel is on Day 5 of 8 days of chemo treatments.  The first 7 days he is getting the Azacitidine that he has gotten before.  And just like before, he is handling pretty well so far.  He has definitely been more tired and nauseous the past day or so.  Thankfully, the Zofran (anti-nausea med) that he has been regularly getting has been keeping him from getting sick.  Samuel gets 20 minutes of chemo each day and the rest of the day is just hanging out.  He is being monitored, but isn't having any issues.  That has made our days blessedly boring.  And that is just want we want, for the hospital is certainly not the place to be exciting.
 It is such a strange deja vu being here again in this place that has been our home away from home so frequently these past few years. We know most of the nurses, techs, and doctors.  I have spent the last couple of days catching up with these friends showing off pictures of our kids and stories of what has been going on in all of our lives this year.  This place is so very familiar.  The chemo that was once so very intimidating, no longer scares me like it used to.  Don't get me wrong, I don't take it lightly.  However, I realize that it is our best shot at getting him cured and cancer free.  We have prayed and sought God's wisdom in this and am at peace and hopeful.
 Samuel and I Facetime every day with the family at home.  Beyond that, I pray for God to watch over and tenderly care for them.  Oh, to be able to split myself into two and be at home and hospital at once.  Since that is not possible, I will have to trust God to fill in the gap for me.
 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with you favor as with a shield."  Psalm 5:11-12
 PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • This course of chemo to do its job and eliminate the leukemia completely
  • Protection for Samuel's liver which is specifically at risk
  • No fevers or complication that would keep Samuel in the hospital longer
  • Good spirits for Samuel
  • Good spirits and cooperative attitudes for those at home
  • God's protective hand over each member of our family
 
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish
 

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

We are officially in countdown mode.  Samuel is scheduled to be admitted to Riley and start chemo this Friday, the 8th.  Of course, there are mixed emotions about this.  On one hand it is good to have a plan. On the other, we are plain and simple not looking forward to it.  Samuel doesn't want to be in the hospital and the rest of family doesn't want part of us away.  It is so challenging on many levels.  In ways, I am more nervous for those left at home.  Probably because I will be away from them for the most part.  There is a comfort being home and feeling like I am in control of things.  Really that control is just an illusion.  It's like trying to steer a ship through a storm by rowing like mad with a tiny oar.  Truly only God can calm the wind and the waves and keep us all safe.  Whether I am at home or at the hospital with Samuel, I need to remember that we are in the arms of the Almighty.  He is in control.
 
Samuel's clinic visit last Tuesday went well.  Looking at just his blood, he looks great with no obvious signs of disease.  However, the truth is in his bone marrow and the plan is in place and I have signed the consent to start this new course of chemo. 
 
Samuel also saw the orthopedic doctor and had his legs x-rayed to check the status of the AVN.  There is no obvious signs that it is in any of his joints and it doesn't seem to have progressed.  That is really great news.  It is possible that, in time, this could heal without long term effects.  In the meantime, we manage his pain which isn't usually bad unless he is on his feet a lot.
 
While we were at Riley, we were offered 3 tickets to last Thursday's Colts game.  Samuel has met several of the players at the hospital, but never had the opportunity to go to a game.  I would have loved for one of his siblings to go with him, but with Samuel needing the wheelchair to go any distance we were unsure of the logistics of getting him dropped off and where he needed to go.  So, Barry and I took Samuel so there would be two adults.  It was a really fun treat to be there to watch a game live.  Samuel loved it and apparently he brought the Colts good luck because they won.  
 
We are trying to fit a few more fun things in during these last days before Samuel goes back to Riley.  His little brother, Micah, turns 4 on Sunday and we have decided to have his birthday party early on Thursday night.  That is Samuel's last evening home and he will get to spend it with all his family, grandparents and cousins.
 
Friday, Barry will take Samuel, get him settled at the hospital, and spend the weekend with him.  We will swap places on Sunday and I plan on staying with him until he is discharged which will hopefully be by Saturday.  Our prayer is that Samuel's body will tolerate the chemo well and there will be no complications.  From experience, we know that things can go either way:  super smooth or super complicated.  And we choose to trust God.
 
PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • Complete and total healing for Samuel
  • This course of chemo to do its job and eliminate the leukemia completely
  • Protection for Samuel's liver which is specifically at risk
  • No fevers or complication that would keep Samuel in the hospital longer
  • Good spirits for Samuel
  • Good spirits and cooperative attitudes for those at home
  • God's protective hand over each member of our family
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
Trish

Journal entry by Trish Richhart

As I write this, Samuel is in his fourth day of chemo.  He will have ten days total.  That was a hard thing to consent to do.  The reality of what chemo does is harsh.  However, the reality of what leukemia does is harsh, too.  It would take our little boy's life.  Chemo will be hard on his little body, but the hope is that it will destroy the leukemia leaving him with life.  So far, he is handling it well.  His appetite has diminished, but he is still able to eat and keep it all in his tummy.  He is tired, but has still had the energy to beat his mom at air hockey.  Thank you, God!

After chemo, Samuel will have virtually no white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets left.  He also won't have the bad leukemia cells either, and that's the goal.  He can be given platelets and red blood cells (hemoglobin), but he will have to make his own white blood cells.  While he has a low white blood cell count, his body will not have the ability to fight off any infection, so he will have to stay in the hospital where he is monitored closely and can be administered an antibiotic quickly should the need arise.  Once his blood count numbers rise to a certain level, he will be able to come home.  This should be anywhere from 21-28 days after the start of chemo.  Then he can be home for 1-2 weeks before the process will probably begin again.

Because of the unique form of leukemia that Samuel has, the full treatment plan is an unknown.  At the end of this first cycle, he will be reevaluated and a decision will be made as to the next step.  So, there is no way to plan ahead.  If God wants to teach us a lesson on relying on him day by day, he sure has found a way to do it!  So, we do not know what the future holds, but we do know the One who holds the future.




Samuel’s Story

Site created on November 4, 2014

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11


So, one day life is “normal” and the next day you get a phone call telling you to take your child to the ER for a blood transfusion.  We had no idea how our lives would change on that day.

Our son, Samuel, is five years old.  He the sixth child in a family of seven children.  He is active like most five year olds, so when we noticed a bunch of bruises on him, we didn’t think too much of it.  However, when a tiny sore on his tongue became nasty and infected looking in just a couple of days, I decided to take him to the doctor.  I pointed out the bruising and she thought it would be a good idea to go to the lab and have some blood work done.  

The next day started normal.  I was reading aloud to the kids when I received a phone call from my doctor’s office.  The nurse told me that Samuel had a critically low platelet count and that I should take him immediately to the ER for a blood transfusion. (They were at 2.)

Barry came home from work and we grabbed up Samuel and took him to Lutheran Hospital.  We were told in the ER that Samuel was to be directly admitted.  We bypassed registration and were immediately taken up to Pediatrics.  I had this horrible sense as we were walking in that he would not be leaving the hospital for a long time.

A doctor came in to speak with us.  The rest of Samuel’s blood work revealed that not only were his platelets low, but also his hemoglobin and white blood cell counts.  The doctor suspected leukemia.  My poor son who had never had blood drawn before was subjected to many needle pokes.  There was more testing, an IV, and a transfusion of both platelets and hemoglobin.

The next day, Barry and I were led into a conference room with a group of doctors and nurses while a Child Life Specialist hung out with Samuel in his room.  Both of us knew that this could not be good news.  We were told that tests confirmed that Samuel had leukemia and it was the less common AML type.  This type requires more intense treatment and is done mostly inpatient.  They told us they had scheduled us at Riley Hospital the next morning for a bone marrow draw where they would be able to better pinpoint the type with more detail and come up with a treatment plan.  

At Riley, the leukemia was confirmed, but with further testing it was discovered that he has an even rarer form of leukemia.  There are two types of leukemia most often seen in children.  The most common type is ALL (Acute lymphocytic leukemia), then there is AML (Acute myeloid leukemia).  Samuel has a combination with both,  biphenotypic acute leukemia (BAL).  It is rare in adults and even less common in children.  The odds of getting struck by lightning are higher than getting this.  

You can imagine that Barry and I were reeling from the shock.  This diagnosis and the treatment to fight it greatly affects our family in more ways than I can even count.  However, what is constantly in my mind is that my God is way bigger than leukemia AND He loves this little one even more than we do.  So, if he is putting him and all of us on this path, he has a purpose and He will use it for good.  

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” Romans 8:28

We don’t understand, but we can trust Him.  The big picture looks overwhelming, but we can take baby steps and hold the hand of Him who has the strength to walk us through this.

“ I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:11-13

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