Friday, June 24, 2011
MORE MIRACLES OF LIFE & HEALING
God is, indeed, faithful! Ethan turned 2 last March 27 and his growth has been remarkable ever since the PTLD saga. We praise God daily for watching over our dearest little boy.
To give you some back story, we first noticed in December that there were stains of fresh blood in Ethan’s stool. By January, his lymph nodes not only increased in size, but also in number around his neck. Although he remained active, doctors suspected a gastro-intestinal problem or worse, it can be post transplant lymphoproliferative disorder or PTLD. Ethan was admitted for CT scan which was supposed to be just a simple procedure but became complexed because of albumin deficiency. By February, his condition worsened, and he developed severe colds which caused him difficulty in breathing. His lymph nodes had gotten bigger including the adenoids which blocked his nasal passage, causing him to breathe only through the mouth.
Fearful that his condition would worsen, we wanted biopsy done asap so we’ll know the next steps to take. The biopsy procedure turned out critical. He even stayed overnight in ICU because his oxygen levels dropped. Lab results confirmed signs of PTLD at the early stage. Doctors wanted to treat his condition as “malignant” and keep him at the hospital in order to start chemo therapy treatment right away. In shock with their proposed management, we consulted his doctors in Singapore, who asked us to bring Ethan to them immediately. Another pathology was run in Singapore and in God’s miraculous power, results showed it was PTLD but on a much earlier stage. What a relief it was when we heard the doctors say, “It’s actually better than we’ve expected... Treat it and call it as an infection... I mean, it’s not even cancer...” Praise God, there was definitely no need for chemotherapy! Another drug was even unnecessary. All they did was stop the PROGRAF, a supposedly life-long immunosuppression drug for the protection of the liver graft, a drug which also prevented Ethan’s good cells from stopping the proliferation of bad cells. As treatment, Ethan was also given an anti-viral medicine for a month.
Looking back, Tina recalled the miracle prayer list she had written last January and Ethan not taking PROGRAF is one of them (so that his immune system will go up)! Truly, God has done another miracle for our precious son. Doctors cannot really conclude if Ethan will still take the PROGRAF later on. But they are delighted about his condition now. He is only taking steroids as immunosuppression and this is truly amazing! Since March, his blood count and liver functions are stable. His growth has been steadily advancing. His weight and height are catching up fast. He is learning new words everyday. One time over dinner he exclaimed, “Daddy, mang-ow pleeease....pleeease. Ow-kay?” And asks, “Mummee, ask, woh-ter, woh-ter (water), pleeease!” He can now say some of the food he eats like banana, hotcake, apple, bread, milk, etc...(and sometimes with a Singaporean accent) ☺.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Complete blood test & ultrasound showed positive improvements of his liver functions as well as blood count & renal functions. There is a constant drop from elevated to normal level of liver enzymes which is a good sign that Tina's liver inside Ethan's tummy is functioning well & absorbing nutrients.
Although the liver & spleen are still not within normal sizes, it will take sometime to achieve that. His medicines are significantly tapered down. Hopefully, this will promote physical growth since steroids impedes it.
His pediatrician, Dr. Nancy Tan, enthusiastically gave practical guidelines in caring & feeding Ethan. She is very encouraged to see Ethan actively playing & walking around. Ethan warmly gives her high fives & flying kisses & gamely dances to the song "My God is so great so strong & so mighty..."
One thing remains is to keep him from crowded places, from touching animals & plants, and from kids especially those who are sick & had live vaccinations.
Ethan did not enjoy the blood extractions & ultrasound but excitedly charms nurses & aunties. Our next consultation is within 4-6 months' time depending on his blood test next month at St. Luke's.
Meanwhile, Tina's test showed a well-functioning liver. She is very healthy, indeed. Praise our Savior!
Thank you for fervently praying.
1. Continuous growth, healing and protection.
2. Last Dec. 10, he passed fresh blood in his stools. Pray that there is no internal bleeding specifically in the liver.
Provision for routine check ups & medication.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Please pray for
1. Protection from viral and bacterial infections for all of us due to Ethan’s low immune system.
2. Provision for Ethan’s monthly blood tests, anti-rejection medicines and other medicines, and medical check-ups. Provision for a suitable house in Quezon City where we can move in soon; we are praying that we can transfer to a better place where air is cleaner & environment is more beneficial for Ethan's health towards complete recovery
3. Progress on Ethan’s growth and development - physically, mentally and emotionally.
4. Parental care: Wisdom, love, discernment, strength, and spiritual growth for us as we raise Ethan.
His Power, strength and wisdom manifested in Geoff as he juggles his roles in ministry.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Remembering His Faithfulness
We continue to celebrate with you as we offer thanks and praise to our mighty God for His goodness to us, especially for Ethan. Last September 27th, we celebrated Ethan’s 18th month birthday, remembering and rejoicing over how the Lord has sustained, provided and granted Ethan His gift of life. Last October 10th also marked another breakthrough as we celebrated God’s continuous protection. It has been 7 months since the transplant and Ethan’s blood tests indicated that Ethan remains stable. Ethan’s doctor said that he needs to be stable for at least 6 months to 1 year after transplant, though he will continue to have a low immune system because he’ll be taking immunosuppressant medicines for the rest of his life. By His grace, God gave Ethan a smooth recovery and continued to protect him from any kind of infection. We always recall what Ethan had gone through until the transplant day and everyday our hearts just shout with joy not only for what He has done, but also for His continuous presence, His mighty hand and His character revealed through Ethan.
Resting in His Arms
As we celebrate God’s miracle through Ethan, these past 3 months also served as God’s way of granting Tina a “sabbatical” since coming back last June from Singapore... a time of recovery and rest - physically, mentally and emotionally. Though our hearts and minds have been consistently covered with His blanket of peace these past 18 months, there has also been a mishmash of experiences - of joy, of grief, of fear, of hope, of waiting, of sadness, of praise, of despair, of persevering, of rejoicing and of loving and being loved. And so Tina praise God for granting her priceless time of reflection, of rest and retreat (she has not even looked at her Facebook since last year!) and of embracing precious time with Ethan - keeping an eye on him, feeding, giving medicines and having fun playing.
Raising Our Little Boy
“Thank you Jesus...” is the gentle whisper that comes out of our mouths everyday as we hold Ethan tightly in our arms. And every time Ethan hears the word “Jesus” he puts his hands together and is ready to pray! This is just one of God’s awesome gifts to us as parents -witnessing his growth, discovering more of his personality and enjoying His gift of ministry in nurturing, shepherding and loving Ethan. As God guides us in our growth as parents, we all the more grasp the depth of His love and nature as our Father - as we learn to play the different roles of a teacher, a disciplinarian, a playmate, a nurse, a chef, a discipler, a prayer warrior, a friend and many other surprising roles. What a wonderful privilege it is that God has given us, to be entrusted with His precious gift, Ethan.
Raring to Grow and Go
Ethan has been very active and is getting a bit taller. He now walks while we hold his hand and has made several brave attempts to walk on his own on the bed, knowing that it won’t hurt if he falls.
He has also made us smile and proud because he's been absorbing a lot, learning and recognizing things. He loves studying his abc books with pictures. He hands his book over to us and crawls over to our laps so we can teach him more words and objects. He loves to be asked what he just learned and tries to figure them out and points at the objects. He still loves making dance moves whenever he hears music and consistently snaps his fingers. When asked how old he is, he sticks out 1 finger in front of you. Also he points to his chest when asked, "Who's gwapo (handsome)?"
When our neighbor peeks through our window and calls his attention, he always smiles, waves "hello", blows a "flying kiss" and shows his "beautiful eyes" by blinking a lot of times. Indeed, we thank the Lord for his continuous development and ceaseless joyful spirit.
Recognizing His Grace
The endless miracles we behold each day continue to humble us. As we recognize His grace that is sufficient for us, He helps us remember His extraordinary ways and amazing people who came alongside us. And so we continue to thank you, you whom God brought to Ethan’s path - families, friends, missionaries, pastors, churches, foundations, doctors, nurses, perfect strangers, brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world. To you who willingly gave, earnestly prayed, sincerely loved, frequently encouraged, enthusiastically served and faithfully journeyed with us as a family, we truly praise God for you!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Today, we continue to celebrate Ethan’s new life with you! God continues to astound us as he watches over Ethan. His weight is now normal for his age, his yellowish-dark skin is much fairer, his eyes now white and no longer yellow, and his tummy no longer has fluid.
We also celebrate God’s goodness as Ethan continues to catch up on his milestones. He not only crawls but sits up, stands, identifies words and objects (like clock, light, rubber duckie,Tigger), sings and dances (while trying to snap his fingers and even claps), blinks his eyes when we say “beautiful eyes” and was able to say his first word, which was “car.” He also had a successful first time experience in making poop while sitting on his potty! Every night before going to sleep, we would tell him to pray first and he would sit up, put his hands together (sometimes he does it like clapping) and listens to Daddy pray. When we say “In Jesus’ name...”, he would agree by smiling and saying “uh-uh!”
But like any other growing baby, he’s experiencing mild discomfort from his sprouting teeth (now 6 in all) and cries from bumps and bruises when he gets so active. One thing has not changed though, he never fails to have a joyful spirit, always throwing us smiles, giggles and laughter. Best of all, Ethan is such a sweet baby that he always smothers us with kisses! What more could a parent ask for?
We’ve seen countless miracles of healing, & sustenance. We saw how God sustained Ethan for the past 3 weeks since coming back last June 5. He had his blood tests at 6:30 am every Wednesday at the St. Lukes Medical Center and he endured the waiting, wearing mask and even crying and trying to bear through the mistakes that pediatric doctors make as they try to extract blood from his small veins.
Ethan’s body or liver adjusted to the new environment, too. His liver enzymes became unstable and its numbers fluctuated based from the weekly blood tests. This is expected since generally, his liver needs about 6 months to a year to be stable, but the environment contributes to his condition. He is still very susceptible to viral & bacterial infections, and so we are not able to bring him to crowded places.
Ethan’s life has been and always is God’s way of telling us that He is with us, that He IS God and that He is alive. By God’s sufficient grace, we’ve learned to bask in his strength and sovereignty, and to take one day at a time with joy and faith knowing that He owns and loves us. We’ve learned to embrace every trial and circumstance and consider them as gifts and blessings which come our way, and that he truly honors our faith and obedience.
Monday, April 5, 2010
- Bilirubin normal @ 26 (0-26 umol/L) - Feb 8 was 356. Everyday, it decreases. That's why his eyes are whiter and his skin is fairer now.
- Liver enzymes are getting to normal levels: SGPT 45 (normal 0-40), SGOT 76 (normal 3-40), Albumin 32 (normal 37-51)
- CBC is good; platelet @ 135 now (normal 140-460).
- Electrolytes @ normal levels. This is the renal dysfunction indicator. Na 139 (normal 135-150), K 4.4 (normal 3.3-5.0)
- His wounds (surgery cut, central line, ex-drain hole) are dry.
Even more exciting is that... Ethan is ready to be discharged from the hospital on April 6! Praise the Lord!
Tina is also doing good. She is regaining voice, mobility & strength. She can already walk short distances slowly. God continues to sustain her and Geoff as they take care of Ethan.
Our God truly is amazing! His faithfulness and love never fails! Do continue to remember the Fajardos in your prayers! Thank you for helping make the journey less difficult for Ethan and his family!