On Tuesday, April 21st, we went to the hospital for blood counts to determine whether Gabriel was able to commence the following phase of treatment. We did not know what to expect with his blood counts as we were told previously that it would probably take longer for his counts to rise. This information comes from people who have years of observing and treating various ages of children ranging from babies to teens. Expert knowledge can cause us to sometimes lead us to forget that God is more powerful than those experts that specialize in cancer treatment for children. We discovered this truth when our Oncologist was delightfully surprised that his numbers increased quicker than suspected. In addition, they rose higher than the commencement of the first phase of treatment, which also delightfully shocked our Oncologist. We thank God for these blessings during difficult times. It is these blessings that increase our faith when we choose to glorify God rather than simply base such fantastic news on coincidence. Thank you Jesus!
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)
The following day we started the next phase with our 12 hour day. A typical day for our family at the hospital is helping Gabriel cope through his port access and then seeking ways to be entertained most of the day while we wait. Gabriel had three different types of chemo medications through his IV, but the long day entails making sure he is fully hydrated through IV fluids to protect his organs from the harsh chemo.
After we were done at the hospital we were excited about going out for dinner as a family to Applebees. Simone was with Grandma Bender for the day, but daddy picked her up after her nap so we could spend the rest of the hospital stay together. It was so wonderful to go out for dinner to appreciate one another in a different way. You begin to appreciate the small details in life when you go through such atrocities. After dinner we enjoyed a stroll in the mall and shopped at H & M, which was so exciting for our beautiful children. They could not control themselves and were dancing everywhere. It was quite hilarious to watch and brought many smiles. We had an enjoyable time as a family and look forward to more of our brief entertainment opportunities while Gabriel's neutrophils are high. We also don't have to go back to the hospital for two weeks, which is very exciting for the Smith family.
Thank you once again for checking in to see how we are doing. We do look forward to seeing you when time allows. Again, please don't hesitate to drop a line and we will try our best to get back to you. Please know that your calls and/or e-mails do help to know you are thinking of us at this time.