Monday, February 3, 2014

Some clarification


DSC_1555 (2)We met with the doctor today for the first time since Noah’s MRD on Friday came back negative. I may have misunderstood a bit what was told to me on the phone on Friday, so I wanted to provide some clarification as to Noah’s condition.

Technically, Noah is not yet “cancer free.” There’s a good possibility that some cancer remains in his body. The test on Friday just indicated that doctors are not able to detect any cancer in him. There’s a difference between cancer being gone and being undetectable.

Now, that doesn’t mean that Friday’s test wasn’t good. It was great. In fact, it’s the best possible result we could have hoped for, and we are immensely grateful for it. The doctor said that the body’s positive early response to this treatment is one of the best indicators of long-term success. He also continues to be thrilled at how Noah looks and acts.

Friday’s test result does not in any way mean we are done or nearly done with treatment. This path is about two and a half years long regardless of what any tests show along the way. The lengthy chemo treatment is necessary to remove all traces of cancer from his body and to set him up for the long term with minimal chances of relapse.

So, we press on. We are still about a month away from returning home, and we’re still many months away from being finished. Friday’s test result was a big first step to Noah one day being cancer free, but we are not yet able to classify him that way.

A few prayer requests:

— Pray for Bennett Coleman, a 19-month-old boy from Lafayette, La., who is here at St. Jude. Bennett has a rare extra-renal tumor and will most likely be here at St. Jude for much of the year. I spoke to his dad Ben (who is a staff member at a Baptist church in Lafayette) on the phone yesterday, and their family is looking for a place to stay in Memphis for several months. Like us, they have five family members. Like us, the housing that St. Jude provides isn’t sufficient because only four people are allowed to stay there. Please pray that the Lord would heal little Bennett, and that he would provide a place for his family to stay in Memphis for the long road ahead.

— Pray for two Carsons we have met during our time here who are undergoing treatment for the same type of leukemia that Noah has. Carson Chapman is a 14-year-old from Kentucky, and Carson Bryant is a 2-year-old from Texas.

— Thank the Lord that a third Carson — Carson Dooley — a 6-year-old from Alabama, is finished with his treatment and is indeed cancer free. Carson is one of the models we hope and pray that Noah will one day be like.

— Pray for Josiah Dover, the 9-year-old son of Charlie and Jennifer Dover, who manage the Habitat for Hope house where we’re staying. He also has ALL and is in the middle of his treatment. He and Daniel have become fast friends.

— Pray that we will be sensitive to the needs of others, like those I just mentioned. It’s easy to be focused only on ourselves during a time like this, but we want to minister to and care for others in similar circumstances.

— Continue to pray for healing and comfort for Noah. He has a spinal tap tomorrow and  a big day of chemo coming up on Friday. Though the amount of chemo he’s had so far has been large, the doctor described Friday’s treatment as “a bomb” — bigger than anything so far. We’re of course concerned about the side effects, especially since this batch will be drugs he hasn’t had yet.

— Pray that baseball season would get here quickly. 😉

Thank you for your concern and your prayers.

Categories : Family, Leukemia, Noah


  1. Danny Franks says:

    Thanks so much for this update, Tim. On a side note, the Dovers were on a team with some of our church planters from the Summit. I was able to meet them in Greece a few years ago. They’re such a precious family.

    I’d lost track of them soon after Josiah’s diagnosis. Please tell them I said hello!

  2. Ranelle says:

    Thanks for the update. I have prayed for the above and will continue to pray for the upcoming treatment on Friday. I wish I didn’t have to read your writings in a situation like this, but you are such an excellent one! I know you are going to make a great journalism professor. Please tell Noah Makki said she loves him.

  3. Tim &Tonya Shumate says:

    Tim and Sarah, we rejoice with you and continue to pray for you all. Thank you for sharing how we can pray for you all as well as others that are walking this road. As we pray, one thing that continues to come to my mind over and over again is that you’re not walking it alone. He is faithful and his steadfast love cares for you all. Grace upon grace. In Christ, Tim & Tonya S.

  4. Sandy Phipps says:

    I knew this was coming for you all but hated to tell you. God has placed you and your family here to witness to others who are not saved or maybe as strong in Lord as they should be. Nothing helps more than strength in numbers. You will all learn to lean on each other’s strength but more importantly God’s healing and mighty Hand! I have written down many Scriptures for my grandson now that he is back from boot camp. They are mostly from Psalms but one on Deuteronomy all of which speak of the battle we fight and how God gives us the equipment toface those battles. God is always there right in front behind and all around us protecting us from enemies that we face on a daily basis. How true that is for your family as well. Prayers and praise as well.

  5. sally doyle says:

    I know you don’t know me but I have recently met Adam Dooley and his son Carson at st Jude two weeks ago. My 3 yr old son, fitz, was diagnosed with leukemia(all) two weeks ago. We are on day 17. Just wanted you to know you guys are in our prayers and here if we can help in any way. We’re at st Jude almost daily now. Blessings.

  6. Pam says:

    Praying for you all everyday. Thank you for the updates. God Bless you and your family. You’re all in my heart, and in my prayers daily.

  7. Diane says:

    It was great to meet your whole family last night at Habitat for Hope. My boys enjoyed the nerf war. Our family will be praying for Noah’s treatment and for God’s sustaining strength for the next three years. Trusting He will do great things in and through your family. Your story is for His glory!!

  8. suzanne says:

    Being told my husbands cancer (burkitts lymphoma) was in remission was unexplainable… only to lose him 2wks later… anger and confusion took over…but as a parent to 2 children ( Emma wasn’t even 1yet), I had to stay strong…my lil angels kept me focused on the good and not holding on to the loss and fear I really felt…good luck in every step of this journey…something good will prevail…ur family and support system are in my prayers!!!

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