Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An update on Noah


Today was a difficult and disheartening day for the Ellsworth family. I’ll do my best to explain the situation as clearly and concisely as I can.

To recap, on Sept. 9, Noah had surgery to remove his port, but the surgeons were unable to remove all of the catheter that was attached to it, so he still has about three inches of that inside him. We were hopeful that there would not be any problems with that. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

An echocardiogram today revealed a small blood clot at the base of the catheter. The catheter actually extends about a centimeter into his heart. While the blood clot is not big enough right now to be a lethal threat, that could change if the clot continues to grow. That basically left us with three options:

1. Do nothing and continue to monitor the clot to see what happens with it. Not a good option.

2. Have surgery to remove the catheter. While this is certainly a possibility, it’s very invasive. Considering that it’s open heart surgery, it also carries a decent amount of risk. This option remains on the table in the future, but we have opted against it for now.

3. Begin a regimen of anticoagulation medication that will likely keep the blood clot from getting any larger and that could actually remove the clot entirely. This is the option we are pursuing. The bad part is how that medicine is delivered. It’s an injection that Noah will have to get twice a day for the next three months.

Needless to say, Noah is not thrilled about this, and our hearts are breaking for him. Here we thought we were finished with his treatment, finished with the needle sticks, and finished with the enslavement to a daily and nightly administration of medicine. So much for that.

The hope is that while the anticoagulation medicine will keep the blood clot from growing, Noah’s body will at the same time begin to “wall off” the blood clot, so to speak, so that when he’s done with the medicine, the blood clot will not be any threat to him in the future. This is a very real possibility, and it’s certainly what we’re praying for. We have reason to be hopeful, since this is essentially what happened with the catheter, thus the reason it was not able to be removed.

If, after three months, the treatment does not stop the growth of the blood clot, he’ll likely need surgery to remove the catheter fragment and the attached blood clot. The tricky part is that an echocardiogram will not reveal whether or not Noah’s body has naturally contained the blood clot. The only way we’ll know that has likely happened is if further imaging tests show that the blood clot has not grown back, or not grown larger, after he has been off the anticoagulation medicine for a while.

So, the best-case scenario is that after three months there will be no signs of the blood clot. We deeply desire your prayers to that end. Please pray also that Noah will continue to be brave and adapt to this difficult treatment that he’s facing for the next three months. It won’t be easy for him. I’ll take him in later tonight for his first shot. Sarah and I will have to learn how to administer the shots to him at home. We have to stay at St. Jude until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest, and possible even until Friday afternoon, as they do tests to determine the appropriate dosage for him.

We’re very discouraged, and we’re very weary. We greatly need your prayers to be strong for Noah and our other two kids, and that we would remain faithful in circumstances that continue to be trying and burdensome. But most of all, we need your prayers for healing for Noah.

Thank you for the prayers and encouragement that you’ve offered throughout this journey.

Categories : Family, Leukemia, Noah


  1. Joe Kohm says:

    Praying for all of you Tim….

  2. Lisa eftink says:

    So sorry to hear this but we know the great physician and he wil be with all of you will be praying for all of you

  3. I, and our church, will be praying!