Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A little more direction...

Hi everybody,

I am having trouble believing that there are only 5 more days until Christmas. I think we have a pretty good handle on our Christmas shopping; only a few more little items to pick up and we should be done. For the first time since Steph and I have been married, we are celebrating at home just with our little family. After all the craziness this year, we decided it would be a good time to hole up in our house, enjoy our little ones, and have our own Christmas celebration. We’re still planning on traveling to see family, but are looking forward to Caylee and Levi helping us start our own little traditions. This last week has been a good one. The kids are doing very well, although the colder weather and rain we’ve had lately tends to make us all a little stir-crazy from time to time. I was able to head south for a weekend hunting trip with Steph’s dad and brother-in-law last weekend; it was a great break and time out in the woods. Steph’s mom came up to spend some time with her and the kids.

As you know, the home healthcare nurse came out yesterday to draw Levi’s labs. We got the results yesterday afternoon, and everything looked good. His ANC had come up quite a bit. It wasn’t up to the four or five thousand that the doctor originally wanted to reach before performing a bone marrow biopsy, but we talked to his office yesterday and they informed us that it had come up enough and we had waited long enough to go ahead and perform the test. So, this morning we loaded up the van and the two kids and headed south to Indianapolis.

After we got there, everything went pretty smooth (thankfully). But the trip down was rough. The kids were good as gold as they snuggled in their car seats and watched a movie. Steph and I, however, each reached our breaking points somewhere south of Kokomo. There are the obvious hard moments in the fight against cancer, the ones that come to mind whenever you start to reflect on what you’ve endured so far in the journey include learning the diagnosis, relying on family and friends to make ends meet, logging thousands of miles on the road… But sometimes the little things that get overlooked can be just as damaging, including the eroding effect that the constant stress and strain can have on relationships. Stephanie is the best friend and closest ally I have, and I am for her as well. For any of you out there, who may be starting a journey like ours, make sure you guard your relationships. Diseases like this don’t just attack physically, they attack emotionally as well. We are both looking for a chance to get away together at some point; just hope that opportunity can come soon.

Once we got there and spent the obligatory ten minutes staring at the aquarium in the waiting room and going through the weighing and measurement motions, we took Levi back to the treatment room where they put him under conscious sedation to perform the bone marrow biopsy. He fought it a little going to sleep, but they were able to get everything they needed and he slept soundly for a half hour or so after the procedure was finished. Caylee was great – she hung out in the playroom and painted a couple of birdhouse Christmas tree ornaments. After everything was all done, the kids walked out of the clinic with a few toys, some crackers and cookies, and a whole lot of energy. We stopped at Red Robin to grab something to eat on the way home, and let’s just say I tipped the waitress pretty well for all the hassle and launched kiddie cups she endured during our meal.

Before Levi’s bone marrow biopsy was started, the doctor informed us that he had decided that Levi should undergo the fifth round of chemo. Despite the fact that we knew this was an option all along, it did bring to an abrupt end the “everything is normal” game we had been playing for the past several weeks. We weren’t excited to hear this news, but we’ll accept it as the direction we need to continue to move towards the victory in Levi’s battle. We are hoping to hear back some preliminary results from Levi’s tests tomorrow, and potentially we could hear the results from the MRD test by the end of the week. We shouldn’t have to start the fifth round until after the New Year, which means that we’ll get to spend Christmas and my week off of work next week as a family.

I have to admit, getting the troops all in line to start this again right now is overwhelming. Over the course of this journey, I have had several friends remind me that God will not give us more than we can handle. But, to be honest, I have yet to find that promise in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians we are told that God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, but that's a different topic. Now, I am not going to say that it’s not in there; usually, once I make a declarative statement like that, I am shown my error rather quickly. But if you think about it, if we never have more than we can handle, then why do we need God? What I have found is this; that often we often face more than we can handle - on our own. This requires us to rely on God to get us through whatever it is we’re facing. I found this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, where Paul talks about enduring hardships and pressure far beyond what they were able to bear. But in verse 9, he says that “this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God.” Then, the reassurance that “on Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.” So, with this next portion of Levi’s battle, we will set our hope on Him, and continue to rely on you for the help you provide with your prayers. Thank you for continuing to lift our little one up and for your support for our family.

We love you all,
Michael, Stephanie, Caylee, and little Levi


  1. "May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit." Gift of Hope's mission statement.

  2. You are right that there is a common misconception about God "not putting on us more than we can bear". The scripture you mentioned at 1 Corinthians 10:13 highlights that God will not allow a Christian to be tempted beyond what he can bear, but it does not say what the source of the temptation or trial is. The context was Paul explaining how they were tempted by sin. James 1:13 says, "When under trial, let no one say: "I am being tried by God." For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone."

    He is not the source of the trials we may face, but he does allow us to be tried, and as the scriptures cited above explain, he will help us, if we rely on Him. So you are perfectly correct in doing so.

    You and Steph have been incredible through all of this and we should consider it a blessing to have been a witness to it. God has big plans for that boy! Love you guys.


  3. I think anyone hates to hear of someone going through something like this. It is a horrible thing. But i think that there is always a reason for it. I think that you and steph are the parents of levi to teach people.

    When i read your posts it re-afferms my faith in god in a strange way. Maybe not so much in god, but knowing that no matter what is going on you can depend on him.

    I feel so sorry that you all have to go on this journey and find myself praying for levi three or four times a day when i look at my children. I pray for you that this will be the end of it and that he will get to be a normal child and you guys can have a "normal" life.

    My prayers are with you!!!!!

  4. I know you were hoping not to go through round 5, and I'm sorry to hear that. Your instincts of holing up for family time sound good, and I hope it is relaxing and fun. Try to delay worry (is that crazy?)

  5. Thinking of you all. Please know that this household will be ready to help anyway we can after the first of the year. We love you all and your family is very special to us. And when that time comes for mom and dad to get away awhile feel free to leave the kids with us!!

  6. Dear Grandchildren,
    We trust God in that the decision for the fifth treatment is necessary. We pray for strength for all of you to endure this situation again. We also pray that this will be the final link in the cure for little Levi.
    Have a very Merry Christmas. So glad you can all be together and forget, for a time, the cares of the world. Enjoy!!!

    Our love always,
    Grandpa and Grandma Gordanier

  7. 2 Timothy 1:7
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

    I have to claim this sound mind so many times. It is ours to claim Tim. The Holy Spirit in us is how we can do this. I've been there, I am there. I feel for you right now and will pray.

    Because of Him, Janice

  8. Michael and Stephanie,
    We are SO HAPPY that you get to have Levi home for Christmas. Another Prayer answered!!! Even if there is a Fifth (and final round) for Levi,know that it is necessary to secure Levi's HEALING! We Love you all and Wish you An AWESOME CHRISTMAS and a HEALING NEW YEAR!!!! Faithful Praying Warriors! xoxo Brenda&Gene