Lachlan and Blakely have been wonderful during this trying time. They’ve not complained about losing out on so much: our annual Christmas trip to Mobile to see family, our planned summer mission trip to Scotland, and so many little things throughout each week. But yesterday they both were very disappointed. But for a good reason.
Two weeks ago, as the doctors were baffled with Harrison’s lack of response to chemotherapy, plans were put in motion for a bone marrow transplant. The first thing doctors needed to know was whether Harrison has a sibling match for his marrow. Family matches offer the best chance at successful transplants.
So Lachlan and Blakely gave blood to be tested.
Lachlan couldn’t wait. He was excited to walk into the clinic, stick out his arm, and take the needle like a man. What fourteen year-old boy doesn’t want to impress people with his courage? He didn’t argue or complain.
Blakely was a different story. What thirteen year-old girl wants a needle in her arm? She doesn’t have anything to prove. But when the time came for her to give blood, she gladly, if reluctantly, offered up her vein.
Sibling rivalry erupted.
After Blakely realized she would survive the needle, she became insistent that SHE be the donor for Harrison’s eventual transplant. Lachlan countered with his own insistence. It was a mixed blessing to hear my kids fighting… over who would offer the chance at life to their brother. I was upset that he would need this terrible procedure, but delighted that my other children both were hoping they would be “the match.”
Dr. Weston made a prediction: Lachlan would be the match. Blakely decided she didn’t like Dr. Weston any longer!
We got the results: neither of Harrison’s siblings were a match.
No one could believe it. There is a 1 in 4 chance of a sibling being a bone marrow match, and Harrison has TWO siblings. We were all disappointed, none more than Lachlan and Blakely. I proud that they were upset. They are willing to do anything to help their brother.
So where are we on a transplant? Dr. Weston said that without a family member match the transplant option moves “back a few steps.” In other words, if the current treatment stops working, we’ll try something else before moving to a transplant. Had there been a family match, a transplant would have happened more quickly in the process. Non-family match transplants are much riskier, apparently, than family match transplants.
Of course, if the current treatment course works, we won’t need a transplant. Unfortunately, a family match transplant is a weapon, and a quite effective weapon at that, we no longer have in the arsenal.
So we continue to pray that God provides healing through the protocol we are on without requiring the more risky transplant option.
As you pray for Harrison, one major concern right now–in addition to healing from cancer–is protection from seasonal viruses and infections. The flu is deadly for leukemia patients, especially with blood counts as low as Harrison’s are at the moment. An epidemic of norovirus is also being reported in the triangle. This virus spreads very quickly and easily. Please pray that Lachlan and Blakely don’t bring it home from school and that Harrison avoids any other infections as well. This stage of treatment will keep his numbers at some of the lowest of the entire treatment protocol.
We continue to remember the promise of Psalm 126, that those who go out with weeping return with shouts of joy. The Lord has done great things for Harrison in Jesus Christ, and we find our refuge in our kind God.