Bringing the fight home ���� ❤️ #GodsGotThis #JeremiahStrong #IWantToFight
Yesterday marked ten weeks to the day Jeremiah (16) was told his sports injury was really a malignant tumor in his chest.
It’s not been an easy road, with Jeremiah’s bone cancer and the paralysis caused by his back tumor.
But your prayers are touching the heart of God.
In our suffering, we see God’s mercy all around us. He’s guiding, providing, comforting. People are praying. Fasting. Sending cards. Visiting the hospital. Mailing care packages. Donating equipment. Offering financial help. Sharing testimonies. Giving advice. Blessing us with wholistic supplies. Worshiping Jesus with us.
If there is any beauty in the ugliness of Jeremiah’s cancer, it’s seen in the unfailing love of God and the army of Christians who have rallied to his fight.
Thank you �� ♥️
Jeremiah recovered from the side effects of his chemo drug and was able to leave the PICU. He’s now back in the regular pediatric ward.
He had his last chemo for this round. He also had his final radiation. When he was done with his radiation he rang a bell in the hospital to signify the end of treatment.
We also found out yesterday that Jeremiah will not be having immediate surgery on his chest tumor, as we had expected. This is disappointing.
Osteoblastic osteosarcoma is an aggressive type of bone cancer that begins in the cells that form bones. Osteoblastic is one of the fastest growing types of osteosarcomas. It is considered “high grade.”
The oncologist thought it would be best to “get ahead of the cancer,” break with protocol, and perform surgery on Jeremiah’s chest prior to more chemo. However, the surgeon did not agree.
Like the surgeons in Tijuana, the surgeon at MD Anderson is unwilling to perform the surgery. Recovery time from such an extensive surgery would take three weeks. The cancer could spread quickly in the time it would take Jeremiah to recover. Time is precious. Three weeks could literally cost Jeremiah his life.
If surgery is to happen, we first have to show that the chemo is successful. That means another round or two of chemo and extensive tests.
We also learned that the hospital is sending Jeremiah home on Monday. We were first told it would be Friday but his physical and occupational therapists advocated STRONGLY on behalf of Jeremiah. They managed to convince the medical team at MD Anderson to keep Jeremiah until Monday so they can cram necessary therapy into the weekend.
The difficulty for us isn’t just that Jeremiah is battling for his life.
Jeremiah is also dealing with paralysis from the chest down, caused by the tumor’s growth in his spine. The nerve damage effects his abdominal and back muscles. The new growth in his back means Jeremiah is now a T6 paralytic.
The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord carries messages from the brain to the body. There are motor and sensory “tracts” the nerve endings travel. The spinal tumor has compressed the nerves. Since Jeremiah’s surgery (to preserve his legs) was unable to completely remove the tumor, the cancer has grown back. Its creeping lengthwise up and down his spine. It’s now covering area T4 to T8.
The tumor growth is roughly at chest level in Jeremiah’s spine. This means he’s lost control over his core, in addition to his legs. This makes even the smallest activity difficult. We are praying the radiation kills the cancer in his back. If the tumor continues to grow, Jeremiah is in danger of losing control of his arms too.
With his spinal cord injury comes a whole set of complications- loss of muscle mass, infection, cardiovascular and respiratory issues. Jeremiah has lost more than his ability to walk.
The day before he lost his ability to walk, Jeremiah delivered the Easter sunrise sermon at our church.
He preached, “In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death…In my personal life, the resurrection is everything to me. If there is no resurrection I’m to be pitied. There’s no point to hope. No will to fight against the things that ail me. It wasn’t enough that Jesus was beaten, scourged, and crucified. The resurrection validates the sacrifice. It proves that he is…the Messiah. It proves he’s the Almighty God is the flesh. It proves that death is not the final answer and there’s eternal life to those who believe.”
The following day we rushed Jeremiah to the ER. Things have been changing for the worst ever since. But just as he preached, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ that gives him the “will to fight.”
One moment Jeremiah’s fight is against excruciating pain, then it’s the diagnosis, then it’s the metastasis, then it’s the 10% survival rate, then it’s the paralysis, then it’s the regrowth. But Jeremiah keeps fighting. When cancer knocks him down, he prays and gets back up.
Now the fight’s coming home.
We’re not sure what Jeremiah’s future looks like. But we know when he returns home, his family and friends will be waiting to love him and help him. We also know we’ll be focusing on holistic treatment.
One of the oncologists explained, “Curing Jeremiah’s cancer is very challenging.”
Challenging. Yes.
But we have a Champion on our side.
And He’s already conquered death.
Whether he lives or dies, Jeremiah has been given the victory through Jesus Christ.
When Jeremiah was told of his diagnosis, he wrote this prayer on Facebook:
“I don’t deserve your healing but you’ll always deserve my praise. Through death or life may Your great name be lifted up and everything that is of me fall to the waste side. Oh Lord, strengthen me to fight the battle with a courage Satan cannot tamper with. If you take me home or leave me here to fight a little longer, may it be Your breath in my lungs and your song on my tongue. Lord, I consecrate myself to the full advancement of the kingdom of God. Lord, I love you and cannot wait to see you face to face. Amen.”
It’s because Jesus is his Champion that Jeremiah can pray “to fight the battle”…even if the fight takes his life.
“‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).