As Kylene mentioned recently, Jacob's donor had to reschedule the bone marrow transplant date, pushing Jacob's hospital admittance and chemo start date back a bit. We got a call on Monday from a Children's Hospital Los Angeles nurse to let us know that they were switching Jacob's chemotherapy treatment to a "Genetic Disease Unrelated Donor-Reduced Intensity for children less than 40kg," "a protocol from Seattle" that is supposed to have reduced side effects compared to the treatment they were planning to give him. I wasn't able to find anything about this online, so when I e-mailed the nurse for more information she replied that one of the CHLA BMT doctors we've worked with "is the guiding force for us using this protocol. She had heard the presentation of the protocol and its results in February at the ASBMT meeting." Jacob will apparently be the second patient at CHLA to receive this reduced side effect chemo and radiation treatment.
Also on Monday, the president of Northcentral University (where I'm earning my Ph.D.) e-mailed the student body about a new academic leave of absence policy allowing students experiencing hardships to take up to 90 days leave from school, and this policy will take effect next Monday, April 4th—incredibly, the same date as Jacob's admission to the hospital. A little over a month ago, just prior to the start of my current class, I had asked my academic advisor if there was any way that I could take a leave of absence during Jacob's two or more months in the hospital, but at the time the best the university could offer was a three-week break in between classes, which would not have helped at all since my class started on February 28th. Now, after receiving this e-mail about the new policy, I replied to the university president and my academic advisor and asked if there was any way that I could take a leave beginning on the date of the new policy, explaining that it was also my son's admission date. I was concerned that my request would be denied since I'm already in the middle of a class. However, I was excited to receive a reply from my advisor on Tuesday stating that he had spoken with the university's academic liaison and that she would approve the leave if I submit a request on Monday.
Recently we have looked at a couple of homes to try to find a place we can live on a more permanent basis after Jacob is out of the hospital (for now we are staying with my parents so they can help with Ethan). As Kylene already mentioned, last week we looked at a house in Alta Loma that seemed to be perfect for our needs in terms of the monthly rent price, cleanliness (which will be important when Jacob is out of the hospital since his immune system will be weak for a year after the BMT), neighborhood, and number of rooms. I received a call on Tuesday from the owner of the house, and he offered to let us rent it. We will meet with him on Thursday to sign the papers and get the keys! It will be nice to take our things out of storage and gradually start setting up our new home.
While some might view these as a series of coincidental occurrences that by random chance happened to work out for our benefit, we know better. =) We know that God is mindful of our needs and the trials that we are facing, and we see these blessings as evidence of the eternal love that He, our Heavenly Father, has for His children. No matter what happens in the coming months, even if things don't work out the way that we hope, we know that we can place our trust in our Heavenly Father's will and know that He has a plan for each of us.
I know that many of you who are praying for and thinking about our family come from a wide variety of spiritual or religious backgrounds. I would like to share with you an experience of a leader of our church when he was in the midst of extreme trials and persecution in March 1839—172 years ago this month. He struggled to know why he and others were having to endure seemingly unending and grievous afflictions. In humility he prayed and pleaded for deliverance, and in answer to his prayer he received a revelation, an excerpt of which follows (emphasis mine):
If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;
And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.As always, we are so thankful to each of you for keeping Jacob and our family in your thoughts and prayers. We feel the love and concern you have for us, and we wish we could adequately express our deep gratitude for your kindness and loving support.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?