Thursday, April 12, 2012

Family Pictures: Before and After

From the moment I saw this picture my sister snapped of us on Christmas morning, I was in love with it.  Not only did I like the way the matching pajamas all came together on us, but I also loved how we actually all were looking at the camera and smiling (mostly).  Even our dog, Rocky, whom we didn't notice was in the pictures until afterward, looked so regal and protective sitting there on the picnic table in front of us.    

Although looking back, I can see the signs everywhere....little did we know then the storm that was brewing in Spencer's body at the time.  And little did we know that this picture would be the last physical evidence of our "normal" lives.  A glimpse of our lives before our world was turned permanently upside down. 

Fast forward a few we are now. 
 Spencer's body is weak, but fighting with all its might.   We are physically exhausted, but ever in awe at the generosity and kindness of friends and strangers alike.  While we miss being all together as a family,  we cherish  every second we do have together.  And we now pray with more fervency than ever as we long for the day when we can say again:

We are all here,
Father, mother, sister, brother,
All who hold each other dear.
Each chair is filled—
We’re all at home …
We’re all—all here


  • Yesterday marked the 3-month anniversary from the day of his diagnosis. 
  • ANC is still 0.   They think his counts aren't rebounding because of the infection he is fighting.
  • His chest pain is still pretty significant, although it seems that they've finally found a pain medication that seems better at controlling it (dilaudid).  They did a ct scan and an angiogram yesterday to rule out a blood clot (everything was normal).  Sometime tonight or tomorrow (whenever they can squeeze him in) they're doing an MRI to rule out a bone infection in his chest. 
  • They've identified the bacteria in his blood as a "normal" bacteria that is not a problem for someone with a strong immune system.  Unfortunately since Spencer's body is not healthy, they still need to take it seriously and treat it aggressively with antibiotics.  Although he's randomly spiked fevers for the last few nights in a row, in general they're pleased that the antibiotics they're already giving him seem to be helping the infection. 
  • Because each blood transfusion offers a new opportunity for the introduction of otherwise harmless bacteria into his immuno-compromised body, the docs are pushing off giving him transfusions for as long as they can. His hemoglobin counts have been quite low for a few days now, so Spence is very fatigued.    With as low as his hemoglobin/hematocrit was today we expect that he'll get a full blood transfusion tomorrow.  (Hemoglobin=7.7, Normal=11.1, Automatic transfusion when counts are <7)
  • His platelets were at 15 today (normal is 140).   They automatically transfuse platelets when they get below 10, but since he was having random nosebleeds, they opted to give him platelets this afternoon.  
  • Don't forget to send your birthday greetings to Spencer.  He'll be 17 on April 30th and we're hoping to shower him with cards and letters from around the country.  (No gifts please).  
    Email me at for our address. 

In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.  (Author Unknown.  Thanks to Kim B. for sending it.)


annalisa said...

I love both pictures!

So will Spence be in the hospital until he is done with round 4?

I hope they figure out what's causing his chest pain.

Trisha said...

How I love this family, let me count the ways...

All our prayers and love to you! Beautiful pictures.

K said...

I love both family photos! You have a beautiful family my dear sister!

I hope Spence has a better day today and that they figured out the source of his chest pain. We've been saying extra prayers for Spence!

Kim B. said...

I love that in both of your pictures your arms are around one another :) It just shows what a close knit family you are. Absolutely precious, you are blessed! My prayers continue for you all, especially Spencer!

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the matching PJs?

Lara said...

I don't see them offered there this year, but we got them from Chasing Fireflies:

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