Journal Entry

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

"You may hold my hand for a while, but you
hold my heart forever."

-Nichole Louise Divino

Dear Christi Crew,

This shall now be my shortest entry yet. All is well and we continue to count our many, many blessings. Thank you to those wonderful folks who continue to offer assistance and help us out when needed. We are very fortunate to have a pain free, happy Christi fully participating in school, ballet, religion classes and Brownie Girl Scouts while also fully enjoying her home life with her family, cats, books, and art supplies. One year ago things looked so terribly glum as we were told she most likely wouldn't see her seventh birthday - well that's now about 8 weeks away!!! We rejoice that she's come thus far and is still in this fight and we pray that her disease continues to remain stable or to be reduced or eliminated through the grace and healing powers of God.

Christi completed her second round of CRA on Sunday. We never noticed any mood changes and her skin and lips were red and chapped, but much less noticeable than the first cycle. She's a trooper! We pray that it's kicking those cancerous cells to smithereens! Her ear infection improved daily. We praise God! Since Shayne and I had decided to go longer times in between blood count checks, I took her to the hospital this morning before taking her to school. Her counts remain steady and stable and just below normal levels. white 3.5, Hgb. 11.8 (normal) platelets 110 with an ANC of 2,500. "How precious is your constant, love, Oh God!..." (Psalm 36:7) Tomorrow afternoon Christi will be seen by the Toledo Mercy Oncologist who comes down to our local hospital one afternoon per month.

CHOP has Christi's testing scheduled for March 22 and 23rd. Just I will be flying out with Christi. Since the cheapest flight I could find was $321.00 PER TICKET, I put in a request for the very first time with Angel Flight. From what I've learned, "Angel Flight" depends solely on volunteer pilots who give up their time and their planes. (I also put in prayer requests with my close family and friends to pray that we could obtain flights.) Well, I still tear up at this one, but yesterday at school I received a phone call and it was the sweetest gentleman who said, "I'm going to fly you and your daughter to Pennsylvania on Sunday, the 21st. What time do you want to leave?" Choking back tears, I thanked him and explained that I needed to check into the Ronald McDonald House before 8:00 PM. He said that we'd leave out of Toledo at 10:00 AM and that he'd fly me to the middle of Pennsylvania where another Angel Flight Volunteer Pilot would fly us the rest of the way to Philly. Praise God! "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day". (Psalms 96:1-2) When I arrived home from school on Monday, the answering machine held a message from the second pilot. I called back and spoke with his sweet, sweet wife who kept saying it was their pleasure to help us out while I was fighting back my tears so I could communicate. I can't even imagine how much $$$$ and time will be spent by these angels "with airplane wings" for Christi and I. THANK YOU, ANGEL FLIGHT!!!!!

While I have no idea how we're going to get back home, I'm thrilled that we WILL get there and also that her testing will be jam packed into just two days. Yipee!! Shayne said it would be grueling for us, but I'd rather do it that way and then get out of there - even if I don't have a way home yet. And if her scans show her NED, I'm positive I'll be able to fly myself home with one single jump!!!! (Smile. Test results won't be back until that Friday, but yet I remain hopeful for good news.)

Last week God called two more brave Neuroblastoma fighters home. I hadn't spoken with the beautiful and devoted Mother "Christine" since we left New York and since Julia doesn't have a web site, I learned of Julia's death from a couple of other New York treating friends. Please keep lift them up in prayer. Fond memories I shall treasure of meeting these fine ladies when our daughters managed to get their IV poles tangled up together in the play room and a very tense and stressful situation actually started a friendship. Another memory I'll cherish is teaching Julia how to play Clue Jr. with Christi at MSKCC. Also, sweet, precious Andrew - forever four, earned his Angel wings last week. His parents are so sweet and have asked for your prayers during these difficult days. I know Christi's prayer warriors are tremendous and therefore ask for your prayers of comfort and support to these folks I've only met through email, but have grown so fond of during Andrew's battle. Visit Andrew's website.

With continued thanks and big hugs,

Angela and the Thomas Team

Christi's Joke: What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, and legs like a cat, but is not a cat? (A kitten)

What's Next? Check up with Toledo Oncologist tomorrow. Scans/Tests in Philly March 22 and 23rd. Please pray we hear NED for the first time in nineteen long months of continuous treatment and that we find a way home. This sweet child has endured so much and we pray that a cure is right around the corner. Lord, hear our prayers.