On this frigid February Wednesday, we find ourselves at Day 23 since Jasmine was first given chemo. The chemo is administered in cycles: the first cycle is called Induction. In this round Jasmine was given four chemo drugs over 10 days. The goal is to begin a new round of chemo every 29 days, but that all depends on how Jasmine’s bone marrow recovers each time. The doctors are projecting a minimum of four rounds of chemo, which will take a minimum of six months.
AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) is a type of cancer involving blood forming cells called myeloid cells. Myeloid cells include certain types of White Blood Cells (WBC), Red Blood Cells (RBC) and Platelets. AML begins when a single young blood forming cell, called a myeloblast, develops a series of mistakes or mutations that transform it into a leukemia cell. The leukemia cell multiplies uncontrollably, crowding out healthy cells in the bone marrow. The leukemia cells can also spill out into the bloodstream, and spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and other organs. Leukemia cells can also spread to the spinal fluid. Jasmine’s Leukemia is only in her bone marrow.
Every couple of days Jasmine receives a transfusion of either red blood cells or platelets. This is because her bone marrow is unable to make as many healthy blood cells as she needs. When her RBC count is low, it affects her body’s ability to carry oxygen throughout her body. When her platelets are low, it affects her body’s ability to clot when bleeding occurs. This cycle of dropping RBC and platelet levels is normal for kids with AML and will continue until she is healthy.
White blood cells, which are cells that fight infection, cannot be transfused. As her bone marrow recovers, her WBC levels slowly begin to rise. It is expected for Jasmine’s WBC count to drop to zero after every round of chemotherapy (which is what happened). A normal WBC count is 4-11. Even on Day 23, Jasmine’s WBC count is only 2.3 so it is recovering very slowly. Because her WBC’s are so low, she is at extreme risk for infection. Unfortunately this means that Jasmine cannot be around large groups of people or anyone with cold symptoms.
Therefore, although we were anticipating a minimum of four rounds of chemo beginning every 29 days, we now realize that the next round of chemo cannot begin until Jasmine’s WBC count has recovered enough so that it is safe for her to receive more chemotherapy. The doctors have said that every kid is different, and we will just have to wait for her levels to come up on their own.
WAITING seems to be one of the more prominent themes of this journey – for Jasmine and her family, but for her army as well. Waiting is so hard because we are not in control of how long we wait for, and sometimes we don’t know what to do with ourselves while we wait.
Here are some things you can be praying for in the waiting:
- That Jasmine’s White Blood Cell count will rise quickly to the levels they need to be at in order to begin Round 2 of chemo.
- That fear will not take root – although the bone marrow biopsy resulted in Jas being low risk, this prognosis is still not 100%
- That Jasmine and her family will have hope and stamina – a minimum of 6 months of chemo is a long time, and there is no definite end in sight. This can can be discouraging and exhausting.
- That God will continue to do His work up front and behind the scenes in healing Jasmine’s body, but also in healing hearts.
Thank you for fighting and praying with us! It is evident that prayer has helped Jasmine and her family during this journey so far, so let us not stop!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
P.S. We are organizing a prayer night in Cochrane on behalf of the Adams family for anyone who would like to come together and lift up this family. Details to come soon!