Finished Round 1 of Chemo

Here is a message from Christine, Jasmine’s mom:

Jasmine’s first round of CHEMO finished Thursday and she is into her first observation/recovery phase of the cycle.

Today is day 12 of the first 29 day cycle. (Every cycle is 29 days— 10 days of chemo followed by 19 days of observing and recovery.)

We are so THANKFUL. Her symptoms are being managed well. Jasmine’s physical appearance points directly to the grace of God. It’s not that it hasn’t had side effects, but she is doing physically well. She is pale and has lost a bit of weight but you wouldn’t guess she had cancer by looking at her.

THANK YOU LORD that we have been allowed to go on a pass (leave the hospital) for 4 hours for a few days. We’ve been able to go home and Jas has been able to see Zelda (the family dog) and her two hamsters. We can’t see anyone or go to public places because of her compromised immunity, but being at home even for a few hours has been a gift.

We are waiting on the the results of her first bone marrow biopsy and should receive them Monday or Tuesday.

Jasmine has added a lot of new beads!

PRAYER REQUESTS:

1) PRAY FOR a good test result from her first bone marrow biopsy. This is where they determine the severity level of the cancer. The lowest level would mean only chemo is needed. Higher levels will require more treatment.

2) PRAY that the cancer has responded to the chemotherapy. On day 28 when they do the second bone marrow biopsy, the doctors want to see 0 for cancer cells. This will tell them that the chemo is WORKING. If they see cancer cells when they test her on day 28, that means her body is not responding and other treatment will be needed.

3) PRAY for continued ease of physical side effects. THANK YOU LORD that so far there is no inflammation in her mouth and her hair has not fallen out. Her symptoms have been managed well with medication.

4) PRAY for NO infection (she neutropenic which means because of her white blood cell (WBC) being 1 (normal is 150-300), she has a very compromised immune system.

In addition:

5) PRAY for REST hope, joy and peace in the waiting. The next 17 days will be much waiting. Pray that God will renew their strength as they wait on the Lord and that He would protect their minds and hearts with HIS peace and their faith in His great faithfulness.

6) PRAY for complete physical healing in Jasmine’s body from Leukemia and complete healing from the grip of fear in Jesus name for Jasmine and her family. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, not an outcome, but He invites us to KEEP ASKING, so ask we will, with great faith in God’s ability.

Thank you prayer warriors. Let’s continue to uphold this family and invite heaven to fight on Jasmine’s behalf!

Priceless

Yesterday Connie mailed off Jasmine’s hair to the company who will make her wig. When she was filling out the form describing what was inside the package, she was asked to give a monetary value.

“There is no box for priceless,” she said.

Before Jasmine’s hair was cut off at her party, it was carefully tied together in multiple places. It was tied with an elastic band up high close to the head, and then again halfway down to gather it together. Jasmine held the pieces tightly in her hand while the rest of her hair was shaved off. The whole purpose of preserving the hair was to make a wig, so we couldn’t risk messing this part up.

Jasmine holding her hair.

Shortly after the head shaving, Jasmine handed the hair to my five year-old daughter to hold, which, I’m assuming, was because she asked if she could hold it. The second I saw Brielle holding the hair, I jumped up and yelled, “No! Give it back! I don’t want to be responsible for this hair!” Although my reaction may have been a bit dramatic, her hair was worth too much that I wasn’t willing to risk putting it in the hands of a five year-old.

As much as Brielle had good intentions of holding the hair, she was ill-equipped to be in charge of something so important. Who is worthy of holding something of so much value in their hand? If we know how precious Jasmine’s hair is, can we even imagine how priceless SHE is?

“Consider the ravens: they don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying?” Luke 12:24-25

Brielle and Jasmine sharing a chair at her birthday dinner.

The task was too big for a five year-old to handle, just like Jasmine’s health and well-being is too big of a task for us to handle. We are ill-equipped on our own to be in charge of something worth so much. Only God is capable of holding Jasmine and being in charge of her life; Only He is worthy of holding a priceless child in His hand.

We don’t take risks with things we love because we can’t risk losing them. We are careful to be attentive to every detail and keep them safe. Like a parent holding their child’s hand to cross a busy street, we wouldn’t allow them to run across unattended because we don’t want them to get hurt.

We can’t risk putting Jasmine into our own hands because we might (and probably would) mess it up at some point. Only God is worthy of holding each of us in His hand because He is trustworthy, 100% of the time. He won’t risk our safety.

We cannot be responsible for her, but we can petition to the One who IS.

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Small Blessings

From Anita:

When I fly home tomorrow, Jasmine will be finishing up Day 8 of her ten-day chemo treatments. When I got here she was feeling pretty bad, but that was a good day compared to the day before. Friday she felt good enough for us all to take a walk outside for an hour. She rode in a wheelchair and walked on what she called, “wobbly legs”.

She said, “I used to be the fastest girl in my grade, will my legs be like this forever?”

“NO!”

We all reminded her of Frankie from Pathway Church who had cancer as a teenager. We reminded her of how athletic he is now, and she smiled – she would be fast again.

Small, encouraging moments happened throughout the day. The doctors and nurses are the most compassionate, caring and knowledgeable medical professionals I’ve ever met. As long as we keep asking questions, they remain in the room. They know everything there is to know about Leukemia and what medications can work best for Jasmine.

It is astounding to listen to them discuss each option as they tirelessly work not only to treat the Leukemia, but to figure out which medications will cause the least amount of side effects on Jasmine.

We are very blessed to be 30 minutes (home in Cochrane) from this beautiful hospital in Calgary. The inside is full of bright colours and paintings, and the outside looks like it was built out of Lego. You could almost forget it is a hospital.

We’ve hung paintings and pictures and we’ve put up command strip hooks and hung ribbon to display all of her birthday cards. She has so many birthday cards that we have four rows of ribbon and string to hang them all up… and we’re not done, just tired!

Her birthday was full of laughter and fun, gifts, balloons, and all the nurses gathered and sang to her. She was even able to go home for a little while and see her dog, Zelda, and her hamsters, Pepper (his fur is not black, don’t assume things), and Applemold (guess which one Eli named?).

We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the levels of support we are receiving. Jasmine scrolled through some of the posts on her birthday and kept saying, “Who do I know in Tennessee? North Carolina? Texas? England?”

We were literally amazed at the sheer number of people who wore orange on her birthday and posted pictures. All of everyone’s family, and so many church people all over Canada, the United States, and even some overseas, Christine and Brad’s co-workers, my own co-workers, and people who are connected to our family in a multitude of ways.

An entire Peewee hockey team in Cochrane wrapped their sticks in orange tape, and even spelled Jasmine’s name out on their helmets. I want to hug every single one of those precious boys! Her beautiful little friends are always checking on her through text. She can’t always respond but she’s encouraged with each message.

We continue to get messages and notifications that churches, small groups and kids programs are in regular prayer and wearing orange. The kid’s program at my church is literally named Orange.

Jasmine has been showered with more art and craft supplies than we can fit in her room. We had to buy organizing stackable containers so we could simply know what she had, and she uses her art and craft supplies every single day. I tried to organize the gift cards and kept needing to upgrade to larger envelopes. We are so thankful for these amazing gifts allowing Christine, Brad, Eli and Jas to have coffee or a smoothie. Jasmine had the strawberry smoothie from Good Earth and says it’s great!

Small tokens like these are left each day, sometimes anonymously, and sometimes we are able to say thank you. We owe so much thanks to family, friends, co-workers, church members and all who have donated in person, on Go Fund Me, or have sent cards, presents and money! We are trying to keep up with all you’ve done for our family, it is almost innumerable.

Auntie Anita, Auntie Joni and Granny Lisa visiting from Louisiana and playing video games.

The emails, messages, text message and Facebook messages are too many to respond to, but we read them all and share as many of them as we can with Jasmine. It is a hurricane of encouragement and hope, and we are the eye of the storm.

Most importantly, we are lifted up by the continual prayers of God’s people. He hears you, He hears us, He loves Jasmine, and what more could we ask for? The joy and peace we feel in this hospital room can only be explained supernaturally.

As Jasmine and I lay in her bed last night and talked alone about a myriad of life’s tiny details, from makeup to how we could convince her mom to let her buy a cat, I was struck with the preciousness of these small blessings. We came up with a plan… I can’t tell you though because you might tell Christine.

Right before we fell asleep I said, “Jazz, I think you should name your cat Luke.”

She said, “Ok I will.”

Love Wrapped Up Like a Birthday Present

As soon as the news sunk in that Jasmine would be starting chemo on Tuesday and would spend her actual birthday (today) in the hospital, a plan was set in motion to throw her a birthday party before. Once the idea was birthed and the word was spread, many people volunteered to take a piece of the big task of making this party spectacular for Jas.

Not only would this be her 13th birthday party, but it would also be a head shaving party. Jasmine planned on shaving her head because the chemo would cause her hair to fall out anyway, and there were a few other brave souls who committed to being shaved as well. In less than 30 hours, the birthday/head shaving party was planned, set up and happening.

While everyone was singing happy birthday.

By the time Jasmine and her family arrived at 5pm, there were over 50 people there waiting for them, eagerly desiring to give them the gift of “we’re with you and we love you”. The party was held in the foyer of Bow Valley Baptist Church in Cochrane, and it was packed! As the night wore on, more and more people showed up to join in the celebration of Jasmine’s life.

The room was decorated from head to toe in teal (her favourite colour) and rainbow colours with pom-poms, balloons, banners, and presents. There were many long tables of food and a photo booth with costumes of crazy hats, neon glasses, wigs, inflatable instruments and moustaches on a stick. There were two giant posterboard cards to write birthday greetings, and a journal to write longer messages.

Jasmine (bottom left) with her friends and classmates.

The first portion of the night was spent visiting and eating the dishes that everyone brought. Jasmine’s favourite foods were at the feast, including pizza, lasagna and spaghetti. There was an ice cream cake, another favourite, and a whole choir of voices singing Happy Birthday.

Then it was time for the main event: the head shaving. Money was being raised at the party to buy Jasmine a wig. When her hair was cut off, it was saved to be sent to a company that will make a wig out of her own hair. The cost of this is around $1500, and within 1.5 hours, over $1600 was raised! This is separate from the Go Fund Me amount, so we are blown away!

A Grammy who would do anything for her granddaughter.

The first two brave people went up to have their heads shaved, and then people started lining up. Nine people shaved off their hair before Connie and Jasmine went up together, each person adding to the gift of love and support demonstrated through their actions. It was beautiful to see the unity and strength in that moment. As Connie kept the crowd laughing with her witty comments, the atmosphere shifted from sadness to joy. In a moment that was supposed to be devastating, we couldn’t help but smile because we knew we could walk through this together. And right after they were done, Eli courageously walked up to shave his head too, as if he was adding the bow on the present we were all giving to Jas.

Head-shaved heroes.

The last event of the night was surrounding Jasmine and the Adams family with love and prayers. As we wrapped our arms around them, it was like they were able to unwrap the gift of God’s love.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.” Jeremiah 31:3

Only part of Jasmine’s Army.
Jas and Gram – two beautiful, strong women of faith.
A hug from Dad right after the head shaving.
Christine and her home care crew.
Jasmine and her school friends.
So loved!

Thank you to everybody who came! We apologize to anyone who would have wanted to come but didn’t get an invite, it was thrown together pretty quickly. If you want to write a note to Jasmine, please do so in the comments and we will make sure she gets it.

Deep Breath

Christine’s sister Anita, better known as Neen to her family, arrived today from Louisiana. This is from her:

“I haven’t taken a real deep breath since Thursday night. I haven’t taken one of those soul deep breaths. I landed in Calgary this afternoon, and had to go to my parents’ home from the airport so I could shower and make sure I wasn’t taking any of the airport/plane/Louisiana germs with me to the  hospital.

All of our choices are now put through a brand new Leukemia filter; a new way of thinking and evaluating and deciding.

There are two distinct kinds of tired a person can feel: We can be tired because we need sleep and we can be tired because we need peace. I was the second one. I didn’t have peace; I had anger and I was broken. Praying was difficult and singing in the choir on Sunday was excruciating. 

Jasmine was buried under soft blankets, asleep, when I arrived. Christine and I visited while she slept. Every time I heard a rustle from her bed I would stand up to see if she opened her eyes. Finally she opened her eyes and saw me. 

She smiled and said, “Hi… I love you!” and fell back asleep… deep breath…  peace.”

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

Beautiful fighter

Jasmine had a good day today. She was eating and drinking and didn’t complain of nausea once until her new chemo drugs kicked in around 4pm (They gave her four chemo drugs today.) This was a huge answer to prayer as yesterday she barely ate due to being so sick.

“To you, my strength, I sing praises, because God is my stronghold – my faithful God.” Psalms 59:17

Jas was also fitted for a wig today! When her head was shaved at her birthday party on Sunday night, her hair was kept to be sent off and made into a wig. Christine said it was stressful for her to make sure Jasmine’s head was measured with near perfect accuracy.

Stay tuned for a birthday party post with head shaving details. It will be posted on Jasmine’s birthday on Saturday!

Being silly with the ribbon, and beautiful as ever!

How Can I Help?

Firstly, the whole family wants you all to know how much your support means to Jasmine and all of us. We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love, care, messages, offers to help, meals, financial donations and prayer. THANK YOU.

Please see below for the answers to some questions you may have:

Can I visit Jasmine in the hospital?

From Christine, Just wanted to let everyone know that the unit is very strict about visitors  (something we didn’t even realize until yesterday). Technically they only let 4 “main caregivers” in to see Jasmine during the winter months because of the  risk of infection and flu season. These 4 main caregivers have to be the same people all the time. So myself, Brad, and two others. I had to get special  permission for my sister, Anita, and sister-in law, Joni, who will be here from  Louisiana to be able to visit Jasmine.

Once they leave, the other two caregivers will most likely be my mom, Connie, and Brad’s mom, Lisa. I know there are a lot of people who would love to visit Jasmine, but because of her particular cancer, she is at great risk for infection. Thank you all for your love and support.

Do they need meals? 

There is a meal train going for those who wish to drop off a meal. With so many people signing up to bring food, there is a pause on the sign-ups until they have a chance to eat all this food. We will re-open it again in a week or so for people to continue signing up.

Please make all meals dairy and gluten-free to accommodate food allergies, and see the website for drop-off location and instructions. This is so helpful as Brad and Eli spend time at home and Christine brings food to the hospital for herself. Thank you!

https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/8dq151

Where can I donate money to support them?

There is a Go Fund Me page to donate online. So far $8106.00 has been raised to support the Adams family!

We are astounded by your generosity, thank you so much! This will help with a number of costs while Christine and Brad take time off work to be there for their kids.

https://www.gofundme.com/jasmine039s-leukemia-journey

Where can I find updates to pray?

Besides this blog, there is a page on Facebook called Jasmine’s Army – an army of prayer warriors, encouragers, intercessors, friends and family, who are upholding Jasmine and her family as she and Jesus battle her leukaemia!

As Christine sends updates, we will post them here so you can know what to pray for.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/600448343724813/

Chemo Day 2

Quick update from day 2 of chemo:

They only gave Jasmine two chemo drugs today instead of four because she was very nauseated and dizzy yesterday from them. She had an upset stomach and was very tired today, and only able to eat a minigo yogurt and half a bowl of cheerios.

She also got RBC today (a red blood cell count to find out how many red blood cells you have) because her hemoglobin was borderline low. They transfuse when it is 80 or below, and Jasmine’s was 81.

Please continue to pray for the nausea so she will be able to rest and eat to stay strong.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Kicking Butt with Chemo – Day 1

The dreaded chemotherapy started today.

My five year-old daughter asked me why Jasmine would have to take medicine, which usually makes people better, that would actually make her more sick? It seems completely backward, doesn’t it? In order to fight the illness, the body has to get weaker before it can get stronger.

Sometimes the process of weakness is scarier than the outcome. We fear what we will encounter on the way; the pain, the struggle, and what we will have to feel. Because the process is HARD, and sometimes we think it’s harder than we can bear. We fear getting weaker because what if we never get strong again, being completely overcome by weakness?

Jasmine receiving her Courage beads before chemo

The weight of this chemo journey is a reality, but that doesn’t mean we have to carry it all today.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Despite everything, there were many moments of rest and reasons to celebrate today! Jasmine was given Courage beads at the hospital before her chemo started, and made a beautiful string of beads, which she displayed proudly.

Courage Beads
Our courageous warrior

Jasmine received four different types of chemo medication around noon today. She felt great for several hours and then she started feeling nauseous, an awful side effect of chemotherapy. She was given some medication for it and miraculously the medicine kicked in right away and Jasmine was able to fall asleep. She has been sleeping since!

Christine is spending the night at the hospital with Jas, and she was finally able to relax and have some much needed down time. God is gracious!

Sweet Jas will be getting weaker as the days pass, but she doesn’t have to face that all today. It’s one day at a time, and we can all find rest in God’s grace that is sufficient. When we admit we are weak and helpless, and ask for help, He is strong in us.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9

The First Days

“Eating yummy hospital food!” -Christine

A horrific night was met with the beautiful hope of a new morning.

“His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:23

Some words from Christine that first morning in the hospital, “We are so impressed by the children’s hospital. The nurses are angels! And everyone has made such an effort to make Jas feel special. She got an activity bag full of cool things like a stuffed animal, colouring book and markers, a journal, puzzle, a bunch of art supplies, bath salts… it’s pretty awesome!”

Through it all, and even before this began, we have seen God’s love poured out in such specific and tangible ways. He knows how to love each of us perfectly, with words and gestures tailored for our hurting hearts. We praise Him for that!

That first morning also brought into focus the reality of what would come. Jasmine was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The severity of the cancer will be known in two weeks from the bone marrow biopsy that was done yesterday (Monday). No matter the severity, chemotherapy is necessary, and Jasmine’s first round began today (Tuesday).

The Oncologist informed them that the chemo will be intense and it will be hard. Jasmine will receive several different chemo drugs at once, and the drugs will be administered to her for at least 10 days, followed by a recovery phase and an observation phase. She will be in the hospital for the duration of this, and may be able to come home for a few days before beginning the next round of chemo. The doctors are anticipating four rounds of chemotherapy at this point.

An early birthday gift!

There are a many devastating side effects of this treatment, and the implications of this means a few things: Jas will spend her 13th birthday in the hospital receiving chemotherapy, as her birthday is this coming Saturday, January 26th; she will have to finish out the school year in the hospital away from her friends; and her beautiful hair would fall out. (It was shaved off at her birthday party on Sunday night – post to come!)

As always, Jasmine took the news and changes with grieving but also with grace. She was able to go home to be with her family and sleep Friday night and Saturday night, only returning to the hospital during the days for antibiotics to prep for the chemotherapy.

Smiling after the procedure yesterday.

Yesterday (Monday) Jasmine was back in the hospital and put under anesthesia for the bone marrow biopsy, a lumbar puncture, and the insertion of her central line into her chest. She slept for a few hours afterward and woke up feeling only a little sore from the central line. And our warrior princess was smiling!

We know God has His hand in all of this, and we have seen the little gifts He is giving to Jas in the midst of the pain. The doctors surprised her with one last night at home before the chemo started this morning.

Bundled up and heading home for one last night before the chemo starts!

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled or fearful.” – Jesus (John 14:27)