Please scroll down for a
complete set of status reports in reverse chronological order.
As you can see from these praise reports
God certainly answered our prayers!
We are very
grateful to God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ for giving
Elizabeth an extension of life here on earth but more importantly for
the salvation he has provided for us on the cross and the promise of
our victory over death as demonstrated by His resurrection!
Elizabeth's current assignment in the Navy is to become a cancer
survivor. While in Guam the Navy found a large mass in her chest
and medevaced her to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) to identify the
problem and treat it. It was diagnosed as Large B Cell Lymphoma
and she was quickly placed on chemo therapy for it.
As with all obstacles that she has faced so far in life she is keeping
a positive attitude and is committed to overcoming this temporary set
back. She is responding well to the treatment and a full recovery
The Navy has been amazingly supportive in this whole ordeal and she
could not have been sent to a better medical facility. She has
had several teams of doctors helping her including no less than six
oncologists. In fact, when first admitted to BAMC, she got
irritated at so many doctors coming to see her! I explained to
her that it is a very good thing to have so many doctors involved in
her diagnosis and treatment. They employed the very latest
technologies in the diagnosis and are using the very latest in chemo
therapy combined with radiation therapy to treat it.
Many people have been praying for her and we attribute that to the
favorable prognosis. Please keep praying for her as we really
need those prayers.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward
you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a
future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Status reports in reverse chronological order. These are copies
of what I sent out to email lists across the country. Mostly they
are prayer requests and praise reports because with God all things are
possible! (Matthew 19:26)
Written 10/08/09 ...
Today they removed her port. It's been two years since her last chemo and still no sign of cancer so they removed her port. Praise God this is a great day for Elizabeth!
Written 08/11/09 ...
sign of cancer! The most recent whole body
PET scan came back negative. Please keep the prayers going in her direction
Written 11/17/08 ...
sign of cancer! Sorry I have not been
writing updates. No news is good news! Please keep the prayers going in her
direction ... thanks!
Written 10/25/07 ...
Elizabeth went to the
doctor today to review the results of the last PET scan – the tumor is
now less than 1 centimeter in its maximum
dimension! This is wonderful and incredible news!
Praise God, her prognosis is still Excellent! They expect a full
Below is a message I am sending out to all who are interested in the
health of my daughter who is in the Navy and being treated for Cancer
in San Antonio Texas. Please forward to anyone you wish (I hid
the distribution for the privacy of some).
She will be completing her 8th and final chemotherapy treatment next
Thursday (9/27/07) so they are preparing for the radiation therapy
which comes next. She went to her Radiation Oncology doctor
yesterday with my wife (Michelle). He has been following her ever
since she was admitted to the hospital. I met him when they
diagnosed the cancer on May 5. He explained the radiation
treatment at a high level to me at that time. He expected the
tumor to still be rather large after the chemo.
When he met with Elizabeth and Michelle yesterday he told them that he
had been following her in weekly meetings where they discuss patients
and their progress so he was well aware of her situation. He said
that because the tumor is so small now (less than one inch after the
5th chemo) the radiation will be much less severe than they originally
expected. Since the tumor is still attached to one of her lungs
the radiation will kill about 5% of that lung but will not harm any
other internal organs. He says she won’t even notice the loss and
will be able to run marathons afterwards if she wants.
She will be undergoing radiation therapy every M-F of an entire month
beginning some time in October. She should have very few, if any,
side effects from the radiation treatment.
Please continue to pray for a full remission and no relapse. Also
pray that she will not have other types of cancer in the future from
the current treatments for this cancer.
Also, please say a special prayer for her as she will be on her own
again starting in October. One or more members of her family have
been with her since April 27 when she was medivaced to San Antonio from
Guam. She told Michelle today that she really enjoyed her time
with us and will miss us.
She will be moving into the BAMC barracks on the Monday following her
last chemo. I'm sure it will be lonely and hard for her. We
will be calling her every day but it won't be the same as actually
being there for her. We will also be visiting her for any and all
holidays but almost two months will pass before we will see her for
Just to let you know the results of the PET scan that Elizabeth got
just before her 6th cycle of chemo are in and were confirmed
yesterday. Her tumor that started out with a maximum dimension of
17.5 cm (nearly 7 inches) across her chest has now shrunk to a maximum
dimension of only 2.3 cm (less than one inch)!
This is incredible. The doctors are all very exited.
Yesterday three of them (yes, three M. D. s) reviewed the results with
Michelle and Elizabeth. When this was first diagnosed as NHL
(back in early May) they told us that there would probably be a lot of
scar tissue left over after the chemo but no active cancer cells.
At the time this last PET scan was done there were still some active
cancer cells so they will put her through the full 8 cycles of
chemo. It will be finished by the end of September at which time
they do not expect any active cancer cells to be left. She will
then go through Radiation therapy but they will not know the details of
that until after all of the chemo is done and they evaluate her
situation at that time.
Thanks for all of your prayers. Sorry I have been slow to get
updates out. I knew about this for over a week now but it seemed
so unbelievable that I wanted to wait until my wife and daughter went
in for her regularly scheduled doctor appointment this week at which
time the doctor was going to take her on a "field trip" to where they
analyze the PET scans. Since the shrinkage of the tumor is so
extraordinary I wanted to know for sure before I reported it to all of
you. It is for sure!!!!
Sorry I have been very slow in getting an update out to all of
you. I have been very busy both in San Antonio and at home in
Albuquerque. I'm not used to being a single parent! I must
say this helps me better appreciate how much my wife (Michelle)
contributes to our family's well being and how little I do!
The only new news I have is great news. After 3 cycles of Chemo
they sent Elizabeth in for a PET scan. The results showed that
the tumor was 1/2 the size that it was when she started Chemo. We
were hoping that there would be no cancer cells showing but there were
still a small cluster of cancer cells in the scar tissue. Now,
after 5 cycles of chemo, she will be going back in for another PET
scan. We don't know for sure when yet but I am guessing that it
will be some time next week.
Please pray that the results are accurate and there are no cancer cells
detected. Since the tumor was so large the doctors told us there
would most likely still be a mass left after all of the cancer cells
are gone. This mass will consist of scar tissue only and will be
benign. BTW, other than the residual mass of scar tissue, the
doctors expect a 100% full recovery with no disability.
She will be done with her chemo by the end of September and then will
start radiation therapy after that. We will learn more about the
radiation therapy after the chemo is done.
Thanks to all of you for your support. I will try to keep you
updated when there is anything new to report.
- Background -
Elizabeth joined the Navy and left for boot camp on Nov 12, 2006.
While in boot camp Elizabeth started suffering from ill health
including a creaking and popping in her chest when she breathed along
with shortness of breath, head aches, nausea, and vomiting. These
symptoms continued on into her 'A' school as well. Of course her
family urged her to go to the doctor but that is just something you
don't do in Navy boot camp or 'A' school for fear of being "held
back." Rather than go to medical she just pushed through all of
it and succeeded despite her medical condition. Following 'A'
school and on into her first assignment in Guam she had those symptoms
and more including a constant low grade fever, growing fatigue, dizzy
spells, and, eventually, night sweats. This illness began to
interfere with her ability to do her job as a Master At Arms (Security
Police) so she finally went in to medical. A few days later they
found a large mass in her chest that had partially collapsed one of her
lungs and was putting pressure on the other. They quickly
medevaced her to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio where
she was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma and placed on
R-CHOP chemotherapy for 6 to 8 cycles to be followed by Radiation
Therapy. After 4 cycles of the chemo they will do another scan of
her body evaluating the condition of the mass searching for active
tumor activity and, depending on the results, determine if two or four
more cycles of chemo will be required.
- Old News -
Approximately one week after the first chemo cycle they did a chest
x-Ray looking for pneumonia and noticed that the tumor had already
shrunk a small amount. Approximately two weeks after the first
chemo cycle the fever and the night sweats were gone. The second
chemo cycle hit her harder than the first. She was down for 3
days and was not feeling completely well until a week later.
About that time also happens to be when her white blood cell count is
the lowest (from the chemo) so although she feels better she is most
susceptible to infection then.
- Latest Update - Praise Report!!!
My wife arrived in San Antonio yesterday to spend time with Elizabeth
and she called me this morning with the latest news from Elizabeth's
last doctor visit from a few days ago. It seems that the creaking
and popping when she breaths is no longer detectible even through a
stethoscope. Elizabeth says her primary oncologist (who is a
young army woman) almost cried when she could no longer detect the
sounds of the tumor interfering with her breathing. Elizabeth
also says that now she can take deep breaths again!
More than that, yesterday Elizabeth met some sailors in the burn unit
at BAMC and now she wants to start baking cup cakes to take to
them! Wow, an 18 year old going through a serious medical battle
of her own is not thinking of herself but, rather, is thinking of
others and baking cup cakes to help them! How cool is that?
- Please Keep the Prayers Coming -
Elizabeth still has at least two cycles of chemotherapy to go and they
do hit her hard. The last one hit her harder than the first
one. Please pray for strength for her and protection from the
very serious side effects of chemo therapy. Of course, please
continue to pray for shrinking of the tumor and full remission with no
return of this cancer or any other form of cancer in the future.
Also, pray for direction for her life. She can no longer be
deployed so that means she can no longer be a Master At Arms. She
is thinking that she might want to pursue some sort of medical career
now such as dentistry. And of course, last but not least, please
pray for her continued spiritual growth and a closer walk with God
through all of this and beyond this.
Thank you once again. You can't imagine how much I appreciate
your interest in her well being and your support through all of
this. For those who do not know, I put together a web site for
her that tracks her navy career at www.empnavy.us. It is a little
out of date and leaves out a lot of details but it does have some
excellent pictures of her.
Written 5/28/07 - lots of people are praying for Elizabeth
- This is a letter of encouragement that was sent to her on 5/28/07
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 7:57 PM
Subject: Your Daddy sent me
You don't know me and your father has only met me through e-mails, but
I hope to be an encouragement to you. You see, I am a 6 year cancer
survivor myself. But equally important, I know a young woman who has a
similar form of Non-Hogkins Lymphoma to the one you are fighting.
She attends the same church as my husband and I.
She found out about her illness at 20 years of age. She was engaged to
be married and had already conquered two open heart surgeries
(non-related to the cancer). She went through many weeks of chemo, lost
all her hair and was just a very sick gal. But, her treatments put her
into remission, her hair grew back in more beautiful than before, and
she did get married. She is still in remission (4 years now), and
just 6 months ago gave birth to twins. Bouncing baby boys!!
They are beautiful and so is their Mommy. That kind of beauty only God
Himself is possible of creating. So I am challenging you to let
go and let God. He can do all things!! I don't even know you but there
is one thing I do know, you CAN make it through this. I will be praying
for you to have strength and courage to fight. That is what it takes.
My son Daniel is also serving in the U.S.Navy. You service people
make us all proud!! If you don't mind I would like to put your name and
name only on our prayer chain. You will have people all over the world
praying for you. I will not do this until I get the okay from
you. God Bless you Elizabeth!!
With many prayers,
We have great news (all glory to God). It sounds scary but she
has a very treatable form of Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) known as
Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma. She started chemo on
Saturday May 5 and responded very well to it. She was released
from the hospital to out-patient status shortly after the chemo but had
to be readmitted early the following Sunday morning due to a high
fever. All is well though and things should be more stable for
all of the subsequent cycles.
It will be a long haul for her and her family with 6 to 8 cycles of
chemo (21 days between each treatment) followed by radiation
therapy. However, she has a wonderfully positive attitude and is
under the most amazing care with the latest technology employed in the
diagnosis and treatment. We could not be more impressed with the
Navy and the military treatment of our sick and wounded.
I am also very appreciative of my Sandia management for allowing me to
be there for her. Her hospital visit was very hard on her with
all of the procedures and uncertainty. I was able to greet her at
the airport and to be there for her entire hospital stay with the
hospital staff allowing/encouraging me to stay in her room with her
24/7 the whole time she was in the hospital. She told many family
members that she could not have made it without me there with
her. I could not have been there if it were not for the support
of my management here at Sandia which I will always be grateful
I will be asking for more time off as I help her through the treatment
and recovery process. My wife and mother in law will also be
there for her so she will never be alone while undergoing treatment.
I have provided a little more information at her website
(www.empnavy.us) but not much more. I'm not sure how much detail
she wants me to go into on her web site (and she has not felt well
enough yet to review it) so I am holding back a little.
I just got back home from San Antonio today. She has a very
treatable form of lymphoma and is already responding well to
chemo. Michelle and I will be taking turns visiting her in San
Antonio and it does not look like Elijah and I will make any trials
until possibly September at best.
Thanks again to all of the MANY NMTA people who have offered their
time, finances, homes, campers and yes, even airline tickets! As
it is now we are OK but we may have to take you up on some of those
offers! I’ll try to get back to each of you personally as soon as
Someday (maybe soon) this will be a whole new section for her
www.empnavy.us website. I can tell you this, the Navy sure takes
good care of their sailors and their families. As an in-patient
she had six (yes six) cancer doctors, three Cardio-Thorasic surgeons,
and two teams (of at least six each) of residents and interns.
She got kind of sick of talking to doctors but we explained to her that
too many doctors is a GOOD thing to have these days! As an out
patient she has two cancer doctors and a whole team of nurses who
specialize in cancer patients to manage her health. In addition,
she has expedited entrance back in to the hospital if she encounters
any problems which, unfortunately, she did and was readmitted shortly
after her initial release. However, all turned out very well and
they are very happy with her progress.
For those of you who do not already
know, Monday night we learned that Elizabeth's doctors in Guam have
found a "large mass" (about the size of an adult fist) in Elizabeth's
chest near her heart. It has been causing her health to steadily
deteriorate and could have been the source of much of her health
problems even as far back as boot camp but we do not know for
sure. We are all shocked and surprised by this because Elizabeth
has always been so healthy all of her life.
We spoke with Elizabeth extensively
last night and she says that she is feeling much better now. She
is very up-beat about the whole thing and making plans for her
future. According to one of the nurses I spoke with Elizabeth
spent 4 hours with the Chaplain yesterday. According to Elizabeth
the chaplain told her "I am here to cheer you up which is good
news. If I was here to make sure that you are right with God that
would be bad news!" He ended up inviting her to have dinner with
his family which includes 5 daughters. He said "What's one more
mouth to feed?"
Elizabeth has been getting lots of
dinner invitations but so far she has turned them all down. I
told her that she needs to accept some of the offers. She says
they are all trying to be her family but they are not her family and
only we are her family.
I spoke with one of her doctors
pretty extensively last night and she informed me that Elizabeth will
be sent to Brooke Army Medical Center (in San Antonio). This
doctor told me that this facility is one of the best in the nation and
that Elizabeth has been accepted by a very good doctor. When I
asked her about private institutions like M.D. Anderson or UNM she said
that Elizabeth is still active duty so she must at least start out at a
military installation. She said that they do refer patients to
M.D. Anderson but only their most complicated cases that they do not
think the military can handle.
I did a little research on Brooke
Army Medical Center and it seems as good as any. They seem to
have a very good thoracic surgery department so if her diagnosis
requires surgery she should be in very good hands. Depending on
what the prognosis and plan of action is we may have some other options
as well (including the possibility of bringing her home and having the
treatment done at UNM) but we just need to take these things one step
at a time.
The doctor said they would decide on
Thursday early afternoon (tonight our time) when and how to send
Elizabeth after reviewing her progress. They are trying to bring
her vitals back up to as close to normal as possible. It seems
when she finally went in her vitals were very low - she was not in very
good condition. Here hemoglobin was strikingly low.
There are two transportation options
for sending her home. One is an emergency medi-vac (which is
slower because it has more stops on the way) and the other is through
commercial airlines. We will not know which of these options they
are going to choose until they review her vitals (again, tonight our
So, our plan is that I will drive her
car to San Antonio to meet her there when she arrives. If she is
going back by commercial airline I will probably have to start driving
to San Antonio tomorrow morning. If not I will probably be in to
work tomorrow. Since there is so much doubt I have filled my
timecard out with the assumption that I will be here tomorrow.
Once in San Antonio I plan to stay
until they do a biopsy and we establish her treatment plan. After
that I will stay as long as I can before using up too much of my paid
time off. My wife will then fly out to be with her and I plan to
fly back. If her treatments continue out there my wife will
continue to stay there with her as long as necessary. If it looks
like it will be a long term treatment program we will consider the
possibility of bringing her home and getting her treatments at
UNM. It all depends on what is best for her.
We got a call from Elizabeth’s doctor last night around 10:30 our
time. They found a large mass (about the size of a fist) in her
chest near her heart. They will be sending her back to the states
to a cancer specialist near us to do a biopsy and decide what to do
from there. We don’t know where that will be but I told the
doctor the most important thing is the best doctors possible.