We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chemotherapy has begun

Ellie had her first chemo treatment today and so far is handling it well. She will be treated with the chemo for three days, then have 18 days off treatment. The news of losing her hair was a shock for her, but she is getting into the idea of being creative with her hair before it falls out, as well as fun things to do after she loses it. She had a bone marrow test the other day, but John and Sarah are still waiting for the results. Soon the doctors will be testing for the area of Ellie's body where the cancer began.

Please pray:

1.) For Ellie's physical strength as well as emotional strength through the treatments.
2.) For the family's continued encouragement and strength.
3.) That the Lord would be glorified.

Thanks again for your love and prayers for Ellie and her family and friends.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Results of biopsy

Ellie Skees

Following Ellie’s bone scan the doctor has determined a DIAGNOSIS: Neuroblastoma, Stage IV.

Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of specialized nerve cells, called neural crest cells. These cells are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues. Neuroblastoma can occur anywhere in the body, but most often occurs in the adrenal gland in the abdomen (tummy).

Stage IV. Cancers are classified according to 3 characteristics: anatomic site, grading, and staging. Staging is the extent of the spread of the cancer. Stage IV: The cancer has spread (metastasized) beyond the regional lymph nodes to distant parts of the body.

The doctor stated that the PROGNOSIS for a Stage IV Cancer is 50%. He would have preferred 70 – 80%, however, with God 50% is good!

She will begin TREATMENT – Intensive Chemotherapy – on Saturday. The entire treatment plan and schedule has not been discussed with John and Sarah. That will be done tomorrow. More specifics will be clear than. At this time, however, we know that she will receive a bone marrow transplant as part of the treatment. They will harvest some of her own bone marrow stem cells following the first chemo treatment and save them for use at a later scheduled time. This is considered a Rescue Treatment for the Chemo. What a blessing we will be able to use her own bone marrow.

PLANS are:
(1) To begin today to help Ellie understand what is happening in her body and what treatment will take place.
(2) To continue to SEARCH for the PRIMARY site of the cancer (where it started). This is essential to increase her chance of recovery and the survival rate. They will have to continue to search for this putting Ellie through more tests, scans, etc.

(3) Ellie will undergo another radioactive scan on Wednesday in search of the primary site and to help plan drug treatment.

(4) Plan is for Ethan to stay with Pat and Stan at this time.
(5) The plan is for John and Stan to continue to keep John’s business going through this crisis. Men at NTM have volunteered their time and help and will be used as they can be.

(1) Pray that John and Sarah will come to an understanding and be able to tell Ellie what is happening in a way that she can accept. Pray that they will all be encouraged and strengthened throughout this trial.

(2) Pray that the doctors will be able to find the Primary site of the cancer in Ellie SOON. This is such an important need at this point in the process.

(3) Pray for the grandparents Gary and Nancy, Stan and Pat, and other family as they go through this difficult time with John, Sarah, and Ellie. God is blessing and encouraging them in so many ways.

(4) Pray for Ethan and Pat and Stan. Help for little Ethan to have some peace and understanding in the confusion and separation from his family. Strength and peace for Pat and Stan as they become primary caretakers.

(5) Please pray that John will be able to balance between work and the time he needs to be with his family. Pray strength and wellness for Stan and John in this stressful physical time.

Visiting Ellie

It's important that Ellie get enough rest, and she enjoys visitors so much that she uses up all her energy during visits. So
the family has requested that Ellie not have visitors right now. If you want to visit her, please call Ginger and she'll set up a schedule.

John and Sarah are so thankful for everyone's visits, concern, and prayers. Please continue to uplift them in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Celebrating her 8th birthday

John and Sarah have not received the results of the biopsy of Ellie's hip that was done on Tuesday yet. When they receive the results, then they will know what they're battling and the doctors will be able to plan treatment. The biopsy of the tumor behind Ellie's nose was previously planned for today, but has been cancelled. Tomorrow will be a quiet day before gearing up for the upcoming treatments.

Ellie celebrated her 8th birthday with family and a few friends during the day. She so much enjoys seeing her friends and being able to act like the little girl that she is. Her favorite part of the day, with the possible exception of the gifts, was giving her friends "rides" on her hospital bed. Her laugh was a reminder of easier days.

Please pray for wisdom for the best treatments, for strength for the long haul for John and Sarah, and for Ellie to have the inner strength that she will need to face the fight.

Thanks for your continued prayers. We will praise God in this storm, because He is good, even when things are hard.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More spots and a biopsy

Ellie had a spine scan yesterday; 2 spots were seen on the spine and one on the pelvic bone. She underwent a biopsy on the pelvic bone this morning. Another biopsy, behind the nose, is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The result of these should tell them if these are malignancies, as well as their origin, in order to determine the best treatment.

Praise: The Lord is upholding John and Sarah in wonderful ways, for which they are so thankful. Please continue praying for them, along with the grandparents Stan and Pat, Gary and Nancy.

Johnny's aunt, who is qualified to administer chemotherapy, has offered to come from Connecticut to assist when possible with Ellie's chemotherapy treatments, should that become necessary.

Once again, John and Sarah thank each of you so very much for your prayers and the love you have shown them, in so many ways.

Monday, September 25, 2006

No biopsy yet

The Drs. at Arnold Palmer have not performed a biopsy on the tumor/mass behind Ellie's nose, as it requires a very delicate procedure. They have consulted a specialist in Jacksonville, who they feel would be more qualified. Please pray specifically that this Dr. would agree to do the biopsy, in which case Ellie would be taken to Jacksonville by ambulance.

On behalf of the whole family, Ginger thanks everyone so much for your prayers and e-mails. You have all been a huge blessing and encouragement to them. She will keep everyone updated, and she will be happy to take phone calls from you.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Please pray for John, Sarah, and Ellie

Stan and Pat have been in Orlando all night with their son and daughter-in-law John and Sarah at Arnold Palmer Hospital because John and Sarah's seven-year-old daughter, Ellie is not well.

She's been feeling poorly for a couple of weeks, and throughout yesterday just lost the vision in her left eye. The doctors have discovered a mass behind her nose near the frontal lobe of her brain. The mass is not in an operable place. The location of the mass, near her optic nerve, has caused the blindness in one eye. They are thankful that Ellie does not feel any pain from the mass.

The family is praying that a biopsy can be performed today to determine if the mass in cancerous. Although it's not operable, it may respond to drug therapy. They are also praying that a bone scan can be done soon to rule out other problems.

Please pray for the family during this situation, and also that John will be able to keep up with his work (landscaping).

Stan has asked that we hold our calls and instead contact him via email as needed. They are grateful for your prayers.