Again, thanks so much for your prayers for little Rachida. This isn’t an easy thing to go through or a cut-and-dry situation, so it takes wisdom in knowing how to walk through this time with this family.
And no, this picture is not a picture of Rachida. It’s a picture of what COULD happen if her retinoblastoma is left untreated. Please pray that this doesn’t happen to sweet little Rachida!
So here’s the update, as much as I can piece together from what I’ve heard from different family members in the last few days:
– She has gone through 3 of the 6 chemo treatments that were planned.
– Now they are planning stopping the chemo (I don’t really know why) and the doctors told them to come back on the 24th or 25th for the surgery to remove her eyes.
– The family isn’t ready for that and doesn’t want her eyes removed, so they’re grasping for any other options.
– From what I’ve read and heard from others who are more knowledgeable, it sounds like there aren’t really other options. If she was in the US, which she’s not, there is the possibility (though it’s not even certain) that she’d be able to save her physical eyeballs, though not any sight.
It sounds like the advice we have to try to give now is to gently push them towards re-accepting the surgery (they had accepted it before, but then with the hope offered by chemotherapy they have since totally rejected it) in their own time. It’s a huge decision and will have life-long impact, so they need to be ok with it. This journey may mean letting them take her to Mali, the next country over, to see if they can do anything (and I highly doubt they’ll have a better option), to help them come to this conclusion.
How much time do we have? No one knows. It’s cancer. How fast will it grow and how long before it spreads? At least having gone through the chemo the tumor has shrunk (in one eye it went from 8mm to 6mm), so hopefully we have a little more time.
It’s like the example the pastor used at church yesterday of a guy who had his leg amputated. His leg had been infected for a long time, and it had gotten to the point that if they didn’t amputate, the infection would take over his whole body and take his life. It’s the same with little Rachida and her eyes. It’s not something we WANT to do, but taking out her eyes sounds like it’s the only option for saving her life and also for avoiding the pain and agony of something like the picture above. The pastor had used the example to talk about how we need to remove sin from our lives, even if it’s painful, to save our lives. May Rachida’s cancer and this journey we’re walking together somehow be a way to help her whole family see and accept the way to abundant and everlasting life.
Thanks for your prayers for health and life for little Rachida. For wisdom for the doctors and those of us walking with this family. For the family to accept this needed, though not in any way desired, surgery. For salvation for the family. For the doctors to tell the truth and not sugar-coat everything with little lies, which is so common in the healthcare system here. For me to have the time and energy to continue to walk this journey with this family. Thank you.
(Picture taken from vrachfree.ru.)