Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November 30, 2005

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the many thoughts and prayers we have received and all the postings and emails you are sending. We continue to check our home email as well, and if you want to send us messages privately, please continue to do so ( or We apologize for not responding to every email individually-and certainly not very quickly. Right now we have little free time and computer access is hard to come by. Please continue to send your thoughts and prayers for Leah and know that we are reading each and every one of them and feel strengthened by these messages.

Right now the doctors continue to talk about Leah's type of cancer as hepatoblastoma. While they are performing a biopsy today, they seem to have ruled many other things out. We are quickly becoming experts on this type of cancer. Just a quick overview of this disease: Hepatoblastoma is a childhood cancer, striking children ages 0-5. It is quite rare. There are only an average of 100 cases each year in North America. Of these 100 cases, only 5% are older than 4 years old, like Leah is, and even fewer of them are girls. So, of all the things I have chosen to worry about happening to my child, this was never even a thought in my head. The doctors have given us a website we are sharing with you that they feel is one that provides accurate and research-based information. It is:

On Tuesday morning we left a snowy Denver at 7:30, and to further add to the stress in our lives, drove on snow covered roads. Just north of the Brandon exit on I-380 a truck in front of us hit an ice patch, and swerved from shoulder to shoulder. In an effort to avoid him we continued to go forward as well, and ended up being struck by him on the back of our van. We all said a quick prayer to God that we were OK and able to continue on. However, we do now feel two things: 1. we are being tested, and 2. we should buy a lottery ticket.

Leah had many people poke and prod her yesterday. Of course she was scared, but she did a good job of being tough. Around 10:00 Leah underwent sedation for an MRI that was performed around noon and then spent the next several hours tormenting her parents as she still suffered from the effects of sedation. This morning she seemed back to her normal self and remembers nothing of her 4 hour crying jag. We arrived at the hospital at 5:45 this morning to be told she needed her blood drawn again. After going to yet another clinic, asking some questions about this there, and having to insist this labwork was performed yesterday, we were sent back to where we started originally and waited until we were called back for surgery. Currently Leah is having surgery performed to insert a central line port where she will receive chemotherapy and also having a biopsy done. They no longer discuss taking a bone marrow sample and seem to have ruled out the need for that. The tumor, which originates in the right lobe of her liver, is approximately the size of a baseball. Eventually they plan to resection (essentially removing a portion) her liver, but the tumor needs to shrink tremendously before then.

We may update this site after her surgery, just depending when we are next able to find a computer to use. Please pray for Leah and her recovery as we continue to look to God to perform miracles.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Leah Ristau

On November 25, 2005, Leah was diagnosed with a large abdominal tumor. The doctors believe it is a hepatoblastoma that orginates in the liver. It is very large and will require chemotherapy and surgery and perhaps some other types of treatments further down the road.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2005, Chris, Tina, and Leah will be meeting with doctors in Iowa City and on Wed., Nov. 30, Leah will undergo a biopsy (abdominal surgery), bone marrow harvest, and have a port inserted so she may begin chemotherapy.

We have received so many phone calls, emails, and visits, and have thousands of people around the country already praying for Leah. Please continue to pray for her and have your friends and relatives do so as well.

We plan to update this site often-if not daily, then several times a week, so you can hear of Leah's progress.