I have created this page to serve as a bit of a record of our communications regarding Esther and her illness. The oldest updates are first.
We would like to ask that this weekend you keep our family in your prayers. Esther is having some health problems and although we do not know what is causing them, it appears serious at this point. Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support. They are greatly appreciated.
We appreciate your prayers. Tomorrow afternoon our time (about 3:30 AM Tuesday, Central Time), Lydia, Esther, and Ethan will be boarding the plane. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel. They should arrive in Springfield, MO around 2pm on Wednesday (Central Time). Please pray especially for Esther. This trip is going to be VERY difficult on her.
We would like to thank everyone for their concern, prayers, and support. Lydia, Esther, and Ethan arrived back in the States on November 18th. Our doctor met them at the airport and took them directly to the hospital. Esther was admitted to St. John’s in Springfield. On Thursday, they transferred Esther by air to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Due to the seriousness of the situation, Eliza, Elijah, and I moved up our departure time and arrived back in Springfield on the 20th. The doctors have been running tests and we are currently waiting for some results to come back from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. It appears that she either has Stage 4 cancer or a bad parasitical infection. We will let you all know as we know more.
I just wanted to give everyone an update on Esther. Last night she had to have a blood transfusion, but today she is doing well. Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 AM tomorrow (Tuesday). They said that it will be 24 – 48 hours after surgery before we get the results from the labs back. I will let you all know as soon as we know.
I just wanted to let everyone know that Esther is currently in surgery. They told us that they expect the surgery to last at least 3 hours and probably 7 or more. I will let everyone know more as we know it. We appreciate your prayers.
Esther went into surgery today around 9AM. She was in surgery about 5 ½ hours. They were able to remove approximately 95% of the tumor. They did confirm that the tumor is cancerous and has spread to the lungs. We are waiting on the pathology department to determine what type of cancer and related issues. During surgery she lost A LOT of blood. As a result of the blood loss and to give her body a chance to recover, she will be sedated for the next 48 hours. On Thursday, she will go back to the operating room to remove packing that they left inside to help control the bleeding. The next 24 – 48 hours are going to be critical and we greatly appreciate your prayers. I anticipate knowing more late this week or early next week.
Again, thank you for your support and prayers during this difficult time.
I just wanted to let you all know that Esther is doing much better. They transferred her from the ICU unit back into a regular room today. We are still waiting on pathology reports and will let you all know more as we know it. Thank you for your prayers and support. It is greatly appreciated.
Esther has been transferred to a regular room on the cancer unit after her surgery. She is doing very well and recovering from her surgery. Pathology told us today that it will be at least Friday, December 11th, if not later before we find out what type of cancer she has. Thank you for your prayers and support.
First, we would like to take this opportunity to say “THANK YOU”. Your prayers, emails, support, and encouragement has meant a great deal to us we go through this struggle and trial. We cannot say it enough, THANK YOU!!!!
Here is the most recent information that came out of our meeting with the Doctor’s today:
1. Esther has been given a particular team of doctors that will oversea her primary care. This should help facilitate the communication between the various doctors, nurses, and other people involved in Esther’s care.
2. Esther had a C/T scan done earlier this week. The C/T scan confirmed nodes on both lungs. These nodes do appear to be cancerous. In other words, it appears as if the cancer has spread to multiple spots in her lungs. As a result, we will have a needle biopsy on Monday. Hopefully, the pathology will be back on this by Friday. The outlook does not look good as a result of the metastasizes of the cancer.
3. We do not have the pathology back on the original tumor yet. The type of tumor is an immature teratoma. However, we do not know the type of cancer (malignant cells) that is contained within the tumor. The hospital has sent the test out to the “top pathologist” in the nation to confirm their findings. They are now saying sometime next week on the pathology report on the tumor.
4. Over all, Esther is continuing to improve in basic health. She is laughing and having fun playing with her brothers and sister. She is steadily recovering from the surgery. We appreciate your prayers as we go through this difficult time.
Late last night, the doctors told us that the pathology was back on both the biopsy on the lungs and the original tumor. First, the lung biopsy was positive. That is to say that the nodes on the lungs (both lungs) are cancerous. As we suspected, they have staged the cancer as stage 4 with metastasis. The type of cancer is a cancer called medulloepithelioma. It is an EXTREMELY rare cancer and is considered a cancer of the central nervous system. This type of cancer, when it is found, is normally found in the eyes or brain. There are extremely few instances of this cancer being in the abdominal cavity. As a result of the rareness of this cancer, the doctors cannot give us a prognosis, nor is there an established treatment protocol. There have been a few cases (10 or less) of this cancer. The doctors here will be talking with the doctors that have treated this cancer before to see what they faced and how they treated it. The doctors here will be running a series of tests (MRI, Spinal tap, bone scan, and bone marrow) to see if we can determine if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. We appreciate your prayers as we will need to make some hard decisions regarding treatment, chemotherapy, etc within the next few days.
Yesterday afternoon we met with the doctors to discuss Esther’s treatment. As you know, the cancer has metastasis to the lungs. They have also discovered some heart problems. The heart is not pumping as strongly as it should. The MRI showed that the cancer is continuing to grow and that the cause of her weakness in the left leg (she cannot put any weight on it) is due to the way the tumor is pressing and attacking the nerves at the base of the tale bone. The doctors told us that they want to do 14 cycles of Chemotherapy. That would last approximately 42 weeks. At the same time, they told us that even with the chemotherapy, that there was NO real possibility of a cure. Because of the rareness of the cancer, they could not give a great deal of information, but they did say that without chemotherapy they would estimate that we would be looking at having somewhere between 2 – 6 months with Esther before she went home to be with the Lord and even with chemotherapy they said less than a year before she went home. We now need to decide if we want to put her through Chemotherapy or not. We meet with the doctors again on Monday to tell them of our decision. We ask for your prayers as we seek God’s will regarding this decision.
We so much appreciate your prayers, thoughts, cards, concern… This past week has been very difficult for Lydia and I. On Monday, we met with the doctors and told them that we had decided not to do chemotherapy. It was a rough meeting with the doctors strongly pressing their case for chemotherapy. However, they have accepted our decision and Esther comes home today (12.23.09). We will do a small amount of traveling to visit relatives over the next month or so and then be in Springfield, MO until Esther goes home. The doctors have given 2 – 6 months, but no one really knows for sure. Once we are done with the traveling (we want to visit family in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana), we will have pediatric hospice involved. Our doctor in Bolivar and hospice will oversea Esther’s care. We appreciate your prayers as we go through this very difficult time.
We would like to express our deep appreciation for your prayers and support. It is a great comfort to know that people all over the world are praying for us and for Esther. We arrived in Steens, MS yesterday so that Esther could spend some time with her cousins while she is still feeling great. The trip was rough, but she did ok.
This morning (1.2.09) soon after we woke up, we got a phone call from my brother. Dwane Baker, Lydia’s father, had a stoke last night. We do not know many details at this point, but would appreciate your prayers. We appreciate your prayers as we go through this difficult time.
As you should be aware, Lydia’s father suffered a stroke on Friday night. He passed away this morning. Here are the details we have from Chipman Tucker (husband of Rebecca).
It is my sad duty to pass on this information.
Dwane Baker’s passed on physically at 12:15 PM today. He did not suffer any pain. Three family members feel that they sensed his spirit had left the body, to be with the Lord, at 12:00 AM.
The arrangement has been made to have the body cremated. The memorial services will be in Springfield, MO at West Division Street Baptist Church on Friday, January 8th, 2010 and then another Memorial with the burial of his ashes in Furley, Kansas on January 9th, 2010. The arrangements for the memorial services will be announced asap.
Please pray for the Janice Baker, her daughters and husbands of the daughters as we all go through this.
Chipman & Rebecca Tucker (Baker)
Daniel & Lydia Elliott (Baker)
Jonathon & Deborah Elliott (Baker)
Scott Horberg & Anna Baker
We appreciate your prayers as we go through these trials.
We would like to thank you for your prayers, concern and support for our family during this difficult time. As we had mentioned, we went to Steens, MS to visit my two brothers and their families. Esther had been asking to see her cousins. We arrived in Steens on Thursday (12.31.09). Esther did ok traveling, but about 3 – 4 hours is going to be the limit of what she is able to do. She has been enjoying her time with her cousins. On Saturday morning, we received a call from Lydia’s sister telling us that Dad Baker had had a stroke. At the time, we knew it was serious, but did not know how serious it was. On Sunday afternoon at 12:15, Lydia’s father, Dwane Baker – Missionary to Haiti, went to be with his Lord. As a result, we are on our way back to Springfield to be with the family during this difficult time. There will be a memorial service in Springfield on Friday and then the burial will be on Saturday in Kansas. We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time.
We would like to express our appreciation for all the cards, emails, calls, etc that we have received. It is a GREAT blessing to know that people all over the world are praying for us and for Esther. We have received many requests for updates on Esther’s condition and how things are going. Over all, Esther is doing very well, but we have seen some signs of progression. As you are probably aware, she cannot walk, but she is crawling around and self – mobile. She is in good spirits most of the time. She is on a nerve pain medication on a regular basis and has a couple of other pain medicines that we can give her if she needs it. That said she has rarely needed additional pain medication. Usually, when she is experiencing pain, she can shift her position and that will relieve much of the pain. She gets tired very easily and the mornings are much better than the afternoons/evenings. She has an appointment with the oncologist on the 2nd of February. She really enjoyed her time in Mississippi visiting with her cousins. We are currently in Indiana visiting with my grandparents and she is enjoying her time. Although it has been rough, Lydia is doing ok with the passing of her father. We do ask for your continued prayers and support as we go through this difficult time.
As we have mentioned previously, Esther had an appointment with the oncologists yesterday. Over all, they were very pleased with her condition. In general, she is doing very well. She is laughing, playing, interacting with her family and friends, and enjoying life. That said, she has had an increase in the amount of pain that she is experiencing. Right now, the pain is under control. Also, we have continued to see signs that her cancer is progressing. The right leg is day by day becoming more painful for her. Also, the doctors said that the part of the tumor that the surgeons were unable to remove is continuing to grow back into the abdominal area. We ask for your prayers as we continue to go through this valley.
On a different note, Esther really enjoyed her time visiting with her cousins in Mississippi and her great – grandparents in Indiana. We are back in Springfield, MO now with our sending church and are planning on being here until at least the end of July when we start having meetings scheduled. Traveling by car is becoming more and more uncomfortable for Esther.
Again, thank you for your prayers and support. The cards, letters, phone calls, etc. have been and continue to be much appreciated.
We would like to thank you for your prayers and concern for us. It is a great blessing to know that people all around the world are praying for us. Esther’s physical condition continues to deteriorate. Just in the past week or two, there has been marked deterioration. Sunday (3/7/10), Esther was having a really bad day. When it came time to leave for church, she was very upset that she was not going. Against better judgement, I went ahead and took her to Sunday School. I am glad I did. Although she was not able to stay for the whole hour, it was an encouragement to those in her class when they saw her dedication and desire to come. I was speaking with our hospice nurse late last week (week of March 1st) and we both think that unless God miraculously intervenes, she will go home in late March or early April. We appreciate your prayers as we go through this difficult time. I am enclosing a note from Lydia.
James 4:13-16. These verses teach us that we do not know what tomorrow holds for us. Only God knows these things. We need to learn to appreciate each moment that God gives us. This truth becomes more real when you have a loved one that you are losing. We thank God for each and every day for Esther. Every moment we have with her is a blessing. This next weekend (March 12 – 18th) we get to go to Florida with her on vacation. We appreciate your prayers as we go. Her cancer is progressing and we are not sure how much more time we have with her. Again, thank you for your prayers.
3.23.10Thank you for your prayers. We had a wonderful time in Florida. We are now back in Springfield, MO at our sending church and will remain here until we “begin” furlough in late July. Esther has continued to show marked deterioration. Although we are not God and do not know His frame, it appears likely that Esther will go home sometime in late March or early April. We appreciate your prayers for our family as we go through this valley.
Esther went home to be with the Lord this morning. The viewing will be on Thursday, April 8th in Hillside Baptist Church at 6:30 – 8:30 pm and the funeral will be on Friday morning at 10am at Hillside Baptist church.
We appreciate your prayers during this difficult time.
It has been 5 months tomorrow since Esther passed away. I just wanted to write you all and try to give you an update on what is going on in our lives. It has been and is a great blessing and encouragement to us to know that you are out there praying for us. We can honestly say that regardless of our circumstances that GOD IS GOOD!!! HE IS FAITHFUL!!! We have seen HIM work in many different ways since Esther got sick. Although I would give just about anything to have “my” (she never was really mine – she always has been HIS) girl back, we can say thank you for allowing us to go through this struggle and difficult time. We would not wish this trail on anyone, but we can say that HE IS FAITHFUL. We have seen HIM work in mighty ways using Esther, her story, and testimony. Since her death, we know of at least on that has gotten saved, many have been encouraged in their struggles, and through Esther’s Fund Sunday School material is being translated and printed in Mongolia. That is not to say that we have not struggled; however, God knows when we have difficult times – even if no one else is really aware, HE KNOWS. Without fail during those difficult moments, HE has done something to encourage us and to help us keep our focus on HIM. I knew this before Esther died, but many times we have a tendency to ask the wrong question when problems come into our lives. Our human nature wants to know why. Why this struggle, why me, etc. However, it is not why we should ask, rather it is WHAT – What can I learn from this? What can God do through this? Not long after Esther died, our Sunday School teacher asked us to share how we were coping wth this trial. I would like to share a summary with you. There are three things have really helped us as we have gone through this trial:
- Remember to give thanks ALWAYS – not just on the mountain tops
- Remember that we are not our own – HE IS THE CREATOR AND HE HAS ALL THE RIGHTS
- Remember that HE will not give us more than we can handle.
We are very thankful for you all and your prayers and concern. We ask for your continued prayers as we continue to go through the grief process. Outside of the holidays and birthday, the next major step will be our return to Mongolia. I have penciled in on the calendar that we will return to Mongolia on the 30th of June, 2011. We will spend the next 10 months or so reporting back to our supporting churches and some new ones. We appreciate your prayers.