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CBN.com Like every parent, Alan and Lisa Knupp dreamed of watching their son take his first steps, rooting at his basketball games, and watching him get married. That was before they learned that their 8-month-old son, Logan, was given a death sentence by his doctor.
"When they told us, 'Don’t plan his first birthday,' they were being honest," says Logan's mother, Lisa.
As babies go, 8-month-old Logan Knupp was a doll. He was always smiling, and Logan’s parents and “big brother” Tyler couldn’t have loved him more. So when Logan’s eyes began to cross, the Knupps weren’t concerned -- that is, until doctors delivered the devastating news.
"When you’re first told that it’s a cancerous tumor, your mind automatically says, Cancer. He’s going to die," adds Logan's father, Alan.
But even as they waited for the details of the next day’s surgery, an amazing series of events began to unfold. The first came in the form of a stranger at their hospital room door.
"I didn’t see a face. It was just an outline," says Lisa. "All I heard was, 'You’re going to see a miracle.' " I know it was an angel. It was all this bright light, and you couldn’t see a face. I know it just wasn’t my imagination."
The next day the surgeon removed a golf-ball size tumor from Logan’s brain. And they found something else -- the tumor had spread. The diagnosis was a metastatic tumor known as a glioma.
"This large mass is the tumor," says Dr. Regina Jakacki, a pediatric oncologist, pointing to a brain scan. "You can see it best coating the brain stem here where this thick white is coating the front part of the brain stem."
The following day, doctors did another MRI and learned the tumor spanned the length of Logan's spinal chord.
"The whole chord is fat," Dr. Jakacki continues, this time highlighting an image of Logan's spine. "Normally there is dark around the entire outside of the chord. You see this white, lumpy stuff in front surrounding the chord going all the way down -- that’s all tumor."
The news of an inoperable tumor on the spine pushed Lisa and Alan over the edge.
"I can remember, I have three older brothers, and they were in the hallway, and they just held me up and they cried with me," remembers Alan.
Adds Lisa, "I felt like the walls had just caved in. I hit rock bottom, like the whole world just stopped. Everything stopped."
"I thought it was the end. I mean, I thought it was just a matter of days until he died," says Alan. "Everybody wanted to keep taking his place because he was 8 months old, he was a baby."
Logan’s doctors told the Knupps to prepare for the worst.
"The prognosis for cure was slim to none," Dr. Jackaki interjects. "The prognosis is very bad when you have a child whose tumor has spread and you can’t use radiation without damaging the brain to the point it's not worth doing it."
Logan began aggressive chemotherapy here at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh about three weeks after doctors removed his tumor. They decided on the aggressive chemotherapy because radiation would likely leave him in a vegetative state, or worse, kill him. But even with chemo, doctors were pretty sure about the outcome.
"We were hopeful that we would be able to provide some time, and hopefully some quality time, thinking that it would be on the order of months before the tumor would grow back and Logan would die," says Dr. Jackaki.
Lisa says she felt responsible for what was happening to Logan.
"I felt like I let everybody down. It was hard. I felt like
I let Logan down because I had him. The doctors talked to me a
lot and told me it was nothing that I did. He told me it was just
that his cells went crazy," she says.
Though this was the hardest thing that they or any parent must face, the Knupps drew their strength from a source outside themselves -- through hundreds of friends and strangers who prayed for Logan.
Lisa remembers one acquaintance named Marty who came to pray for Logan.
"There was an overwhelming awareness that God was healing him right then," Marty says. "As I prayed, I actually was aware that God was literally severing this cancer. I saw him lay an ax to the base of the cancer, and the tumor was being totally severed, totally destroyed."
The next day after that prayer, and just one month after the initial diagnosis, doctors did another MRI to see if the tumor was growing back.
"When you have a very aggressive tumor, occasionally it can grow through chemotherapy, and we don’t want to give a lot of chemotherapy if it’s not going to work," Dr. Jakacki explains.
But what they saw on the MRI astonished everyone, including Patty, the MRI technician who was the first to see the scan of Logan’s spine and the first to see that there was no indication of a tumor on that scan.
"I even called the attending radiologist that was on that day," Patty says. "We reloaded his previous scan and compared them, and there was absolutely nothing there. It was incredible, nothing short of a miracle."
The Knupps wondered if there might be some mistake. After all, they had just come for a second week of chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, doctors ordered a spinal tap to check for cancer at
the cellular level. The result: Logan was cancer free!
"There is no longer any tumor coating the spinal chord at all," states Dr. Jakacki, once again pointing to Logan's spinal scan. "Now you can see the normal spinal fluid around the outside of the spinal chord, which is no longer swollen. There are no white areas at all where there used to be. There is a complete disappearance of all visible tumors. That is miraculous."
Doctors were, needless to say, at a loss to explain what happened, yet in spite of Logan’s remarkable turnaround, doctors urged the Knupps to continue chemo for the next 17 months, which they did.
Recently, Logan celebrated his 7th birthday. He has been cancer-free for more than six years. Lisa and Alan did get to watch him take his first steps and recently watched him make an amazing play on his first-grade basketball team.
The 7-year-old, who has heard his miracle retold many times, simply says, "I was sick a lot and I used to be in the hospital a lot. God healed me."
Dr. Jakacki calls Logan's case "a miracle with a capital 'M.' "
Lisa says she definitely believes in miracles.
"I believe that God just wanted to give these gifts to His children. Jesus did it. He walked on this earth, and He touched people and healed them. And He’s still doing it. I believe in miracles -- I have one that lives with me every day," she says.
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