The armor is cracking but that is ok

What can I say, we knew things would get harder and they aren’t “unmanageable” but they are harder.  The tricky part with a break like Brad had in December is we stressed about him not getting treated but got used to him feeling pretty good.  He had just started to experience the harder chemo symptoms when he got sidelined so with #8 brought more hurting for his hands and feet and more fatigue.  He even had some nausea and food was just plain gross. I’m thankful his schedule can adjust as needed to accommodate his needs and while it really sucks for him to miss out he can rest to gain strength to make the next thing.  We count on that ying and yang in this process.

I had a little bit of a hissy fit after chemo on Wednesday.  It is time for my 5 year checkup colonoscopy and I realized I’m a year late.  My doctor’s office was sold so no one had my records and deadlines on their radar.  I hastily made the appointment as soon as I could. After some phone calls to insurance and the facility they gave me numbers of anything from $3000 to $15000!  I about lost my mind!  And this is why I love my people, my network and my God who finds me the answers before I totally freak out.  I was texting with my sister and she mentioned Aflac and their cancer policy.  I had heard good things about Aflac and had meant to call and check it out.  I’m annoyed with myself for not investigating earlier when my gut was telling me to.  But that’s ok…the plan is to get some policies in place to help with potential future accidents for the kids…Whitney’s injury in December was expensive and could have been very cheap with Aflac.  I’m getting the cancer policy to help protect anything I could encounter going forward.  By doing that the estimate for the colonoscopy could be $75 (plus premiums) instead of an astronomical fee.  More on that after I get it all in place.  I’m finding that I only follow my gut lately after I have a mini panic attack, need to fix that.

We have had some other things land on our laps in the last few weeks that we are investigating but it all boils down to God providing when we need it and when we don’t know it is coming.   I have to consciously remember to trust him and ask for his guidance.  I’m at that state of “I don’t even know where to start” when I pray so I just ask him to take it all and show me.  And boy has he!  Great things out of the blue, great people reaching out to me and taking care of me.  It is very hard to accept help and generosity but even a little extra attention.  It has been so worth it though, I’m staying open and letting people love on us.

Speaking of that Brad is going to start attending the Cancer Connection breakfasts at the church!  Praise the Lord!  Four long months ago he was SO not ready for any of that and now he’s putting it on his calendar and is excited to go.  It will be perfect, mornings are his Jam and he will be able to get some good conversation, advice, worship and whatever else the group does when they get together.  They have been so incredible to us since the first phone call in September so I’m just so thankful.

A few days ago I would have posted this all freaked out with my head spinning in circles so I’m glad I was able to float back down to earth, screw on my problem solver filter and take care of stuff.  We look forward to heading into Brad’s easier days this week before #9 next Wed. After a fabulous dance competition weekend we are praying we can get through February to our St. Louis trip to the Missouri State Dance Competition! We will have a blast with our Touch of Silver Dance family and I can’t wait!  This team is an eclectic group but boy are they great dancers, beautiful ladies and so darn funny!

We’ve gotten closer with some of the parents through all of this cancer struggle and will cherish them pulling us up when we need it.  Kindness is the biggest gift we have to offer and even the little messages, hugs, encouraging words are the most treasured support.  When our armor cracks and we feel the weight of the WHOLE situation straight on our chests…it is the little gestures that pull us through and up so that we can breathe and refocus.  Finding focus is hard for all of us.  Staying on track is a big feat especially for the kids.  That is what I’m giving to God the most these days because I will make myself sick worrying about them.  I remind them of study time and encourage them to do their best.  I know it is so hard for them and I just hope for their sake they can keep a high level of effort and success.  Down the line schools admissions offices, the business and nursing programs…employers won’t give them a pass because their dad was sick.  We all have to JUST DO IT!  Cliche’ but it rings true.

Prayer Requests:

Please pray for Brad’s numbers that are off and that they find their way back to normal.

Ask God for dramatic healing as we battle through these hard next four treatments.

Pray for some clear, honest and good news from Dr. Pendergrass next Wed.

Send loving, lifting and peaceful prayers to all of us but especially Carter, Whitney and Russell.  My heart breaks for them and the burden they carry but know in some way God will make them better in all of this.

oxox, Peace

Kim

 

Go Chiefs!

Brad is not a jersey wearing sports fan but decided to order one online for the Playoffs. So far the notification says delivery will be some time in February. So his daily joke after he checks the mail is that his jersey still hasn’t come…too bad but hopefully it will be enjoyed when we celebrate an amazing season!

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast the morning of the AFC Championship game and before Carter’s send off back to KU. I think he had a good break, his tank got filled up, he seemed much healthier and excited to get back to his friends. We have high hopes for good grades and good news from at least one internship application.

This week will be chemo #8. I expect a worn out dance dad but hope he will get to see Whitney dance at least once this weekend at her competition. Our schedule is going to ramp up fast so I just hope we can keep all the balls in the air. I’m feeling hopeful but also a little anxious. The cure for any worry is cheering for our kids and we have lots of that coming up! Can’t wait!

Brad and I enjoyed his company’s holiday party this weekend. It was nice to see all the people who support him and mortgage people are always a fun time.

Can you outrun a Mountain Lion?

In case you’ve ever wondered…………….{this is borrowed}

“What’s it like to go through cancer treatment? It’s something like this:

One day, you’re minding your own business, you open the fridge to get some breakfast, and OH MY GOD THERE’S A MOUNTAIN LION IN YOUR FRIDGE.

Wait, what? How? Why is there a mountain lion in your fridge? NO TIME TO EXPLAIN. RUN! THE MOUNTAIN LION WILL KILL YOU! UNLESS YOU FIND SOMETHING EVEN MORE FEROCIOUS TO KILL IT FIRST!

So you take off running, and the mountain lion is right behind you. You know the only thing that can kill a mountain lion is a bear, and the only bear is on top of the mountain, so you better find that bear. You start running up the mountain in hopes of finding the bear. Your friends desperately want to help, but they are powerless against mountain lions, as mountain lions are godless killing machines. But they really want to help, so they’re cheering you on and bringing you paper cups of water and orange slices as you run up the mountain and yelling at the mountain lion – “GET LOST, MOUNTAIN LION, NO ONE LIKES YOU” – and you really appreciate the support, but the mountain lion is still coming.

Also, for some reason, there’s someone in the crowd who’s yelling “that’s not really a mountain lion, it’s a puma” and another person yelling “I read that mountain lions are allergic to kale, have you tried rubbing kale on it?”

As you’re running up the mountain, you see other people fleeing their own mountain lions. Some of the mountain lions seem comparatively wimpy – they’re half grown and only have three legs or whatever, and you think to yourself – why couldn’t I have gotten one of those mountain lions? But then you look over at the people who are fleeing mountain lions the size of a monster truck with huge prehistoric saber fangs, and you feel like an asshole for even thinking that – and besides, who in their right mind would want to fight a mountain lion, even a three-legged one?

Finally, the person closest to you, whose job it is to take care of you – maybe a parent or sibling or best friend or, in my case, my wife – comes barging out of the woods and jumps on the mountain lion, whaling on it and screaming “DAMMIT MOUNTAIN LION, STOP TRYING TO EAT MY HUSBAND,” and the mountain lion punches your wife right in the face. Now your wife is rolling around on the ground clutching her nose, and she’s bought you some time, but you still need to get to the top of the mountain.

Eventually you reach the top, finally, and the bear is there. Waiting. For both of you. You rush right up to the bear, and the bear rushes the mountain lion, but the bear has to go through you to get to the mountain lion, and in doing so, the bear TOTALLY KICKS YOUR ASS, but not before it also punches your wife in the face. And your wife is now staggering around with a black eye and bloody nose, and saying “can I get some help, I’ve been punched in the face by two apex predators and I think my nose is broken,” and all you can say is “I’M KIND OF BUSY IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED I’M FIGHTING A MOUNTAIN LION.”

Then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the bear leaps on the mountain lion and they are locked in epic battle until finally the two of them roll off a cliff edge together, and the mountain lion is dead.
Maybe. You’re not sure – it fell off the cliff, but mountain lions are crafty. It could come back at any moment.
And all your friends come running up to you and say “that was amazing! You’re so brave, we’re so proud of you! You didn’t die! That must be a huge relief!”

Meanwhile, you blew out both your knees, you’re having an asthma attack, you twisted your ankle, and also you have been mauled by a bear. And everyone says “boy, you must be excited to walk down the mountain!” And all you can think as you stagger to your feet is “Screw this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.”

And now I begin my second trip up this Mountain 😠😠😠
“Words of a FIGHTER” -Caitlin Feeley

This week was crazy!  We were ready for Chemo on Wednesday 1/9/19 and anxious to kick off this year of battle.  The plan was to meet with Big Nanner our NP to catch up, talk about some symptoms and then get chemo.  In that meeting we talked about his blisters on his feet that had peeled off and got her recommendation for taking care of his feet. Talked about rib pain, she was so happy with most of his test results and the weight he gained.  She raved about how he looked great.  He mentioned a sore in his mouth and ***insert record scratch here*** she looked it over and was very worried because she had a patient who had a really bad jaw infection.  From the look on her face that did not end well.  She said she would likely take away Avastin- the tumor killer- since it seened to be affecting his mouth.  The action plan was to go to the dentist next to get that checked out and then we’d proceed.  Big Nanner addressed his low ANC {which is the new White Blood Cell growth} because it was low again.  That number is why he didn’t get chemo all of December until Christmas Eve.  She said the financial lady was checking into approval for the shot called Neulasta that would force the production of new WBC and needed approval since it was $14,000!! Woah magic in a shot apparently!  With that shot his numbers would go from a low of .80 to 25000!  While it is an answered prayer the side effects will be large bone pain…I’m hoping that will be mild because he’s really had very little pain during this process!  Our meeting started out on a high and ended with two action items before he could get treatment and come to find out Blue Cross was in an all day training so there wasn’t anyone to approve the shot…yeah…no one to approve a shot for a cancer patient needing treatment {not bitter about that at all….grrrr}!   It was a confusing flurry to leave with the slow realization that we were actually sent home again…damnit!  They said something about coming back next week and we could rprot back after he saw the dentist.  We were both a little stunned and a little freaked out by the mouth thing and how much of a delay that might be.  Thankfully the scheduling lady, Leslie, overheard the situation and said we might be able to come back this week but first we needed to go see the dentist.

With the rejection comes the walk of shame out of the clinic. We stand up, I fold up my blanket, grab the 3 bags and my coat and we shamelessly walk out with our tails between our legs.  It is a collective bummer when someone gets sent away because of bad numbers, everyone feels great empathy for each other no matter what is going on because we all root for each other.  I know we both were like “WELL FXXK this is how we are starting this year?!”  Brad got on the phone and the dentist was ready for him to come right then so we raced over there straight from the clinic.  Thankfully he was cleared by the dentist for anything major and just had a little bone spur removed.  GREEN LIGHT!  I called the clinic and said the dentist said his mouth was fine and could we come back, it wasn’t even noon for God’s sake! They needed a fax from the dentist and still needed that approval for the shot. They couldn’t give him the chemo if there wasn’t shot approved and they didn’t want us to get stuck paying $14k either.  So we went home.  Brad was not happy…during the conversation with Big Nanner she also expressed concern for glucose in his urine and wanted a diabetes test.  She said he could just do that whenever, it wasn’t pressing.

The next day I went to work ready to throw myself into getting stuff accomplished so I wouldn’t have to think about the frustration of the day before.  After a few meetings I called the nurse and Leslie the scheduler called me right back to ask if we could come NOW!  While I was driving back home Brad jumped in the shower and we met at the clinic.  I walked in to a very frustrated husband.  He was mad at the situation, mad at getting kicked out because of a dumb mouth thing, mad that he rushed over only to be sitting in the lobby for 20 minutes and just flat out over it.  It was no surprise when his blood pressure was elevated but they said they would treat him.  He got all hooked up and the pharmacist came up and said, “I need another blood pressure reading.”  That is code for “make that man relax to get a good reading or I’m raining on your chemo parade today.”  The manufacturers have strict guidelines and blood pressure is one.  He’s had to fight that battle a few times and is learning how to make himself relax enough to lower it.  He did a very good job and mediated for a few minutes and got a “beautiful”
reading.  We had another start/stop to make sure the shot was approved…it was so the green light stayed lit.

From all that we’ve gathered the same plan they gave us at the end of November after the 2nd scan is that they will go for three months then re-scan.  He needs to make it through the next 2 and 1/2 months then we get to see where we are.  For now my prayer requests are for him to keep feeling “fine” with minimal pain and side effects.  I’m glad we have a new weapon on board with the Neulasta shot but with that means more brutal chemo effects.  I have faith God is 100% in control and guiding us down this path hand in hand.  We have a lot of good distractions with the kids doing all of their fun stuff.  Whitney has dance competitions including State on Feb 22 & 23 and Russell will have soccer tournaments in town and out of town in St. Louis and near Chicago.

Have a good weekend, we are getting snow and look forward to hunkering down to watch the Chiefs in the NFL playoffs!  Carter and Russell are in charge of Brad’s pump removal at KU Med tomorrow while Whitney and I work.  That should yield some funny stories with those 3 musketeers taking on that mission!!

 

Humor is the Best Medicine

Getting through the Christmas Clean Up and back in the saddle at work and school felt like swimming through quick sand in some ways.  While we look forward to 2019 and have so much hope for miracles, success and lots of fun we felt a little weighed down by the enormity of what the new year could bring.  We have a lot going on over here and fighting cancer on top of it takes a few deep breaths to take the next step into a new year.

We made time for lots of friends and family during the holidays and still didn’t get to see everyone.  Brad dazzled everyone with his positive attitude, funny “but I have cancer” jokes and for a guy with cancer he is looking pretty darn good.  With only one treatment in about 6 weeks he definitely felt the cancer creeping back in which equates to him feeling like crap.  He is bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning always but about 1pm he starts to wear down and if we have a busy day he’s headed for the chair or bed by 7-8pm at night.  If you ask him he says he feels totally fine, isn’t tired and all is good. We know better but you’d never hear him say it unless it is a particularly yucky day.

Video 1: Brad loves making up silly songs about his symptoms and other cancer stuff.

Video 2: We all love spontaneous dance parties!

We have an appointment scheduled with the Nurse Practitioner on Wed 1/9 and treatment following.  We don’t expect anything major and hope it is the smooth start to routine treatments as prescribed on 11/28 after his good scan.  I saw someone mention a book about “being in limbo” and that is exactly what this is.  You just take every day, new symptoms and tackle them.  We continue to count every single blessing and are thankful for all of the prayers, meals, watch parties, holiday invitations, gift cards and food deliveries!  I know when I make a good meal for him or even my newly famous Vitamin C smoothies I feel empowered to be helping heal him in some way.

We have started to fill up the calendar with kid activities and have several trips to St. Louis on the calendar.  We pray he will be strong enough to do all of it and well enough to enjoy it.  My biggest prayer always is for the kids…they have such a burden on their little hearts and minds it makes me worry endlessly.  I pray hard and often about it and God tells me all will be ok.  They are resilient and they are fighters and will succeed no matter what this life throws at them.  People ask how I am doing and I feel like things are going pretty well, all the balls are in the air and I’m working as hard and fast as I can at work to keep the ship afloat.  I can’t express how thankful I am for my awesome company, EccoSelect for supporting me without question–kwoods@eccoselect.com (for IT job hunters).  Brad’s company, BNC Mortgage has been so incredible to let him work from home when he can.  I hope when Spring comes and people are buying or refinancing he will have a busy season of his own.  He’s kept busy talking with customers and keeping his workload up to date.  Here is the link to apply with him if you know anyone needing help with a mortgage loan:  Apply with Brad Woods for a Home Loan Having the usual slow mortgage lending over the holiday season hasn’t been such a bad thing so he could rest, spend time with family and he especially enjoyed being the Christmas Elf getting everything put together.

I’m all over the place today, just feeling thankful, determined and hopeful.  I see God’s hand and where he has maneuvered us through his plan over the last 12-24 months and while I always had faith it is pretty cool to see the wonderful re-directing he gave us.  Even on the hard days I know he will guide us in places we couldn’t imagine with better blessings than our minds could dream.  I’ll keep this blog updated as we move through the next few months and while we hope for a boring ride (no downturns) we certainly hope for some excitement too.

For those who have asked to help here is a link to our food calendar, I set aside Mon/Wed as designated sign up days but we are flexible.  A text works too. https://my.lotsahelpinghands.com/community/teamwoods

Prayer Requests:

*For the kids to stay strong, prosper, focused on school and enjoy each day right where they are in their lives.

*For all of us to stay healthy mind, body and spirit.  Please no more injuries, they need to be rockstars.

*For Brad to stay strong, positive and funny as he fuels our strength.

*For God’s hand to continue to guide us through this treatment and bless us with the miracles of medicine and healing.

*For 2019 to be an inspiring year of growth and happiness for all we care about.

God Bless You all and Cheers to an incredible year ahead!

Don’t wish away the hard days

 

All We Want for Christmas is Chemo

I thought about updating everyday for three weeks but wanted to see how the cliff hanger ended first.  After the peak of good news from Brad’s scan on 11/28 we followed that up with “flunking” the blood test on 12/12 due to low White Blood Cell counts.  Brad had a rough ride during #5 and ended up with a sinus infection.  Apparently it is true that antibiotics kill the good stuff and the bad stuff.  I had always heard that but we saw it in action.  We tried on the 12th and the 19th and his count was even lower the second week.  We didn’t let the news put a bummer on our holiday celebrations and Brad won’t miss an event so we just kept going.  They told us to come back on Christmas Eve and we’d try again.  There are definite pluses to missing a chemo treatment since he didn’t have to deal with the side effects and had a decent amount of energy.  BUT that was a catch 22 since he felt good enough to be my Christmas Elf running errands all over town he was also with lots of germs.  After getting kicked out of our second try I started making him Vitamin C drinks with pineapple coconut EmergenC packets, pineapple and orange juice.  I’m not sure if that had anything to do with his rebound but I told him I’d take credit.

The morning of Christmas Eve with lots still to do we went to the clinic with not an ounce of hope that he would get the treatment.  It was quiet, only a few people were there and from neighboring conversations it sounded like many of those patients were the ones who had gotten booted out in the previous days and weeks. Brad commented that all the “derilics” were in it together.  I stayed busy until it was time for them to tell us whether he was staying for treatment and my mood was declining by the minute.  Our very nice nurse came walking towards me with the report in her hand and gave me a thumbs up so I was instantly relieved and got to watch him get the good news.  We were totally shocked and immediately started texting friends and family to let them know he made the cut.  His levels had tripled in five days! Everyone celebrated with us and I think Christmas Eve and Day were spent much happier for all who are rooting for Brad.  His fatigue reminds us of his reality but we are thankful for it at the same time.  Cancer is so weird.  It makes you thankful for the craziest things.

We had a wonderful Christmas week spent with family out and about a little bit, celebrating our friend’s 50th birthday, enjoying time with our teams and truly feeling the holiday spirit.  I used to hate Christmas…it was hard on me as a kid so it took a long time to peel that damper off and remember to make my own new way.  This year truly felt like the holidays were intentional and the presents were second to the time spent with each other.  For anyone who contributed to group gifts given to us I can’t fully express my appreciation but please know you all are life savers!  Our church brought loads of presents for the kids and seeing their faces as they opened each one was pure magic.  We’ve been given so many gift cards for restaurants, grocery stores, QuikTrip and Visa cards.  All of this has been amazing and definitely eased the pressure on me to find ways to make this all work.  Friends handed us cards or venmo’d money to help out and while I feel weird accepting the gifts I know it helps them feel like they are helping.  I know that feeling of helplessness when a friend is having a hard time so I’ve learned to accept help with a grateful heart.

So now that the inlaws have gone back home I hope to be productive, get organized and be ready to roll in 2019.  I have so much hope for a great year no matter what is in store for us.  The gift cancer gives you is the blessing of being present and appreciating very normal days.  We say sorry quicker, try to be happy as we can and I’ve been really trying to stay tuned in to how the kids are doing.  That is the hardest part. Please pray for Brad to stay healthy enough for chemo and for his hope, faith and sunny attitude to remain intact. This is a long road and we feel weary many days but are reminded we have to keep going! I plan to be more organized and focused so I can keep my stress level in check. Cheers to a wonderful New Year!

Be Strong and Be Happy

strong

When we received our good news about the scans I sensed something in the air.  I had asked our doctor about future treatments as I had heard they get harder at #5 through #10 since the effects accumulate.  I wonder if the cancer clinics know what is coming for each patient and if it is perfectly timed with an UP before a DOWN. It is as if they knew the scans would show something to celebrate right before a MACK truck of chemo hits.  It would be interesting to be behind the curtain and know what they REALLY know.  I think Brad is getting more brave and interested in knowing more rather than just floating along and hoping for the best while blindly trusting the medical team.  Blind denial is ok too, no one can predict what will happen so we just have to keep doing the good things to get through each day.

During chemo #5 I received a wonderful and big surprise of a gift to help make the kids’ Christmas brighter.  A long time friend gave us a super generous gift which is allowing us to say yes to three things the kids otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive.  I think these three gifts are the ones I look forward to seeing them open the most on Christmas morning.  I want them to know the value of friendship, staying true through many years of ups and down.  Also the value of giving when you can to lift up your friends when they really need it.  She has also given many other offers of generosity that will hopefully give us the opportunity for adventure in the coming months.  I can’t divulge too much but as we sat there during chemo #5, unnerved by all of the beeping machines going off at once, sympathetic for a patient next to us who had to move chairs because of an “accident” and the sweet old men talking about being proud dads across from us…we received this gift.  God’s perfect timing at work.

Brad and Russell enjoyed a Sporting KC playoff match with our neighbors on the Thursday after chemo which was a great night and memory despite the loss.  It was well timed as this chemo cycle has been rough and is requiring a lot of rest.  Brad’s nephropathy in his hands got bad one day but he was able to just rest his way through it.  The fatigue has been a battle but he has been able to eat and get some things done each morning.  Saturday and Sunday were rough so I took the opportunity to get my own to do list done while Brad rested and the kids did their thing.  Whitney and Russell are super troopers but it is a heavy burden for them to see their dad wiped out and barely able to stay awake.  He has kept us laughing when he feels good doing all kinds of crazy things.  He has a cold and grossed them out with talk of giant boogers that could barely go down the drain (TMI) and bragged about how he got a senior citizen discount without being asked for ID.  Brad is 48 and passing for 55…perks of being bald I suppose.  He is going to the doctor today for his high blood pressure and cold so I hope they sort him out so he can be better for chemo next week.

Quick shout out to our church and the organization Cancer Connection for literally showering us with Christmas Blessings and making Russell see and experience the magic of Christmas and Christ’s love and perfect timing.  He said he’s going to go crazy looking at all of the presents under the tree wondering what they are.  Such a pure example of the spirit of Christmas– a little boy, who acts so big, getting excited about a bunch of presents that drive his curious mind crazy!  God sent this distraction for sure!  Brad and I will be reminded of how good people are all month seeing them under the tree and honestly relieved that the kids have a little extra to be surprised by since they usually give us one or two ideas.  Well, Russell has rewritten his list on 3 1/2 x 5 cards at least 20 times since the end of October.  He also looks at www.ikea.com  every single day and asked me to sign him up for the customer loyalty club to get discounts.  People are good and Woods Chapel Methodist is an amazing church home!  Those people work tirelessly to surround people battling cancer with love and remind us constantly that they are praying and lifting us up.  It works, Brad is so appreciative of the cards from strangers.  It touches his heart like I’ve never seen.

I want to take this time to remind everyone that each of us has a battle to fight.  I have friends fighting medical battles that aren’t cancer so they don’t get the attention we are getting but certainly are having some of the same struggles.  There are people with job loss, depression, trouble in school, bullying, heartbreak from not making a team or aging out of a sport.  There are plenty of struggles families face that don’t have the attention of cancer so I hope we all take care of each other and at least make an encounter or opportunity to listen mean something.  My friend told me about her kitchen makeover troubles and it was so refreshing to hear about the ins and outs and mishaps.  She commented that it wasn’t as deep as a cancer fight but I loved hearing about something BESIDES cancer!  In fact I seek out those opportunities to learn and almost feel more opened up by all of this so that I don’t focus so inwardly and pay attention to what is happening around me.  We don’t want to get so bogged down by the details of this fight that we miss out on interesting opportunities to learn, serve and do for others.

See this beautiful baby…this is Brooklyn, my niece who was murdered 10 years ago.

75859_1726373485672_1252475_n

Three days after she died my friend and mother of 3 passed away from cancer when her daughter was just 4 months old at the age of 34.  http://www.stephanievest.com

A year later…to the day…my dad was buried on the same day as Brooklyn, December 5th, 2009.  This was the darkest hole of despair in my life.  I lost myself, I was not myself, I was pretty much helpless and useless.  Today, I know God put me through that heart wrenching, soul ripping, rock bottom despair so that I could rebuild into a stronger, more genuine and appreciative version of myself.  While I wish I could go back and have a do-over for pretty much all of my 30s… my 47 year old self is doing pretty damn good.  I’m still learning and trying to do better especially with my health as I see how fragile and important it is.  The abuse we put our bodies through is unnecessary and we don’t have to fall into bad habits as we can be strong and healthy for each other.  I know Brad is battling hard to get through this so he can feel good to enjoy some adventures this Spring and Summer.  Cancer is unpredictable and the budget isn’t vast enough to support something lavish but we can find some good family fun just being together.  During this cold part of year I dream of beaches, boats, lakes and baseball fields.

caregiving

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for the Big Kids as they come into finals and need to do well to feel good about this semester.  Pray for focused learning free of distraction and rock star knowledge to get them through their tests.
  • Belief and trust in the Lord that he will carry us through the bad days and remind us of the good days.
  • Ability to put together a stressfree Christmas and enjoy our days off from work and time spent together.
  • Productive work and praise for companies that care about their employees and allow flexibility. Thank you especially to my EccoSelect family as they are incredible.
  • Good health for the rest of us and ability to stay focused on priorities and accomplishing our goals.

God Bless oxox

#battle4bRad

#thankful

 

Great news today PTL

God is teaching us extreme…like EXTREME Sports level patience in this journey and along with that serious focus on each day as it comes.  Brad and I were both pretty quiet and tense as we got ready for our appointment today.  I knew it would be good news but seriously, with this thing good news doesn’t fill you all the way up.  That sounds very selfish but we just can’t get too high or too low.

Dr. Pendergrass walked in and as he was shutting the door he quickly said “Everything looks good, let’s get that out of the way.”  I had caught his eye as he passed our door earlier and he smiled and waved.  The care team is very straight forward but they are definitely cheerleaders in this. They don’t over promise and don’t predict or get too far ahead but they root for us in each stage.  It is so strange to think about the depth of sickness, progress and near misses Brad has had in two short months.  Only 4 treatments in and he’s come soooo far!

Scan Results: The liver tumor shrunk from a lime to a strawberry in size.  I asked to see pictures but they weren’t available so I hope he can get them when he gets the pump taken off on Friday.  The colon tumor shrank in half which we suspected  since there was less of a sensation of blockage the last month.  The liver has shrunk, not to completely normal size but a lot better.  The fluid that had built up is gone and the blood levels show it is functioning at 100%.  That liver was struggling and was making him SO sick when we started treatment.  Brad has gained some weight back which is giving him more strength and better footing for the medicine to do its job.  He has been very fortunate to be healthy so his body can just focus on the cancer and not be sick with other things.  His high blood pressure seems to have settled down and he even talked about trying to eat a little healthier.  Not holding my breath on that one and I’m just glad he’s gaining weight!

We are so thankful for our support network.  We have thousands of people praying all around the country and I can’t describe the kind of peace that gives us.  Carter’s favorite scripture (that is tattooed on his arm now) “If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us” is one that carries us through.  Brad has a very long way to go and we can’t get too high because we don’t want the fall to be too far but we will enjoy the next three months fighting hard until the next scan.  We’ve made it through two months and they seemed very long but we know how to fend off symptoms so hopefully we can make the next three months stress free with him feeling normal most days.  Brad has gone from almost being embarrassed and bummed out that he had to give people his bad news to being so humbled by the support.  We’ve had our dance people bring us gifts and messages of support, our old baseball team handed us a bag of gift cards the day after he told them…it is pretty amazing what people are willing to do for others.  We will pay this kindness forward however we possibly can.

#battle4bRad

#thankful