Monday, April 30, 2012

Yesterday and today

Sunday and today were full of nothing and productive nothing's..

The local produce stands opened.. So we went and visited the goats! Played outside and enjoyed sunshine.

Today we ran errands attempted to tie up loose ends and get a few appointments set up..

Joel continues to have shoulder pain and headaches... It makes errands often end quicker than I am ready.. We are both learning. Every day he can do more.. But pain can cut it short.

Be praying we find solutions and options for pain. Also be praying for sleep. I often wake up about every hour or so all night long. Between Joel and our daughter.. Princess talks in her sleep almost right when I start deep sleep!! This is exhausting.. Especially as I will return to work sooner than later!

Thank you... Your support on this journey has been an amazing community!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring football!

We had a fun day yesterday! My brothers, nephews, parents and Joel's sisters all enjoyed spring football! Ducks vs Ducks
The sun was shining bright! Our day was filled with good food and lots of fun!

We love this family time! Joel did wonderful, despite waking up with a headache. Some pain meds later and we were running!

After football and a nap time, tacos, mini golf and banana splits! Our kids had a blast! And Ducky turned out to be a pretty good golfer!

I will share a few photos from our day! Joel has had a good sense of humor and wanted his picture taken with the sign. He is coming to terms with the fact he can't do everything he used to. I do love him so very much! Each day we improve.

Pray for his shoulder to wake up more and for this neck/head pain to stay away.

Off for a day. Not sure what we are doing today but am hoping for sun!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just a day

I love it. Just a day. It's simple it's routine it's kinda normal.

Joel was painful this morning so while he and princess watched tv, I cooked a yummy breakfast! I love bacon from the oven! Amazing!!

His pain improved, a friend came by and it's always nice to see friends!

Tonight princess was wild. It's exhausting to be her sometimes and nap did not happen today... Of course we got our self wound up and mommy was exhausted too. Joel became tired pretty early, but rallied around to help me shuffle and pay bills.

I hate medical bills. Thankful for insurance... But these bills are rude! Seriously! If you do not pay within 10 days we will send you to a creditor. Ten days ? To pay hundreds? You can have what I can pay and no more... Gee wiz dirty debt collectors.

Honestly I would not have paid a single bill tonight if it was not for our friends and family. The generosity is humbling and I am thankful I was able to pay so many.

Tomorrow is spring football! We are excited for a fun day! Pray for no pain... This is huge... It's so hard to cope with at times!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Check this out

We have had a busy few days.. Joel had ot today. It's good but Joel gets worn out quickly. I have been tired and ended up getting a migraine. Super awesome. Our post tonight will be brief as I am spacey..

Princess found an Alvin and the chipmunks shirt that she is in love with. She is doing a little better and is not panicking as much these days.. She did well with my mom today... As my head was too spacey to parent...

Joel has hair regrowing but a heart shape patch is not growing as quickly.. Makes us smile.. He is improving slowly but his shoulders and neck continue to be painful.

We are thankful for so much. Everyday in its self is a gift. We are so relieved I can be home for awhile longer to help start routines and be consistent.

Will post more later but this head of mine is exhausted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quick thanks!!

Thank you to our dear friend for getting the pizza fundraiser going!! We appreciate you so much! And the yummy cupcakes!! And thank you to all the wonderful friends new and old that supported us tonight! We are thankful.

We are so blessed!

I have so many things to say. But am exhausted again we have had a few busy nights... Someone little decided not only to sleep talk but sleep dance! Twirling and jabbering half of last night! Did I mention we have stairs?

Pray for continued pain control for Joel! Rest for me! Peace for princess!

Thank you. I can't say it enough. Every friend has helped shoulder this load in some way. We could not do this alone.

Photo of Joel reading a curious George pizza book tonight!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Good morning! What are you doing for dinner tomorrow? Well if you are in the Eugene area we hope you will join us for a Papa's Pizza Fundraiser day!

We plan on being at this Papa's Pizza on Coburg Road around 5:30. You can buy pizza anytime on this day though! Just print this flyer out, and bring it in to pizza. We will get 25% of your pizza money! So its a win win! You eat. We get a portion to pay on the ever stacking medical bills.


Joel is doing better but, yesterday was rough, as Saturday night I had to give him another high dose of steroids to resolve the pain/swelling. This has side effects, including some mood swings and irrational thinking at times. So yesterday we delt with this. Praying today is smoother. I suspect it is already.

Stress plays a huge impact on Joel. Emotional stress, and stress of the unknown can be harder to cope with when they come at random. So we will be avoiding stressful situations as possible. One thing that would minimize this is routine. So, today our goal is creating a routine to have hanging in the house. That I will update every evening (try my hardest)- It will help Joel to have this out as a visual.

Also yesterday we had another juicer moment. So we have had a wonderful wave of BEAUTIFUL weather. I commented to Joel after church that I wish we had a chair he could lay in outside while Princess plays and I work on the yard.  No more than 5 minutes later we drove by a garage sale and got a  nice set of table chairs, and 2 loungers with cushions and an umbrella for $40!

We are thrilled. Yes, its silly business at times, but God does indeed want to bless us. He hears our hearts, and supplies even in the silly things. So thank you God. We are really looking forward to more summer!!

Daily we are genuinely encouraged by all our friends and family that love, pray, cyber stalk and all around support us. We don't know what we would have done in this season without being surrounded by this daily.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A long night

Joel is doing better this morning. Last night was long and rest didn't come til after one and 7 different medications later.

Thanks for continuing to pray. I need coffee.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We are having a rough evening, Joel has a fever and pain is not controlling well. This is our most painful moment post operatively. I am running out of medication options. please pray. We may be heading to a doc if we can't control this tonight.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ot, art show and ten years ago...

Today we went to rehab and met Joel's ot. She is great we feel like we made an ally in this recovery. Genuinely caring and desiring to help us.

Preschool had a fun art show fundraiser it was fun to see what our beautiful girl created! She had fun at her art show! Do keep praying for her, stress is hard to understand when you are three... She is so smart. Hears everything and understands so much. Thankful for those that are around us routinely that strive to protect her heart with me. Frustrated that not all understand how smart and quick she is... Every stress over heard she quickly hears. I see counseling in our near future talk about trauma..

It's hard to parent in this. Joel is present but I am doing the large majority of parenting at this point. As his patience wears thin quickly. As does his energy.

He is walking well but balance still needs time and therapy.

He will go to rehab twice a week. Shoulder strength and his ability to focus, as well as learning to cope with his impulsive nature will all be addressed.

He is off of steroids in the morning. Pain is manageable, but tonight has been worse. Stress impacts him greatly and social gatherings can also bring some stress. As well as noise. Princess was so happy Ducky was there with her though.

As for me? I am tired. Today has been long for more reasons than one. My body hasn't been cooperating and I have been having endocrine problems again so back to the doc I guess.. Probably stress but I can't figure out why we would have stress? Ha

Oh and ten years ago we had our first date! Yep April twentieth! Saturday market on earth day! I love Eugene! Little did we know that ten years from now our life would be together filled with our miracle daughter!! We couldn't be more thankful. We have been so blessed. We fought for her. We will keep fighting for each other and to beat to cancer booty!

Thank you for continuing to love and pray. Your support is felt daily. Honestly in my moments of quiet I know we are surrounded by love. I couldn't be more thankful for your encouragement.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So it's no secret that when you can't work that you have less money.

With cancer being what it is Joel and I committed to eating even better. Healthy fresh local and organic... Part of our plan was to start juicing so after shopping and not finding decent machine for our budget.. Costco had one I wanted but shouldn't so, I gave it to God.

Today I humored Joel, by going to a second hand store with books.. And low and behold the same juicer nearly new with all the parts... So thanks God! 15 dollars I can afford.

It's just another reminder of provision... Generosity has surrounded us. We could not be more thankful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Peace- to be free from war, strife, commotion, disorder, violence and the list goes on.

We all want peace. Peace in our world, community, family and life. It is so easy to be caught up by anxiety, distrust, fear and the unknown that peace is hard to accept.

But what I feel the need to remind those around me, is that God has given us peace.We don't have to earn it. Its been given. We just have to accept it. I don't feel like a vision quest, or fasting or other hyper spiritual activity is required of us. Just like God has given us love, grace, forgiveness, compassion and that list goes on, we as a culture need to learn to accept the peace that is without limits or boundaries given to us through Christ.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

So why do we make it so complex. Living in disorder and chaos, that even in the chopped of seas God still calms the waves.

Ironically enough this was the story I read to Princess tonight in our devotions. We talked about how God is bigger than scary things. And its not our job to calm the storms alone. My beautiful daughter has such a heart to care for others. She loves taking Ducky his ice packs, and is an eager helper for other things. I love her! She has been busy today. She is hilarious at times at other times exhausting. She loves ALL OF my ATTENTION. Which is hard, because so do so many other things.

I have learned over the last few months about what is important. Its her, oh messy house will wait. Bags will get unpacked, Bills, umm will kind of get paid? at least stacked neatly. Dishes will be done, and no shame in a paper plate. Meals will appear, which tonight's was delicious~! But this little girl, and her daddy, well they mean the world to me. Even whey they are cranky messy inconsiderate or all decide to come into the same half bathroom when all I want is three minutes of quiet to pee. ( True story, smallest spot in the house, both of them and the dog, some how end up in there if I am not fast enough!) Ha. Motherhood.

We have no guaranty of tomorrow. None of us do. We can't worry about cancer re-growth, or the what ifs. We have to accept the peace of God, and move forward in the confidence that we are not in control. So we do.

Our Oncologist that is local, pretty much loves what ever the tumor center wants to do. For now we wait for Joel's MRI in June, then maybe we will do chemo, maybe not. I am not at resistant to chemo. What I hate about it is that it could continue for as long as two years. Low dose, once a month, 4 -6 days at a time. But we will figure it out, and deal with it, if this is what we come to.  But the Dr truly was pleased , about the amount of tumor that was removed. Friends the amount is SUBSTANTIAL that was removed, the largest portion was 2.5x3.5x1.5 cm but there were several portions this large. I am so thankful we chose the second surgery. Honestly I miss the tumor center waiting room. I won't lie. Its horrifically comforting to not be the only young couple in the waiting room. Its not so lonely.

PT went well for Joel today. My bro drove him, as Princess was really needing mommy. I am so thankful to have him as a help, and support. OT will start this week as well. Joel was pleased to play guitar the other day- I figured I should brag a bit. I am quite proud.

We drop steroid doses once again in the morning. He will be off by the weekend!! Maybe this means more sleep all around?

Sorry if this is scattered, Our evening routine was a bit more normal. I made some headway getting organized, and since I am such a nester, this also brings peace. As does setting up my crockpot with oatmeal for breakfast...

Praying tonight for each of you. Praying peace would surround you, as you learn to let the walls down and stop fighting it. We have chosen to live with this, as we would be a mess right now without the ability to have our heart. We dream with peace, and hope for our future days and years and decades ahead. I dream of being old and using the silly handicap parking pass with out old people glaring. HA. Seriously.

Keep our daughter in our prayers, as we re-adjust. Joel tires easier than he admits, and it is hard on her and I both, as well as him.

Thank you for listening to my silly ramblings and praying along side of us.

Oh here are pictures of my crockpot! It makes me happy! I love my crockpots!!!!! And the others are the beautiful flowers our little miss greeted us with at the airport.. I was crying to hard to take a picture. I will be honest... I missed her and was so relieved to be walking with Joel by my side.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Oh I love home! I am such a home body anyways... Being gone was quite hard! While we were gone medical bills started stacking up but I smile when I see them... Cause I still have my husband. Money is so low on my mind!

Princess is doing well, but we have had a lot of tears today. She is stuck on us like Velcro. It's hard but I understand her complex thought process well... I swear she is a mini me. She worries and stresses more than a child should. Please pray we can move through this with grace and an intact childhood..

While she was worrying about something silly we talked about tying all those thoughts onto a balloon and letting them fly to God.. Silly illustration, but we spent a few minutes talking about how we can not change things sometimes but we give them to God, for he cares for us.

An important reminder of the grace of God. Praying she sleeps in peace tonight.

She drew this on my phone... She has our next trip planned already, Hawaii!! Yep, she is mini me.


There is no other place like it. Home.

My mom cooked an amazing dinner. My daughter snuggled tons. Oh my beautiful girl seeing her wait with flowers made me cry. I cried for so many reasons I was thankful to be home.

Thankful my husband came home with me, elated he proudly walks rather than require a wheel chair. Thankful we left so much cancer in that operating room. Thankful to hold my daughter tightly. Thankful, and relieved.

Joel flew well, rather it is me who nearly threw up! The flight was delayed
and well umm I don't care for delays today. After we got home I attempted to hail a taxi, and realized I must once again drive myself to the grocery store... Which princess and I happily did. We got a few much needed groceries and turned into bed earlier than ever!

Joel was a bit exhausted though he doesn't always see it, and our bed is truly amazing!

Thank you for praying and loving us through this season.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Checked in

We are through security... Joel is doing well. Home is literally a couple hours away! I am so excited I could almost cry!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bags are stuffed

Our bags are mostly stuffed, packed umm whatever it's called... Joel is asleep after a wonderful day with each other and friends!

We miss our daughter and are eager to be in our own bed! Joel tires without a nap... And as an effect of the exhaustion he can be twitchy... Joel has improved strength daily, but like last time he is worn out by the end of a day. He states he is about eighty percent...

Pray as we fly tomorrow, pray against seizures specifically. Also pray his large wound would heal rapidly, and that as we taper steroids again and stop his blood thinners that there would be no side effects.

I am anticipating a quiet week with dr appointments, rest and time with our daughter.

If you want to bring a meal please email, as I have not reset meal train yet.

Thank you for love support and prayers. The moments have been filled with deep peace knowing we are not alone.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting restless

We are looking forward to being home.. Two more sleeps as princess has reported today! We are comfortable but missing home.

We walked a bunch today.. Joel should be ready for sleep tonight! I know I am!

One phrase

Breakfast buffet. We are stuffed. Had a good nights sleep, and are considering a morning walk! Joel is doing well and his appetite is back!

Stitches are out

We have the stitches out! Our dr was pleased with his progress and positive. We are thankful to have such a caring healthcare team in our corner!

To be honest that after Joel had his stitches removed I was anxious to leave the brain tumor center... It was nice to be surrounded by other patients who have travelled near and far to this center of hope.

After our early appointment Joel decided he wanted to see the golden gate bridge and ocean.. He also wanted to the pier so we flagged a taxi and off we went... Here are a few Pictures from our day.. This was about four hours of adventure! Joel did great no car sickness, and even walked stairs! I couldn't be more pleased..

One week ago we started the morning in icu with very little talking or movement. I was wondering if we made the right choice and our baby girl flew home. Yep a bit emotional, yet it ended with us, finding out how successful surgery was and Joel was moving his leg and arm more. God is good.

We are thankful. Our friends love and support is intensely felt in every moment of our recovery. With out this we feel as though his recovery would be slower. Thank you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We are watching people... Tv... And lightening! It's fun!! I ate ice cream with melted chocolate bar and am ready to snuggle for more watching...

Happy grilled cheese day!!

So I love grilled cheese.. I love cheese! Cheese is amazing...

Today is national grilled cheese day, so we only found it fitting when we walked past a grilled cheese cafe that we had to stop!!

Here are a few photos from the morning!

Joel is poking the fountain... 

Lots of neat buildings with beautiful courtyards nearby. 

I love CHEESY humor~!!
Check out this sandwich! Amazing bread!
Oh South Park--- Ha!
Outside of our hotel. 
Joel walking the hotel halls.

All in all a fun morning. Joel is unfortunately starting into the I slept a ton, when it was only a few hours steriod episodes.. 3:30 his alarm clock in his head had him awake. I can only imagine he is exhausted. We are waiting for house keeping to come change our sheets today, and empty our garbages... then its nap time.

Pray for sleep, and that he rests well in it. His leg and arm are restless and active, when he is asleep. I feel is periodic limb movement, not seizures, but it is exhausting for us both. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Days!

We are sitting in the hotel, enjoying some sunshine and people watching. The place we originally booked got complicated and flaky, so on Monday when we were surprisingly released, it was a bit of a scramble. But the accessible room we found was more than perfect and only cost a little bit more. It is substantially nicer. It is really a challenge to find accessible rooms in the city for a week, on short notice. I was quite frazzled by the complexity of the Hilton reservation department. We had a reservation, but no single guarantee of a room. OUCH. What? seriously. They could no longer guarantee our room? Frustrated I got on the computer, began calling and found a wonderful Marriott in the heart of the business district in San Francisco. They were more than happy to accommodate us. Thanks Courtyard by Marriott! You have been treating us beautifully. They care, and are happy to appease even our silly requests. Pillows, towels, fridge, chairs, microwave, you name it- they are happy to help. Even the cleaning lady was so impressed at Joel's improvement today~! That my friends is service!

Since we have been busy and I was exhausted, I will catch you up on the last few days.

Monday morning, Joel still had not walked much, nor had he seen PT. The day shift nurse was understandably intimidated by Joel's size and we had to wait for PT for walking. Which meant, potty on a commode. Yep, Joel isn't a fan of these. Can't say that I am either. Better than a bedpan I guess?-- Multiple staff members felt that Joel would require inpatient rehab. We were a bit frazzled by this prospect as we hadn't planned, and I probably wouldn't be able to stay. Besides Joel isn't even thirty, the mere idea and concept was depressing. So PT got to make the final call. She got Joel up. He walked the halls with swagger, and she announced we were far to good for inpatient rehab~ Booya. I was happy and so was he! So we ran at the first mention of discharge. Literally. I ran. We are so happy with the care we received, It was quite remarkable. UCSF really is a different place than Riverbend, but still a friendly caring environment. It was fun to have a variety of people caring for us. New faces, beautiful stories, unique experiences and caring hearts.

We took at taxi to the hotel, and were offered many hands of help along the journey to our room. From removing our luggage from the taxi and taking it to the room. To instantly bringing pillows and quickly delivering dinner. Our room did not have a kitchen like our other room we attempted to arrange, but a fridge and microwave were delivered free of charge. The room is accessible, has a king size bed, a shower that has a seat, safety rails and my surprise included an in room soaking tub. Yep- not for Joel but after sleeping in the hospital it was awesome for me. The cost was only a little bit more a night,  but we are thankful for the comfort this place offered. Plus they guaranteed me a room. (Thanks Hilton! Marriott!!)

We slept beautifully that first night. It was a bit rough as I was exhausted, as was Joel. I was thankful the hospital pharmacy really was quite helpful in the medication schedule paper work they sent us home with.

Tuesday was Joel's birthday. We had a wonderful morning together, walked the halls of the hotel, washed laundry and spent time getting settled into our home away from home. Dear friends brought Joel and I a special birthday dinner, and cupcakes! Thanks Viles Family! Not only was it wonderful to see  friendly faces, I ate more bbq goodness then I think I had eaten in days.

We are so thankful for the love and messages for his birthday! We are thankful that due to such a successful surgery, guided by the hand of God, we are going to have many more birthdays!

Wednesday- Today. We had a relaxing morning, complete with Joel moving  more fingers and regaining more muscle strength. We had a small load of groceries delivered to the hotel, so our mini fridge is stocked with our own foods. You can really do a lot with a microwave...

Here is our room/shower and the trolley from our window this morning~!

We walked downtown. Joel did amazing. I am so proud of him! We needed to run a few errands, and Joel was eager to come along.

Our neuro-oncologist also called us, we have awesome news. The tumor remains a grade 2 oligodendroglioma. This is the same low grade cancer that we were already diagnosed with in January. Our doctors are very positive with us. They feel  like the amount of tumor removed is nothing shy of remarkable. Dr McDermott is continuing to be pleased with the results and has communicated them with numerous Drs. We are really looking forward to our next appointment.

We are doing well here, San Francisco is really a beautiful city. Our view is fun, and more entertaining than television. Princess is doing well at home, but we are starting to really miss her! We have been using Facetime, which is great, but I think it only makes us miss each other more. This is the longest we have ever been apart, and the farthest.  We can't wait to be home.

Coming up there will be a papas pizza fundraiser to benefit us. We have been supported so generously by friends and family, but bills continue to pour in. More information to follow. We may turn it into a birthday party for Joel!

Continue to pray for more strength and energy for Joel. Pray against seizures, as we have avoided them thus far- but we are decreasing steroids already. Pray for his stomach. This is seriously has become a problem. All of the medications and antibiotics have been hard on his system. Pray for our little Princess, she is doing well but this is a challenge for her. Pray for continued clarity and wisdom as we continue in this journey.

We are so thankful for all the love, prayers and support.

If you have a second Joel would love a birthday card- Our address is still on the side!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy birthday!!

Today is my hubby's birthday. He is 29 years old!!

We are tired! It's been so nice to be at the hotel and I will post more soon! Please shoot a message to Joel to wish him happy birthday!! We are thrilled to celebrate!

Monday, April 9, 2012

We are out!!

We are discharged!! Joel is walking well enough and we are at the hotel. Exhausted will post more later!

Another good morning!

Joel is wide awake. On the computer and enjoying music!

Me I am awake! At six Joel walked to the toilet!!! Yes big step!! And wiggled his fingers! We are THRILLED as is the staff!

Next up breakfast a shower for me, and pt for Joel! Yikes I better get moving time for this chair to become a chair again!

See my bed lounger chair thing.. It's not too bad.. Defiantly thankful for loosing almost 100 lbs in the last year though or else I would have been hurting!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A busy day!

We have had a good day! Joel woke up with a little more movement in both his left leg and arm, as the day progressed he has improved even more.

His fingers are starting to wake up a little as well! The occupational therapist worked with him today, she was super.. too bad she doesn't work tomorrow!! But another one will. Right now we are planning on staying as long as possible at the hospital, so Joel can get PT/OT as much as possible.

Joel's voice is coming back as well! It is much stronger today then yesterday.

Ice is one of his favorite friends, as he has not been on a narcotic, only taking tylenol for pain since yesterday evening! He is really much more alert/aware because of this.

We missed Princess today, but were glad for technology. Pictures and videos of her morning, and afternoon with my family. She is doing really well!

Tomorrow is going to be busier. I am super tired, pray that someone else in the same room isn't busy all night. He is playing with his hands... I can only imagine how odd it is to think you are moving your hand, and you can feel it, but you can't move it. He really has to WORK to get it to open/close Finger movement still is not there!

Pray for rest and strength for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

72 hours ago...

72 hours ago my husband was leaving a surgery that will forever change our life.

I can't say I have any idea how much, but I do know it will not be the same course it would have been had we not been able to come here.

This is a great hospital. The nurses understand crani patients so well, as there are many others on the floor at the same time with my hubby.

Well that all aside, we are literally three days out, this is when we see the true peak of swelling. Joels entire face is very swollen this evening. His head started pulsating and he began to twitch. All signs that we are hitting the top of this mountain of swelling and heading straight into a seizure.

I voiced concerns, as did Joel- and our nurse the same one we had last night was all over it. She rocked. Thank you Carmina. Literally within 5 minutes a neurosurgeon was at our bedside and had ordered medications.

So far seizure has been diverted. Joel has his head surrounded by ice, his heart rate has come back down to a healthy number and he is resting- I am not sure that I will rest a whole lot tonight. To be entirely honest I may have brought my own pulse oximeter from home, and I may have placed it on his finger so that I could watch his heart rate. Yep I am the family member we all dread...

I know I am not the only one who would ever do such a thing~ nor would I go purchase throat spray for myself... (yep still fighting that virus) and maybe share it with my sweet hubby.. hey its the same med, but he only has the throat lozenges.. this helps him more.. nope.. never I am not that rebellious.

Between when I started this and now, Joel woke up, stated he could see clearer again, brushed teeth, talked and we looked at pictures of Princess dying eggs at home. I asked her to make a special purple one just for me! She was quite proud. I love our conversations on the phone together. She makes me smile.

There are moments where I become sad because I am missing on times with her, or that I wish I could be there to comfort her as she has had a fever. But that is selfish on some levels. As Princess is getting the routine and consistency she needs so I can focus my energy onto Joel. I am so thankful I am able to.  And because Joel is taking up so much of my time, that she is not missing out on the important things. Its such a relief that I can never thank my parents for enough.

Cancer. It was in none of our plans. Honestly who does?. Never do you think that your spouse yet alone anyone you know will have cancer before they are even thirty. But I do have to say I smile every time I kiss Joel's head, because I know that there is a whole lot less cancer hanging out in there. It felt like an intruder, a stalker, and invasion of our privacy. I dunno, it almost seems like this giant tumor was watching us, and invading our life. I don't know how to fully describe it other than that. Its like you are being followed, and you can't see anyone, but you knew you where. Or a dirty little secret hiding.. Oh cancer. I hate you.

But in this God as been faithful. He has provided. Generosity and compassion have surrounded us. Love has carried us from all of our parts of life. Joel's heart has changed. No longer is he cynical and at times down right angry (who knows how much was that stinking tumor) But he has become kinder and more compassionate. Our marriage has been strengthened 10 fold. The definition of love, has evolved into things I never thought I would do for my spouse.

 I have become braver then ever, and more patient then ever-- as Joel is suffering with a brain injury. But the patience and strength has come from God alone. Me, I melt. This season is quite exhausting. But some how at four in the morning I can still muster up the strength to put Joel on the commode. Believe me. It takes a lot of strength. This is not my desire while sleeping. In all reality Joel is getting stronger hour by hour, but the left side is seriously weak still. He is unable to move his fingers individually yet. The firing is there, I can see the muscles pull ever so slightly at times. He is almost consistently able squeeze his hand, but not yet release it consistently. His arm/shoulder are also weak. His leg is about 70% but the coordination will take time. When he smiles, only his right side moves, unless he thinks about it, then both sides do.

Oh that aside. I am thankful I have my hubby. It will all take time, and once the swelling subsides we will know more next.

To say the lease we will be in the hospital tomorrow. PT is supposed to see him. Be praying this happens.

Also pray for no more seizure activity and the swelling to drop immediately. In this believe for complete and total healing- of which we expect... but I seem to not be patient with this component. I want him better now. I wanna not deal with wheel chairs and walkers. I wanna go for a walk with my spouse, not have my spouse be walked by me.

Keep praying.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers.

A day of rest

Sleep was not too challenging last night. The staff is good about leaving us to rest. Our nurse today has a good understanding about my own abilities and skills as well. So she will let me try to assist Joel getting up and down after he wakes up...

Well it looks like Joel didn't get on PTs list today, to be honest, I don't care. Joel needs rest today. We have already had his 2nd drain removed, which was quite painful. He also has alot of neck pain, throat pain and some pain where he bruised from his art line. His head is iced and he got a dose of IV pain meds.

The resident that removed the drain, was super cute, "Aren't you so pleased with the outcome from Joel's surgery? Its AMAZING!" Yep we aren't the only ones impressed.

His appetite is improving, but very slowly. As of now the only thing "keeping us here" Is Joel's physical skills, and my ability to lift him...ect... Joel is doing most of the work, but with his left arm making huge progress daily its just a matter of time.

Words are coming a little quicker, he is still struggling to understand what he is reading, but it was like that last time.

His arm lifted higher today, and his facial expressions are quickening. While helping him eat breakfast, he placed his left hand on my thigh, His hand was open, and his action purposeful. I know it sounds remedial, but for us it meant so much that he actually could do something he was thinking about doing. 

Today is crucial in respect with swelling. He is tired,  so sleep is probably needed. Swelling means an increase in pain, and overall an increase risk in seizures.

So please today- Pray for rest, no seizures and for continued strength of the nerve firings to his muscles! Its something that improves after each nap.Its truly amazing to watch. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

In light of the mere fact that it is good Friday, I was starting to work on this post long before we received news from the doctor...

As I got on the elevator after kissing my hubby good bye for what would be many hours longer than we imagined, my first instinct was to cry. But just as I started to, God whispered this exact song into my heart.

During times of trial, in our marriage whether with each other, or for each other God has always whispered this beautiful song into my heart. Dear friends sang it at our wedding as we par took in communion... Its an old hymn... but remarkably beautiful

My heart has known something that my mind can forget in the stress, but I hear loudly in the hardest of moments.

  1. Take my life and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    *Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in endless praise.
  2. Take my hands and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love.
    Take my feet and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.
  3. Take my voice and let me sing,
    Always, only for my King.
    Take my lips and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.
  4. Take my silver and my gold,
    Not a mite would I withhold.
    Take my intellect and use
    Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
  5. Take my will and make it Thine,
    It shall be no longer mine.
    Take my heart, it is Thine own,
    It shall be Thy royal throne.
  6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store.
    Take myself and I will be
    Ever, only, all for Thee.

Thank you God for your continued faithfulness.You love your children. For a success this size is nothing short of a miracle.

When a surgeon walks in....

When your surgeon comes in, late in the evening smiling.. you know it has to be good. Dr McDermott came walking in just like that this evening. First words out of his mouth, "I was about to leave for home, but I saw your scan, I just had to come show you." "I am very pleased" as he pulls up the images on the in room computer. Right in front of me, where there once was still so very much tumor. There was none. He continued to scroll through slides of my hubby brain, and clean slide after clean slide. The only spot of cancer left is in an inoperable area. Which we knew was not safe to remove. But due to the characteristics of the tumor-- this is a small detail. To see well over 95% of the tumor gone... its a HUGE relief.

To say the least I spent the last hour crying tears of relief.

 Relief... relief that we are beating this cancer... relief that the stress and exhaustion is worth it.... relief because I have wondered did we make the right choice... relief because I am a stressing lady today... relief simply because my husband has so much less cancer now, then he did hours ago.. relief because Joel and I both cried out of thanksgiving... relief because who doesn't like to hear good news? I guess Good Friday will always be special in our hearts for a whole other reason.

We are so thankful. We know the hand of God has been on every aspect of this entire journey. God has used the surgeons in an amazing way. We are so thankful to be in the capable hands of UCSF- they are a top neuro hospital for so many reasons.

Thank you for praying. Fasting, supporting and loving on us. Thank you God.