Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Busy! Thankful! Blessed!

Hello blog world,
I obviously either dropped off the face of earth of we have been busy living life in-spite of cancer!

Good news! Joel's last scan in September remained stable. We continue to live in thanks and humility at those words after scans. We know one scan, with even a mm of growth will turn our world around again!

This past season we moved, it's a positive thing! A lot of work though! It's a single story home in a great location. Praying this is long term home.

Princess started school... Kindergarten! She adores it! We love her school and are thankful for our new community around us! She loves reading. She is such a bright and caring kiddo. We are so blessed to be her parents! 

Joel continues to work full time in Corvallis. Today we got the exciting news of a transfer closer to home. We are so thankful. Truly what is needed! Good bye commute! 

Me? After nearly a year of infertility meds... Ups and downs.. Countless shots... Disappointment... And exhaustion... I'm pregnant! I'm very sick with a condition called hyperemesis. Basically, I vomit often, am dizzy and dehydrated.. requiring medications and iv fluid. This causes, missed work and smaller pay days... But we couldn't be more excited!

Next scan for Joel is mid January! Please pray it continues to be stable! Pray over me and our little miracles.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another birthday!

Princess is turning another year older! We are celebrating as parents of young children can.... Presents, friends, parties and treats. It's hard to believe how much life has changed in the last year.

We are exceedingly grateful. She is a miracle. We celebrate every birthday extra hard as life is truly so precious!!

Our life is slowly becoming more normal. We are praying for a job transfer closer to home for Joel. This is critically important as commuting feeds his fatigue/energy levels/which affects critical thinking.

Joel is doing well, I am so proud of him. We still have frustrations at times but, it's improved dramatically. 

Me? I am still busy. Working as much as I can, but continuing to fight hormones. Fatigue has been a challenge as I haven't felt quite like myself much (energy wise since my last hospitalization) that med really was hard on me!

So I guess it's safe to say, we are trying for another baby. Unfortunately we are climbing another uphill battle. I have pcos (poly cystic ovarian syndrome is a condition that caused me to have miscarriages, ovulation problems, and was why I was on the medication that almost killed me last fall.) I also have Endometreosis, and this January I did hormone injections to block the extra growth causing chronic abdominal pain. (Read into this side effects! Migraines, hot flashes, menopausal)

Add that into; the lesser known side effect from brain injuries is the effect of injury/surgery on neuro transmitters... Aka hormones, so we have had to fine tune Joel's levels as well. This has been a bit challenging but is slowly improving. To say the least, we visit my fertility dr often. We are thankful for a caring dr who has been in our life for many years.

Why am I sharing this? Not to be felt sorry for, or to be asked questions like "are you pregnant?" but rather for other families who are struggling to achieve a level of normalcy AC (after cancer) striving toward dreams from BC (before cancer) with some sense of hope. This is what we always dreamed of, cancer delayed this dream, but it did not crush it. We feel strongly our little birthday princess was intended to be a big sister, not an only child.

Well I guess some would ask why? Why add more to our plate? Why risk my health again? Why not? Why let cancer stop us? Cancer will always be over our head... Ha! literally in his. We accept this... don't really like it, but accept it. There are risks on all sides with this. But why run life on risks and what ifs? Is my God not faithful this far? Why would this end? He promises to never leave us, and he hasn't yet.

In our honest approach with cancer, we feel this includes our infertility journey. My posting about this subject may be limited, and poorly detailed, but ultimately I intend to continue to share our story. Do know we are already a few months into this story.

So. That aside if you wanna pray... Pray for Joel's job. He enjoys working, but commuting is becoming an evident problem. 
Pray for me, as my miscarriage rate is high, the cost of infertility is costly in both a financial aspect and emotional aspect. This is taxing on my body, and tests can be painful. Pray for princess as its hard on her having mommy off her kibble... 

Thank you for continuing to follow our life. Know the best is yet to come!!  

Monday, May 20, 2013


Once again we had our 3 month scan... End result....


Another MRI without changes.

We are so thankful, beyond blessed to walk out another day with news like this.

Thank you for continued love and prayers.

Next scan 4 months!!

Until then? We are living our life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life goes on...

The last weeks brought Joel's 30th birthday. Thankful! Thankful, to say the least. We are so grateful.

Missy has been busy! She has gotten lots of cousin time in. She adores her boys! Easter and Hayley's surgery brought many times for memories.

Hayley, my sister in law, had her mastectomy last week and is recovering well, considering.

Me? Busy too! My house is a mess, but I am feeling better. Last night I had my first success at running with a decent time!

Joel's next scan in May 13th. Pray his scan is clear! For we are on the cusp of hearing "remission" one word I long to hear. Also pray as we make more decisions, effecting his care, job and our life.

I can't say "thank you" enough to our army of family and friends!

Here are a few photos from Easter... thanks again Hayley for taking them.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A rant about work..

Work. I talk about it rarely. I enjoy my job. I love caring for people. My job is life and death. Adrenaline filled, fulfilling movements, where I can make a difference in one person's world. It is truly a privilege to be in this role...

But today, well, it was not my favorite. I found myself at the side of the dying and grieving families begging for more time. This is my job on a given day. I consider it an honor to be present at first and last breaths on this earth. A mission to have compassion and grace in the hardest/ sweetest moments of life.

Why today did I not like it? I was torn. Torn between compassion and empathy, with feelings of being annoyed that people would complain about elderly loved ones passing. They had time. They didn't have to live life with a constant sense that life slips quickly, or can change in an instant. I was jealous of the little man married 60 years. I was annoyed at the 50 year old daughter.

I was jealous.

I want that.

I want those things desperately.

I still hate you cancer. This will never change.... Because...

I want to be married 60 years, I want my daughter to have her parents for a long time. I want....

I was desperately wanting to have those dreams.

Dreams. Dreams that cancer has robbed and only my God can redeem. A cure, miracle, or healing, however it may come I pray my God redeems these dreams. For we have already lived, and survived the unexplained...

Isaiah 44:23 is on my mind tonight as...

Tomorrow I will face another work day. With my head held high, compassion in my hands and joy in my voice, for I do have hope.. I have today. This moment with my family, friends and strangers alike. I choose love, not anger. And thanksgiving for today, not worshipping a false idol of what "I want" tomorrow to be. I chose this moment, to be content.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

One year..

One year ago today was one of the longest days of my life. Joel's surgery at Ucsf. A 5 hour surgery evolved into more than 11 hours. But we came out triumphant.

It's a bit bitter sweet in our house today, bitter for what we have had cancer change, the constant stream of appointments, the on-going sense of a guarded future, the lack of understanding of how remarkable his recovery is, ongoing pain and injuries getting in the way... But a sweetness also follows. The sweet stubbornness of me, that is nothing more than determined, Joel's love for life and our daughter, his raw determination to work well, and well he is still alive, running. Thankful. For every moment of pitty party that may go on, hours of thanksgiving and celebration follow suite...

One year. One year ago, I sat next to my dad in the most uncomfortable waiting room. Anxious for every call, or word on Joel. My dad and I cracked jokes, drank cheap coffee and watched TV, grasping for distractions on my longest day.

We survived. Joel came out looking worn out, and I managed to sleep a short time.


Continue to pray for healing.. Our next scan is in may.

Most recent photos from Easter!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Normal abnormalities

So, Joel became extremely painful with horrid abdominal pain. Vomiting, and just feeling horrid. Me? Well the hormone injections I have been getting to reduce the endometriosis gave me on of my worst migraines yet.

On narcotics I only had one option "911" Joel road off in an ambulance while my dad met him at the ER. I went over with him until my body was screaming at me, and off my mom and daughter took me to urgent care for fluids and meds, several hours later my violent vomiting stopped, and Joel was off getting his gallbladder removed.

Something that would be so scary for some, was honestly was cake. A one hour surgery vs the 11 we have faced, cake!

So normal, so routine, so easy in comparison.

Joel is up walking and on minimal pain meds.

Me? I hate hormones, and am still questioning how many months more of this I can take.

We remain thankful. God is still good, in all trials.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another three months and now two weeks

We passed our last scan!! Woot! No emergent trips to Cali! Thankful thankful!

So we have been busy celebrating! This scan was easier to be excited about for some reason!

Life is starting to return to a new normal, as normal as it can be with a spouse with brain cancer. He will never be cured until there is a cure, not will we ever be free from this blasted cancer, but no growth---I will happily take!

Between bowling and a coast trip I was looking at pictures and thrilled to see something back. Joel's beautiful smile. It's amazing that even though its been a year since his first surgery, it just hasn't been the same until this past month! I can't even say how much this makes me smile!

Our next scan is in three months and two weeks, our Dr's way of keeping me/us from panicking about increasing time between scans! So thankful he gets me! Ha!

Joel is working 4 days a week and this is something we are happy about, his drs and other health care workers are surprised/glad about, yet it feels like some, who aren't in this pocket don't fully understand how amazing this is! None the less we are thankful as he continues to work hard that "he is able."

The other weekday is filled with dr appointments and cognitive therapy to help Joel learn techniques to complete recovery.

Me? Work has been busy, I am finally feeling better, though I still get short of breath after two or three flights of stairs.

Princess keeps us on our toes constantly making us laugh/cry and answer questions, I never knew a four year old could create.

Life is going on. I once feared it was over. But I realize now it was just a jump start into something new. I still miss our BC days. We still find ourselves hesitating on what may lie ahead, but we don't dwell on it. For we know, God has dragged/carried us this far...

Continue to pray for complete healing in Joel. Pray for my sister in law Hayley, Aaron and the boys as the next few months will be the hardest leg of their journey- chemo continues then surgery.

May we all live each day at a time, knowing our God will never leave us. (Even when we feel alone.)

Thank you for continuing to pray.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another scan

It's that time again, the familiar thump thunk of the MRI machine. I am thankful for insurance and the technology that has been useful in my hubby's care.

This MRI is 45 minutes long and is very similar to this machine...

Praying for another three months of clean scans! We will know more next week! I always get a bit edgy going into these for one extra spot could mean an emergent trip to California....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One year.

One year ago today our life changed. My phone rang, and woke me up with words no one wants to hear. "They took him to the hospital." Frantically I threw on clothes and hopped in the car for the longest ride ever. I remember swallowing hard and thinking "its fine, just something little" as I walked bravely back to his room.

It was very familiar place. I knew the room well. Just days earlier I had taken care of a patient in the same room... I still continue to work in this same room, but at times, I honestly now shutter. Same ER bed that is more uncomfortable than the floor, the same stinky disinfectant filled the air, and the same monitors dinging in my ears.

Oddly, enough this was different, I could sense it. Something was very wrong. He was not acting normal, rather anxious, with his heart rate high and hands clammy.

Then it started, the longest 5 minutes of my life. Joel turned blue, eyes rolled back and he started seizing. I jumped on him, held him in bed, screamed for help, all ending with bruises all over me from the force I used to keep him from falling.

The rest is history. The gut dropping ct scan, the Dr pulling me aside, me telling Joel 5+ times something was wrong in his head, as he forgot the first times. The saddened looks, me telling my dad and brother in the waiting room, leaving a rather horrid voice mail for my best friend, friends/coworkers hugging me, and Joel sleeping through so much.

I had no idea what was next. What was growing so invasively? Wondering, if my husband would walk out alive, Or if I would leave a widow?

Only thing I knew, is my God was fighting with me. I was brave because He is merciful. I was not alone.

The rest is a blur, thankful in someways that the blog has helped me remember dates and memories. In fact I found myself recently reading portions, thinking "woah, we did that?" No joke. I really surprised myself. At times I am shocked at my own clarity. How did we survive?!

Seriously. How? I am still surprised.

Truly though.

We are thankful. Tearfully I rejoice for one year. It is year, I had no idea if I would have. Our princess had her Ducky. Memories have been made. Progress has been won.

Oddly, today was my most normal day yet. It just felt normal... Despite appointments that continue to control our life, I came home to Joel. That is right. That is what I have been fighting for all year. My husband and my daughters daddy. It's all worth it. I plan on continuing to fight. There is still a VERY long road ahead... I plan on it being long, with maybe a few nice straight stretches. Please Lord?

I will admit, I still daily wish this hadn't happened. It's unfair. It's hard work. (Still) And dear, Lord it's aged me. (Seriously) I love my hubby, it's hard to see him still face challenges and know there are probably more ahead. My daughter has been robbed too young of a security that she should have and faces challenges that a 4year old shouldn't even hear of. I still hate you cancer, on so many levels.

Yet, for some reason every time I think of how much, "I hate cancer" my heart echoes with grace of how blessed we are. That for every trial there has been such deep grace and provision. God is still good.

Day by day, we continue to live. Step by step we trudge forward embracing what we have right now. Love. Love for each other.

I sincerely hope all our friends and family who read this, understand how much each person has blessed us this year.

To my amazing parents. I could have not done this without you. My bros and sister in loves, thanks for your unwavering support at all hours.

ODOT family, Sacred Heart family, DEA family, Employment Department family, Dr Trammell, church family, UCSF, my Cysters, numerous other friends and family and strangers who gave financially or prayed. Thank you. You are the army that helped carry us this far.

Next scan is Feb 4th- please pray it's clean!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Holidays and more

We had a nice Christmas... It was nice to be together. Princess enjoyed the fun, and honestly it felt normal... As normal as life will get.

Daily we are adjusting and coping with our new normal. I am very thankful 2012 is over, as it was truly a challenge I never want to repeat. It was made easier, by the love that surrounded us, but hard none the less. Our hearts are still so thankful!

Nearly a year out from diagnosis we continue to live day by day. Future planning is not without struggles, daily routines can be hard achieve.

Some things will never be the same; some better, some harder to deal with.

Joel is doing well, continuing to work three days a week. He still gets tired, but is enjoying being back. He got his braces off and is handsome as ever!

Princess loves school and is learning so much everyday. She is busy busy busy!

Me? Feeling ok, unfortunately symptoms of endometriosis have caused increased pain, leading to hormone treatment with its own side effects. Hopefully it improves soon!

Continue to pray for healing, rest and strength. Our next scan is the first week in February.