Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007: Time With Family

Hooray! We were able to spend today with Brian's family celebrating Christmas. Nathan apparently ate too much for supper last night and then was doing headstands afterwards! (I just found this out today). So, basically, like if you shake a can of pop . . . . that's what happened to Nathan.

I feel a bit better today. There is still a fine line of what I can and cannot eat to keep my "plumbing" in order and I haven't quite figured it out yet. Slowly but surely I'll get there.

I've been meaning to let everyone know that we have been blessed to be a part of another fund raiser. It is this Saturday, January 5 and is called "Toss for Teri". If you would like to check out the details the blog is This is the fourth year this fund raiser has been held and we are so thankful to be a part of it.

Sorry to keep it short but we got home a little late and we're tired so we're going to bed. We'll update the blog again tomorrow or Tuesday.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007: Germs, Germs, Go Away

Sorry we didn't get a chance to update last night. We've been enjoying the quiet time with the family and things are going well.

I was going to let people know that I am feeling up to visitors, however, I don't think anyone will want to come visit now. I just got a call from Brian and Nathan just threw up everywhere at Brian's parents.

Brian took the kids out tonight with his family and I stayed home and rested. Our plan was to celebrate Christmas with Brian's family tomorrow but now we'll have to see what the night brings. We are praying it is just something he ate. Ironically a couple years ago the exact thing happened except he made it here before he lost his supper.

I am going to head upstairs soon so Brian can bring Nathan in and put him to bed. Should this be the flu and I catch it . . . let's just pray that doesn't happen.

Some other prayer requests:

*that Nathan will sleep well and pass whatever this is quickly

*that Ashley & Emily will stay healthy

*that my incision continues to heal and that the pain and swelling will soon subside

*patience and strength for Brian

*Brian has been having a very hard time sleeping at night lately - please pray that he will be able to get a good nights sleep

Thank you!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Other Visitors

Sorry, with all of the excitement of coming home unexpectedly early, I forgot to post the pictures of our other visitors while we were in the hospital...

Stan & Jayne Konynenbelt and their daughter Kaitlin visited

My Mom & Dad also Dad was in the waiting room with Emily

Kristi and her friend Heidi

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007: Another Small Hurdle

After I sent out an update last night I went to bed for what turned out to be a very long and painful night. I was up every 1-2 hours with diarrhea. Sorry, gross. Anyway, Brian talked to Dr. Downey this morning and he believes I have an infection in my intestines which is not uncommon for people who have had surgery and have been laying in bed a lot.

I am on an antibiotic and an anti-diarrhea something or other. Also, I am taking Tylenol with codeine for the pain (needless to say I'm in a bit of a fog again). The most of the pain is still my incision. It is healing well though, just takes time.

Nathan came down with a cold yesterday :( He is bored at home but we don't want to send him out with germs. He is doing well considering and we are praying that he will kick it soon and that no one else will catch it. Unfortunately Emily is showing a few symptoms but not bad yet.

Please especially keep Brian in your prayers. I am not being the most cooperative patient. I don't mean to but I just really want to stay in bed and not move. It hurts so much to move and staying in bed is my way of escaping. What is a husband to do when he knows it's in his wife's best interest to get up and move but she is crying and begging to stay in bed? He is torn is so many directions with all of our needs. Please pray for patience and good health for him.

On another note, I am having some strange dreams. A few of them have been extremely scary and I find myself trying to make myself wake up during the dream and then am frozen in fear when I wake up. I believe this is a side effect from the medication in the hospital. Please pray that they end quickly. I found myself praying myself back to sleep last night and fortunately the first scary dream was also the last.

I apologize if I sound spacey - I don't like this feeling but the pain is too much to bear without the pills. I'm thinking it's time for an afternoon snooze after I guzzle more water for Dr. Brian :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25, 2007: The Best Christmas Ever!

I know Brian mentioned in his earlier e-mail that I probably wouldn't be posting tonight but I just have to despite the pain. I believe I am finally out of the "fog" that the pain medication had me under. I have weaned myself off the Vicoden and have a great deal of pain almost all of the time, I would rather have that than the mental fog I was in. I am still taking Motrin.

So, I sit here with a frozen bag of corn on my stomach as the incision is the most painful part now. I have so much to say and apologize in advance for blabbing away!

It hit me this afternoon finally that my CANCER IS GONE! I have been sobbing a lot but happy sobs. I am overwhelmed at this miracle and am still taking it all in. The past week has been a blur. I see pictures of me and hardly remember them. I finally checked my e-mails tonight and went through the tears of joy again with everyone. What an amazing celebration. I believed with all my heart that I would be healed and yet to be here now, healed, is just, well, I have no words that are adequate.

Tonight I sat on the couch with Brian with our cat curled up between us purring away. There was a fire in the fireplace that was warm and smelled good and crackled. Christmas music was playing, Emily had gone to bed peacefully earlier and Ashley and Nathan were playing happily downstairs (yes, Nathan and Ashley together playing happily!!!). There couldn't be much of a more perfect moment. Oh wait, there can! Did I mention I'm a CANCER SURVIVOR!!!??? I've been wanting to scream that for so long!

The words "praise God from whom all blessings flow" keep popping into my head. You all have been such huge blessings to us! You pray for us, watch our children, plow our drive way, cry happy tears! Also tonight I found a message on my machine to let us know that our supper will be here tomorrow at 5:00 and will be hot and ready to eat! (Thank you Lori!) and I know that there is just a huge list of you waiting for your turn to bring us supper. Not just "oh we need to feed them again" but" would you please put me on the list so we can have the pleasure of bringing them supper?" You are all so amazing. I'm going to have to stop typing to dry the tears to see the screen!

Okay, better now. The kids have been so wonderful, and Brian, well, no words can describe him either. He's been my nurse, chauffeur, cook, nanny, maid, psychologist and so much more. And he always smiles. What a gift.

We were able to spend Christmas eve with my family but I was still quite groggy and out of it. I'm just glad I was able to be there to see everyone else and the joy in their eyes.

I am slowly getting better but the pain is quite difficult and I mostly go from the couch to bed. Hopefully soon I will be able to add the computer to my rounds more often. And then visitors! The day will come! Until then, please know we love you and your support and are sooo so so sooooo happy to be a part of this miracle! There is NO GOD LIKE OUR GOD!!!!!

Merry Christmas, 2007!!

Kristi was hoping to update the blog tonight but she is still just too sore. She has spent the entire day in bed. She is also very depressed over the fact that she is so sore and can't do anything. She is in agonizing pain. I can't believe it's already been a week since her surgery. That week just flew by like a blink of the eye.

Please pray that the pain subsides soon. We're all very glad to have her home but it's hard to see her suffering like this. She doesn't want to spend time in the living room because she doesn't want the kids to see her like this.

Kristi was able to come down and lie on the couch while the kids opened their that was nice. But then she had to go back to bed. It's hard because for her to get better she has to get moving around...but moving around causes her a lot of pain. So I have a delicate line to balance between making her get out of bed and making sure she's comfortable. So far she hasn't called me any names so I guess I must be doing OK. So please just pray that the pain gets better soon and I maintain my sanity so I can be a good nurse for Kristi.

Thank you all and I hope your Christmas was merry!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve, 2007: Recovering

Kristi is still in a lot of pain and very "loopy" from her pain meds. But...she's home for Christmas!!!! The kids are very excited to have her home. Hopefully tomorrow Kristi will be up to typing an update!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

She's Home

Kristi is at home resting now. We got home about 1:30. She has asked for no visitors as she is still in a lot of pain. She says she will start calling people when she feels up to it...for now she's just going to rest. Thanks for honoring her request. What a Christmas gift!

Sunday, December 23, 2007: She's Coming Home!

Dr. Downey said Kristi is doing so well she can come home today!!! Thank you God!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Nathan & Ashley visited last night

Emily visited too, but didn't see mommy, just me. We figured that would have been too hard on her to see mommy then to have to leave again. But my mom and dad were nice enough to bring her so I could see her.

We went for a family walk last night
Kristi's mom and dad

Den & Stace also visited last night
Our friends Jack & Ginger and Katie
Pastor Frank & Sally

more pictures to come...

Saturday, December 22, 2007: Real Food!

Today Kristi started on real food. She is off all of her I/V's except one. Dr. Downey stopped by this morning and is very pleased with her progress. He said she should be home by Christmas!!

As you can see by the look in her eyes, she's not quite "all with it" yet. She's better today than yesterday, but she's pretty stoned yet.

Saturday, December 22, 2007: More Info & Prayer Request

When I stopped Dr. Downey in the hallway the other night, he told me "we're not out of the woods yet". During the operation, he took several tissue samples as well as cells from her liver to be biopsied. He said we should get the results by the end of next week. He said not to be surprised if the report comes back with a 'positive' reading. He says there is likely still cancer at the microscopic level. I hesitated posting this because I didn't want to dampen the mood, but I feel this required more prayer. I would like to blow Dr. Downey away one more time. Please pray that the test results come back negative and that the cancer is 100% gone.

Please don't be discouraged...we're not. This week's surgery was a huge success. We wanted two things out of this surgery: 1) the colostomy reversed and 2) no tumors on the liver. God answered both of those prayers. Dr. Downey did take some tissue from inside her liver to be biopsied, so we need that report especially to come back negative. Cancer in the liver would be very bad obviously.

Microscopic cancer we can deal with. If the report comes back with a positive reading that just means more chemo will be required next year. We are prepared for that. Like I said before, the one biggest thing Kristi wanted was that colostomy reversed. Words can't explain how ugly, brutal, horrific and down right dehumanizing that bag was for her. I only posted a small percentage of the struggles she had with that thing. So the fact that the bag is gone is a huge victory for us.

Please prat that we blow these doctors away one more time and that all the test reports come back negative.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Kristi's Reaction

Someone asked me to tell about Kristi's reaction to the news. Well, to be honest, she was pretty out of it. It took her 3 hours to get back from recovery. Once she got to her room we were all here waiting for her. She opened her eyes slowly, looked around the room, looked confused, then looked back at me. We were all crying a little again. Tears of joy of course. Then she reached down to her stomach and felt. Her face brightened up as she said "the bag is gone!" I said back, "yes, it is!" Then I handed her a coffee cup that said "miracles happen". The coffee cup also had a big butterfly on it. She looked confused again and asked "a butterfly?" I said "it's a miracle honey, they couldn't find any cancer!" I didn't realize that she probably didn't have clear enough vision to read yet so I had to explain the coffee cup. :)

After I told her they couldn't find any cancer she quietly replied "yeah". Then I gave her a big hug and as we were hugging she whispered into my ear "I touched His robe". Of course she is referring to the story of the woman who touched Jesus' robe and was healed.

"Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, "If I can just put a finger on his robe, I'll get well." Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: "Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you're well." The woman was well from then on. " Matthew 9:20

After our hug she asked why we were all crying. "That's why I'm confused". We had to explain they were tears of joy. Kristi mentioned that while she was in the recovery room she couldn't move her arms. All she remembers is a lot of pain, bright white lights, and she could hear the nurses talking. The nurses were talking to each other and Kristi remembers overhearing the one say to the other "they couldn't find any cancer in her". She wasn't sure if they were talking about her or not. Obviously they were.

Shortly after telling her she started having a lot of pain so our celebration was cut short. It took about an hour for them to get her pain under control. Since then she's been heavily medicated so I don't think it's really set in yet.

So that's how Kristi was told.

Friday, December 21, 2007: Progress

Today Kristi got her catheter, epidural, and one other thing that was stuck in her out. She said she was able to sleep from 11 - 5 last night. She is sleeping now. She is now only on pain meds through an IV, so please pray that she can tolerate this.

Last night Kevin & Stephanie and their son Carlos visited for a while. Then after they left the ladies from our small group came to visit. Sorry everyone, I forgot to take pictures. We're trying to keep a photo journal of our visitors but I keep forgetting. We're doing that so Kristi can look back and see the people than visited. Kristi is still very confused. She is convinced that she took a walk with Carlos this morning. "Nope, that was last night honey". She also thinks that she has done laundry today. "Are we in Indiana?" It's kind of strange. Anyway, that's all for now - she's getting a blood transfusion so I need to go.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Just Happened?!

2 weeks ago Dr. Downey called us to tell us they found 3 suspicious spots on Kristi's liver. In the pre-surgery meeting with Dr. Downey I asked him about those spots. I asked him if they could have misread the scan and possibly picked up her stomach port. He said 'no', there were definitely spots on the liver. He indicated that it could be puddles of fluid that gathered in the scar tissue, but that there were actually spots on the scan, not shadows or anything of that nature. Spots.

So in the meeting with Dr. Downey immediately after surgery, he indicated "I scoured the liver looking for anything but couldn't find anything. Test after test kept coming up negative". He squeezed and squeezed, looking for masses. So I asked him again later Tuesday night when it was just me and him in the hallway - I asked "what about the liver, the spots? are you sure it wasn't the stomach port?" He reiterated again it wasn't the stomach port they read in the scan. He said "I can't explain it, we found nothing on the liver". He told me that before surgery he was "gravely concerned" over what he was going to find. Then I got goose bumps.

I know what happened. You know what happened. I think he knows what happened.


Well, they can't seem to get her heart rate, blood pressure or oxygen under control but they have ruled most everything out. They believe it's probably just her pain meds but they are continuing to watch her closely. She can't seem to get a stretch of more than 20 minutes without someone poking or prodding her. It's quite annoying, but it's for her own good I guess. :)

She's taken 3 walks today but is still in quite a bit of pain. Her sister Lori and friends Sheri & Jay stopped by for a bit to visit. Kristi has asked that if you want to visit please wait until Saturday so she can remember you visiting. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007: Prayer Request

Please pray for Kristi today as she may have an infection. Her heart rate has been elevated since last night and her blood pressure is really low. Her oxygen level is also quite low. They haven't been able to take her off of oxygen yet because of her low level. They have done 2 CT scans since last night. The scan of her chest came back clean but we're still waiting on the scan of her abdomen. They are looking for blood clots. The head nurse from the ICU just visited and she didn't seem too concerned since Kristi is talking, but they are going to keep a close eye on her. Kristi is still quite confused and groggy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


They've been doing a great job keeping her pain in check which is a tremendous blessing. She's been sleeping peacefully most of the day. She got up this afternoon and walked about 100 feet. The goal for tomorrow will be to walk several times. She's started a liquid diet and is starting to get "activity" in her bowels. She is doing so much better than her original surgery in January...I'm actually kind of bored, which is a good thing. The mood is so much better this time. There is a feeling of hope, not defeat; peace, not despair; a new beginning, not the fear of the unknown.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. Thanks for that Toddo

Wednesday, December 19, 2007: Update

Kristi had kind of a rough night with pain, but today she is resting peacefully. She got up last night and today and walked about 10 feet each time. This is great progress. She is napping right now. No word yet on when she can come home...we're still hoping by Christmas day.

I got home last night about 10:00. The kids were so excited to see me and tell me about how they heard the news about mommy. When I found out about Kristi, I had our friend Sheryl call the school secretary. The secretary then called each of the kids' classrooms. In Miss Tucker's room, Miss Tucker called Ashley out to the hallway where she shared the news about Kristi. Ashley said she wanted yell but didn't want to get into trouble. In Nathan's class, after Mrs. Wallinga got the phone call from the secretary she announced it out load to Nathan in the class. Nathan said everyone in the classroom erupted. Not sure how accurate those stories are but that's the way the kids remember it. :) The word spread quickly around school.

We are so extremely humbled by the outpouring of love. The blog was hit almost 800 times yesterday. The excitement in everybody's voice when I call them, the e-mails, the text messages, the comments on the blog. Kristi is just in awe at how many people love and care for her. We are just blown away. When I dropped the kids off this morning at school I got hugs from past and present teachers of the kids. What an awesome feeling right now.

Speaking of the kids...since we went to bed late last night, we all slept in and I took the kids out for breakfast this morning. They are so excited that mommy is all 'fixed'. Here is a picture of the kids this morning at breakfast...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kristi Says Hi

Beautiful, isn't she?!

Praise Be To God

Wow, what a day! Simply amazing, just amazing. What joy. I feel like I just won the Superbowl. Our day started at about 7:15 this morning. Kristi and I said our final goodbyes at about 7:45 and they whisked her away. That was so hard. Overall I think I did OK. Keeping me sane today were my parents, Kristi's parents, my friend Denny, and a pleasant surprise...Pastor Frank and Sally.

The time went by surprisingly fast. The anxiety really built when they told us she would be coming out in 45 minutes...that was about 11:30. Those were the longest 45 minutes of the day. Then when I saw Dr. Downey walking down the hallway he motioned me to come into the conference room with him. I was pretty much a basket case at that point. When you go into a conference room with the doctor that is usually not a good sign. But he had nothing but good news. I could just feel the anxiety melting away as he was talking. There were nothing but tears of joy. I'm pretty sure we were all sobbing. It was extra sweet that Pastor Frank and Sally were there to hear the good news in person. That was really sweet. I just think how many times he has been in that same situation with other people and heard bad news. We're so glad they were there to celebrate with us.

Kristi had a pretty difficult time coming out of surgery. Her pain on a scale of 1 to 10 was a 100. When she got back to the room she was very uncomfortable. After about an hour they got things under control. Right now she is resting peacefully. Please pray that they can manage her pain and she can rest peacefully tonight.

That's all for tonight...I'm just going to sit here and enjoy her.

Thank you all so much for caring and praying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007: PRAISE GOD

I'll fill in more details later, but just wanted to let everyone know that the surgery was a success!!!! The colostomy is reversed and they found no traces of cancer. More details later, for now, celebrate with us and give a prayer of thanksgiving!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ready For Surgery

Kristi is done with the bowel prep and is ready for surgery. Unfortunately, there was a little mix up and they gave her a beef-based broth instead of chicken and that might have messed up her bowel prep as she now is not "clean" any more. She may have to do some more bowel prep through the night. How can a mistake like this happen?! Because if this, they cannot give her the sleeping meds. So we just sit here and wait for her bowels to clear up. Other than this, we're just waiting at this point. She was in good spirits until this mix up and a bag "malfunction". Apparently, her bag wants to go out with a bang. Please pray for patience tonight as we're quite tired and frustrated.


Monday, December 17, 2007: Happy Birthday

It's Kristi's birthday today!! She looks great for 29 doesn't she?!

We're all checked in and so far so good. Our room is small but very nice. We're on the first floor so everything is good and close. There's a restaurant, coffee shop, chapel and even a gift shop...and we have wireless!!! wahooooo!!!!!! Here's some pictures of this morning:

Here's a picture of her walking in this morning

Kristi just chillin'

Kristi waiting for her I/V's

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, oh Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138: 7-8

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007: It's Here!

The day has finally come. Wow, on one hand the time seemed to fly by, but on the other hand at times the minutes seemed like hours. Tomorrow we'll drop the kids off at school and head for Blodgett Hospital. Actually, we dropped Emily off at our friend's house tonight already. We're pretty much ready for this week. Kristi has been busy getting everything taken care of and completing the Christmas shopping too. It's amazing how she gets everything done!

We had a very incredible experience this afternoon at church. This past week another very special person from Calvary was diagnosed with lung cancer, so Pastor Frank called a special time of prayer this afternoon for people to come pray over Kristi, myself, Rich and his wife Mary. I bet over 100 people showed up. We broke up into 2 groups and people just poured prayers over us. Just an amazing family to be a part of. For the most part, we are very much at peace. It's only when I stop and start thinking that I start getting overwhelmed and anxious. So we've kept real busy all weekend. I'm sure Tuesday will be a very difficult day of waiting and anticipation.

We heard that in Ashley's Sunday school class this morning they went around the room and each child said what he/she wanted for Christmas this year. Ashley's answer: "I want my mom to be healed for Christmas". What an angel.

Tonight we met with our small group again and spent 2 hours laughing and talking. We ended by them praying for us once again. We love those guys!!

So with Kristi being out for surgery, you all will have to put up with me for the next couple of weeks. :) I'll try my best to update the blog as much as possible over the next few crucial days (I'm not sure if Blodgett has wireless). I'll do my best to be as timely as possible. I know there will be hundreds of people checking throughout each day so I'll be as prompt as possible. I'll for sure update the blog tomorrow night and Tuesday night. If the updates are short it's because I'm tired or I'm waiting for more information...I'll do my best! Thanks for understanding. We know the surgery will begin at 7:30AM Tuesday. Please take some time out of your day Tuesday to pray for Kristi. The estimated time is 5 hours.

I will probably be coming home every other night, so if you send an e-mail I will print it off and bring it to Kristi. This was her favorite part of her first hospital stay. She looked forward to me reading her e-mails to her each day...sometimes I had to read them to her 3 or 4 times because she would doze on and off while I was reading them to her.

Also, Rich heads off to Boston this week so we need to shower them with prayers as well. Please pray for Mary and their kids as well as they start down this path that we've traveled. They will hear a lot of unsettling things/statistics this week and that can get very overwhelming. Please pray that along with all of the information they will be getting that they will remember to fully rely on God and turn everything over to Him. They're in a very scary part of their journey right now and need our prayers.

Some specific prayer requests for this week:

* Kristi's prep tomorrow goes well.
* Rich's flight and traveling is uneventful
* Kristi's surgery Tuesday goes as scheduled and that they find no cancer
* Pray that Rich's meeting with the doctors on Tuesday also goes well and they develop an encouraging plan for his treatment
* Pray that our kids are safe and remain healthy this week.
* Pray that Emily doesn't get home sick. She will be gone until at least Saturday.
* Pray that Nathan and Ashley don't worry too much and can stay focused on school and having fun. They were very upset tonight and worried about mommy, so if you see them give them extra hugs.
* Pray for peace and comfort for me as well.
* Pray for peace and comfort for Mary as well. I remember being in her shoes almost one year ago. Agonizing.
* Pray for everyone involved with both families (you!). This is really a trying time for all involved. We all need to pray for each other.

Thank you all so much!

Brian & Kristi

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007: Counting Down

I knew this week would fly by but I am still stunned at how quickly it went. I've been marking things off my to-do list all week and yet it seems to continue to grow! I'm discovering that a mother's work is never done.

We had a great night Friday celebrating Christmas with our friends. We also had fun this evening celebrating birthdays with Brian's family.

Brian came down with a cold this afternoon and I got it this evening. I was telling Brian's family tonight how fortunate I've been that I have only caught one cold this year. Shortly after they left I sneezed and it was all over. I have a stuffy and drippy nose and sinus pressure. Hopefully our germs will quickly pass and not cause any problems with surgery.

Tonight as I put Emily to bed I had tears running down my face while I sang to her. She is spending the night at friends of ours tomorrow night so tonight was the last time I will put her to bed for quite a while. I don't think she would be able to handle seeing me in the hospital so it will be a long week waiting to see her again!

The other night I was freaking out about the kids, especially Emily, missing me. She is very much a mommy's girl these days. I had a thought though as if God were talking to me. It was "you trust me to remove your cancer but you don't think I can handle a three year old?". It was almost rather comical. I did feel much better after I "let go" of the fear. I'll admit that I am still trying to take control of it though and am struggling with it.

So, some prayer requests for tonight are:

*the cold germs will flee our house!

*I will be able to let go of my worries about the kids

*continued peace about the surgery especially as the day gets closer

*I can tell Brian's anxiety is kicking into high gear and his cold doesn't help matters Pray that God's peace will overcome him.

*that the transition of leaving Emily tomorrow night will go well

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007: Lori & Eric Update

I have a praise to share regarding my sister and her husband. A few weeks ago they traveled to Ann Arbor for an appointment to determine Eric's eligibility for VA disability. They have found out that he was approved at 100%! This will cover their monthly bills.

Some people have asked me how they can help Eric & Lori. They have a donation account at Macatawa Bank. The money they receive from this will help them pay for treatments for Eric that are not covered by insurance. If you would like to help out in this way, simply go to any Macatawa Bank and let them know that you would like to contribute to Eric & Lori Fox's donation account.

Eric & Lori have two children - Zach & Maddie. I am continually amazed at their family. Their son had a solo at his church Christmas program a couple weeks ago and he totally rocked! Maddie's fashion sense, as always, brightened the room. Eric & Lori's amazing faith is very inspiring.

Thank you so much for your prayers for our entire family!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007: A Christmas Miracle

We all know of the Christmas miracle 2,000 years ago...our Savior was born!

Well, this Christmas we're asking for another miracle. We have asked you to pray boldly in the past for God to rid Kristi of this cancer. Now I'm asking everyone to pray feverishly. Yup, I'm asking everyone to crank it up! Not that I think you haven't been praying hard enough, I just believe this is a time where we need to cover Kristi with extra prayers. Our God is not too small to perform this miracle. He can do anything, anytime. I'm asking that this be that time. I'm not going to ask anyone to fast for Kristi - I'll let you make that decision on your own; but, I am asking everyone to pray until it hurts so that when they open Kristi up on Tuesday they find nothing.

Kristi is still at complete peace with this. Please continue to pray that this peace continues to cover her. As the day gets closer, I find myself getting extremely anxious. OK, I admit, I'm a basket case. I'm sure some of you are the same way. Tuesday will be a big day. Biggest so far. Please pray for everyone involved, including you. Like I said, I'm sure I'm not the only anxious one out there. Please pray that God gives us all this peace that Kristi has.

As Kristi mentioned before, her doctor is on vacation this week and we will likely not get the official results of her CT scan until Monday. Believe it or not, we're OK with this. At this point, what good would it do for us to know any more. If the cancer is on her liver, it's on her liver. Knowing that now would only jeopardize Kristi's peace. We hope they don't call.

This is crazy stuff. A year ago we were making our Christmas preparations just like everyone else. Now we're fighting for Kristi's life. We would have never imagined. We have grown so much over this past year it's been amazing.

Our blog passed 40,000 hits today. It seems like I just put the 20,000 fireworks video on here...where did 30,000 go?! That is just amazing. The video of her testimony has been viewed over 1,300 times. Wow. Thanks for continuing to support us!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007: Rain, snow, rain, snow

What interesting weather we are having! I went into the store tonight and it was snowing - I came out and it was raining again. What a mushy mess. It takes more than slush to keep me from shopping though! Brian made it home safely from Ohio but unfortunately he didn't get into Holland until 7:45.

So, I went and did the shopping first and met him at Applebee's for supper. The poor guy was so tired. He had gotten up at 4:15 that morning and rode 5 hours each way. He still came to have supper with me though and it was really nice. He's crashed in bed now so I thought I'd send a little update. A verse popped in my head as I was driving tonight

He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Mark 5:34

I have strong faith that God will heal me and that is what is keeping me focused.

My doctor is on vacation this week and he has my test results of the ct scan on my liver. We are fine with not knowing what they are thinking until it is time for surgery.

Wow, next time I need to take the sleeping pill after I update the blog! The letters are starting to blur so I think that means it's time for me to stop typing before I start babbling. I may be too late already.

One quick request I have is for a gentlemen at our church. He had a lung biopsy done a couple weeks ago and just today he was told he has cancer. Please pray for him and his family (his name is Rich). He has been so helpful and comforting to us (as he is to so many people) Pray that the love and encouragement he has sent out will come back to him during this difficult time of waiting.

Thank you prayer warriors!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007: The Countdown Begins

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the surgery date is arriving! One week from now I will be in a hospital bed and hopefully past the worst part of the bowel prep. Ugh. I'm getting lots of stuff done but still have a lot to go. I just really love being normal though and doing things like laundry and cleaning and playing with the kids without getting tired. I haven't been able to do this all year. I'm so sad at the thought of it being gone soon. But, one step back then two steps forward.

I've been mostly peaceful these days. I have had a few moments where the anxiety starts tapping on my shoulder and I start to think about the surgery and what the doctor may find. So far I am able to stop my mind at that point. I know if I think much beyond on that I will send myself right into a pity party and that wouldn't be good for anyone. Please pray that I am able to continue warding off the anxiety. I want this week to be a joyful time for my family.

I can tell Brian is becoming a bit anxious as well. He's a bit quiet lately and I'm sure he has his share of ideas running through his head. He has to travel out of state tomorrow for work so please pray for his safety. Tomorrow night we are going out to dinner and then to finish up the Christmas shopping afterwards. This will probably be our last "date" for a while which will be sad.

Ashley has come down with a cold . . . . so much for our healthy streak. She looks and feels miserable. Please pray that she will get through this quickly and that the rest of us will stay healthy.

Nathan has been a bit sensitive lately and asking questions about the surgery. He hasn't gotten enough sleep lately and that usually causes him to become sensitive. I'm hoping getting him to bed on time tonight will help.

Emily is just busy being Emily. She is just such a cutie and I love spending this time with her.

I had insomnia last night so I took a sleeping pill a while ago and am starting to fall asleep while typing so guess I'd better sign off. Thank you so much for your prayers. The prayer pager has been busy lately and is so nice to hear.

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven'' (Matthew 18:19).

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007: Cute Kids

Nothing new to report - just wanted to show off our cuties cuddling with their new cuties!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007: A Great Day

We didn't hear anything from my oncologist yesterday. I believe anything they find on the scan is speculation and we won't know anything for sure until my surgery. So, I am simply enjoying this time I have before surgery. I'm still feeling great and full of energy!

Tonight we went out with the kids for supper and then to Build-A-Bear. We surprised the kids by letting them all get an early Christmas present. I recorded something for each of them to put in their bear so they can hear my voice (and have a soft cuddly friend to hug) while I'm in the hospital. It was so much fun watching the excitement in their eyes while they picked out their animal.

Thank you for your prayers for Uncle Jim. The bleeding is under control but he needs to take it easy. Something as simple as a sneeze could start the bleeding again.

Please keep Dawn's family in your prayers. She passed away yesterday. I am at a loss for what to say so please simply pray that Dawn's family will feel God's peace.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007: No Word Yet

We haven't heard anything from the doctor yet regarding the final reading of the CT scan. At this point we'd prefer to wait until next week...we don't want bad news on a Friday! So, as soon as we hear we'll post the news. Keep praying that the spots they saw on the film is not cancer. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007: Peace and Prayers

God's peace. What an amazing thing. I wish we could all have it and have it all the time. I have had perfect peace for the past two days. It is just like it was when I was first diagnosed and the week I was in the hospital. It is just unexplainable. Giving all your fears to God is a difficult thing but what a reward to have this peace in return!

On another note, I want to update you on Dawn. I received an e-mail today that said her family was notified to come to the hospital as the doctors didn't believe she would make it through the day. It is her twins birthday today. Please cover this family in prayers.

Brian's uncle is improving. He has to lay low for a couple of weeks but for now the bleeding is under control. Thank you so much for not only praying for us, but for our entire family as well. You are amazing prayer warriors!

I was blessed this evening by the Calvary Women's Bible Study. They invited me a couple weeks ago to stop by so they could pray over me. That was a wonderful experience and they allowed me to stop by again tonight. Hearing their prayers for me was so amazing and calming. Feeling their hands on my back was so comforting. Years ago this would have been way, way, way out of my comfort zone and these days I am so excited to be a part of it. Many of their prayers were that this cancer would be completely gone and my body would be healed. I have been praying that same prayer - that the doctor would open me up in surgery and find only healthy organs - no scar tissue and no cancer. God can do that! How amazing would that be? If it's Gods will than it will happen.

For now, I am just going to enjoy this amazing peace. Brian put the kids to bed tonight and has a fire in the fireplace so I'm going to stop now and enjoy this quiet time with him. The only tears I had yesterday were from reading what he wrote in his update. He is quite a guy! God knew what he was doing when he put us together. I don't know what I did to deserve him but I'm sure glad I did!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007: Comfort

It's never easy hearing news like we got last night. I've told people before that our lives can be changed at any moment...24/7. We are always one phone call away from another life altering event. That's just the way living with cancer is...and it happened again last night. It was a blow to us. Kristi was feeling so good. She said to me last weekend "I feel better now than I did before cancer". She looks great, feels great, and had been enjoying this time. I just told someone at work yesterday "we're really looking forward to 2 uneventful weeks before surgery". Then the phone rang last night about 6:00. Just as we sat down for dinner. We hadn't even scooped out dinner yet. We were just getting ready to pray and the phone rang. "Nice timing" I said to Kristi. As Kristi took the phone from me I knew it was bad news by the look on her face...and she went gray. We were crushed. Oh it was so painful.

The first few phone calls to our parents and friends were very difficult. The words were just so hard to say..."more cancer". We fell apart for the first few phone calls. It was bad. Very bad. I know people say we don't need to apologize, but we know how much people love us and we feel terrible that we ruin other peoples' nights too. And for that we are truly sorry.

BUT - we want everyone to know what transpired last night. Again, immediate prayers began. Kristi sent an e-mail to Norma and within minutes Norma had the e-mail sent out to the prayer warriors. I called our friend Janna (again, sorry Janna) and she called our entire small group. Then about 9:30 last night our small group began showing up at our house (they called first :) ). They just came to pray over us. But you don't know our small group! We ended up sitting in our living room until past 11:00 last night talking about the craziest things (sorry, I can't share the details...what's said in the small group stays in the small group!). At times we were laughing so hard that we were crying. My cheeks hurt. My stomach hurt. Their love for us is incredible. When one of the guys was falling asleep on the floor we realized how late it was. To finish, Kristi and I got in the middle of the group and they laid their hands on us and prayed. One by one they prayed for us. And prayed. I can't describe this feeling. Tears ran from our faces. It was so incredible. After they all left, we just sat in complete peace. "We have amazing friends" I said.

We just wanted everyone to know (especially our parents) that we are doing well. We both woke up this morning still feeling an amazing peace over us. Kristi said it best this morning..."this is nothing more than a faith tester". She said last night "I'm not going to let this ruin my next 2 weeks". I am so blessed to be married to this woman. She is amazing. A pillar of faith. Warm. Gentle. Loving. Helping. Comforting. Beautiful. Amazing, truly amazing.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007: Unexpected News

I apologize to those friends and family that are finding out this news through the blog. I have tried to make many phone calls tonight to help prepare you for the news but in order to call everyone I would be on the phone all night long.

I had a CT scan a week ago and assumed no news was good news. Unfortunately I was wrong. I received a phone call tonight from my oncologist. He has received the written report from the scan and it showed three suspicious spots on my liver. My doctor believes that the cancer has spread there. He is hoping to get the films in the next couple of days so he can get a better idea of what they saw.

He will be contacting a specialist as the liver is not an area of his expertise. Hopefully these spots are something that can be removed and the specialist will be involved with my surgery on the 18th.

Right now there is mostly just speculation. I am feeling better now than I have felt in over a year. It's hard to comprehend that anything is wrong. I want to enjoy these next two weeks while I am physically feeling so good. Right now I am at peace with this (after getting over the shock). I know I will have some very down moments over the next few weeks. Please pray that I will let go and trust completely that God knows what is best and He is in control.

We are going to tell the kids that the doctors did find some more cancer in my tummy. They know that during my surgery they were going to look for more cancer. We're just going to let them know that the picture showed some more as I'm sure people will be talking at school and at church. For those of you that have contact with Ashley and Nathan, please do not make a big deal of this.

We've just hit another bump in the road of cancer and we'll jump over this one too!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007: More Prayer Requests

Please continue your prayers for Uncle Jim. He went into the hospital again Friday night because his nose was continuing to bleed. The doctors tried to stop the bleeding with no luck until 4:00 Saturday morning. He had surgery at 5:00 AM and was able to return home that afternoon. He is recovering at home and is still bleeding a little bit.

Also, a couple weeks ago I asked you to pray for Dawn who is fighting a very aggressive cancer. She has been in the hospital since my last update. She is in a lot of pain and very weak. She will begin a new chemo tomorrow which involves a shot once a week. Her twin boys celebrate their 4th birthday this week. Please cover the family in prayers.

We had a busy weekend here. I continue to enjoy having my energy back. We are still all healthy and are enjoying the pre-Christmas festivities.

Brian is having a hard time sleeping with his CPAP machine. He can tell it is making a difference in how he feels during the day which is encouraging. It isn't uncomfortable to sleep with it on but it is a "psychological" problem trying to fall asleep with something on his face. Please keep him in your prayers that his mind would overcome this and he can learn to sleep with it.

Thank you!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007: Prayers for Uncle Jim

I have a prayer request for Brian's uncle (his moms brother). Uncle Jim is on blood thinners because of clotting and he had a nose bleed yesterday that they just couldn't get to stop. He and Aunt Peggy went to the hospital and it took a few hours to get it under control. He also had blood coming out of his eye. He was doing better today. Please pray that the bleeding will remain under control.

They are also concerned about their daughter-in-law. She had surgery today to check out some spots. She is a breast cancer survivor and they found some "hot spots" (I'm not sure what that means) that they took out and biopsied. They are still waiting for the results.

Please cover Uncle Jim & Aunt Peggy with your prayers that they will feel God's presence and know that He is there for them during this scary time.

Thank you awesome prayer warriors!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007: Preparing

Where does the time go? I can't believe how quickly this week went. I have been busy getting as much done as I can before my surgery. I have most of the Christmas shopping and Christmas cards done and it's not even December! I've never gotten this much done so early before. It feels great. And I feel great. I am normal! I have my energy back and appetite and it's so great being "normal" again. I have been busy with to-do lists and getting little projects done around the house. When I go in for surgery I want everything to be ready so I can just let go and focus on the surgery and recovery.

Brian went in and was fitted for a CPAP machine yesterday and wore it for the first time last night. They are much more user friendly now. He said he felt like he wasn't in the fog that he usually is in today. The doctor said it may take a while to feel the effects. Hopefully soon he will have more energy and feel rested.

Some prayer requests . . . .
*that Brian will "get along" with his CPAP machine and the results will be positive

*that I will get everything done that I need to and not stress about the little things

*we are all healthy! Yea!

*prayers of praise for my "normalcy"

*I am having a lot of trouble with my bag lately. The chemo I was on was very binding and now that I am not on it I am having a lot of problems with diarrhea and not able to get it under control. Please pray that this will soon pass . . or I guess stop passing! :)

*let's start praying early for my surgery on the 18th . . . I'd love a cancer-free tummy!

*praise for all our friends and family. We are so grateful for all the amazing support that we have. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007: Ashley Sings To Mom

Ashley wrote this song and sang it for Kristi last night...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007: Time flies

Wow, I can't believe we haven't updated the blog since Thanksgiving. This weekend was very busy and went so fast. The week coming up is really busy too. That would be the first prayer request there. If I don't focus on one day at a time this week I may go crazy!

Tomorrow I have a CT scan in the afternoon. I think he ordered this just to, as Brian said, make a game plan for surgery.

I have been feeling really good and enjoying being able to do so much more. It is so nice to be out of the "chemo fog". It was great having an appetite back in time for all the wonderful food at Thanksgiving! I have gained some weight back and the doctors are happy with where I am at right now weight wise.

I am trying to get done all the little projects that have been on my to-do list for a while. I know the recovery from surgery will be long and it will help me mentally to know that I have crossed off a lot of stuff from my to-do list. Gotta get all my little duckies in a row!

Brian got the results back from his sleep study. Not only does he still have his sleep apnea, it's worse! Although the surgery wasn't successful in curing the apnea, it did stop his sore throats and sinus infections (which he got quite frequently) and his snoring (he denies ever having snored but he's not the one listening). He can also breath much easier through his nose.

He's going in this Wednesday to check out a CPAP machine. He's had one before but they "didn't get along". The mask was big and cumbersome. It was hard to sleep with it on. There are new and improved machines out now and he is going to give it a try.

We are all doing well physically and emotionally. Please pray that we stay healthy. Thank you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007!

What are we thankful for this year? YOU!!!!



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007: Looking For A Sign

Yes, it was quite a shock on Monday. The 45 blind-sided us. We were sitting on pins and needles all morning. We waited in the exam room for nearly an hour before the nurse came in. We were so anxious. Then she told us. "It went up. 45." We were numb. Scared. We just sat there stunned. We actually thought the nurse was reading someone else’s chart. It got very quiet. Then the tears. It hurt. We were soooo expecting 35. Monday was a weird day. For most of the day I felt like I could throw up. I had a pit in my stomach all day. It’s not like the number changes anything for us. We still feel like she is going to beat this. But, as Kristi said, when I get this type of information my engineering mind takes over. I know it’s satin working, trying to wiggle in to weaken my faith. But I have to admit, I was disappointed. Really disappointed. Crushed. I felt let down. Confused. Is ‘betrayed’ too strong?

Lord, we have hundreds, possibly over a thousand people praying. Why?! Why can’t you give us one sign. Just one. It says in Matthew ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move a mountain’. Am I not praying enough? Is my faith not strong enough? If mine is not, I know Kristi’s is. So what gives?! Monday night I was mad. Mad that we can’t catch just one break. One small break. It also says in Matthew ‘ask and it will be given to you.’. Hellllloooooooo. Here I am. Asking. Begging.

With a 35 there would have been an end in sight. Now there is just more waiting. More wondering. More anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, we’re extremely grateful that her colostomy will be reversed, but then it’s on to endless chemo again after that. So yes, we’re both a little disappointed. But, as it always does, time and prayer will lift us back up. I’m not bitter; I just need some time to process this again. Thankfully we have the holidays coming up to keep us busy. That will be a huge help to keep our time occupied until surgery. Like I said before, I’m not bitter. I’m just confused, disappointed, numb. I know when to ask for help, so please ask our Lord to lift me back up. For understanding. Patience. To know that He is in control. I need to be strong for Kristi. Right now she is worried that I am melting down. Monday night I was. But I took care of those tears with a friend and now I feel better. I’m still going up and down but it’s more moderated. I just need some help to stay strong for Kristi. I’m not much for asking for help, but I’d rather ask for it now then let myself fall all the way down and be completely useless for her. Thank you.

So here’s an ironic story I’ll share with you: Kristi got her blood work done Friday morning. Well, she was so confident that the CA125 number was going to come back lower than 35 she called the doctor’s office at 3:05 Friday afternoon to ask for it. She wanted to surprise me. Remember, I was hunting. She was going to make banners and we were going to celebrate the 35 when I got home Saturday. Well, the doctor’s office closes at 3:00 on Fridays. She missed them by 5 minutes. She never got the results. Imagine if she had gotten through to someone and found out Friday it was 45. She would have been crushed. Imagine the disappointment. The thought of a celebration would have instantly turned into a weekend of fear. Now there’s a God story!

We’ll get through this. We just need some time and lots of prayer. Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007: Bittersweet

Well the good news is that my surgery is scheduled for December 18. I'm sure you've guessed that I have to follow that up with the bad news. My CA125 level went from 42 to 45. Yup, it went up. Needless to say, we were stunned. I didn't see that coming.

My doctor said that he wants to do the surgery now because that level has plateaued. The cancer left seems to be resistant to the chemo I'm on. He could switch to a different chemo but he knows how much I want the colostomy reversed and he also would like to have a visual of what is going on. So, the plan is to do the surgery and see exactly what we are dealing with. He did say that it is possible that he won't find a trace of cancer left.

Sorry I didn't get this out sooner. My doctor was running almost an hour behind and then he sent me for a chest x-ray after the appointment. I also have a CT scan on my stomach scheduled for 11/26.

More good news is no more chemo until next year! Only 29 more days until my surgery and then after 6-8 weeks of recovery I will begin a different chemo for a couple rounds depending on what is found during surgery.

That is mostly it in a nutshell. We've gone through a few emotions this morning. I've gone from shock to sadness to here we go again and now I am again at the peace I had after I initially was diagnosed. I'm not scared - I will beat this.

Brian, my reality based husband, isn't there yet. He has faith but he is also an engineer where numbers and statistics are important. Please keep him close in your prayers.

I know the CA125 level going up is going to be hard for a lot of people to hear. Myself included. I was ready to sing out the hallelujah chorus when I heard the number under 35! Needless to say I wasn't singing. I suppose I could have burst out in a low voice "nobody knows the trouble I've seen, nobody knows my sorrows" but that is nowhere true. God knows my troubles and he knows my sorrows.

We're just going to cross this bridge just like we've crossed all the others - by fully relying on God!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007: A Big Day Tomorrow

I'm back from 4 days of hunting with a good friend of mine. Neither of us got our buck, but we had a great time regardless.

Last night our small group got together with the families and we enjoyed a fun family night at the middle school gym. It was fun just playing some silly games of volleyball and forgetting about everything going on and just watching the kids have fun. Even Nathan was getting into it and was doing a little trash talking of his own. So that was fun. Today, we enjoyed a quiet Sunday that was capped off with a great meeting with our small group for a bible study and more fellowship. After spending 4 days with my friend hunting and spending last night and tonight with our small group we realize how blessed we are having these great friends.

We have a big day coming up Monday. It will be our biggest meeting in a while. We meet with Kristi's doctor in the morning to review the results of her blood work and he will hopefully have the next steps determined for us. We have 2 rounds now of this new chemo completed so we should see a bigger drop in her CA125 level. The last check was 42. We're expecting under 35. Under 35 will be a huge milestone. So our prayer request is for her CA125 level to be less than 35. If not, we will need to lift Kristi (and I) up in prayer. It will come as a big blow if it's not below 35. Please remember us at 10:00 tomorrow morning. We will update the blog as soon as we get back so we don't keep everyone hanging. Keep in mind if it's not lower than 35 we will probably go in for chemo. So if the blog isn't updated by early afternoon that won't be a good sign. We'll update it as soon as we get back.

Thanks for the prayers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007: Prayers for others

Eric's appointment in Ann Arbor went very well yesterday. They will let me know when they hear any news so I can pass it along. Please keep praying for patience as they wait.

As of last night, Dawn was still in the hospital. Please continue to pray that she will regain her strength and for peace.

Also, my parents left Tuesday for California. My dads cousin is getting married this weekend. They are there visiting with family now and will come home on Monday. I talked to my mom today and I can tell she is very worried being so far away from home. Please keep them in your prayers that they will be able to let go of their worries and enjoy their time away.

I know you're reading this mom - stop worrying - you'll be back in gray and dreary and snowy and rainy Michigan before you know it! :)

I was invited last night by the Women's Bible Study at church to be prayed over. What a wonderful experience. Initially I was nervous but after hearing the prayers of these women I was very at peace. They reminded me of my value in God's eyes and all that He is doing through me and my purpose in life. Thank you ladies!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007: Early Prayer Request

OK OK, maybe the Lion’s Superbowl party planning was a bit premature. But hey, they’re still 6-3!!

Well, my sleep study went fine. I won’t get the results for a couple weeks when I meet with the sleep doctor, but I expect him to say that I still have sleep apnea - just not as bad as I used to. I won’t be disappointed if I still do have it to some degree. There were a lot of other benefits to having that surgery done…the best one being that I don’t have sore throats anymore. That’s almost worth it right there. And as Kristi mentioned, I don’t snore anymore either…not that I ever did that I was aware of. :)

So we expect a pretty uneventful week ahead. It’s leading to an anxiety-filled weekend though. Kristi will get blood drawn Friday for her CA125 marker. We won’t get the results until Monday morning when we meet with her doctor. Remember, it needs to be 35 or under. It really needs to be 35 or under!!! Please pray boldly once again with me that it is 35. Please take 2 minutes each day and pray that it is 35 (or under). We can’t go another month waiting for it to drop to 35. I realize it’s “only” another month, but one month is 720 hours, or 43,200 minutes, or, if you’re counting, 2,592,000 seconds. But who’s counting?! Well, we are!! So please pray that it is under 35. We’re praying that God shows not only His mercy, but His power to rid Kristi of this cancer. My friend Ryan sent me this passage from Isaiah: “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We will need His strength this week/weekend. Kristi has been going up and down a lot lately. Not to extremes, but little peaks and valleys. I fear what may happen if her marker comes in higher than 35.

The other reason we’re really praying that her CA125 level is 35 or under is…her nurse teased us with the possibility they may reverse her colostomy before Christmas!!!!! Did you hear that?!?!?! Before Christmas!!! To say we’re a little excited about that is an understatement. Wow, we can’t imagine. That would mean a tough Christmas holiday recovering from surgery, but it would be worth it. That would mean no more chemo until next year. Yup, done with chemo until February. That seems so wonderful!! But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. First things first. Her CA125 level has to be 35 or under. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Nathan has also been acting a little funny at school lately. I won’t go into details, but his teacher sent a note home. Nothing serious, but with everything going on at home she noticed a little odd behavior and thought we should know about it. We are very thankful for his teachers (as well as the school!). Please pray that he opens up and talks to us. We’re thinking of bringing him to Kristi’s counselor since she also specializes in children. We’re not quite sure what’s going on in that 7 year old mind.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Thanks for continuing to hold our family up in prayers…and thanks in advance for the specific prayers for Kristi’s CA125 level.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007: Prayers for Brian

Brian is having a sleep study done tonight. For those of you who don't know, he had surgery about a year ago because of his sleep apnea. He is going in tonight to see if that surgery was successful. The surgery stopped his snoring so matter what tonight's test shows, I consider it successful! :)

He had to go in at 9 tonight and will be done around 7:00 tomorrow morning. He brought a sleeping pill with him because it is very difficult to sleep with all the monitors hooked up to him. If you could keep him in your prayers we'd appreciate it.

This morning our small group was interviewed in front of church. We were asked to do this to give people a sneak peek into the life of a small group. Brian was explaining how our group has "done cancer" with us and how they have helped out so much. Thanks to his word picture of how they have cleaned our toilets despite the fact that we have a son with bad aim I don't think we'll be invited back any time soon! :) We are very fortunate to have such a great small group. I hope that seeing how we have all been there for each other will encourage others to get involved with a small group of their own.

On another note, I have a prayer request for someone I have never met. Her name is Dawn and she is fighting a very difficult battle with cancer. I receive updates on her because her brother and family attend the same church as us. The chemo that she receives leaves her exhausted and unable to care for her children. She is in the hospital right now and hopes to come home tomorrow. Please pray that she will regain her strength and recover from being knocked down so hard. Please also pray for peace and that she will feel God's arms wrapped around her during this time. The feelings of weakness and helplessness and pain and frustration are still fresh in my mind and my heart breaks for her and her family. You all have been so wonderful in lifting us up in prayer so I am asking that you will do this for Dawn and her family as well.

I do not have chemo tomorrow. Yeah! I do go in for blood work but they won't test my CA125 level until next week Monday (the 19th).

I know Monday mornings are hard for many people but tomorrow morning when you wake up, first, be grateful that you woke up and second, remember . . . this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007: Say Cheese!

I was playing around with my camera today and made the family pose for a picture. :) We're all doing well.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday, November 9, 2007: Busy, busy

What a busy couple of days! Thankfully I haven't had any recurrence of the stomach pain. I don't have chemo on Monday - yea! My platelets are too low. Not low enough to be worried about though. So I'll just enjoy a week off from chemo.

Brian and I are going on a double-date tonight - woohoo! We'll give more of an update tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: Still Waiting but Doing Well

We are still waiting to hear from my doctor. I am feeling pretty good, just tired, which is normal after chemo. Last night was not a pleasant experience and I'm glad it was short lived. I'm guessing at this point the doctor will just tell me to call if I have another episode.

On another note, I met with a psychologist today. Brian came with me for my first visit. I really liked her and I think it will be very helpful. I have times where I want to talk about things but don't want to upset my family or friends . . . this will be a "safe" place for me to bring my problems. She has a seeing eye dog that stays in her office with her and he is just adorable! I could have curled up in the corner with him the entire time :)

I also have some answers to prayer to pass along regarding Lori & Eric. They have an appointment with the Veterans clinic next Wednesday morning in Ann Arbor. They were told that they should have an answer to their appeal a week after that. If things go this quickly it would be great! Thanks for your prayers for them and please continue to keep them in your prayers, especially next Wednesday during the travel and the three hour long appointment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: Not A Good Start

This morning at about 3:30 Kristi woke up with a very sharp pain above her stomach. The pain was so bad she was buckled over. At about 5:00 this morning she threw up acid. She is very weak and tired now but her stomach feels better. We're waiting for her doctor to call back. Please pray that she recovers from whatever this is quickly. Thanks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007: God Hears All The Prayers

Have you noticed anything about the blog entries over the past several weeks? Maybe that they’ve been mostly pink?! Have you wondered why? Well, Kristi is a blogaholic! OK, not really! Actually, Kristi has really been feeling much stronger lately. She’s even packed on 3 or 4 pounds!! This new chemo is really quite tolerable for her compared to the last. It really has been a blessing to have her “back”! I know she has really been enjoying herself…she’s helping out at Coffee Break again, helping with GEMS, and is even helping the kids’ school teachers. She really feels like she is contributing again. It’s been wonderful to see. She’s happiest when she’s helping.

There’s one little problem, however…remember several times this past summer when I said “when things are going good I have time to think…”? Those were the times that I would get really down. When I wasn’t overwhelmed with the chemo cycle (taking care of Kristi and the kids) my mind would begin to process “stuff”. Well, same goes for Kristi. Now that she is feeling physically stronger, she is spending less time sick or in bed fatigued so her mind has time to process stuff. This is a mixed blessing…it’s wonderful that she feels better, but she has been spending a lot of time thinking about the alternate ending…the one that we don’t like to consider. She is having all those same thoughts that I had last summer and is now working through all those emotions that I did. She has been bringing it up more and more lately. We’ll just be sitting on the couch and out of nowhere she’ll ask “what will you do?” I think she even has been researching stuff on the internet. Every once in a while she has this feeling like her body is trying to tell her something. She’s not giving up, rather I think she’s just now trying to balance hope with reality. Before, she was too sick to think about anything other than getting better. I overheard her say to one of her friends “if my CA125 level isn’t 35 this next time it’s going to be a wet ride home” (meaning lots of tears). We’ve been talking about “it” a lot lately. “It” being the other outcome. Again, we’re not giving up, we’re just balancing hope and reality. We don’t know what reality will be; only God knows that. But we know what it could be.

Even though this chemo has less severe side effects, Kristi is having a really hard time with it. Emotionally she is really struggling with it. She starts getting really down every Sunday night. Just the thought of chemo makes her nauseous. When we get to the chemo clinic she doesn’t eat. The food isn’t that bad, she just gets nauseous about the thought of eating. The smells, the sights, the sounds. Everything about chemo days makes her nauseous. The weekly grind is really wearing on her.

Posting this is difficult because we don’t want to upset anyone and I don’t want it to sound like we’re really down, but she really needs the prayer support now. Overall, we are doing well. We’re not down in the dumps all the time, but we do talk about “it”. We still do cry once in a while, though not as much as we used to. Our conversations are more "matter of fact". Maybe we're just getting numb to it all, I don't know. We're getting pretty good at putting on our “happy faces” when we go out. There are reasons for the happy faces: when we go out we want to have fun. When we go out we like talking about sports, GEMS, card stamping, the Lions, school, etc.. When we leave the house we like things to be “normal”. You wouldn’t understand unless you are in our shoes how easy it is to slip emotionally. One conversation can begin a slippery slope. So you can help us by continuing to hold Kristi up in prayer. When you see her please don’t dwell on the cancer. We realize that it is a part of our lives now, but we’d rather talk about other things…like how are you doing? So if you could please take a minute now and pray for her spirits. Also pray for YOU. Pray for Calvary Church and all of our friends and family that have been helping us out over the past 10 months. Please also remember Eric & Lori and their struggles. Kristi’s Aunt Louise, Kristi’s friend Doris, Claudia, my nephew Josh, our friends Larry & Suzanne, and so many more that need our prayers. God hears them all!!

Also, Emily appears to be coming down with some separation anxiety. This isn’t a surprise since she’s been shuffled around so much lately. It’s just tough on Kristi when Emily is crying whenever she drops her off somewhere…even in nursery, a place she used to enjoy. Please pray that Emily adjusts to this new routine.

Tonight was not a great night. Ashley had a bad night. We’re all quite tired of “mommy being sick” and Ashley is worried about mommy. Please pray for Ashley as well.

Chemo went as expected today. Thanks Heidi for keeping Kristi company! Kristi has been sleeping since about 6 tonight. Other than being tired and nauseous, she's doing as expected. Hopefully tomorrow she will feel better.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007: Chemo Tomorrow

Sorry, we were busy tonight so we're going to keep it short so we can just relax and enjoy each other before another busy week begins. Please pray for Kristi as she goes in for another dose of chemo tomorrow. Her friend Heidi is kind enough to keep her company tomorrow so I can get a "week off". I know Kristi will enjoy this time visiting with her friend. We'll update tomorrow night on some more specific prayer requests.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007: An update on Eric

I've been meaning to update you on my brother-in-law. I checked with my sister and here are the specific prayer requests they have:

*Eric is doing treatments at the Born Clinic in GR 3 times a week. Pray they will be effective and help Eric to regain strength

*Veterans disability appeal process is very delayed. Pray for his file to get to the right desk to schedule an exam in Ann Arbor to make their decision soon. (this one is big!)

*God's continued provision until disability is in place (March 2008 for SS disability)

Also, their church is planning a fundraiser for them in March 2008. Pray for the people who are planning this event.

Brian and I have been up and down a lot this weekend. We are learning to enjoy the good times rather than wondering when the bad times are coming. We are also enjoying this beautiful weather!

Thank you for keeping our entire family in your prayers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007: Teeter-totter

Brian and I seem to be on a teeter-totter. I think that's how you spell it. You know the toy at the playground that you sit on and one person goes up and the other goes down? We seem to be emotionally doing that this week.

I have been down a lot this week. I have been so physically tired the past couple weeks that it is making me emotionally tired. I have been resting every chance I get which means I don't get a lot done around the house. When I don't accomplish much, I don't feel good about myself. And so the snowball begins.

Today though, at 10:30 I felt a weight lifted. I don't know what prompted it but I'm guessing someone somewhere said a prayer. I just felt lighter emotionally and I had more energy today than I've had in a long time. I even managed to do some cleaning around the house and have supper ready - I even made a cake. The kids wanted to know who's birthday it was - that tells you how often I bake!

Brian seemed to go down tonight. He has been so busy taking care of us lately that it kept him distracted somewhat. We try to balance hope with reality and I think tonight reality kind of kicked hope out of the way for a while.

We haven't had much time together these days - we've been like two ships passing in the night. Tonight we had about a half an hour together on the couch when the kids were busy playing in the other room. We were finally able to catch up on what our weeks have been like. It is amazing how quickly time flies.

Please keep our daily dose of hope and reality in your prayers. It's a tricky balance. It is so amazing to think that there are probably prayers going out every single hour of the day for us! I've had times where I feel like I am floating on a cloud of prayers. Those are the awesome times. Unfortunately the hard times are still here. I know that we grow in those times but when we're right in the thick of it, well, as Brian often says . . . cancer sucks.

Wow, when I start typing it's hard to stop! Thank you for reading and following our journey. Please especially keep Brian in your prayers tonight.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007: Peaks and Valleys

A poem a friend recently shared with us:

It’s in the Valleys I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see my through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valley I grow!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007: An uneventful day

Today went really well. We were in and out of the chemo clinic by noon! It wasn't very busy so things went through quickly. All of my counts (red, white and platelets) were up! They are typically down or stay the same. This was a great surprise! My CA125 level won't be tested again until November 19.

When we picked up Emily from Brian's parents, his mom had a supper ready for us to bake tonight. Thank you mom & dad! It was a yummy casserole with meat and potatoes and carrots. A real comfort food.

I took a nap this afternoon and am still very tired. I am going to bed now (it's 8:00) and am hoping to be all rested up and full of energy tomorrow.

Some prayer requests:

*Praise for high blood levels!

*Emily has been acting a little out of sorts lately. I think she is having a hard time with us sending her different places. She did well at Brian's parents last night but when we picked her up today she wouldn't talk to us and didn't even want to look at us for a while. It was like she was mad at us for leaving her. Please pray that she will have security in knowing that she is always in a safe place even if she isn't with mommy and daddy.

*Ashley and Nathan's colds seem to be on the way out - yea!

*Brian took care of everything for me today. He cleaned up the house while I was sleeping, heated up supper and took care of the dinner dishes. He just got back from bringing Ashley to piano lessons and will soon be off to Meijer's tonight for groceries. He is the man! Pray for patience for him during this busy time.

I would love prayers for energy and for peace. When I am very tired it is easy for me to get down. Also, tonight I started having an acid taste in my mouth when I eat - yuck! Thank you!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007: Grace!

We shared our story this morning with the congregation at Grace Community Church and it went quite well. Our prayers were answered as God put all the right words in our mouths. One lady said to me before the service "we're really excited to hear what God leads you to say this morning". I replied back, "so am I!" I really had no idea how it would go, what we would say or how long we would talk. Surprisingly, neither of us was nervous at all. We spoke for about 10 minutes or so and I felt like we could have spoken for another 30! There is just so much to share sometimes we struggle with exactly what to say. Pastor Aaron did a nice job of asking leading questions and then just let us say as much as we wanted. Thanks again to Grace Church for letting us share our story in person.

Tomorrow we start round 10. Please pray that this dose is uneventful. Also a prayer of praise and thanksgiving that we were able to share our story this morning. Several people told us afterwards that we were/are very inspirational. We feel very blessed and honored that God is using us this way. We'll update tomorrow night to let you know how chemo went. We're both pretty wiped out so we're turning in early tonight.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007: Fall Weather

What a strange day! This morning was so cloudy and rainy and cold and then out of nowhere this afternoon the sun just came shining brightly through the clouds! What a great display of God's power.

We had plans with our neighbors to go to Feikema's farm this evening and based on the weather this morning, I was planning on staying home with Emily. After that sun kicked in I decided to go and am so glad we could. We had tons of fun roasting hot dogs and s'mores over the fire, going on a hay ride, and getting to make our own apple cider with a hand crank mill (I think that's what they called it).

Now the kids are all sound asleep after spending time running around playing outside. I'm about to turn in as well but wanted to send out a quick update.

One prayer request I do have is for tomorrow morning. Please pray that when we talk at church, we are tuned into God wants us to say. Neither Brian or I are nervous about it which is definitely God working in us. We are not public speakers but when God decides we need to share about all He has done for us, He gives us the confidence to do it. Please also pray for those that hear us, that our words will be an encouragement to them as well.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007: Thank You

Wow. We continue to be humbled by the generosity of everyone. Tonight we were blessed with a gift from someone who rang our doorbell and ran away before we could see them. I hope whoever it was reads our blog so they know how very much we appreciate it.

We are so thankful for all the support we have from our family and friends!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007: Have you heard?

A couple people have told me that they heard me on WJQ! Unfortunately I haven't heard myself yet but maybe that's a good thing. Yesterday when I got home from church there was a message from WJQ that my sister had nominated me for the "Contest of all time". When I called back I talked with Gary Thompson for a little while about what has been going on with us this year.

He told me that I had won a gift certificate for the family to Applebee's, a gift certificate to Priscilla's Boutique, a free night for the family at Holiday Inn Express as well as a gift certificate for supper that night at Sharkey's. Also, a week of meals from Request Foods and a watch from Jensen Jewelers! I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. I also didn't realize that I was being recorded. I was quite surprised when a friend called me later to tell me that she heard me on the radio! And apparently it aired again this morning.

I received a beautiful e-mail tonight from someone who heard this interview and checked out our blog. It's just amazing to look back and see how God worked through all of it.

That was the excitement before nap time. I napped yesterday and went to bed early because I was pretty nauseous and very tired. I'm also quite tired tonight but fortunately I had enough energy to go to the Girls Night Out with Ashely for GEMS. I'm definitely ready for a good nights sleep now!

I do have some prayer requests to share:

*All the kids are fighting off cold symptoms. Also, Emily is very clingy with me these days. I think she missed having me around while we were gone this past weekend and then I left again on Monday for chemo. Although I enjoy the extra cuddle time with her, it can become physically tiring.

*I have scheduled an appointment with a psychologist through Pine Rest for two weeks from now. Brian will also be coming with me. I have been struggling with guilt. I know it sounds strange but I just so much believe that I will beat this that when I read about other people who have far more serious issues than I have then I feelings of guilt about being a survivor. I'm probably getting ahead of myself by calling myself a "survivor" but positive thinking never hurts!

*A while back I asked for prayers for my mom's friend Louise. She has gone through the surgery for a double mastectomy and has begun chemo. I talked to her a couple weeks ago and she sounded amazing! She also has the peace that I have found. Please continue to keep her in your prayers as she has to have six treatments of a very toxic chemo.

*Brian, as always, is pulling some extra weight. I seem to be a bit more tired from this week's chemo and he has been taking over so I can rest. Please pray that he will stay healthy. He has been running a lot lately on the treadmill - yea! Pray that he will continue to be motivated. His ankle has not been giving him too many problems - hooray! I can tell that this exercise is helping him feel better physically and emotionally. Thank you!!