Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008: Prayers of Healing

Tomorrow I will be going with a friend to meet with someone that is in the healing ministry. She prays over people who are ill and with the authority given to her through Jesus name she demands the enemy (which in my case is the cancer) to leave. This is not the traveling evangelist thing where they hit you on the head and declare you to be well. This is a very humble woman who is doing what she believes God is asking of her. She doesn't promise healing - she just prays scripture and what God puts on her heart.

There have been so many God moments along the way that have led up to this meeting tomorrow. I know God wants me to go with an open heart and mind. I am excited and scared and a bit confused about this all at the same time. So, I am asking for prayers for this meeting - for protection from the evil one and for my faith to be strong.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008: Would You Like Some Cheese?

I am just wondering how many of you would like some cheese to go with my whine. Wow, I read my post from yesterday and I was so whiny! I'm not so sure about this honesty thing - it's almost too easy to do on a blog. Now I've gone and blown the secret that I'm not perfect :)

I am doing much better today and have a better attitude. I am reading the book of Exodus today since yesterday I sounded like the Israelites when they were grumbling as they were being led out of Egypt. All those miracles and they still whined. The fact that I am still alive is a miracle in itself and that is just one of the many miracles God has showed us over the past couple years. And still I whine. Like I said in yesterdays update, I am so thankful that God is forgiving. What I forgot about was the fact that first I need to ask Him to forgive me.

I've finally wised up and invited Jesus to my pity party and what a difference that makes. Instead of having guests like fear, anger and dread I have peace, hope and grace. Much better guest list. I have been so wrapped up in myself that I haven't asked for prayers for anyone except myself. On that note, here are a few specific areas for prayer:

*Brian - he still struggles with the tiredness. He has good days and bad days as we all do. The pressure to be the provider especially in this economy is draining. I'm sure watching me go through this has to be so difficult. He never ceases to amaze me.

*Ashley, Nathan & Emily - for courage as we start this next round with chemo. They are doing so well with it but every once in a while it just hits them. We have been more open with them and are not hiding our tears as much. They understand the seriousness of this and yet they also know how powerful God is. I can't wait to hear from them some day when they are older how this journey has shaped them.

*Papi - yup, the family dog. I don't really have any prayer requests for him but didn't want him to feel left out :) He has been such a blessing to us! The night that we were all crying after hearing the news we had Papi running around licking our tears as fast as he could! You can't cry and laugh at the same time and his persistence just makes you have to laugh. Should this chemo cause fatigue I know Papi will be there curled up on my lap with me.

My sister and her family - I don't know how Lori & Eric do it. If you are new to our blog you can click on the link on our page to read their blog. They have their good days and bad days just like us and they are such a great example of peace during the midst of a storm.

My parents (Steve & Linda) - how do you watch your daughters go through such life changing events? I'm sure the urge to protect your children from anything bad never goes away. Even after they have grown up and started a family of their own.

All my friends and family - I know they all want to "fix" this for me. Pray that we will understand that there isn't anything to fix - just a journey to be walked through . . . together.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008: Unanswered Prayers

I know there have been so many people praying for us and one of the specific requests was for my CA125 level to go down. There have been a lot of disappointed people, myself included. Why? Why, why, why, why, why?!?! Well, I was in one of my pity parties recently and all the sudden the song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks popped in my head. Specifically the chorus . . . sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers - remember when you're talking to the man upstairs that just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care - some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

Okay, so the grammar isn't the best but the words are so fitting. I can't imagine the fact that my CA125 level not going down could be a great gift! I know God is going to use this for His glory but to be honest, I wish He would pick someone else to use. I'm tired. Tired of the whole cancer thing.

I was thinking about my testimony that I shared in April of 2007. I believe I said the words "if you are being challenged, you are really being blessed". I honestly truly meant the words when I said them but right now I think that if I had been sitting and listening to myself that day I would have said "are you kidding me? blessed?". It must have been God talking when I gave my testimony because I remember being truly sincere and so at peace. I seem to be in a different place now. I'm still in a good place, most of the time, but now I'm tired. I've been there, done that and am really quite sick of it.

I know God will use this for His glory and deep down I am thankful He is continuing to use our family to show His greatness. But some days, I just want to be back to "normal". Before cancer even happened. I'm sure God isn't happy with my grumbling and I wish I wasn't so "human". I am so grateful that God is so forgiving and loving and patient with me.

Thanks for reading and praying and journeying with us. Please pray that the cancer will stay under control during the next couple weeks until I start chemo again. My doctor feels safe waiting until after the holidays but thinking about the cancer growing is a bit scary. In my heart, I knew it was back. I've known it for a while but didn't want to believe it because that would have made it real. I also believe without a doubt that I'll beat this once again. We just have to journey back down that chemo road once more and deal with all the joys it brings :)

I also believe that there is a great deal of spiritual warfare going on in my head. If spiritual warfare and discernment is a gift that you have I would so appreciate your prayers in this area. Please pray for whatever you are lead to pray!

My verse I continue to cling to is this:

Psalm 118:17 - I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

I will beat this cancer and will go and tell anyone that will listen to me that it was God that healed me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008: Thank You!

We just wanted to thank everyone for your prayers over the past couple of days. We continue to feel a warm blanket of prayer continuing to cover us. We are all doing quite well considering the news. The kids get to enjoy a snow day today as we continue to get pounded by snow...up to 12" today! I guess there's no doubt we'll have a white Christmas this year!!

A person from New London, Wisconsin was our 100,000th hit on the blog. I wish we could say we had a million dollars for that person but we don't. Only a million thanks - to all of you!!!! What a journey, eh?

I've used this verse before, but it is appropriate again (not really the same context as our situation, but the verse applies):

"weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

We've had many nights of weeping followed by mornings of calmness and rejoicing...rejoicing due to the effects of your prayers!! Amazing. Simply amazing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008: Half Full, Remember?

Well, we didn't receive the Christmas miracle we were praying for but we're OK with the news. Kristi's nurse called at about 5:45 to tell us her CA125 level went up to 139. We meet with Dr. Downey on January 5 but the plan is that Kristi will begin weekly chemo at the chemo clinic in GR in January. She will be given low doses of Taxol and biological therapy. That's all the info we know at this point. This was very hard news to take right before Christmas. The best therapy right now is to just focus on celebrating the birthday of our Savior and enjoying a lot of family time. If you could do me a favor...being the over-protective husband that I am - please don't dwell on this news when you see Kristi. Please don't ask Kristi about the cancer. Please don't ask details about "what's next?" Just a simple hug or a smile mean a lot. I hope you understand. Talking about "it" can be very difficult and emotionally draining. Thanks for understanding.

Obviously we were disappointed but after a good family cry we're actually doing quite well now. The kids took it extra hard this time. Nathan's whaling sent me over the edge. Kristi held Ashley and I had Nathan. They seemed to be doing better when I dropped them off at church. The best thing for them now is for things to seem normal. If you see them at church or school just give them a hug but please don't talk about the cancer or ask "how is your mommy doing?"

At least we have the next 3 weeks where we can just enjoy some quiet family time. The kids get 2 weeks off of school and I get 10 days off. That will be a very nice break for all of us.

I'm going to keep it short tonight because we have more phone calls to make. Thanks for the continued prayers!

Kristi wanted to add this verse:
"I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done." Psalm 118:17


I love you!! SURPRISE!!!!!

you me

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008: Pray BOLDLY!

Last year at this time we were preparing for the worst. The doctor found spots on Kristi’s liver and he told us before surgery that he was “gravely concerned” for what he was going to find. We sent out a request for everyone to “pray boldly” that the cancer would be gone and God came through in a big way! We had thousands of people praying for Kirsti that day. What a day that was!! During the surgery the doctor was amazed to find no cancer on her liver and no signs of active cancer anywhere else. That day was December 18, 2007. Well, here we are, one year later to the day!

Kristi will go in for blood work tomorrow (her birthday) and we expect to get the results Thursday – December 18. We’re asking for another miracle. Please pray boldly again that her CA125 level takes an unexpected plunge. Not just a drop, but a PLUNGE. It is currently at 123. Pray for 35. Pray for 25. Pray for 15!! BE BOLD. Let's get thousands of people praying again. Let's hold Kristi up in non-stop prayer again. C'mon prayer warriors, we can do it!! Pass this along to a hundred people you know. Let's get on our knees together Wednesday morning at 9:30AM - blood draw time. Stop what you're doing. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. Make the batteries go dead in that prayer pager!!

Remember…”with God all things are possible.”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008: Climbing Up

Wow, what a difference a day can make. Yesterday at this time I was so far buried in a pit that I honestly didn't think I would ever make it out again. Your encouragement and prayers have been wonderful. I was even fortunate to have had a God moment at church today. I have to admit at the time I was still trying to absorb it and my walls were still up but the more I think about it the more the walls go down. My faith is back and my fight is getting there and my mood has greatly improved. I was able to laugh today and play with the kids. I also found out there are some people out there going through these same feelings and I'm not alone. I don't know what I would do without my support system - my family, my friends and my bloggers!

Please continue to pray for my faith to continue to grow. Pray also for the decisions that will need to be made this week. It's been a year of "yes, the number went up a bit but let's give it another month". Well, we are literally at the end of that now and decisions will need to be made. Pray that we will keep our minds open all options. Pray also that Satan would loosen his grip on my mind and would get lost. By letting all my negative self talk bring me down I let Satan get quite a foot hold and I need to reverse that damage.

Thank you for lifting me up when I am down. I haven't completely learned what this new trial is all about but I'm getting there. Please pray for Brian and the kids too. Brian is such a trooper. He had a very difficult weekend last week but now that I am down, he is right there with me ready to walk this road with me. God knew what He was doing when he put us together!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008: Behind The Smile

Have you ever been so down you didn't know how you would get back up? How about put on a smile when all you wanted to do was cry? Told someone you were fine when really you weren't? Wondered if God really cared? Lost hope? Been surrounded by people and yet felt completely alone? If you have, you're not alone. I've just described the past couple days of my life.

I'm so hesitant to even post this. This whole honest thing is sometimes quite difficult. I just know I'm so down that I don't know what else to do. I know that the prayers are my only hope of getting out of this.

Last year after I received the call saying the cancer had spread to my liver I had complete peace and faith that the cancer was gone despite this news. I don't have peace and I don't know what happened to my faith. I'm having trouble praying and even reading the bible. I try to think of positive things in my head and instantly a negative thought comes to mind.

I read the comments and emails from people that say how I have inspired them and I can only think "if they could see me now". I feel like a disappointment and failure and have lost my fight. I'm probably supposed to be learning something through this but I just can't see it right now. I just really hope this ends soon because it is really hard to try to keep this from the kids - I know Ashley can sense something is wrong and I can only keep telling her that I'm tired for so long.

So I'm asking for prayers for my faith to be renewed, that I can get up out of this pit, that I will find that peace once again. Please also keep Brian and the kids in your prayers as I'm sure seeing me like this is very difficult for them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008: Minute by Minute

We are doing fairly well here - it changes from minute to minute though. One minute we are great and strong and the next minute we hear a song or a comment and boom! We're down flat on our face.

I believe with everything in me that this cancer is gone. I wish I could say that I believed it every single minute of the day, unfortunately, I'm human. I slip up and let thoughts of chemo enter my brain and it spirals down from there.

Brian has the added stress of working in the automotive industry. So many jobs are being cut everywhere and no one is immune from it. We believe in our heart that if he should lose his job that God will provide for all of our needs. Our mind though is another story. It is so easy to play the "what if" game. We try to take control of our lives and make our own plans.

Thank you for your constant prayers - they are what keeps us going. I have a strange favor to ask. If you see us at church or work or the store or anywhere, could you just ask us how we are enjoying the snow or if we have our Christmas shopping done yet . . . okay, so don't ask me that. . . more stress! All it takes is a line in a song or a innocent comment from a child and we fall apart. We are doing our best to not think about the unknowns and simply live in today. Just a simple smile from you tells us that you care. Thank you :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008: Helpless?

As she lies next to me sleeping so peacefully it drives me crazy that the cancer cells are multiplying with every breath. I can remodel a bathroom and I can build a barn. But any of the tools I use for that stuff pale in comparison to the tool I have to beat this cancer. The tool of prayer. Whenever I start feeling down and helpless I try to remember that. It's not always easy. Sometimes it drives me nuts that I can't go out to the garage and grab one of my power tools and crush this cancer. Sometimes I do feel helpless. Let's pray for each other that when we feel weak and helpless that we will remember that our mighty God is our most powerful power tool we have!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008: A Call to Prayer Warriors

Well, we were expecting Kristi’s CA125 number to go up…we just didn’t expect it to go up by so much. Kristi’s new CA125 number is 123. This obviously came as a big shock. We’re kind of numb at this point. Unfortunately, we’re used to this sort of news. When you get this kind of phone call you go through all sorts of emotions. After having a good cry, we’re both doing pretty good now. The next step is more blood work on December 17 (Kristi’s birthday). That means we get the results on the 18th. Remember the Christmas miracle we got last year?!?! Well, let’s pray for the same type of miracle this year. If her CA125 level stays above 100 we will meet with Dr. Downey to plan the next steps. Our fear is that he will want to do the “hard” chemo right before Christmas. If it’s below 100, we stay on our current path. Please pray for calm during this uncertain time. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008: Time is Flying

We’re still very busy here! We had a great Thanksgiving weekend spending time with family and friends. Thanksgiving day we spent with Kristi’s family. Friday, after shopping all morning, we spent the day with Lori and Eric helping them with their new house. They found a house that is handicap accessible and just moved in last week - it is an awesome house! God has been really good to them!! Friday night Kristi joined us and we just hung out with Lori and Eric eating good food and we watched a movie (WITHOUT KIDS!!). We had a really good time. For the new bloggers – Lori is Kristi’s sister. Eric, Lori’s husband, was diagnosed with ALS 4 months after Kristi was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, both Kristi and Eric have taken a “be better not bitter” attitude and have been glorifying God in their walk. You can check out Lori and Eric’s blog by clicking on the link to the right.

Saturday we just worked around the house and spent some time with friends and Sunday we spent the day at my parent’s house with my brothers and their families. It’s always nice to see the families. I can’t believe how fast the kids are growing up! I also can’t believe that my nieces can belch louder than I can! Impressive, very impressive.

Kristi goes in tomorrow for her monthly blood work. This will be her first time since she has been on this new chemo. Remember…her doctor said not to expect anything. We hope that the rise in her CA125 level at least slows down, but a lower number would be a nice surprise! :) We’ll update when we get the results.

“…with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008: Weakness Brings Strength

I was reading this morning 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul says “when I am weak, then I am strong.” How true is that?! Why do we always seem to wait until we are weak and broken to rely on God for strength? Maybe that is an internal mechanism He built within us so when He sees us straying he can get us back. Sort of like an invisible fence. We can’t see the boundary but we know it’s there. We know we shouldn’t cross it - but we do. We know we shouldn’t stray - but we do. Then…ZAP. Jesus says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” How awesome is our God?!

So a quick update on Kristi’s new chemo. Other than an occasional bout with nausea and hot flashes, so far not too bad. Of course she would rather not have to deal with it, but it is what it is. God keeps her spirits high and we seem to keep a very busy schedule – so that helps us keep a sense of normalcy.

We would like to thank everyone for all the kind words of encouragement. This has been an extremely challenging time but we realize that we are being made stronger by this temporary time of weakness. Thank you all and God bless!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008: Kristi Needs Therapy

Well, is your cup half full or half empty? That will decide how you view this news:

Dr. Downey feels Kristi's cancer is back - but only at the microscopic level. He didn't find any masses today, but her CA125 level continues to rise so he was inclined to start Kristi on hormonal chemotherapy. We agreed. We feel it's better than just doing nothing. Much of the anticipation each month is the unknown - not knowing whether her cancer is back or not. If we just accept that it is, then we can focus on doing something about it. If we do nothing, the risk is that it will spike up in a very short time (much like it started). If it did that, then we'd be looking at a much more aggressive type of chemotherapy. I'm not defending our decision (I don't need to do that) - I'm just walking you through our rationale. So, we're going to try this for 2 months and meet with him again in January. The drug she will take every day is called Tamoxifen. It is in pill form. The side effects should be quite minimal.

Kristi will continue with her monthly CA125 blood checks so we will continue to monitor her CA125 level. Although he told us not to expect a drop after the first month, the hope is that this new chemotherapy kills the cancer cells or at least stops the growth of the cancer. We actually were quite relieved walking out of Dr. Downey's office. We definitely saw this as good news. The thought of doing nothing and just waiting didn't sit well with either of us. This way we can get through the holidays and Kristi will be able to actually enjoy Christmas this year!!

Thanks again for all the prayers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008: It's Just A Number

I keep telling myself . . . it's just a number. I just wish that number would stop going up. It has gone up to 80 now (from 67). I have an appointment on Monday afternoon at 1:15 for a physical. If my doctor finds anything suspicious (lumps or spots) then I will need to begin chemo. If he doesn't find anything then we continue to monitor the level and probably run more tests. The rise in the CA125 alone is not enough to start treatment.

For now, we wait. Easier said than done. On a positive note, I feel fine and my last scan was clear. My doctor even said to me last night "don't let the number bring you down". It is so amazing how one phone call can change your plans so drastically.

The kids are handling the news pretty well. We have told them all along that the cancer could possibly return. They know that I am going to need more tests and we are being extra cautious. We are also emphasizing that God is bigger than all of this. And quite often they are the ones reminding us of that.

My parents are in Texas right now until next week Thursday. I had to give the news to my mom by phone yesterday and she handled it pretty well and promised me that she would enjoy her trip and not worry about me (I'm pretty sure she had her fingers crossed though). Please pray that they would be able to have peace and enjoy this time away.

I am feeling a bit numb. It's so hard to even imagine the possibility of returning to chemo. I try to look at the positive side though. We know that my cancer is not resistant to the first line of treatment (the first chemo I had). I am still young (okay, fairly young), I am healthy (with the exception of this stupid cancer thing) and I have walked this road before. If I would have to start chemo at least I won't have to deal with the colostomy! Or have to deal with recovering from major surgery. My port is still in so I wouldn't need surgery for that. I've had my head shaved once before and have had many people tell me that I pull off the scarf look well. There is always a silver lining in every cloud.

I just wish we didn't have to be so broken for God's light to shine so brightly. I feel like I am sliding right back into the deeper relationship with Him already. It's such a wonderful place to be. I would ask for prayers that this weekend we can forget about the cancer and just have fun together. Also that there is nothing suspicious found at my appointment on Monday.

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008: A Tough Week

It’s hard to believe a month has already passed since Kristi’s last blood work. Time flies so quickly. These are tough weeks for our family. As much as we try not to think and worry about it, we do. Kristi is really quite tired of the routine. She was quite down at times this weekend and yesterday. Please hold Kristi up in prayer.

Also, Ashley told us last night that she is “scared the cancer is coming back”. It’s amazing how much she has grown up the past 2 years. She really understands so much more now than she did when Kristi was first diagnosed. She finally opened up over the weekend and told us something she never told us before. She told us that last summer she was “angry at God for giving you cancer”. This is a big step for Ashley to open up and talk to us – she has never done that before. We tried and tried last summer to get her to talk but she wouldn’t. Out of this entire ordeal, the toughest part to handle is the effect on the kids. Something like cancer or ALS can be a defining moment for a child’s walk with our Father. Please pray for Ashley, Nathan, Emily, Zach and Maddie as they are being forced to face difficulties that children shouldn’t have to. These next couple of years will probably have the biggest impact in their walk with God. Please pray that they understand that God is in control always and that He will lift us up and support us. It must be so hard for children to understand that.

Please pray that the recent trend in Kristi’s CA125 level stops going up. It is entirely possible for it to start to recede. We’re praying that the recent upward trend is only her body still reacting to everything it’s been through the past 2 years. But whatever the result, we know that God is in control. I read the following in my morning devotion: “The advice of Ecclesiastes may seem trite till we remember that true joy and goodness are rooted in a relationship with God. The Lord sustains us through all the contrasting events of a life that runs from birth to death.” How true that is!

Thank you!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008: Say Hi To Papi

We have a new addition to our family! His name is Papi. He is a 2 and a half year old Chiwawa-Daschund mix. At 9 pounds he is full grown. We adopted him from the animal rescue mission in Allegan County. This is a big deal in our house because if you know me, you know that I used to be “anti-dog”. I usually like other people’s dogs, but I never wanted a dog of my own. Been there, done that. Mainly because they poop in the yard, then lick their butts, then come in and think they’re being cute when they lick you in the face. To me that’s kind of gross. Some people like it, go figure. But there’s something special about this dog. He just looked at me with those big brown eyes, licked my hand, and bowed at my feet. He had me at “woof” (that’s dog talk for ‘hello’). I even let him lick me in the face – after licking my toes clean of course. It’s crazy. Come over some time and say hello to Papi!

Say ‘hi’ to Papi!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008: Blessed Be Your Name

This morning in church we sang Blessed Be Your Name and the lyrics hit home. Here's a couple lines:

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

I've been feeling great physically lately but emotionally I am struggling a bit. I feel distant from God. As I sang these words this morning I realized that when I am suffering I find myself quickly going to God and also singing His praises. I can so easily praise Him in the storm, but, "when the world is as it should be and the sun is shining" I don't seek Him or praise Him nearly enough. I tend to just hop in the drivers seat in life and take control.

It really is bittersweet. I am so thankful for this "normalcy" and yet at the same time feel so alone. I can read the bible but not connect with it as much as I do when I was sick. I can pray but again, it feels distant. When I was fighting for my life, those prayers were my connection to God. I miss that connection and I want it back (minus the cancer!). I don't think that is possible though. I think we can only feel that amazing strength from God when we are completely broken and weak. If you have "knocked on heaven's door" so to speak, then you know what I mean.

I think God is trying to get my attention about this. Emily (our 4 year old daughter) was singing "oh no, never let go" this morning. She had heard the song playing on the radio and picked up on the chorus. She has been singing a lot today and it is so cute. The song kept going through my head with more of the words . . . Oh no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm. It hit me - through the calm and the storm. He is holding me just as tight now as He was during my storm. He hasn't gone anywhere, I have. I need to learn to never let go of Him in the calm.

Thanks for reading my long update! It's sometimes hard to share so much personal information but at the same time it helps so much when I type it out. Also, knowing that this need will be prayed for is a huge incentive for putting it all out there. Thank you prayer warriors :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Day At The Beach

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008: News

Kristi’s CA125 level is up to 67 from 60. Her scans came back “clean”. They are considering her “normal” to be 42. They won’t start any treatment until her CA level has at least doubled so we wait for another month. This came as good news for us as we were prepared for the worst. Kristi is in very good spirits. We’ll keep you posted with any new news. Thanks again so much for the prayers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008: No News

Still waiting. Tick tock tick tock.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008: Still Waiting

We haven't heard from Kristi's doctor yet but that's not unusual. Kristi goes in for blood work tomorrow morning so we should hear by the end of the day. As soon as we know something we'll update the blog.

Please pray for good results and for peace of mind during this very stressful time.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008: Anxiety Mounts

As Kristi stares down 2 tall glasses of her special "potion" (CT scan stuff), the memories of CT scans, x-rays and endless blood work are still too vivid. The past few weeks have been very tough as we face the reality that the cancer may be back. Tomorrow she goes in for chest x-rays and a CT scan and Wednesday more blood work. We should have all the results be the end of the week. Please keep our family in your prayers as it will be a very anxious week waiting.

We haven't shared anything with the kids yet so please keep that in mind if you see our kids. We don't want to cause them any unnecessary anxiety...Ashley especially. She is a very emotional girl and she doesn't need any distractions as she tries to keep her focus on 5th grade homework.

We praise God in the good times and we praise Him during the bad times. While it doesn't make sense to us today, we have comfort knowing that it makes perfect sense to Him always.

Thanks for praying for us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008: Busy, busy

Some days I wonder if life will ever slow down. I know it will but the fall is such an exceptionally busy time. We are doing fairly well here, all things considered. There are times when I think about the fact that my cancer could return and Brian could lose his job before the year is done and I start to freak out. So far I have been able to stop the thoughts before they roller coaster and get out of control. We just take things a day at a time and sometimes an hour at a time.

I have been super busy with GEMS lately which is good because it keeps my mind occupied. We have 100 girls between 1st and 5t grade. That's a lot of girls! It will be a couple more busy weeks with GEMS and then things will slow down considerably and get into a routine.

Brian has been pretty quiet at home. I can't imagine how stressful it is to go to work all day long and see people leaving every day. He has no control over whether he will keep his job or not at work and then he comes home to have no control over my cancer. It just stinks.

I know God will provide for all our needs and most of the time I'm doing okay. Right now I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. I think Brian is too. This time of uncertainty will help us to grow in our faith and some day we'll look back and see that but when you are right in the middle of it, well, it's hard.

On another note, we used to have a list of peoples email addresses and whenever we updated the blog we would send an email out to let you know it was updated. A couple weeks ago we had computer "issues" and we lost all our distribution lists in email. Not a fun thing. So, if you were on that list or if you would like to be on that list, please send us an email to let us know. Please type your email address into the email so we can just copy and paste it when we put our new list together. Our email is

And yet another note, we will be walking on October 11 with our family in the Walk to Defeat ALS. We were not able to join our family last year because I was still going through chemo. This walk is a fundraiser to help raise money for the ALS association. I think most of you know that my brother-in-law, Eric, has ALS. There is a link on the right on our blog that will bring you to a link about this walk. If you would be interested in sponsoring us check this link out. You can even join us if you would like! We are walking with the Fox Trotters.

Thanks for taking the time to read yet another lengthy update from me. It helps me to process things by typing them out and I can always tell when people have read the update and start praying. There is nothing better than floating on a cloud of prayers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Poem by Ashley

Cancer Sucks

Cancer is not a very good thing
It will not bring a casual bling

To get rid of cancer there is only one thing to do
Trust in God, then you won’t turn blue

My mom’s been through it one very long time
but she trusts in God and God has made up His mind
He took away her cancer
and put her back on the right line

Cancer is not a very good thing
It will not bring a casual bling
Trust in God with all your luck
And you will beat,,,,,,,,,

Cancer’s butt!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008: The Long-Awaited Phone Call

Well, the news today was a good news/bad news type of thing.  My CA125 went up to 60.   Although this isn't great news, it's not awful.  My nurse told me that until the level is doubled, which is typically 70 (and we all know I'm not your typical case) we don't jump to conclusions.  In my case, they wouldn't take the next step (more chemo) until I was around 80.

So, the plan is to have more blood work in two weeks.  I have a CT scan and chest x-ray on October 6 and then will have my blood work done on October 8.  After that we will again be "waiting for the phone call".  

I feel good about this news.   Obviously I was hoping to have my number drop but I will continue to trust that God knows what is best for me.  One day at a time (and some days one minute at a time).  Thank you for your prayers - I had a fairly peaceful morning waiting for "the call".  I am again now completely helpless and weak with this situation and can feel God's strength pulling me through.  I have missed that feeling as I have been trying to take control again of my life. 

I haven't heard from Brian's parents yet - we'll keep you posted.  Brian is exhausted - please pray for peace at work, peace with today's news (he wants so badly to be able to "fix" this problem for me) and peace with his family.  In addition to his dad being in the hospital, both his brother and his uncle are recovering from rotater cuff surgery right now.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008: When It Rains, It Pours

My title isn't regarding the weather.  Thankfully that has been beautiful!  Today has been overwhelming for our family.  I had my blood work done which was uneventful (yea) and sometime tomorrow we will have the results.  

Tonight was the first night of GEMS.  It was so busy and overwhelming and to be honest, I had mentally written my letter of registration by 6:30 tonight.  Some miscommunications and oversights on my part had me close to tears.  As the night went on, things improved.  We have an amazing group of women helping with GEMS this year.  We had 85 girls show up tonight!  

Brian received a phone call today that his dad was scheduled to have surgery tonight to have his gall bladder removed.  He was not feeling well last night and this morning they went to the hospital.  I'm not sure of all the details as it happened so fast, but he went in for surgery this evening and everything went well.   He will hopefully be able to come home tomorrow.

All these things put together, well, let's just say we're a bit overwhelmed.  We are doing well all things considered so it's obvious prayers are already going up and being answered.   Please keep Brian's parents in your prayers.  

I will update the blog tomorrow as soon as I have my blood work results.  Please don't assume that no news is bad news.  I often have trouble connecting with nurse for these results and it's a waiting game.   It frightens me to think what a simple phone call can do to our life.  However, our future is in God's hands and there is no better place to be.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! .  Ephesians 3:20-21.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday September 21, 2008: Still Here!

Well, I think we have set a record of longest time between updates!  I just checked the statistics of the blog and am amazed at the number of people checking the blog every day.  We average around 75 hits a day.  Even when we aren't faithful with updating, you are faithful checking on us.  That is so humbling and encouraging.

We have been super busy the past few weeks with the typical "getting back to routine" issues.  The conversations around here are "did you study your spelling yet? is it your library day today? don't forget your violin, do you need a cold lunch? hurry up - we're late for soccer, have you read yet today? you need to practice piano, don't forget your show & tell, and hurry up or we'll miss the bus!"  Just your typical house trying to keep up with three children's different schedules.  We're getting the hang of it though.

Up until a few days ago we were doing pretty well.  I've been super busy with GEMS which kept my mind occupied.  Now that things are slowing down a bit with GEMS my mind has had time to wander - which is never a good thing.  Plus, we are getting closer to my next blood draw.  Combine that with the restructuring at JCI and, well, let's just say it's past time for us to update the blog and share our prayer requests with you.

I will be going this Wednesday for my lab work.  As you already know, my number is slowly creeping up and was last at 53.  The optimistic part of us is saying that the cancer is gone and will not return.  Our realistic part tells us we need to be aware of potential outcomes from this next lab work.  Should my level continue to rise, I will more than likely need to have my ct scan done sooner (currently scheduled for October 6) and meet with my oncologist sooner (right now isn't until November).  The positive side of the possibility of needing to have more chemo is that I am not resistant to the first line of treatment which was the first chemo that I received.  Some people's bodies become resistant to that chemo treatment.  

This Wednesday I will be going to Teusink's Farm with Emily and her preschool class and then heading to the lab after that (with Emily and my Mom along for moral support).  That night we have our first night of GEMS which is always "controlled chaos".  That will be a good thing though for keeping my mind busy.  I will call the doctor Thursday morning for results after I drop Emily off at preschool.  I will post them as soon as I hear.  Sometimes I don't connect with my nurse right away and have to wait to find out the results.  I'm sure it will be an anxious morning.  

Please pray specifically for my CA125 level to be low and for Brian's job.  Please also include Brian's coworkers as this is a very stressful time at his work.  Thank you!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008: CA125 Results

We got Kristi’s CA125 results today and it’s up to 53. What does that mean? Nothing. Her nurse didn’t seem overly concerned about it and just said “we’ll check it again in a month”. The million dollar question is – what is Kristi’s normal? She can go the rest of her life and if it just bounces around in the 40’s and 50’s that’s fine. If it continues an upward trend however, then that would be a cause for concern. Well, it’s cause for concern now, but not enough to warrant any action. Any more upward movement and that will probably mean some sort of chemo regiment again. But we’ll wait for next month before we start talking about any of that. Next month it could come in at 49, or 51, or 42. At this point we’re just trying to figure out what “normal” is. So if you could keep her in your prayers over the next month that would be great. Thanks!

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you" Psalm 55:22a

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008: My Colorado Video

First of all, we're all doing great!! We were camping this past weekend at Ludington State Park with friends. We had a great time!! Kristi goes for her monthly CA125 check tomorrow. We'll post the results as soon as we get them. Here is the video of my trip to southwest Colorado. Like I said, I took over 600 pictures so it was hard to narrow it down. The video I made ended up being 16 minutes but I had to chop it down to 8 to fit it on YouTube. So here is the chopped up version...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008: Colorado Pics

After Kristi got home from North Carolina, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Colorado with 3 friends. It was an amazing week. The first day there we drove right to the top of a 12,400 foot mountain and pitched our tents. It was incredible!! I took over 600 pictures during the are just a few of my favorites. Of course I have a video done, I've just been too busy and haven't had time to put it on You Tube yet...maybe by the end of the week...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008: We're Still Here!

I can't believe it has been two weeks since we've updated! To be honest, I haven't even been thinking about cancer! Right now I'm completely focused on GEMS and back to school stuff. I apologize to those of you that have been wondering what has been going on.

Last week Monday I had my three month check-up. There was nothing new to report which is good! I have to have a ct scan in October which is just routine. Then I meet with my oncologist again in November. Pretty soon these appointments will just move further and further apart. I do still have monthly blood work for the CA125 level. I believe my next one isn't until the 27th. My doctor said that "you know there is a good chance that the cancer will return". My reply back was "I also know there is a that it won't come back". I refuse to believe it will come back. To me his comment was simply a reminder to me of the miracle God did by healing me and continues to do by keeping the cancer away. I'm a walking miracle.

We will probably not be updating near as much as we used to. This seems strange and a bit sad to me. This blog has been a lifeline to us for so long. We're not going anywhere though! We'll update when I have appointments and blood work and prayer requests. There are days when I feel like God is prompting me to share something through the blog and I will do that as well.

So until our next update . . . thanks as always to our mighty prayer warriors!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008: Finally, an update!

It seems like I always start my update with this phrase but really, where does the time go? I made it home from the conference safe and sound last week Monday night. I had intentions to update the blog much sooner than this. Sorry to those of you who were wondering if we just dropped off the face of the earth.

Attending the GEMS conference was probably one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I don't even know where to start. I was convicted in so many areas - as a wife, as a mom, as a GEMS club coordinator and as a child of God. Every class I went to and every speaker I heard seemed to have something that went straight to my heart. Initially the conviction was painful.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11.

I was often moved to the point of tears from these convictions but immediately after felt a peace as if God was saying "it's okay, you messed up but that was in the past . . . let's move forward from here and this is what I want you to do".

I feel better equipped as a wife and mom and have gained a lot of confidence in myself. I have moved even closer to God through this experience.

On another note, I had my CA125 level tested last week (yes, I went in and forgot to update the blog . . . sorry!!!). I am at 47 now (I was at 44). This is still considered stable.

Thank you as always for your prayers! I don't have any specific requests right now - I would just ask that you pray where you feel God is leading you to pray. Thank you!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008: Mommy's Coming Home!

I’ve become quite delinquent at updating the blog! Kristi has sort of taken over ownership of the blog since the beginning of the year (which I have to admit, I haven’t minded). Life has been really good this year which we are extremely thankful for. This past weekend Kristi went to North Carolina with a friend to attend a GEMS conference with hundreds of other women. They left Thursday morning and come back tonight. She’s been having a really good time…she says she’s a “changed woman” because of the convention. Wow, I thought she was pretty good before she left – can’t wait to “meet” this new woman!! The kids (and I) can't wait to see her tonight!! Anyway, just thought I would give a quick update and let you know what we’ve been up to and I wanted to share this good news. So for once I’m asking you to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for good health and good times! God is good in good times and bad!

Here are some pictures of this weekend…

Here's Emily Thursday night downtown Holland (where Uncle Kevin performed)

Sunday morning ready for church (and early)!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008: Update

I'm updating today as Kristi is rushing out the door to VBS. She heard from her nurse this morning. Her nurse said "keep an eye on it, go to North Carolina and have a good time, stop looking at the internet and stop pushing on the spot!" We go in for our 3 month check up in August. If it's still there then Dr. Downey will check it out. Until then, we go on enjoying the summer. Thanks for the prayers.

Please pray for Kristi this week as she leaves for North Carolina to attend a GEMS conference with a friend. They are driving down Thursday. Pray for safety and that Kristi can enjoy this time away with her friend.

Thanks everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008: Still Waiting

I am still waiting for my nurse to return my call. Monday's are super busy in their office so she probably won't get a chance to call until the end of the day. My spot has gotten a bit bigger but it has also gotten lighter.

I apologize to those of you that are anxiously waiting. We debated putting it on the blog but decided we needed the prayer support. I'm glad we posted it because I can feel the prayers already. I am much more content today. This is just a reminder to me that instead of saying "oh no, not another Monday" I should be saying "thank you God for another day!"

I'll update when I hear more - thanks for the prayers!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008: One Year Later

We had a great weekend just hanging around home. Friday night we had friends over and last night we went on a triple date with Kristi's sister and brother and their spouses. We did the same thing last year and we took this picture of us in Grand Haven.

Lori, Eric, me, Kristi, Stephanie & Kevin - June 2007

Last night we went out for dinner at the Blue Water Grill in Grand Rapids (that's where the picture below is taken). After dinner we went out for coffee and dessert. Sadly enough, we were all yawning by 9:00. We did manage to stay out til 10:00 enjoying some good stories.

Eric, Lori, Kevin, Stephanie, me & Kristi - July 2008

I wish I could end this update here on a happy note, but we have a concern we want to pass along. We are hesitant to even type this because it will make it all the more "real" and we don't want to panic everyone. But, Friday morning Kristi found a red spot on her breast. It looked like a bug bite and initially only caused a little concern. When it was still there the next day she did some research on the internet. This spot could be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. I know many of you are thinking "don't search the internet!" which I agree with. But, she did and we hope we are worried about nothing. However, this type of cancer is the fastest growing and most aggressive type of breast cancer out there. We really hope this is nothing more than a bug bite, but if it would be inflammatory breast cancer, the quicker it is discovered the better the outcome. Kristi will be calling her doctor on Monday and will keep everyone updated.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008: The Fog Has Lifted

Thank you for your prayers and comments. This afternoon I actually saw a break in the clouds. I feel mentally lighter. I did get out this afternoon to do something for someone else. I am sure that helped. When I am with other people I am usually feeling good. I really love my "me" time though which is hard. When I am alone is when the down times usually come. I also love sleeping and napping! I am joining Curves which I think will help greatly - the program requires that you come at least three times a week. Since I can't seem to hold myself accountable to exercising I need a program to do it for me.

Also, Brian said he felt a little bit better today - yea! We are so thankful for your prayers and support.

One of the comments that was left suggested making a list of the people that helped us out last year. Although I love the idea, I don't think there is a piece of paper big enough to make that list! Our church, family, friends and complete strangers blessed us beyond words last year. There is no way we could ever repay all you have done for us. "Thank you" just doesn't seem enough. I do plan on "paying it forward". I remember last year saying that I couldn't wait to be the person helping out someone else again. Well, my time is here. Wow, thinking back again at all that you have done for us is compelling me to get out there and give back.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008: Blah

Tonight I am asking for prayers for my depression. At my appointment with my psychologist I was feeling great. Days after that and for the past week or so I have been in a pit again. I do have another appointment scheduled. I am so tired of being in this depression. I feel so alone and isolated and worthless. For those of you who deal with depression, you understand. For those of you who don't, there is really no way for me to make you understand.

I am reading an excellent book right now called Seeing In The Dark by Gary Kinnaman and Richard Jacobs, MD. If you deal with depression, I would highly recommend reading it. Also, if someone you care about is depressed I would recommend reading it for insight into what depression is all about. It is written by a Pastor and an MD. I have learned a lot from this book and yet have so much more to learn.

The one thing I do know is that I am so tired of this. I have been healed of cancer . . . I should be shouting from the rooftops what God did for me. I should be on fire for Him. I want to be. I am asking for prayers that I will find the right medication and dose to correct my chemical imbalance (it's a work in progress right now). Pray that I will seek God first thing when I wake up in the morning and all throughout the day. When I am down it is hard to even open my bible. Also, that if spiritual warfare is involved that I will understand that and know how to deal with it. I also ask for prayers for everyone that I deal with. My immediate family sees me trying to be connected to them and yet I still feel so distant. It's hard for Brian to understand my depression and it's very difficult for me to explain.

Speaking of Brian, he is having trouble sleeping at night. He is trying a new medication that his sleep doctor prescribed that will eventually (hopefully) help him with his fatigue. Right now though one of the side effects is trouble sleeping at night. How ironic. Please pray that he will make his way soon through this side effect and get to the point of feeling more energetic.

He is eating healthy food (he even journals everything he eats!), exercising every day and I have to say, looking really, really good :) Right now I am "hiding" in our bedroom. I snuck up here to do some reading and he busted me. Then he told me that I should stay in here and he would put the kids to bed for me tonight. This was already at 8:00 this evening. He is so good to me.

Thank you for reading through my rambling postings. It it hard to put this all out there because there is such a stigma with depression. I have had many people email and call me to share that they too suffer from depression. It is a real disease and hopefully by speaking out I can encourage someone who is suffering in silence to know that it is okay to talk about it. It is important to talk about it. It is hard though. But . . . . I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength! (Philippians 4:13).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday, June 3, 2008: Still Stable

I went for blood work and had my CA125 testing done yesterday. The results came back at 44 (it was previously 42) which means . . . I'm still stable! I have to admit deep down I am still hoping to hit that "magic 35" but I am thrilled that I am stable. I can't believe life has been so busy that I forgot to post that I was going in for my monthly lab work. It has been good though - lots of playing and visiting with family and friends! Speaking of which, time to get back to playing with the kids now! Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008: Lost . . . and Found

I know last week I mentioned that we were struggling with depression. Well, earlier this week I fell into the "pit". I guess you have to hit the bottom before you can climb up again. I had been keeping a lot in and you can only bottle up so much before it overflows. The tears came and came and finally ended. Brian found me in my pity party and helped me out of it. I just needed to spill my guts.

I have been feeling worthless lately. I felt like cancer made me "special" and now that the cancer is gone I am no longer special. I know, I know, I'm wrong. And I in no way want cancer back to feel special. I have been wanting to be normal again for so long that now that we are, I'm not sure what to do with it.

I made an appointment with my psychiatrist and am going to see her tonight. I am actually feeling a lot better but I still need to talk to her to learn how to better handle it next time the depression comes my way. I have had depression for many years and I'm sure I will have it the rest of my life. I just need to learn how to better deal with it.

The title of this update is "lost . . . and found". It hit me earlier. I was feeling lost and alone and today I feel found. The reason for this is because of a devotion I read this morning. The verse is Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." It says in the devotion . . . after the clouds clear and we have withstood the storm, we must "turn back and strengthen our brothers."

This gives me new purpose. I can't just go on like normal. I need to turn back and help other women who are struggling with cancer. I need to encourage them by sharing how my faith got me through and how God healed me. I also need to encourage other women who deal with depression.

While I went through depression years ago I wrote a lot of poems. The words just flowed through the pen. This was something special that God did through me. I haven't showed them to a lot of people. I did think of trying to publish them but never did. I didn't think my poems were good enough. They aren't my poems though. They are God's work. And I have been hiding it.

I am reading a book called "for the Write Reason". It has been very encouraging to me and I think will help me to get the poems out there and also help Brian and I with the book we want to write about our journey through cancer.

Wow, speaking of writing books, I think I just did! Thank you for reading and sticking by us. I am always amazed and the number of people that check our blog. I think "now that the cancer is gone, why do they still want to hear about our life?" But you're not just checking on our lives, you're seeing God's work shining through us.

Thank you to our faithful readers and prayer warriors. We are still working on an open house date but life is so busy these days that it has been put on the back burner. We will have it though because we want to say thank you to all of you who have supported us and to praise God for all He has done for us!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008: Hello from Lake Leelanau

We are camping near Traverse City with Brian's parents this weekend. So far we are enjoying beautiful weather but it looks like a storm is on its way.

It was a busy week but we are relaxing now. It doesn't really seem like camping when we have wireless and cable tv. That's not how we camped when I was a kid. The kids are loving it and we are all relaxed and having a great time.

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know that we are doing good. Thank you for your prayers and comments and e-mails. We have so many encouraging friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008: A Quick Update

Wow, I can't believe I haven't updated the blog since last week Friday! Life is so busy here. The Relay for Life was very neat. Even though it rained a lot there was still a ton of enthusiasm. I didn't get as many miles in as I had hoped but I am so glad that I went. I am working on getting the pictures posted. My dad was nice enough to lend me his camera since Brian had ours and I forgot to download the pictures before I returned it to him. I'll get them up soon.

I do have some prayer requests for our family. I think both Brian and I are going through a bit of a depression. I don't understand why I am feeling so down when the cancer is gone. I remember thinking just a year ago that when the cancer was gone and chemo was done I would be so happy and relieved. I have struggled with depression before and recognize the symptoms. I also can tell that the devil is getting his jabs in. I want to continue sharing how my faith got me through this battle and yet some days I just want to hide from everything cancer related. I don't think God wants me to dig a hole and hide though - that would put my flame out.

Brian recently saw a show on tv that talked about statistics on cancer returning. He was quite down after that. He seemed a bit happier today but I can tell he is still struggling. He is still extremely tired too. He even left the fathers day party early so he could go home and take a nap. If you know Brian, he hates taking naps. I know he must have been tired to leave so early.

Well, I titled this update "a quick update" and now I've rambled on and on. Sorry. Just needed to spill my guts. I've been keeping a lot inside lately. A friend called me yesterday and after an innocent "how are you" on her part I gave her an earful. I don't know why it all spilled out - I guess God knew I needed to let it go. I did feel better after I talked.

Thank you for your prayers. I know shortly after posting this the prayers will start and joy will come in the morning.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008: Relay Day

Thank you again to those of you who donated! There are so many good causes out there and it is overwhelming trying to decide who and what you want to sponsor. Over the past year we have been one of the "causes" that many of you have donated to thanks to the many fundraisers that were held on our behalf. I can't possibly explain what a huge relief it was being able to pay our medical bills without having to take on any extra debt. God worked miracles through all of you by taking care of that burden for us. Thank you just doesn't seem enough.

I am anxious to see what the Relay for Life is all about. I have read about it and checked out the web site but I think I have to experience it before I really "get" it. We're heading out soon and hoping that this beautiful weather stays all night!

Thank you again for your donations, support and prayers. I will update the blog over the weekend hopefully with some pictures of the event.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008: Thank You

Thank you to those of you who have donated to the Relay for Life! From what I understand, it is fairly easy to pay using a credit card by clicking on my personal home page (which is now listed on the right side of the blog). If you would rather donate by cash or check, I would gladly pick it up from you, however, I do need to turn all donations in this Friday. Thanks so much for your support of such a good cause.

I do have a prayer request for our friends, Mike & Sheryl. Mike's father was diagnosed last week with a rare form of skin cancer. He is going to the U of M on Tuesday. Please pray that this cancer has been found early enough. It is a very fast growing cancer and the earlier it is found, the better the prognosis. Mike and Sheryl are on vacation with their family this week. Please pray that they will be able to enjoy this time with their girls as there is nothing that can be done at this point for Mike's dad other than pray and wait. Mike has two sisters in this area that can be with his parents.

This brings back a lot of memories for me. I had the stress of dealing with the thought of having cancer and my family and friends had to deal with the helplessness of watching me deal with it. Please keep the entire Boes family in your prayers - I will keep you updated.

Thank you!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008: Woohoo!

My new CA125 level is 42! Woohoo! Emily wore underwear yesterday with no accidents! Woohoo! Today is the kids last day of school! Woohoo!

God is good all the time - and all the time God is good!!!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008: It's Potty Time!

Woohoo! Hooray! Emily went on the potty tonight for the first time! Some day she will probably be horribly mortified that I posted this on the blog for the world to know but for now we're saying it loud and saying it proud!!! Yea Emily!

Happy stuff aside, we do have some prayer requests - I will be going in this week to have my CA125 level tested and should have the results on Friday. No longer are we praying for the magic "35", we are now praying for "stable".

Also, I have been having some stomach problems today. Although it is probably just a simple stomach bug, it is quite similar to the symptoms I had prior to finding out I had cancer. Something as simple as a stomach ache can bring extreme anxiety.

Please pray that our nerves will be calmed and that this blood work will be nothing more than our monthly reminder that God has got it all under control. Hmmmm, as I type that it reminds me of a cyber-friend of mine. Her blog is called She is battling breast cancer for the 4th time over the past 7 years. Her blog is awesome and I'd encourage you to check it out.

We will update the blog as soon as we have some results. As always, your prayers are appreciated so much.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008: An Ordinary Family

It seems so strange to just be "ordinary" again. I have been doing things like cutting the grass, going on camping trips and on field trips with the kids. All these things that I wasn't able to do last year. It has been so wonderful not thinking about chemo!

I am so busy these days it's hard to believe that I even had time for cancer last year. I think I was so out of it because of medications and surgeries and chemo that I missed a lot that I don't even realize.

One thing that I missed last year was the Relay for Life. My neighbor walks it every year with her mom and girls as her mom is a cancer survivor. Last year they took Ashley with them and it really made an impact on her. I remember them saying "next year you will have to walk with us". I also remember thinking at that point that there was no way I would ever be able to do something like that. Well, never say never! On June 13 I will be joining them. Ashley will be coming with us as well. I am sure it will be a very emotional but wonderful time.

I will be hitting you all up for donations soon :) I am still figuring out my donation website and when I get there (actually, after Brian helps me get there) I will put the link on the blog.

Well, it is way past my bedtime and everyone else is already asleep so I should probably get to bed now. If I stay up much longer I may have to break into the bag of M&M's in the cupboard! Which is actually a prayer request. While I was on chemo I could eat anything and would still lose weight . . . well, chemo is done and so is the losing weight part. In fact, I am putting the pounds back on. I am at a good weight right now and need to stay that way. I would appreciate prayers for willpower to eat right and also for exercise. Yup, still struggling with the exercise thing. I'm trying and taking baby steps but it has been baby steps for a few weeks or more now and it's time to start taking bigger steps.

Brian has been patiently trying to motivate me while I know he would rather put my tennis shoes on me and shove me out the door for a walk. I can even feel God trying to nudge me to take better care of myself. It is so easy to slip back into old habits.

So, some prayer requests are:

*Healthy eating and exercise for me

*The kids would stay focused and end the school year on a good note (they are done next week already!)

*Brian is still tired :( He went to the doctor and they ran a great deal of tests (thyroid, food allergy, etc) and they all came back normal. So he continues to try to find an answer.

Thank you for covering this "ordinary" family in your prayers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008: The Blog Turns One!

Our blog turns one today! Can you believe it?! I remember sitting right here in this chair in this same spot “launching” the blog one year ago. It seems like yesterday. We’re so glad that you all have enjoyed reading the blog. It has been a tremendous help for all of us. It helps keep our friends and family updated and it allows us to talk about normal things when we get together with any of you. Thanks for all of your encouraging comments about the blog - they motivate us to keep it updated. The blog has also turned into a wonderful ministry. We have received countless e-mails from strangers who discovered our blog by doing different internet searches. Kristi has been able to minister to several strangers or simply just give advice to their struggles. She has developed some very neat “e-relationships” and some personal relationships too. Very cool!

There is something else that makes today stand out…it is also the one year anniversary of when Kristi’s parents came over and told us Eric was diagnosed with ALS. Eric was diagnosed on May 18, 2007 but we were told 2 days later. You know when some major event happens in your life and people ask you “do you remember where you were when…?” This was one of those events. I was sitting right here in this chair when they stopped over and told us the news. What a year 2007 was. Forgettable, but unforgettable.

So what’s next for us? Well, in the short term we’re going to enjoy this 3 month reprieve from doctors visits and we’re definitely celebrating being chemo-free. Kristi will still have to go in for monthly blood work to get her CA125 level checked – but that’s just at a clinic, not the doctor’s office. Dr. Downey won’t call her “in remission” until her CA125 stays level for a year. At that point he said he would be willing to call her in remission. He hesitates because of this cancer’s tendency to come back. For now, we’re just enjoying what I said above…no doctors and no chemo for the summer! Last year we lived day to day. Sometimes hour to hour. Every time the phone rang last year we held our breath. More bad news? Another trip to the hospital? To be able to go 3 months without seeing a doctor is a huge blessing for us.

We’ve had some people ask us “are you going to keep the blog up?” Yes, we are. We will still have monthly CA125 results to report (next one being the week of June 9) as well as Kristi’s overall health. It’s a great way to keep in touch with all of our out-of-state family and friends. We pray that all the entries going forward will be positive.

Kristi asked me to put a video together of the past year and a half reflecting on her battle. So, in my quest not to disappoint her, I made the video below. Hope you enjoy it. Oh yeah, there’s a little surprise at the end of it. Take a look…

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008: Kristi's House

Many of you may not know the history here so let me give you the background. Our church recently purchased Kristi’s parent's home they built about 25 years ago...the house Kristi grew up in. The house (and its property) is attached to our church’s property. Our church purchased this property a few years ago from Kristi’s parents to accommodate future expansion plans. After Kristi’s parents moved out of the house, the church decided to convert the house into a duplex and use the house for transitional housing for people in need. So they needed a name for the house other than calling it the “old Kammeraad house” (Kristi's maiden name is Kammeraad). The thought was that this house would give people hope, inspiration and a fresh start during some transitional time in their lives. So when the church leaders thought of hope and inspiration, they thought of Kristi’s battle with cancer. So there it is…the name of the house: Kristi’s House. Kristi is really honored that they thought of her. She says it’s kind of a weird feeling having a house named after her.

Yesterday, our church had a dedication of Kristi’s House. After our church service, our entire congregation walked through the woods that separates the church from the house and surrounded the house. We prayed as a group then broke into small groups and all prayed over the house. Two families have already moved into the house. Our prayers of course are that the new families find hope and inspiration in the house and can find their new beginnings. Here are some pictures from the dedication service:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008: Life Is Good

We are all doing well and enjoying being back to "normal". I don't honestly think I will ever be normal again though. This past year has changed our family for the better. We have grown in ways I could have never imagined.

Right now though I am at a loss for words. I have been sitting at the computer for over 20 minutes and I just honestly don't know what to type. Usually the words just come flowing out. God usually puts it on my heart what He wants me to share and tonight I am just clueless.

I don't want to just "babble". I do want people to know that we are doing really well though. So, for now I will just sign off and will update again another day. Have a marvelous Monday!

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 12, 2008: The Results Are In

I am officially done with chemo and on a "maintenance" plan for doctor visits!!! My CA125 was 47 (which is exactly where it was last time) and the CT scan didn't show any concerns.

My doctor said I'm not technically "in remission" because my CA125 isn't "normal". They consider normal to be 35 or under. I think that my normal is between 40-50. Guess that means I'm "above average" :)

I will be going for blood work once a month. My next doctors appointment is in 3 months and my next CT scan is in 6 months. As time goes on these appointments will become further and further apart.

Brian should be home soon and we're going out to supper to celebrate but I wanted to quick let everyone know the wonderful news! Thank you for your prayers!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008: The Countown Begins

Okay, so I actually started counting down a long time ago for tomorrow's appointment. Probably even over a year ago. From day one I have been looking forward to the point where we could say "we did it, we crossed the finish line!". We are so close. Tomorrow's appointment is at 1:15. I haven't been stressing about it or dwelling on it but occasionally my mind wanders there and thinks "what if".

Realistically we need to be prepared for the possibility that it isn't gone yet. Or for the chance that it may return some day. We need to realize that this may happen.

Optimistically we believe that the cancer is gone and will never return.

So what do we do? We become optimistically realistic. We hope and pray for the best with the understanding that we need to be prepared for whatever may come our way. We have to accept and believe that God's plans are what is best for us.

So, we ask for prayers that we will have the strength and courage to handle whatever news we hear tomorrow.

Also my entire family is out of state right now. My parents and Eric & Lori are in Washington D.C. and my brother and his family are in Alabama. Please pray for safety for them and for peace of mind as they wait to hear from us after tomorrow's appointment.

Another prayer request is for Brian. He is extremely tired these days even though he is able to sleep at night. Please pray that he will be able to find out the cause of this fatigue soon.

I hope the moms out there had a wonderful mothers day. I enjoyed a long nap this peaceful rainy afternoon. There's not much better than a good nap. Okay, so maybe the words "your cancer is in remission" may beat out a nap!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eric Fox Family Celebrating Life

Eric Fox Living With ALS

Whatchya Doing Tonight?! from 6 - 9 PM

Please read to help our brother

(Lori is Kristi's sister)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008: Happy Birthday Brian!

Just a reminder that this Friday is the Fundraiser for Eric & Lori. Even if you don't know them I think you would have a great time! Check out They have the items listed that they will be auctioning off. There is tons of stuff for the kids to do as well. Although this will be a very emotional evening for our family, I am so excited about how much this will help them with the future costs that this disease will bring.

On another note, today was Brian's birthday. He has been trying hard to ignore it (he's getting a little too close to "40"). I think he had a good day today and he's already sound asleep. I should be sleeping too so I guess that is it for now. Thanks for reading and checking in on us :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008: Do you hear Him?

Last week Friday I had a ct scan. I realized Friday morning that we forgot to post this on the blog as a prayer request. Friday morning I received an e-mail from a friend saying that he felt God was nudging him to spend some extra time for me in prayer that day. He also e-mailed me to make sure I was doing okay.

First I thought even though I forgot to ask for prayers, God knew I needed some extra prayers and prompted a friend to take care of that need. Then I was thinking . . . is my mind quiet enough that I would hear God prompting me to pray for others? Sadly enough I don't think it was. It has been filled with vacation details, school stuff, doctors appointments and much much more.

This was a good reminder for me to stop and listen. I'm glad my friend did . . . . thanks Jack. :)

Next week Monday (the 12th) I have an appointment with my oncologist. I will have blood work done this Friday (the 9th) and we will get the results of the blood work and ct scan at that appointment. (If the ct scan shows any concern they will notify us sooner). I am trying not to think about that appointment because it's a "biggy"! This will be the official "all clear" with cancer. Yikes! I'm normally a reserved person but I think I may just let out a holler when I hear the words "the cancer is gone". I already believe it in my heart but to hear the words will be music to my ears. I've already started planning the party! :)

Brian is still fighting some sort of bug. He has an occasional sore throat and has a cough that just won't go away which is very frustrating to him.

Please pray for patience this week as the countdown begins to next week's appointment. Thank you!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008: We're Back

We got home last night about 8:00 and even though we were gone 5 days, it seemed like 5 minutes. We had such a great time with Lori & Eric. Everything was so much fun it is hard to pin-point a favorite part of the weekend. While on the plane yesterday I made this short video that recaps our weekend.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008: Havin A Great Time!

To say we're having a great time with Lori & Eric would be an understatement! The weather has been perfect, the people have been extremely friendly and everything is working out beautifully! Our resort in Vegas is absolutely gorgeous!! In fact, it is so nice that we aren't even going into Vegas today...we're just going to hang out by the enormous pool and relax all day. We went into Vegas last night and we all got an education. Wow. But first, the Grand Canyon. Amazing, just amazing. The helicopter ride into the canyon was incredible. It leaves you speechless. What a wonderful display of God's creation. It was breathless. Well, once we got past the air sickness part. Oh man. Within 20 seconds my stomach was barkin at me. I thought I was going to toss my cookies. I found out afterwards that everyone else got airsick too. Well, everyone but Kristi. She was the only smart one and took her motion sickness pill before the flight. I don't normally get motion sick but something about the helicopter ride made me a little weesy. But we all made it without blowing chunks so it was just a minor inconvenience. Here are some pictures from our trip on the helicopter...
Does it look like she's having a good time?! (Kristi sat next to the pilot)

The first picture as we flew over the edge of the canyon...this is where you said "eeks" and your stomach went "gulp"!

The Grand Canyon is just so enormous it's overwhelming

a ride Eric will never forget ...

Saturday night we watched the sun set over the west brim

even had time to sneak in a little smooch...

I could go on and on with pictures of the Grand Canyon. With every corner of the road is an equally awe inspiring view. But, after 2 days at the Grand Canyon we departed for Las Vegas. We didn't come here to see Vegas, it's just the city where we flew in to. But, like I said, our resort is awesome! We went into Vegas last night and had a good time. Here are some pictures from last night.

the view from our resort...

"He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work." Psalm 104:13