Monday, December 20, 2010

Dr. J and his famous last words

Before I discuss my latest news, I feel the need to take a walk down memory lane to put this new in perspective.

  • Joseph and I go on our first date. (I told you we were taking a walk, just forgot to mention it was a long one!)
  • 5 months later we get married and go on our honeymoon.
  • 2 days after we get back from our honeymoon we move to North Dakota.
  • 2 months after arriving in North Dakota, I get pregnant.
***I'd like to pause for a moment and point out that at this point, I have only known this man for a total of 7 months.  Holy cow, we move fast!
  • 4 months pregnant we move to San Antonio for 5 months – J goes to class all day and I hang out in a hotel room. Bored. That time is memorialized by Mexican food and People’s Court reruns. Lots of both.
  • Come back to ND and have Caleb James. Delicious, spirited child.
  • Shortly after Caleb is born J starts training for a sprint triathlon and starts an organic chemistry class at Minot State. Because, apparently, having a child isn’t enough to keep him busy.
  • Does really well in first triathalon, aces O Chem and starts studying for his MCAT.
***Let’s pause on our walk here for a moment. This was a sweet, quiet little time in my life. J worked, came home for lunch everyday and was home by 4:45pm. We lived in the middle of no where, but had great friends and a happy little life.
  • Then… I got pregnant and J got accepted to medical school, so we moved across country with a 2 year old while I was almost 9 months pregnant. Quiet little life, shattered!
  • We got to DC and J had 2 weeks to unpack all the boxes, paint some rooms and help me get a nursery ready before he started classes.
  • 2 weeks after classes start, Luke Daniel is born. Delicious, funny child. J was there for the delivery and got me home the next day and then went back to classes. I got post partum bad.
  • The next 2 years are a blur of living in DC, trying to adjust to J’s new (and completely different than Minot) schedule, and trying to adjust to have 2 kids.
  • We decide to move ourselves to Texas to finish the last two years of medical school. J knew he wanted to do his residency here, so we took a BIG gamble in moving here. We packed ourselves and with the help of my step-dad, moved across the country. 3rd cross country move in 5 years. If you’re counting.  Obviously, I am.
  • Two months after moving to Texas I got pregnant. With twins. And was sick. Beyond belief. With a husband who was working c-r-a-z-y hours. Oh, my, that was a crazy time in life.
  • When I’m 7 months pregnant, J leaves for 6 weeks to North Carolina for work. Caleb was 3, Luke was 1 and I was HUGE! ‘Nuff said.
  • Twins are born at the end of 3rd year. I now have 4 kids under 4.
  • J leaves for 5 weeks when the twins are 5 weeks old. If I think back on that time too long, I will have an anxiety attack. Let’s walk faster here.
  • First year of Twinkies life is a mixture of crazy, fun, overwhelming, exhausting, adorable, sweet and amazing. Mercy, I wish I would have soaked it up more…
  • When twins turn one, we take a 3 week road trip back to DC to watch Joseph graduate medical school. HUGE milestone. The graduation and the 3 week trek with 4 small kids under 5.
  • Joseph starts residency in Emergency Medicine. Assures me that the hours are the best out there and he will “only work 12-16 shifts a month”. Oh, yes, I will quote him on that one. It will be my ammunition in the years to come. And yes, I do use ammunition.
  • Residency for 2 ½ years (so far). It bites. Really bad. There are many moments I am d-o-n-e. Instead of running away and moving to Tahiti, I cling on to the words “only work 12-16 shifts a month”.
  • End of second year, there are whispers. Faint at first, but then they get louder. Fellowship…fellowship…fellowship. And then one day Man finally says it out loud. “I think I want to do a fellowship.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. More famous words, “Don’t worry, it looks like it will be a long shot. There are a lot of details that have to fall into place.”
We found out last week that he got the fellowship. With call every 5 days. Most of you don’t know what that means. Let’s just put it this way – it’s the opposite of, “only work 12-16 shifts a month”. Very opposite.

We are moving again. At least it’s to a place that is dear to my heart. Really close to people that are dear to my heart. That makes the fact that I won’t be experiencing “only work 12-16 shifts a month” a little less painful.

And so we continue on this crazy journey. I told my man, before we were even married, that I would follow him wherever he wanted to go. Because as long as he is there, then I’m home. Lucky for him, almost 10 years later, I still feel that same way!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What we learned at MD Anderson

We are home (back to my mama's house) from day 1 of our appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Clinic.  It was definitely an eye opening experience. 

First thing first, the news we got was the best news we could have gotten outside of hearing the words, "The tumor is gone!"  What we did hear is that this is definitely tumor and surgery is definitely on the back burner.  The tumor is in a very difficult part to reach and they will never be able to get it all.  Inevitably, it will be life altering and probably the cause of his death.

I know, where is the good news?

The good news is that we now know that surgery is not likely to happen for a while.  Hopefully a LONG while.  Because as long as he remains asymptomatic the surgery will do more harm than good to his quality of life.  Isn't that awesome news?!  He is so healthy right now that they don't want to do surgery!  Isn't that all any of us have anyway - right now.  And right now he is healthy and happy and has an amazing perspective on life and a great relationship with Jesus.  He has more with a brain tumor in his head than most people have without a brain tumor.

That, my friends, is the good news!

So what is on the horizon?  Well, it looks like we will get MRI's every 6 months for the next year and if they remain the same, than we will extend the MRI's to every year.  And when his symptoms get worse then we will have surgery.  And who knows when that will be, so we will continue to live.  Work, exercise, taxi kids around, laugh, go to the zoo and parks, share Jesus with our kids, take vacations, argue about who is the better driver and who is right, marvel over how fast the Little's are growing up and trust that God has a plan.  Not just for Joseph and I, but for our four little people.

A plan that gives us hope.
And a future.
A future that we can look forward to, not be afraid of.

While at MD Anderson today, I saw sick people.  Really sick people.  Really, really sick people that had no hair, puffy faces from chemo, scars and oxygen tanks.  All the battle wounds of disease.  But they also had something else.  Smiles, patience, dignity and resolve.  It was inspiring.  And a reminder to be thankful.  Thankful for the health of my little lovey's, for my health and most of all for the health of my Man.  Things could be much worse.  Much, much worse.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Spending time with my man is definitely a priority

Tomorrow we go to MD Anderson for testing-talking-discussing-evaluating...  And more technical stuff I don't understand.  I'm likely setting myself up for failure, but I'm hoping that we have a clearer picture of how we should proceed with life after these appoinments.

The last couple of weeks have been tough around here.  Having a husband with a brain tumor in residency isn't the easiest thing at times.  He only gets 6 days off a month.  Brain tumor or no brain tumor.  So if he has to take 3 days off to go to Houston for testing, then he only has 3 days off this month.  We don't do well when he has such little time off.  Actually, I don't do well when he has such little time off and if I don't do well...

Yeah, we don't do well.

So I'm looking forward to spending some time with him.  The sisters are coming along too and I'm super thankful that my mama lives in H-town and will be able to watch them while we are at the hospital.  The boys are staying at their best friends house and are so looking forward to that.  They have no idea what is going on.  All they know is that they get to have a sleep over in the middle of the week.  Really, is there anything else more important to think about than that?!

Some days I really wish I was 6 again.

Because I have 1,000 things to think about.  This is the worst week for me to leave because it is the last week of school before Christmas break.  That's a busy week for room mom duty.  I'm trying to have everything ready for the big par-tay on Friday before I leave.  But because I took a nap this afternoon and am blogging now, it's not looking like that is going to happen.  I have priorities and sleep is at the top of the list.

Actually, eating is.  Then working out.  BUT, sleep is a close third.
Okay, my family is first.  But eating really is a close second.

Alrighty, I better get off of here and do something important.
Like eat some of the candy my grandma sent.  Chocolate covered peanut butter balls will give me the strength I need to deal with the afternoon!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Because I don't have enough to do...

I am looking at houses online.
In a different city.
Because it looks like we are moving.
But that's all I can say about that for another 6 days!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A post and a song that give me hope today

One of my favorite things, if not my favorite thing, about blogging is the ability to go back and look at life, pictures, thoughts, feelings and events.  I started blogging about 5 years ago, before the twins, when my Luke was just a year old.  I go through and read old post sometimes, but not nearly enough.  My favorite posts are the ones that I wrote while pregnant with the Twinkies.  There aren't many of them because I was so sick and could barely take care of my family much less find energy fo blogging.  I came across a good one this morning.  Here is the link in case you are interested in taking a walk down memory lane with me.  The words to that song are amazing, especially considering the circumstances they were witten in.

Currently I am loving this Christmas song, sung by one of my all time favorites!

Here are the lyrics:

who is this child,
asleep in a manger?
the heaven's are bright
the stable's so cold
on this holy night,
have you come to redeem us?
little child in the straw
little child in the straw

who is this babe?
prince of the universe
a donkey is braying
angels are singing
the prophets did say
you would come to redeem the world
little babe in the straw
save us all

and if we lose sight of your sweet face
at the birth of grace, at the birth of grace
light of truth shine like Bethlehem's star
lead us to where you are, show us who you are

merciful one
lover of every soul
the Father's own Son
yes, we believe,
you are able to heal us
Noel, noel,
save us all

Monday, December 06, 2010

He is able

Joseph had another MRI last week. It had been a couple of months since he had had one and he needs a recent one for his appointment at MD Anderson next week. I had prayed LOTS about the results.

And played out the results in my head.

I imagined that it would go something like this:

J: The results from the MRI are in…
Me: And….
J: It’s a miracle…. They don’t see anything. The doctors are completely mystified and called in every specialist they could think of to try to understand what happened and figure out where the tumor went. The only explanation they have is that this is a miracle from God!
Me: Praise God! Now everyone will know that God is powerful and answers prayers and miracles still happen!

Yep. That is how I played it out in my mind.
The reality looked more like this:

J: Got the MRI results back.
Me: And….
J: No change.
Me: Oh. (Starts to cry)
J: Hey, that’s good news. At least it isn’t growing.
Me: Yeah, I guess so.

God is able to heal.

God IS able to heal.

And that has been the prayer of my heart. I’ve asked quietly. Then a little louder. And then I cried out and begged. “Please, PLEASE heal my husband.”

His answer is no.
Or if you are an optimist his answer is “not right now”.

I’m not an optimist.

God is able to heal, but he won’t.
That is hard for me to type, much less say.

So this is where my faith is really tested. God says no. He knows the desire of my heart. And still says no.

Is it because he doesn’t love me?
Or because I don’t deserve it?
Is it because he doesn’t exist?
Or maybe it’s because he doesn’t care?
Why, Lord?
Do I need more faith?
Do I need to be a better person?
I asked. I prayed. Lots of people are praying.
Do you care?
Are you really there?
Do you really love me?
Do you really love me?

Yeah, this is where my faith is really in question.

Then my sweet little 6 year old Luke say this to me on the way to school this morning: “Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to heaven and that’s how God shows us His grace.”

He said that to me out of no where.
Because God wanted me to hear the most important truth that there is from the mouth of my 6 year old. Someone I tell “no” to all the time. Not because I don’t love him. Or because I don’t care. Or because he is bad.

BUT, because I love him.
And I care.
And I know more than him.

Hmmmm, does that sound familiar?

“Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to heaven and that’s how God shows us His grace.”

So if God never answers another one of my prayers, if he never chooses to heal my husband, isn’t the fact that he sent his son to die on the cross enough? Enough to show me that he cares. Enough to show me that it’s nothing I can do. Enough to show me he loves me.

I hope so.
Because that is what I am clinging to.

He is able to heal. And he will. If not here on this earth, then definitely in heaven.
Because he is powerful, still answers prayers and miracles are all around me.