Friday, January 27, 2012

Update on how Jerry is doing...

I haven't posted anything personal for awhile, so I thought I would let all of you know how Jerry is doing on a day to day basis.  For the most part, he is doing REALLY well.  He is tired, don't know if that is from old age or his tumor :), but it could very well be because his body is working overtime trying to control this crazy group of unwanted cells!!  Every once in a while, Jerry will complain of a headache or a neck ache.  I try not to express my fear, but when I took him to the hospital, it was from a severe head and neck ache combined with a high fever.  Just last night, he wasn't feeling well and went up to bed about 10 minutes before I did.  While he was up there, I heard a big "thump" on the floor, my heart sank.  Come to find out, he was putting the laundry basket on the floor that I had forgotten about and left on our bed.  WHEW..... When I came to bed I told him what I had thought, and he told me that I should probably do some reading on Grand Mal Seizures.  You see, I like to deal with this with complete denial most of the time.  I don't really want to think about the things that "could" and very well "may" happen.  I just want to imagine us 20-30 years down the road....together!! 

Jerry is being very optimistic right now.  He is scared, but positive.  We have an appointment on February 10th with Dr. Burzynski for an office consultation.  They have his MRI scans and are getting what they need from the hospital prior to our appointment.  Jerry is convinced that after meeting with Dr. Burzynski he will have more clarity regarding the direction he should go down regarding treatment.  He is hoping that after discussing things with Dr. Burzynski, he will either feel confident that the amount of money the Dr is asking for is what is needed for the treatment necessary, or he will decide to come home and deal with this the more traditional way with Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  He has been watching a lot of video's on line from Matt Chandler, a preacher who has fought a brain tumor, and is still fighting....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sct5ZEt0ps4
Watching these videos has brought Jerry some peace and contentment and also helped him to give this all to Jesus. 

Jerry and I are involved with a small group on Wednesday evenings.  They have prayed over him a few different times now, along with our church family and also another minister.  Every time, Jerry feels so much peace.  I believe he is starting to become more content with what "God's plan" is instead of his own.

***
Several of our dear friends from the church Jerry and I had previously attended put on a benefit for Jerry this past Saturday.  Let me say, this was an extremely successfull event.  Not only did it give us a tremendous amount of financial support, more importantly, we have heard of so many different people that were touched that evening by the Holy Spirit.  PRAISE GOD!  This is what Jerry has wanted from the very beginning of this.  He has stated to me several times that he believes God has a purpose in all of this, a purpose to help people see the grace, peace, mercy and so much more that our heavenly father has to offer each and every one of us!!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who put so much time and effort into this benefit.  You will never know how much it meant to both Jerry and myself!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Education or Medication?

Jerry and I have become obsessed with finding out what is healthy for our bodies.  Some people just have this natural tendency to do this, but for us, it took a crisis.  We are learning so much about nutrition, vitamins, the food we should eat, and the food we shouldn't eat.  We are learning that there are so many things that we can do for ourselves to help prevent cancer from even having the ability to create itself in our bodies.  I watched a video on line the other day of a woman who had a hamburger from a fast food restaurant that was 4 years old.  The hamburger was still intact with no mold on it.  The french fry that came with that hamburger was still yellow in color and also had no mold on it.  I'm to the point that I don't even consider fast food, "food" at all.  What is it that we are poisoning our bodies with?  One of the documentary's that we recently watched is called:  FOODMATTERS
http://www.foodmatters.tv/
I would strongly encourage you to view this documentary.  In a collection of interviews with leading Nutritionists, Naturopaths, Scientists, M.D.'s and Medical Journalists you will discover scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

Another documentary we recently viewed was called Food, Inc.
http://www.foodincmovie.com/
Food, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights.
It was extremely informative in regards to where our industry's "meat" is coming from.  We don't seem to raise our chickens, pigs, or cattle on a pasture anymore....to meet the high demands that our country has, especially from fast food chains, has caused our "meat" to be raised in "Factory's".  It is extremely inhumane and disgusting to treat a living creature this way.  There is a lot of toxins that are entering our body through what we think is "good" when we are eating vegetables as well.  I am thankful to be educating myself in this area.  I hope to teach my kids a few things about health and nutrition through all of this and I hope they do not have to have a crisis in their life to realize that a change needs to be made for them as well.

Life is fragile, and if we mistreat our bodies, we will definitely have shorter lives!  We are hoping that making changes in Jerry's nutritional health now, can make a change for his current and future health.  We are not saying that Dr's are not good hearted, well meaning people, but from what we have discovered...unless you are going to school for nutrition itself, Dr's are not educated on nutrition.  It seems like a no-brainer to me.  What we are putting in our bodies is so important and critical in regards to our health.

When Jerry had his appointment at Henry Ford Hospital with the top Neurosurgeon there, and also the Vice President of the hospital, we asked about nutrition.  We asked him how important he thought it was for Jerry to stay away from sugar (which is known and proven to feed cancer), or to eat a specific "diet" for someone who is fighting cancer.  The Dr's answer went something like this:  Well, it is important for all of us to eat healthy and to exercise, but there isn't anything you can do nutritionally to help yourself with what you already have. 

On February 10, Jerry has an appointment with Dr. Burzynski in Texas, and we were already told that he will be seeing a dietician as part of their treatment plan.

We are trying to do our homework.  If anyone out there has information that you think we would be interested in, please let me know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GOD, Are you out there?

Have you ever had this thought?  I have, way too many times.  Personally, I don't believe God gets angry at us for questioning things, that means we aren't stagnant in our faith.  We are striving to understand, striving to know more so that we can do more.  I have never questioned God's existence, but I have wondered why he lets things happen to people.  I prayed for years for things that I still haven't seen answers for, or have I?  That is the real question.  I believe God is answering our prayers all around us and we just don't know it.  Have you ever had an experience in your life where at the time, you could not see his handy work, but when you looked back....you could see just what he was doing?  Well, I guess I'm there right now.  I cannot see his handy work in my husband having a brain tumor.  If he is the "All Powerful God"  the "Great Physician", why isn't he fixing my husband?  I'm reminded of this scripture:

Hebrews 11:6
New Living Translation (NLT)
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
 
I'm reminded that "Faith" is what we need to strive for.  Our Faith is being tested, but again, I lean on scripture:
 
James 1:3
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
 
God has given us a library to use when we don't understand the circumstances in our lives.  That Library is called "The Bible".  Sixty Six different books with different stories, different messages from God, direction, instruction and so much more.  I often rely on other things to sustain my beliefs, but the reality is that the Bible is all I really need to lean on.  I have been indulging in the Bible more lately.  Trying to find answers that will satisfy me.  Trying to understand God's purpose in all of this.  I am left with more questions than answers in the end.  I'm left wanting to know more, wanting to seek him more, wanting to trust him more.
 
 
 

Friday, January 13, 2012

*FUNDRAISER* Hartland/Fenton Area!

When:    Saturday January 21

Where:  Heritage Hills Free Methodist Church   5530 Runyan Lk Rd Fenton

Time:    6pm

There will be several different bands coming to play country/gospel/bluegrass.  Jerry is in one of the bands that will be playing called Crossfire.

There will be a bake sale and I believe a silent auction as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thankful for friends

Today I am really being reminded of how important it is to have family and friends in our lives.  Over the last month, Jerry and I have been overwhelmed with generosity from many people, several that we don't even know.  We are so thankful for our friends and our family and even our community!  In December I was sent a message by a stranger who is in the same group as me on facebook called "Hartland Moms"  She told me that they were making up t-shirts, and giving the proceeds to my family for Jerry's medical expenses.  WOW, I thought to myself....you don't know me, or my husband and if you did....well, you might not want to do all this for us.  Yes, I actually thought that!  We don't deserve this, but in the same token, we do need it.  Swallowing your pride can be very difficult at times, but in these circumstances, it is a small price to pay.   We were then approached by two of my daughters schools saying they wanted to have a fundraiser for us.  Again, we were left feeling speechless and extremely humbled.  Jerry's (and my) daughter in law made up some prints with a quote on it that Jerry had once said to me, and she too offered us the proceeds from this project sale.  Here is the link if you are interested:   http://endephoto.tumblr.com/post/13635912510/for-jerry
I have been guided by complete strangers to different charity organizations that may be willing to help, and have even been offered a photography session for FREE from someone who works with different charity organizations.
We have received various letters in the mail over the last 6 months or so, letters of encouragement, prayer and even financial contributions.  For ALL of this, we are thankful!  We have most recently been encouraged by a good friend who is organizing a fundraiser at his church, Heritage Hills Free Methodist Church in Fenton.  I don't have all the details, but I do know that he has several different bands lined up to play music, Jerry is in one of those bands.  Jerry and I also plan to do a couple of songs at the end of the fundraiser as a way of saying "Thank You".  This fundraiser is on January 21 from 6-9 pm with a bakesale included.
Anyway, to all of our friends who have encouraged Jerry and continue to let God's love shine through you in your acts of love and kindness, we appreciate you.  God does his work through ordinary people, we often want to invision God's work being done by "special powers" or people of certain training...but it isn't true, he uses us, each and every one of us.   Jerry and I have seen his work being done in our lives, we pray that we are able to give in the same way.  We just need to listen and be obedient to his calling.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crying

We all cry, right?  Well, over the last...I'd say 5 years....I've done a lot of that!  Going through a divorce, dealing with decisions I made, getting married, having a baby...then of course, finding out my husband has a brain tumor.  People cry, but I CRY!!  If you know me at all, you know that I am like an emotional waterfall....when I'm happy, sad, scared, mad...it all comes out in tears.  There have been times that I felt guilty for crying, but then I remember that God made me just the way that I am suppose to be.   Did you know that it is a proven fact that crying reduces emotional stress, lowers your blood pressure, it removes toxens from your body that come out through your tears during emotional stress, it reduces the body’s manganese level, a mineral which affects mood and is found in up to 30 times greater concentration in tears than in blood serum, and it is also proof that you are human!

Anyway, I just had to write that because I thought it was pretty neat myself...

A friend of mine introduced Jerry and I to a book called "Knockout", by Suzanne Somers. I would highly recommend you read this book.  It is a book about Dr's who are curing cancer, and also ways to be proactive in preventing yourself from getting cancer.   
http://www.suzannesomers.com/Knockout/
This book has been very informative for us.  The reason we started reading the book was because Dr. Burzynski was interviewed for her book and we wanted to read about that, but the book has had so much more information regarding health.  There is even a Dr. in there that studies crying and talks about the positive health benefits to crying. 

I want to write more, but my son is pulling on my arms...he doesn't want me to be on the computer any longer.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I can't wait till this feeling passes....

When Jerry and I found out that he had a brain tumor, it was tough.  I would not let it show around him much, but as soon as I would get into the car and I was alone.....the tears would start shedding.  I'm a pretty emotional person already, so this is tough for me.  I try not to let my emotions show in front of my children either....I want them to not be afraid.  They are pretty oblivious.  My daughters "know" that he has a brain tumor, but I don't think they understand what it all means.  I think kids have a hard time seeing into the future with things like this.  Sometimes I wish I had a harder time.  I wish I could just live, and enjoy my family.  The feelings that both Jerry and I are having right now are very similar to the feelings we had when we first found everything out.  I guess it is just going to be expected from this point further.  It's almost like we live in denial in-between Dr. visits, then when we go, we get a reminder of how serious this is, and this time, the reality that it could get worse has faced us head on! 
I decided I wanted to post some pictures of Jerry "living" since he found out he had the his brain tumor...


This is a picture of Jerry at the hospital, before his Biopsy was done.


This is a picture of Jerry, myself and my oldest daughter on July 1, 4 days after Jerry's biopsy surgery and Hailey's 13th birthday.  It worked out that Hailey was at Church Camp that week, so her birthday was not really affected by the surgery.  We sent her a gift with a friend and her dad sent her a cake, so she definitely felt the love that day!


 Ironically...as if we hadn't been through enough, our son was admitted into the hospital 6 days before his birthday July 10 with an intussusception, and became severely dehydrated and was there for 4 days.


This picture was taken at our sons 1st birthday party in July. 


These pictures did cheer me up a bit.....give me a day or so...and I will be posting more happy thoughts :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

So Confused!

Well, Jerry had an appointment this morning with a new Neurosurgeon and we didn't really like what he had to say, although we did feel confident in his professionalism and his experience.  He is waiting for a few tests to come back that they ran from the biopsy tissue slides, but he has a strong suspicion that they tumor has changed or is in the process of changing from a Grade II to a Grade III.  Basically his explanation to us (which has been different from every Dr) was that Grade I & Grade II Brain Tumors are considered Benign but can change.  Grade III & Grade IV are considered malignant and have to be treated more aggressively.   If malignant, that means that the cells are changing and spreading more rapidly than they were before.  It is to be believed that Jerry has had this brain tumor for approximately 10-15 years already. 

So, at our appointment, we decided to ask about Dr. Burzynski and what he thought about alternative treatment.  Well, I won't repeat the Dr, but he didn't have anything good to say.  It didn't really change our thoughts on getting a consultation at Dr. Burzynski's clinic, because we know that conventional Dr's don't like him and have been trying to throw him in prison for years.  In saying that, we did receive a call from Dr. Burzynski's clinic, they did receive all Jerry's information and they are proceeding with getting the medical records they need from his biopsy and MRI's.  We are still going to see what they have to say.

So, as I said in the opening, we are still so confused and unsure.  We do know though that we are not giving up the fight.  Jerry is a little depressed today, which seems to be the case whenever we come home from Dr. Apts.  It is like a true reminder of how serious this is and how his life could be cut shorter than he wants it to be.  I am trying to be his strength and trying to not let my own emotions get in the way.  

Send up a prayer tonight if you would.  A prayer not only for strength, peace of mind, and stronger faith, but also a prayer for us because we are going to have 2 extra 13 year olds and 2 extra 11 year olds in the house tonight....and they are all GIRLS...... DRAMA!!!!   HA HA Peace Out!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Information...

In August of 2011, we decided to get a second opinion regarding treatment.  The first Dr. we saw seemed uncertain as to what avenue we should take.  He consulted his "Brain Tumor Board" and half said surgery was a good option, and the other half said that just Chemotherapy and Radiation were a good option.  His advice to us was "I'm on the fence, I'm not sure what you should do".....????  Really?  I understand that Dr's have a difficult job and they don't always know what to do, so I guess I can appreciate his honesty, but we needed more clarity as to what direction to go into.  We had another apt with him 3 weeks later and he said that he was more certain now that surgery was a good option, and that chemo and radiation would be pointless.  Understand, that this is coming from a "Neurosurgeon", this is what he does.  We didn't feel confident.  So, now it is August 1, and we went to a new Dr.  A Neurologist.  He seemed confident and experienced.  His advise was the total opposite of the first Dr.  He said that surgery was way too risky and that chemotherapy and radiation would be a good option.  So we left this Dr with no more certainty with what to do than after the first. 

Jerry started reading a lot on diet at this point, and figured that maybe he could find some nutritional changes that he could make.  He started out by doing the Budwig Diet http://www.cancure.org/budwig_diet.htm , which consists of cottage cheese, flaxseed oil, & flaxseeds. He tried this diet for the next few months, and he doesn't even like cottage cheese.  I knew he was serious when I saw him doing this every day.  He also learned about the positive benefits of Apricot Kernels & Laetrile http://www.cancure.org/laetrile.htm so he eats a few of those every day now too. 

In the process of all this information, we learned about Dr. Burzynski, in Texas.  http://www.burzynskiclinic.com/  we even met a woman from our area who has been to Dr. Burzynski and has been cured of her cancer.  She told us a story about a family memeber of hers who also had a brain tumor and went to Dr. Burzynski and has been free of his tumor for over 10 years now.   

In December 2011, Jerry had another MRI and was very anxious to find out if there were any changes to the tumor with all the nutritional things that he had been doing.  We were devastated to find out that there was no change, and if there was any, it was that it had grown slightly.  As of today, Jerry has not done the Budwig diet anymore, but is still eating flaxseed with many of his foods, and he is still eating the apricot kernels. 

The last week of December, we sent all the paperwork to Dr. Burzynski's clinic and as of today, we are waiting to hear back from them.  We will be contacting them next week if we don't hear back.

My Mind.....it doesn't stop

June 19, 2011   I remember the day so clearly, my husband of 1 year & 8 months were sitting in the hospital room after my husband was admitted with Meningitis symptoms.  The Dr. came in to tell us that there is a "lesion" on his brain.  I didn't know what to think at first.  I wasn't sure how to react.  They said it could be an infection, or it could be a tumor.  We waited for the results of his first MRI, our emotions were running high, but I was trying to be strong for him.  Trying not to let my fear and pain show.  It was his tumor, not mine....I needed to be strong for him.  The results came in.  "It looks like a tumor" says the Neurologist.  They recommended that we go to a different hospital to have a biopsy done.  They performed a biopsy and the results were in;  Grade II Oligoastrocytoma.  When my husband wasn't looking, I cried, I was scared.

My husbands biopsy was done on June 28, 2011.  My oldest daughters 13th birthday.  It was suppose to be a day of celebrating her life, instead it was a day of fearing her step fathers, my husbands life.  In just a few short weeks, we were suppose to be celebrating our sons 1 year birthday, and a month after that, my youngest daughters 7th birthday....I wasn't sure how to approach all of this with the news we had received.

My husband and I were married in October 2009.  I had 3 daughters from my previous marriage, and he had 2 sons from his.  My girls are still in our home, ages 13, 11, & 7.  His sons are in their 20's, one is married, the other lives with his mother.  Eight months prior to our marriage, my husband lost his job of 27 years at General Motors.  He was "fired" for taking time off work due to his divorce months earlier.  It was a wrongful termination.  He was devastated.  GM was in the process of their Bankruptcy, bad timing for my husband I guess.  Thankfully he had years of experience working as an auto mechanic, a skill he learned from his own father working in the garage as a young boy.  He did what he had to do to survive, he was a hard worker, and at his age, getting a job somewhere was difficult, so he started his own Auto Repair business.  He became certified by the state, and was on his way to success.  With having his own business came many benefits, choosing his own hours, his own pay, doing what he wanted to do, working in his own way.  The dowside was....no health insurance.  We had insurance on our son, and my daughters were covered by their father, but he and I had no health insurance.  We had been researching, but putting off the cost, not seeing it's importance at the time.  As you can guess, we are struggling to pay our medical bills now.  Doing what we can, Dr's and hospital staff deserve to be paid for their services.

We came home from the hospital in dispair.  The first few weeks we were home, he cried, then I cried.  When one of us was strong, the other was weak.  "I don't want to loose my best friend", "I don't want my son to loose his father at such a young age".  My husband was scared, he was scared for his life, and he was scared for me, our son, his sons, and my daughters whom had grown to love him very much.  We were scared about money.  How are we going to pay for all of this....  Time went by, we figured out how to continue to live, how to make it through each day.  We have a marriage built on faith.  We believe in the Love and the truth of our Heavenly Father.  We don't understand how it all works, but we believe in him.  We believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in God, & we believe in the Holy Spirit.  We also believe that we have to take control of our own lives.  We can't sit back and wait for things to happen for us....we are on a journey.  My husbands survival of 7 years is not good enough for us....we are going to do something.  We are going to be proactive in his recovery.  We are researching, we are discovering.  This Blog is to inform you of the things we discover and the things we are doing.  We have time that some people don't have.  Some people are told they have only months to live.  We have been blessed with time, and we are going to try and use this time wisely. 

This is for you Jerry, I Love you with all my heart, with everything I am, and with every good thing you bring out of me.  I need you in my life.....we can do this, together, we can do this!