Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rachel moves on...

Rachel passed onto our Heavenly Father yesterday afternoon at home. She was comfortable and surrounded by friends and family. She suffered with illness for 2 years, one with nausea with Eva during her pregnancy, and about 9 months with the cancer treatment. She is now home with Jesus and without pain or suffering.

Thank you for all your prayers over the past nine months. Please continue to pray. More updates to follow.

I will be posting updates to her blog.

- Matt, Husband

Friday, December 31, 2010

New news

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I went to get treatment yesterday with Michael and Gina. For those who don't know, Gina is my dear cousin who I grew up with. She was maid of honor in my wedding. She has a very kind heart, especially toward children and those with special needs. She loves Jesus with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. She is also one of the funniest people I know. She is very very dear to me.

Anyway, Michael and I spent the time on the way there explaining to Gina how we pray during treatment, speak to the chemo and take authority over all of it so that she could stand in agreement with us, and not think we were nuts. :) I just know that 9 months ago, I would not have understood where I was coming from in doing so, so I thought we owed her an explanation. We were just never accustomed to praying that way.

Anyway, I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner prior to treatment. She said that one of my liver enzymes (bilirubin) was slightly elevated. Dr. Ritch came in to talk to me about it, and decided to change up the plan. At this point, he doesn't know why the levels are elevated, but he doesn't want to give me any more of the current treatment until he knows if it's working or not. So I did not receive treatment yesterday. Monday, I have a CT scan scheduled at 8 a.m., and a follow up appointment with Dr. Ritch at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the scan. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). I won't lie and say I'm not frustrated, but I refuse to be fearful. To me, it doesn't even matter what the scan says. I keep standing on the Word of God, which says I am healed. Therefore, I am healed.

Some things to pray for:
Physical manifestation of healing, including:
-normal bilirubin levels
-no pain
-no tumors
-normal appetite
-no nausea

Thank you all!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Still here!

I'm still here!
(this is what Eva says)

(which is much of the reason I don't get on here to write often)

I also hosted 22 people for Thanksgiving on the Saturday, which kept me quite busy. I am so grateful that I felt incredibly well the week leading up to Thanksgiving. I was able to cook food (though I didn't make the turkey...Aunt Cheryl did that) and was able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving Thursday at my in-laws, go Black Friday shopping with Matt, my cousins and brother followed by a Sprecher Brewery tour (as is tradition), and then have everyone over on Saturday. What a wonderful opportunity to host in our new house. Hosting is one of my greatest passions, and it was amazing to be able to do it!!

I did have a rougher week after that, with symptoms really trying to come against me. But I continue to stand my ground, knowing that my healing has been taken care of by our Lord. He gives me every bit of strength I need. When I find myself starting to worry about "How will I get through the next day?" I remember that it is not a day by day fight, but it is moment by moment, with God taking care of me through every bit of it (many times through putting other people in my life to help and sometimes by just giving me a boost of strength).

Last week, I got a call from Dena, my dietitian at Froedtert. She said she had entered me in an "inspiring families" photo contest with Proud to Introduce photography (proudtointroduce.com) in Wauwatosa, and *gasp* I'd won a full family photo session!!! Saturday Matt, Eva and I went to get our pictures taken and they were ready for us by Sunday night. What a huge blessing!!! Meeting the photographer, Allie, was amazing. She was so wonderful with us and with Eva. We got over 80 pictures and they are each so beautiful! Thank you thank you thank you Dena and Allie!!! It's just to crazy to think that I would by nominated and win something like this. I am still just overwhelmed. Here is one of the pictures that was taken.

I've started going to a charismatic Catholic prayer meeting; last week with my mother-in-law, and then last night with Matt and my friend Joanne. I really enjoy it, and plan to continue going. It is an amazing group of kind people whose lives have truly been touched by the Holy Spirit.

Well, it is time for us to go decorate our Christmas tree. If I don't get pictures up on here, I'll get them up on Facebook. I tend to be slightly better about updating Facebook than I am about this blog. SO, if we're not Facebook friends and you'd like to add me, feel free! As long as you don't look like a creeper, I'll add ya. :)

Enjoy this amazing Advent season as we look forward to celebrating the coming of our Lord to earth as a baby. Thank you God for sending Jesus to us in the most humble of ways. I pray that I can make this season very memorable and meaningful for our family.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Just saw Dr. Ritch. My blood counts are all almost normal!! We decided I'll have treatment this Friday, which will get me on track to be able to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks!! And Dr. Ritch also said I could skip New Years!!! This is such great news because I will be able to enjoy the holidays. And who knows, maybe I won't even need treatment that much longer. I continue to be full of hope. Praise and thanks be to our God!


I do wish I had more time to update you all. It's not that I have any big news to share, but there are so many little things and "small" blessings each and every day and I would love to be able to share, but here it is, 12:15pm, and I sit here typing while in my PJs because, well, Eva needed to eat and be bathed and be played with, and then she needed to eat again, and now that she's down for a nap and I have cleaned the kitchen, straightened up a little, made the bed, put laundry away...I just felt like sitting and writing for a while rather than showering. Anyway, this entry will probably be short because I do need to shower. Going to my doctor appointment this afternoon in my pajamas just isn't an option for me. I have definitely lost some dignity...first through pregnancy, and now with all the tests and treatment. And I'm not nearly the perfectionist I once was (praise God for that!) but still, I'm not at a point where I can go in public in my PJs. :)

I am still feeling great! Last week Thursday I went in for treatment and was told that my blood counts were too low to receive it. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad, but I was definitely frustrated. When your body isn't behaving how it's supposed to, and you're told by multiple nurses that there's nothing you can do about it, it's a frustrating experience. Low blood counts are a direct result of all the chemo I've received, but I refused to believe there's "nothing I can do about it." I was given the option to receive a blood transfusion, which I discussed with an amazing nurse practitioner named Denise. I decided to decline it, and come back in 2 days to check my levels. For those next two days, Matt and I spoke to my blood and bone marrow, commanding it to restore itself in Jesus' name. (have I ever shared with you that there is scientific proof that our speech center controls the rest of our body? So speaking words like this are useful. Then add the authority graciously given to us through Jesus and His atonement, and these words carry much power.) I went back in Saturday for a blood test, and all my levels (red cells, white cells and platelets) had increased to levels where I did not need a transfusion. Praise God!!!

Today I go in to see Dr. Ritch and reevaluate the treatment schedule.

I wanted to mention something encouraging about the pain I was having. When I was on the chemo that was essentially not working, the pain would return 4-5 days after treatment and get progressively worse until the next treatment when the steroids would take it away for 4-5 days. Well, it's been 2 weeks since my last treatment, and I am still pain free. This is a huge blessing!!! Also, Denise the NP said that my liver function is improving and another number they look at as a tumor marker is down. She was excited about this, so I am very grateful for that as well.

Yesterday I was blessed with Pastor Hanthorn of Christian Life Center in Germantown and a visiting missionary coming over to pray for me. Michael (my brother) was here too. The missionary has seen many people healed (of cancer and many other diseases) and he said that when he was on the way over God was telling him that I would not die, but live. I told him that I absolutely believe this. It was wonderful to have confirmation of what I believe. God is good!!

Psalm 118:17 I will not die but live and proclaim the works of the LORD.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Since the last medical news I posted was about a "bad" CT scan, you all may think I'm a little nuts to say that I'm healed. But God continues to reveal things to me, and for that I am very grateful. I'll just begin to share some things that have happened, and see where this blog post goes...

On 10/10, I went to church by myself. (Matt stayed home with Eva because Metro Harvest only has one service which falls right during her morning nap.) I was in so much pain, and it was noticeable to those around me. After the service, a woman sitting in front of me asked if I'd ever met Bonnie, and I said no. She said Bonnie has a gift for healing backs, and wondered if I wanted her to pray for me. I said of course. Then, obviously, when Bonnie asked what was going on with my back, I told her everything. She and a woman named Anita prayed for me. Some amazing things happened during their prayers. I don't give a whole lot of credence to my emotions since I know it's easy to be deceived by how I feel, but I am confident that something powerful happened when they prayed. After a while of their praying, I felt waves of peace and health come over me, and when I stood up, I had no pain. None. I felt whole and healthier than I have in a very long time. When I got home, I ran into the house in amazing excitement, and told everyone who would listen (family was visiting) that I'd been healed.

Now, fast forward 5 hours. The pain came back and I felt awful. Just days later, I got the CT scan. When I went for chemo the Thursday after, I was so sick. But, here's what I can tell you about that. I cling to Ephesians 6:12. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

There is truly a spiritual battle going on here, and I believe that on that day, we gained much ground. And for those 5 beautiful hours, I was free of sickness.

I'm now two weeks into the new chemo. The first week was a little rough because I was sick and weak going into it. Previous to starting the new treatment, I hadn't eaten much in days. It took me 45 minutes to choke down a piece of toast the day before. I was in terrible pain, and hadn't slept much in days because of it. Also, the sleep I had gotten was done while sitting cross-legged in bed with two pillows on my lap and then laying my head on the pillows. NOT a good thing for one's back. So on top of the other pain, I was having back spasms. (Please understand that I'm not trying to complain, but only going into detail for the sake of comparison. It gets better, I promise). So week 1 of the new stuff was okay, but not great. Week 2, however, has been a comparative breeze! I am completely pain free (and have been since about 2 days after the 1st treatment), and my nausea is controlled. In fact, today I didn't even take anything for it. I just realized that! I have taken only 1 nap, about 1 hour long, since my last treatment almost a week ago. I have gone jogging twice, and have been doing push-ups and sit-ups. Today, I was gone from home from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I feel only as fatigued as any mom of an incredibly active 9 month old would feel. :) I am so excited that I am experiencing life more abundantly, as Jesus promised. I am so thankful to Him for his GOODNESS!

I continue to confess the Scriptures daily. I continue to speak only positive words over my body. I have begun to understand (if even a tiny tiny bit) about faith, and what it means to talk about being healed even when scans show otherwise. (I have struggled with this concept as I am a logical woman and sometimes faith defies logic). I am well and healthy, and soon this battle will be won.

Psalm 91:14-16: The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Much to Say

Our house has been one full of prayer this last week. One thing I've learned to do (and science backs this up as legit, as do many verses in the Bible) is speaking out loud directly to the cancer, the pain, and the abnormalities in my body. I go through many declarations, reading them out loud each day from a booklet written by Charles Capp called "God's Creative Power for Healing" and also reading the Bible verses that go along with them. I also read out loud the Bible verses about strength from my friend Roger that I've mentioned before. I have prayers that I pray over myself and my family (originally prayers that Paul prayed to the Colossians and Ephesians) that pertain to knowing God more and understanding His POWER that is at work within us. I've never prayed written prayers, or prayed prayers directly from the Bible before, but reading verses again and again out loud really helps them get into my heart. It's not just a rote exercise so I can say "I did it." It is permeating my very soul and changing me from the inside out. Recently, my mom heard a story of a woman who was miraculously healed from a brain infection. The doctors said every day she would die, or live a life in a vegetative state. This woman's husband prayed a prayer over her every day as he rejected all the negative reports of the doctor. Not only did she live, she was restored to full health. We have that prayer printed with all the scriptural backup, and Matt prays it over me every night, and my mom and mother-in-law have also prayed it over me. Then of course, there are the countless others (YOU) who have been lifting me up in prayer. I don't say this to brag about all the praying we've been doing, because there is no pride in this. There is simple dependence on the power that I believe is at work in my body, even when the results aren't there before my eyes just yet.

I had my CT scan on Wednesday, and can I just say I'm so thankful for Froedtert Hospital. They are so kind, and so much less invasive with their scans than other places I've had them. They don't make me undress, or drink barium (which makes me so sick...YUCK!), and they don't make me wait for 3 hours. It was so seemless. Thank you, Candy and all the other people who blessed my life on Wednesday.

Yesterday I saw Dr. Ritch. He and his staff addressed my issues with pain and nausea that I've been having. One of my main concerns was that I haven't been able to eat much of anything for the past week, and when I would eat I would just throw up. I was even throwing up plain water. And obviously I've been losing weight. I'd been trying Boost shakes, but the nutritionist Dena suggested shakes called ScandiShakes which have double the calories of Boost. So with one of those shakes plus a Boost I can get all the calories I need for a day, and then add food as I can.

They addressed my pain as best they could, but when morphine and Vicodin and Oxycodone are barely taking the edge off, it's pretty frustrating. They keep assuring me there is more we can try, but then I've heard that before with the anti-nausea meds, and I'm kind of at the end of those possibilities with Lorazepam (Ativan) as the one that works but it makes me SO tired. The side effects are a big issue when you have a VERY active 8 month old to take care of. I mean, I have a lot of help with her much of the time but I don't have (nor do I want) someone here 24/7 to care for me and for her. I'm not THAT sick. But for anyone who has had chronic pain (and I know at least some of you have) you understand how wearing it is.

Then of course, the results of the CT scan. Bottom line is that the new chemo is not working, so we switched it up again. The doctor is hopeful about this new combination, and neither of the drugs are associated with nausea and vomiting. I woke up this morning hungry and thirsty, so I had yogurt and water. And so far, so good. The "bad" things with this new chemo are that I have to go every week for 3 weeks, then off for 1 week, on 3, off 1. This is just logistically bad with getting help with Eva. The other bad news is that there's a possibility that my G.I. Jane hair could fall out.

But there is much good associated with the new regimen. So far, I feel VERY good for it being the day after chemo. I have big goals for today including showering, making the bed, going to the new Woodman's, and maybe hitting up a rummage sale or two if I find some good ones.

And now, the most exciting short term news...at least it's exciting for someone who's been in terrible pain for the last week and a half. Every time I get chemo, they give me steroids. The steroids completely annihilate my pain for up to 2 weeks. I've been told by a nurse practitioner that the steroids couldn't be what's doing this for that long, but no one can give me any other ideas as to why I go from terrible pain that keeps me awake at night, which morphine just takes the edge off, but by the time I leave the hospital after chemo, the pain is GONE completely, and when it does come back anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen knocks it out better than the "hard core" drugs (but I'm limited to how much of these I can take for other reasons). Anyway, to me it seems like an inflammation issue since anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, steroids) help. But anyway, I'm getting off track. I'm excited because now I'll get the steroids every week, so this should really keep the pain at bay until the mighty power of Prayers of Faith begin to manifest in my body and shrink the tumors to nothing so there is nothing else inflamed and I can get on with my life, serving the Lord my God with 100% of me, instead of just what's left when I can get off the couch/out of bed.

Anyway, God's presence was so strongly with me and my mom yesterday when the doctor gave us the news that the scans showed progression of some of the tumors. I just kept repeating part of the prayer that Matt's been praying over me. "I do not judge by the sight of my eyes, but by the Word of God." And also Hebrews 11:1 (which is on the wall in Eva's room on a beautiful cross...a gift from Grandma Jeanette for her baptism) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." I had no fear, but complete peace as I spoke with the doctor.

Then, I asked the doctor if he's ever seen anyone supernaturally healed. I could tell he probably wasn't comfortable with my terminology, but he did tell me he has seen things throughout his career that he couldn't explain. People "responding to treatment" in amazing ways. He said he saw a lot of it in lung cancer and breast cancer in his past, but since he's been in GI cancers, he shared 3 stories with me of people who amazingly overcame cancer that they shouldn't have made it through. One lady didn't even get treatment. The other two had treatment that completely took care of their cancer and it has never returned. I told him I was trusting God for that. I will be his next "unexplainable."

Well, I had better go attend to my goals for today, such as showering. :) Jeanette is here with me today, and she's getting Eva dressed at the moment. Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your prayers. We continue to stand on the WORD OF GOD as truth, and truly, nothing else matters. God's Word CANNOT lie.

One more thing I wanted to share...a word from my brother after we prayed fervently for my back pain the other night. It made me cry because of the beautiful picture it portrayed. He said, "You know, when Jesus was on the cross 2000 years ago, he saw your face. He did that for you. I know he saw everyone's face, but I think each one was just as personal as the next." So as he saw my face and knew that he was dying to save me from cancer in my mortal life and from my sins for all eternity, he was doing the same for you, as he saw your face as well.

Thank you all for your uplifting words, letters, cards, etc. If you are ever able and willing to help during the days watching Eva, check the Lotsa Helping Hands website for available dates. https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/626581/login/
I'm not sure yet how much help I'll need with this new chemo, but I'll keep that website updated as it becomes clear how much I'm able to do myself and how much assistance I need.

Love to you all!