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Today we had an appointment with Dr. Chen for the reading of my MRS (Magnetic Resonant Spectroscopy) . Although we did not hear what we wanted to, we still have hope! The scan showed what the doctor suspects to be a recurrence of the original tumor. We have an appointment with the neurosurgeon on Thursday and there are many options to discuss.

We share this so that all will pray. That is all we can do - pray to a BIG God who holds it all. You have walked with us through the last three and a half years. For that, we are forever grateful.

We will update as information becomes available. In the meantime, please pray and pray boldly. We love you all.

“I don't want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go”
 
Once again there is good news and amazing results to report. Susan had an MRI last week and the results are GREAT! So great that her doctor wants to go for 4 months between MRIs instead of 3 months, but Susan doesn't want to. There is NO evidence of any cancer activity and there IS shrinkage of tissue around where the tumor was.
 
Thank you, dear Jesus.
     In December we had the best MRI yet. Continued shrinkage, even the swelling around the area has gotten smaller. Which has contributed to more mobility and more feeling in my right side. I was released from physical therapy in December. I have continued to do work on my own. Hiking, walking and taking Barr classes. My walking has improved and I am able to do more with my right hand. In August I turned 50. Woo hoo!! This was a big goal for me.
     Drew and Drew,Mark and Lisa,Andy and I flew to Hawaii for a week. We spent our time hiking, snorkeling and exploring it was a wonderful trip. Although we missed Stephanie and Joey they couldn't join us because of school and work. Joey is getting his teaching credential. At San Marco's University Stephanie is working as a special ed teacher at Mount Carmel. We are very proud of both of them.
     In September Drew and I drove up to Portland to move her up there. She started a new job the following week. She is very happy there (to spite the rain and snow). We are happy for her but we miss her.
     I had been looking for a dog for six months. It didn't look like it was going to happen. So I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen until early 2017. But the week after we drop Drew off this sweet boy became available. We are in love with Brody. Needless to say we have been very busy training him. I think you all remember Lily the sweet pug that I loved so much at the radiation center? My goal is to train Brody so we can go in and be of comfort to other patients. Maybe even take him to Children's Hospital. 
     Today Brody is taking his first trip on an airplane. He gets to see Kyle and Captain Diane. We will also visIt Dan and Terri (Drews parents). We will see Drews basketball games and one of Dan's games. We continue to praise God for his Loving mercy.
I'm still really uncomfortable about the attention that I feel this brings. I have to remember it's not me I'm writing for. God has been involved from the minute we started this. He has never left us. When one of us falls the other picks us up, this happens because we know our Lord Jesus and he wants us to be saved. It has been a hard week. I had an adverse reaction to medication which has caused me to have several seizures. All the doctors reassured me it is likely a medication reaction. But I scheduled an MRI with their approval. Until that time I cling to God's word that "he will never leave or forsake me." I am forever grateful that you are walking with me. I'm thankful that we have a loving God who is ever present. He wants to walk with us teach us.

It's March 22 now and I had the MRI yesterday with a reading appointment today with Dr. Chen. There was a noticeable change from the scan in December. He has ordered an MRS (more specialized scan) to get a closer look. I will see Dr. Chen again on Tuesday to discuss the findings.

Again, thank you so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray for God's protection and perfect provision.
Today we met with Dr "Faith" Barnett, yes that is her real name, the neurosurgeon. After consulting with Dr. Peter Chen we have all come to an agreement to fight as hard and as aggressively as possible. So surgery has been scheduled for April 5th at 7am. While we appreciate your continued prayers for healing, please make a special effort to pray for Dr Barnett's mind and hands to do God's will at 7 am next Wednesday.

It is amazing to see how strong our girls have become, so often we look at our children through the eyes and memories of them as little girls. They are so different and yet similar, they are such a comfort to both Andy and I as we face this as a family. Please continue praying for strength for us all.

We saw this sign in the lab today,

Andy Millsom
I read a little prayer in my Jesus Always journal this evening and want to share it with you to pray for our dear Susan.
"Your times are in my hands.  My holy hands are absolutely capable of caring for you and meeting your needs."
So, if you feel led, please place Susan's name in this prayer...
"Susan's times are in His hands.  His holy hands are absolutely capable of caring for Susan and meeting her needs."
The verse on the page with this prayer was Psalm 62:8
"Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour our your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Dear God, You are a refuge for Susan.  We place her in Your holy and almighty hands. In Your powerful name we pray, Jesus.  Amen.
God bless all of you as you pray for Susan and her family.     -Diane Moss

Mom is out of surgery! She is in great spirits and speaking clearly and coherently. Dr. Barnett removed a healthy portion of the tumor, mostly from the exterior portion of the brain to avoid affecting the interior section (speech and motor movement). Mom's body handled radiation and chemo very well last round, so we are praying that this round of treatment will zap the deeper cells like before.
 
We are so overwhelmingly grateful for the amazing amount of prayer and support from all of you.

Thank you, Jesus and to God be the glory!

- Stephanie Alarcon
As I sit here day 1 after surgery, I am amazed at how good I feel. The peace of God has continued to be with us through this whole process. Thank you all for coming on this journey with us and believing that God is alive! I am blessed with an incredible family and we have definitely grown through this to be dependent on God.

Love you all and thank you for your many prayers. 

Susan
She has been pure JOY - at peace, calm, strong and ready for the days ahead. It is difficult to put this into words. There are SO many ways (big and little) we got to see God at work these past few days. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. All glory to Him. 
For the past week and a half I have felt amazing! I thought I was feeling good two months ago, but my dexterity, thinking and walking feels even better than before surgery. Now that Dr. Barnett has "debulked" my tumor, I feel incredible. I have not had one shake/tremor since before surgery. I am so grateful and ready to move forward with next steps of treatment.

We are in agreement to start radiation as soon as possible, they are telling us to start 3-4 weeks after surgery to let my head heal from the surgery. Then start radiation and chemo together. Radiation is 5 days a week for 6 weeks and the chemo will be everyday for the same 6 weeks. I am not looking forward to the setbacks, but I am thankful for the team God has gathered around me - my doctors, family and all my friends praying for me and volunteering to help.

This has been such a different experience from our first time around. From the doctors to the treatment to our emotions. We know God is here and walking every step of the way with us. Our family and our community has grown in our trust that God continues to give us peace through all circumstances. Please continue to pray for my body to respond to the chemo and radiation without too many side effects. It has been difficult to think about what is coming, but I know that I just need to be still. We are humbled by your prayers and support.

Check out the lyrics to the song "Still" by Hillary Scott.
 
Click here
 
Thankful for the Easter Brody!
Today we are moving forward. I went in this morning for a CT scan and the making of my mask. Tomorrow night I will have an MRI. If all goes according to plan I will start treatment some time next week. We had dinner with friends last night and I was talking about how different it is this time. I don't think I could quite explain it last night but this morning I am very clear. About why it is so different. Last time we were in the muck. We i.e. I was so fearful. We had to continue to put one foot in front of the other. As I say this, I can feel the drudgery that we were going through. I don't feel that way this time. As a family and as a community we are stronger in our faith. We asked you all to pray for us when we couldn't. This is what the body of Christ looks like. When we come alongside each other.
 
I never feel alone. I constantly feel the presence of God. It is nothing like I've felt before. I have peace and joy that can only come from Him. I've tried to explain this before. Words cannot express, the air feels clear the colors around me are brighter. I definitely feel the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Sure I have moments of fear. Only when I take my eyes off of Him and focus on the muck.(keep your eyes up)
 
 
My prayer for today:
Heavenly father that we would come before you and see your face and not the muck of our surroundings but focus on you alone. Father I ask you today that people would know you like I know you and put their trust in you. Amen
I guess it's true what they say, "no news is good news". Sorry for the lapse in updates! We are beyond thankful that Mom has been rocking the first three weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. Her body/brain is built for this!

Drew and I wanted to give a few shout-outs:
 
+ Momma, you are handling everything with continued strength, grace and determination. Your willingness to fight and do it so positively is such a gift to us. You continue to lean into Jesus and the truth of His promises.
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:16


+ Dad, you're the real MVP! We are so encouraged and comforted by the way you care for, cook for, and love on Mom. Your keto creations have been on point!
 
+ The team of drivers taking Mom to radiation each weekday, THANK YOU! We are blessed by you, but also jealous that you get to spend time driving down the coast with her to her "spa treatment" ;) You are an encouragement to her and we know that feeling is mutual.
 
+ Prayer Warriors, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. When there is a call to pray away discouragement, sadness, or frustration, we feel lifted up and protected in prayer. When there is a call to praise and celebrate, you are right there with us...praising God for the work He is doing. Thank you for praying without ceasing.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."     Philippians 4:6-7
 
+ Her doctors! We feel truly blessed with a team that fights for Mom.

Please continue bold prayers for complete healing, soaring confidence in being made in God's image and His provision over her life through the ups and downs of treatment.

Did I mention how thankful we are? :)
Love, Steph and Drew
2017
Continue Reading Susan's Journey
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If you didn't read the previous post that would be your best place to start. I was surprised by the post. Not what the girls wrote, but that they did it. Well not really surprised because they are so very precious. Why wouldn't I fight as hard as I can for my family?

When this came up again we talked to all the doctors about the options, we came up with a plan. We decided as a family we are going to move forward and fight as hard as we can. Wednesday June 7 was my last radiation treatment and my last day of 37 days of a chemo pill. I can't believe how fast it has gone by and that the effects have been very minimal. Although I lost so much hair this time. That would be the least of my concerns. ;) which doesn't really matter because for my next treatment I will be shaving my whole head every three days. If you would like more information, go to: https://www.optune.com  I'm taking this one step at a time. We will do it with the confidence and trust…well, most of the time. I could use prayer for this, please.

In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name.
Psalm 33:21 

Like the girls said, Andy has been incredible. I'm so grateful for the time that we spend together. Continued prayer would be that he would trust and have peace without fear.

Thank you all for your prayers your love and support for me and our family. We feel it and we appreciate it. We can't say that enough.

There are many praise reports. Drew and Drew are engaged! Andy and I were able to go celebrate in Portland with Drew’s parents :) Another high note is that I get to work with Chelsea again. I've missed her so much. I'm so very grateful for her.

With all my love,
Susan
June 2017