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January - June
2014
Susan, the Girls and I will never be able to thank you all enough for the support and prayers. They mean so much.
 
This past week we returned from visiting Drew’s basketball team in Los Angeles and the landscaping in our front yard had been cleaned up by angels, our pile of medical bills have been reconciled against our insurance coverage , dinners have been delivered for months, our home is cleaned weekly, the Friday morning prayer group, we could go on. These are not little blessings, they all help more than you know, and they help Susan get a better night’s sleep, extremely important. A HUGE THANK YOU from Susan.
Last Monday we spoke with Doree O’Connell a 7 plus year survivor of the same type tumor as Susan’s, this was such a hope filled message for us. Her course of care was almost identical to Susan’s and her enlightening message of survivorship was much needed.
 
Last Thursday, Susan awoke after a restless night and while spending time with Diane, a professional napper, they laid down and Susan could not sleep, so she asked Jesus to take her worries and banish the negative, this was a major turning point in her “fight”. There has been a noticeable change in her outlook ever since. As we learned from Doree this is a very long daily fight and your continued support, prayers and God’s blessings are important and very much appreciated.
Enjoying the evening sky
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:6-9

We're thankful for verses that are applicable to our lives many, many years after they were written. If you get a chance to read it, ALL of 2 Corinthians 4 really spoke to our family today. God knows exactly how to encourage all of us at the perfect moment. Thank you for continuing to pray us through. For a little medical update: on Feb. 1, our sweet Momma started a regimen of chemotherapy pills (5 days on and 25 days off) to contribute to tumor death ;) Praise the Lord she doesn't feel too sick, just pretty tired. We are still boldly praying away small localized seizures, headaches and weakness in her right side (all of this is normal). We really cannot thank you enough for your kindness, generosity and prayers.

Have a beautiful week!
Stephanie
 Hi sweet family, friends and prayer warriors,

It's been awhile since our last post. Things haven't been awesome, but they haven't been horrible either. Just "eh", normal for now, and to-be-expected. We are anticipating the day our Momma will feel a bit more like herself. It will come. She is working SO hard! We're planning on doing some no rules painting this week. Can't wait!
 
Isaiah 55:8-11 says that God's thoughts/ways are higher and greater than our thoughts/ways. We are praying for deeper reliance on this truth. Trust that God is holding Mom and our family in the palm of His hand.
 
Special thanks to the Friday morning prayer group that made Valentine's Day extra special by showering Mom with love and encouragement! So fun! We love and appreciate you all! Thank you ALL for your continued prayer and encouragement. It's needed, always. Please know we hold you in our prayers and in our hearts as well.
"Never let real joy be controlled by the things you can't really control. Your Father is infinitely bigger than your fears." -Ann Voskamp

We read this Jesus Calling entry this weekend at a perfect time because Andy left for a business trip, Drew had to go back to school on Monday. It's always perfect timing that Jesus meets us right where we are. And He said very clearly, "DON'T go near the pit!" I so appreciate every one of you that lifts us up and helps us stay away from the pit. Thank you, thank you. 

February 23

Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don’t even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are on the way down. It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is why I tell you to be on guard.

There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity. When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of My Presence byfixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
—Psalm 89:15

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
—Hebrews 12:1–2 nasb

A GREAT Weekend with Family!
Drew was home this weekend. I envisioned it to be perfect and tried to make it something it wasn't even before she got here. Two weeks before, I tried to "control" things by adjusting medication that needed a more gentle taper (oops!) this resulted in feeling pretty crappy. Which is usually what happens when we try to control things that we have no business controlling. Hmm...obviously a reoccurring pattern.
 
Our weekend with Drew ended up being more real than "perfect", but who says that's not perfect. We got to take a drive, paint, go to PT and got to go to The Rock Church on Sunday morning. Very real.
This weekend, Momma began her second round of quickie chemo for the year. She is dancing through with grace, just like we danced when Drew was home. Please continue to hold her in your prayers. We can't thank you all enough! We feel immensely blessed.  ~ Stephanie
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:11, 12 NIV)
Thank you ALL for your continued prayers and support. Knowing you are there has helped more than you will ever know.

This past week I finished the 5th course of chemo with no issues, as most of you know this is a first. Another lesson learned the hard way, slowing down and not trying to muscle my way through tough times. Thankfully, I am getting stronger every day, even normal daily activities are coming back like mowing the yard (for the second time today-yipee!), swimming in the pool even small things like getting out in public with friends.

Chelsea my physical therapist is such a blessing, pushing me more and more to get better. Even my morning walks with Andy are a reminder of the love around us. When I was running with Jeff he would laugh at me for stopping to watch the sunrise, picking up heart shaped rocks, looking at pretty flowers and even noticing heart shapes in the clouds- Andy now understands Jeff’s feelings. Sometimes the reminder to slow down and thank God for small blessings and smelling the roses are big lessons. Every day is filled with opportunities to thank God for blessings, please join us in showing gratitude.
Many good reports from doctors over the past few months only confirm God has already blessed us with a miracle and now I am on my way to healing. There is still a lot of work ahead rebuilding my strength and coordination on my right side; I am up for the challenge with your continued support and prayers. ~ Susan
So many of you have mentioned how in different ways my experience has affected you and in return you have done things for me, I don’t know how I can ever thank you all.
 
One of the many examples is my friend Suzanne, this was the 13th year she has done the City of Hope “Relay for Life”, and this year she dedicated it to me. These pictures are of the luminaries they light along the course. Thank you Suzanne
“Doubting Thomas”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20 v.29
Have you ever noticed the cross Susan wears most of the time, it is a Doubting Thomas cross we purchased many years ago to remind us we may not always know the reason for what is happening, but to always believe God has a great and glorious plan for us.
Once again we have been reminded by the power of our God, after 5 plus months on the roller coaster, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. On Monday March 17th Susan had a follow up MRI, Tuesday she received a call from Dr Peter Chen (what a gentle soul) to give her the results although they were in his words encouraging, Susan still had doubts. Was he telling her the whole truth or was he waiting for our appointment on Friday to reveal the whole truth.
During our appointment yesterday Dr Peter (as Susan calls him because you know they are on a first name basis, they both seem to like it better that way) showed us her previous MRIs and explained how the “necrotic tumor” = dead tumor (necrotic tumor is becoming one of Susan’s favorite phrases) has not changed in size, which is great news. He did show us how the brightness of the perimeter margin is changing and the internal is solid black (necrotic) with no lighter spots anymore. And more importantly the swelling around the necrotic tumor is almost gone, this is even more significant because over the past month Susan has been decreasing the steroids she has been taking to keep the swelling down, she has gone from 12mg a day to 4 mg today and ZERO in another month. Thank God.
We all would like to thank you for your continued support and prayers, please keep up the prayers for “Necrotic Tumor” we are schedule for another follow MRI in a month. ~ Andy
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20 v.30 – 31
Leading up to another MRI Wednesday June 11th and a follow up appointment with Dr Peter Chen (my radiologist, a true angle) on Friday the 13th and a full moon to boot, superstition get behind me. Although doubt crept in, the previous Sunday’s sermon about the story of Job and how everything was taken from him and he still praised God for all his blessings changed my perspective back to gratitude, thereby changing the week to one of peace.
 
At our meeting with Dr Peter we learned that the necrotic mass has started to shrink, a very good sign. Some swelling is still present, this is also a good sign because once it decreases my motor function should return, we are still not sure how much it will return but we trust in God’s plan.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers
Happy Sunday, today I’m focused on all the great things that are happening. Let's start by saying I'm experiencing great joy these days. If you know me well you know I'm a hugger. I got my hugging arms back. (That's not to say that sometimes I don’t let my right hand linger for old time sake J). I can do so many things today that I haven't done in a long time. Things we all take for granted, when I say we I’m mostly talking about myself. This is a lesson I have to continually work on. Like my body, it works way better than it used, but not as good as it once did. (O’yeah we are not focusing on the negative.) I'm just so grateful for where I am today.

I feel the love and support we receive from all of you daily.
All my love,
"I'm BAAACK"

Both physically and mentally, I finished radiation and chemo at the end of last year. I have to admit it kicked my butt. I felt great the first 4 weeks, then the accumulative affect started to kick in. It seemed to peak on Christmas Eve, headaches, trouble finding the correct words and no matter how much PT I did, my right arm, hand and leg would not do what I wanted. Frustrating is an understatement! ! !

During my regular Tuesday meeting with Dr "Peter" (after 6 weeks we are on a first name basis) explained how because the symptoms were transient they were not disease based, probably caused by inflammation, so he upped my steroids for just 3 days, then weaned back down. What a dramatic turnaround. I would not wish this experience on anyone but if you have to I pray you have a doctor as smart and compassionate as Dr Peter. He is another angel sent to care for me.

Speaking of Angels, it was time to take down the Angel Tree on New Year's Day. The angels live on, as I mentioned before the first thing I did every morning was turn on the tree. So we decided to hang the Angels and Diane's heart garland in our family room to enjoy year round. It is a constant reminder of your prayers and love.
With the start of this new year we continue to count our blessings and lean on the support you and your prayers give us. Please continue to look for the miracle and miracles in your life and those around you. God is wonderful, His plan is working in us of all.
Happy Monday!
 
As we fall back into the routine of life after the holidays we reflect back on the past few months and we cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your love, meals, support, encouragement and most importantly prayers. Please continue to lift up our sweet Momma in dedicated prayer. God has worked wonders through prayer and I know He will continue to do so. Thank you, thank you. More updates coming soon! You are so loved!
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)
Last week was a giant roller coaster, it started with me (Andy) writing a post in Susan’s name starting with “I’m BAAACK”, this was a week of learning Not So Fast. It started on a high with a much anticipated “road trip” to San Francisco with my brother Mark and his girl friend Lisa (I hope I am not outing them?) to see Susan’s favorite basketball team, the University of Oregon Women’s Basketball team play Stanford and UC Berkeley. The games were fun but more important was the time we shared with the coaches and girls, especially our Baby Drew. She has been blessed with her mother’s heart and pension for giving to others and seeing how this love is being returned many times over is our blessing as parents. Back in my day, the team manager was the “water boy”, not true of the U of O Women’s Basketball “Family”, Drew is much loved and appreciated.
After a good weekend physically we returned home Monday and the headaches started Wednesday, by Friday evening they were unbearable, so I called Susan’s on call radiologist who said this is very normal for a post radiation patient. He upped her steroids just a little and one dose of percocet, no more headaches and the road back is better every day.
For 28 years Susan through her actions has taught me the true meaning of love, I cannot remember a time when she has made a disparaging remark about anyone. The last 3 months has shown me the ROI of this investment of love, it has come back 100 fold. I'm learning a lot of lessons through this process, love and friendship are the most important and being thankful for our daily blessings. God has blessed us with many good friends, they span far and wide.
We got to watch Drew work and the Oregon Ducks Women's Basketball team play at UCLA and USC this weekend. It was so good to be together as a family! Thank you for your continuous prayer and completely overwhelming overflow of love, compassion and support for our family. We can't tell you enough what a blessing it is to go through this season with all of you praying us through it. ~ Stephanie

I keep my eyes always on The Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

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Continue Reading Susan's Journey
1.7.2014
1.13.2014
1.15.2014
1.22.2014
1.28.2014
2.3.2014
2.22.2014
Thankful for a heart shadow (from Valentine hearts on the window) perfectly placed on my coffee cup. Thank you, Jesus. Good morning to you, too.
2.25.2014
2.25.2014
3.3.2014
5.31.2014
6.1.2014
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6.29.2014
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