"And now...one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise...Then the God of peace will be with you." -Phillipians 4:8-9

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kasey's pathology results

Sometimes things just don't go the way we would like them to go, and Kasey's path results did just that...his surgeon called today to tell Kasey that one of his lymph nodes (out of the 40 or so that were removed) was cancerous. We had really been hoping for clean results, which would mean no chemo for Kasey but now it is very likely. Dr. Lowe recommended another oncologist for Kasey and said that we should expect to hear from this doctor's office within the next week to go in for another appointment, this time to discuss chemo options. Even though just one node tested positively for cancer, Dr. Lowe said that there is a 50% chance of recurrence if we don't go through chemo. Kasey asked Dr. Lowe what he would do if it was him in this situation, and he said that he would go through the chemo before anything could spread.

This last week we have been focusing on Kasey's recovery, and counting our blessings with the new pregnancy, Kasey doing so well post-op, getting ready for Brother Blake's wedding this saturday...we have felt really good this week and I know that Kase is just dying to get back to work and be productive and feel normal again. Yesterday we drove out to where the farm is planting new blueberries. We all (Emmett included) piled into the CRV and rode out to take in the beauty of rows and rows of baby blueberry plants, and I could just see it in Kasey that he wanted so badly to be out there planting them with the rest of the crew. Also the upcoming summer harvest is always such a crucial productive time, and I pray that he will be able to take part since so much of his heart wants to and harvest is one time that everyone knows takes everybody's effort. There really is a reason it is a family farm :). Farming is such an amazing and blessed lifestyle, and harvest is one of the best times when you get to reap your hard earned work over the past year, and what an accomplishment and satisfaction there is that comes when the harvest is in. I pray Kasey will get to take part in it this year, I know it would mean a lot to him.

It is always so hard when we don't know exactly what to expect next. Kasey told me today that,

"I can handle surgery, it is an easy thing for me. But I am scared of chemo because I know its definitely not going to be easy. "

It really broke my heart to hear his fears, and I am praying that the Lord will just carry Kasey through chemo just as he has through all of the surgeries that he has gone through already in the last month, and keep his body strong and his mind looking to Him throughout it all.

I will be sure to put any new news up again within the next week as it comes, and we will be praying and keeping hope that our way will be surrounded with our God who is all that we can really depend on in this world.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It's a God thing :)

My whole life I have always felt the presence of God, and yet there are still times where I am just taken aback by how incredibly good He is to me, and how much He loves us. In all things we are asked to depend on him, and to allow him to "take the reins" so to say with the control in our lives. Of course in reality we really don't have any control over our lives, but we like to feel like we do; and we like to think that in some way or the other we can plan for our futures and make things happen for ourselves. Giving up my sense of control has always been a hard thing for me. I don't like change, I never have ever since I was a little girl, and if there was anything that I loved in my life I clung to it and wished for it to never ever change. Now looking back I can see how there have been so many whispers in my ear from God where he would just ask for me to give Him the control of my life, and to trust him. He makes everything perfect in His timing, and His plans are always better than our own, but how hard it is to trust him with our own plans and lives! Over the last month I made a conscious effort to give our situation with Kasey over to the Lord every single day. We know it is all happening for a reason, and we know it is all for God's great purpose which can be comforting but also very hard to grasp. Amidst everything we were told that men with testicular cancer usually are borderline infertile, and that if we were to have more children the time between the removal of the tumor and his lymph node removal surgery (2 weeks) was our window of opportunity, and that we should look into sperm banking and fertility treatments for the future. After a lot of discussion and prayer Kasey and I both felt that if the Lord wanted us to have more children, than He would certainly bless us, and that going through any fertility treatment just wasn't an option for us. We both felt that we needed to trust and just wait, and if it was the Lord's will than we would be content either way.
All of this being said, it is very early but we wanted to share that we just found out that I am pregnant, and we cannot be more thrilled. We feel so incredibly blessed and thankful, I cannot even tell you just how amazing this is for us. We had both consigned in our hearts that we might not be able to have more children, and that precious little Kenzie was always going to the baby for us, and now to think that she is going to be a "big sis" is so awesome!

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:21

Thank you so much for your support and prayers throughout this journey with us, and throughout it all that has passed and what is yet to come, we are so happy to be reminded that if we just ask, he is good to answer.

Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant... Genesis 21:1-3

The Lord has been gracious to us, and we are so thankful!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Home from the hospital

On wednesday we went up to Good Sam in Portland where Kasey went through a procedure to remove some of his peritoneal lymph nodes in order to prevent any recurrence for cancer. We were told that if his cancer was to be anywhere it would be in his lymph nodes that wouldn't necessarily show on his CT scan so the nodes in question were removed. We were at the hospital at 2 and he was taken into surgery at 5:45. I waited in the waiting room with our moms, and his dad and LeAnn, and around 9 his surgeon Dr. Lowe came out to tell us that the procedure went well. He felt confident that Kasey's lymph nodes looked normal and that there was minimal nerve damage from the operation. This was all great news! We will hear back from the pathology results next week and we are praying for cancer-free results. If all is clean than Kasey will only need CT scans throughout the next 4 years as a cautionary measure.

We were told that he would probably be in the hospital for 4-7 days, and amazingly after 2 1/2 days we were given the go ahead to take him home which is such a praise. He has 5 ports on his abdomen that are healing very well, and is on pain meds for the next week but has been walking and recovering so quickly that it is such a a testimony to the amazing power of prayer.

God's presence has been so real to us. Feeling Him everyday has been the biggest blessing I have experienced in my life to this point. In the days up to Kasey's surgery we both felt such peace and reassurance. He has been so real that I can smell Him at times; such a sweet fragrance that comes and goes that I had thought were some blooms from around our house, but when I smelled it at the hospital I knew that I was smelling the Lord's presence, and what an amazing gift that was for me to experience.

We are so happy to have had the best in medical care for Kasey, and to have 2 surgeries put behind us and are looking forward to tackle whatever is coming next in his recovery. The next 2 weeks are going to be crucial for him to rest and heal, and we are expecting he will be able to return to work within the next 2-3 weeks, and feel fully recovered by 4 weeks. He can't wait until he can pick up Kenzie again, and she has been thrilling us with her ablities in walking all over the house and outside; clapping and smiling as she goes. :)

So here we are, thankful for our amazing family and friends, thankful to be here at this point in the journey, and looking forward to feeling somewhat normal again; although it is so important for us to never forget or overlook how this has drastically changed our perspective on life as only a sudden life altering surprise can... never forget how every day is a gift, that friends and family are so important every day, that the little things that seem so big are really just little things that don't matter at all, that every day is a gift to spend with your husband, that any day can be your last, and most importantly...that God cares for us and truly is with us every moment just waiting for us to call to Him...and when we do he runs and picks us up like little children and surrounds us with His presence. All we ever have to do is ask, and I never want to forget that, ever.
Love to you. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is the next necessary step

Thank you for your prayers, more updates to come later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Here's to a new day

Praises, praises that today is a new day, and everywhere we look there are blessings to be found.

There are so many friends and family that we love that are going through hurts and hardships right now in their lives. We lift them up in prayer with faith that the Lord will be their comfort, and that His peace and love will be felt in all situations.

We pray for our friends abroad, the Smiths and Durans who have been so faithful with the work that has been laid for them in Peru. Thank you for all that you are doing, we love you guys and pray for you daily, and we think the world of you!

My heart was comforted today by 1 Peter. After yesterday we felt so wiped out emotionally, and after being faced with what is ahead with Kasey's treatments it is so easy for us to feel overwhelmed. We will continue to praise, to love, to rejoice and look ahead with positivity because of our faith, and the knowledge that we are loved and that this is all part of a bigger plan.

"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. " -1 Peter 5:6-7

So here's to a new day with the knowledge that, " If you are suffering according to God's will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you. " 1 Peter 4:19

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cancer sucks: part deux of the cancer journey

Today we met with Kasey's cancer specialist, and after about an hour and a half of discussing options with him we have scheduled a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection operation for next wednesday, the 22nd at Good Sam in Portland.
With Kasey's type of cancer there are 6 risk factors that indicate the risk for recurrence of another tumor. The pathology that came back from his tumor that was removed 2 weeks ago indicated that Kasey's tumor had 3 out of 6 risk factors which is not good. This means that Kasey is at "High Risk" for recurrence, and if gone untreated there is a 70% chance in the next 2 years that we would find another tumor. The tumor that was removed 2 weeks ago was 7.5cm in size. Obviously we chose to treat now...
Like I said previously chemo was one option for treatment. It would run about 12 weeks and would start ASAP, but the chances for recurrence within the next 4 years years is still a possibility and chemo is not an easy thing to go through for 3 months. The other option presented was the laparoscopic RPLND surgery, and if cancer is found in his lymph nodes after removal, than 6 weeks of chemo would follow; but if they are clean we will bypass chemo altogether. We are praying that the nodes will be clean, and that the cancer hasn't spread any farther.
We are expecting Kasey to stay in the hospital for 3-7 days, and his recovery period will be about 2 weeks after he comes home. Full recovery will be 4-6 weeks. The operation itself will last about 4 hours.
All of this is so surreal to us, and it is hard to talk about it because it just seems to consume everything in our lives right now when we explain everything over and over. It is cancerous in speech too I am finding, and we are trying so hard to be positive and have a good outlook on everything and how much it is affecting us. We feel so happy to have many of our questions answered today, and we feel very confident in our decision to go with the surgery at this point. We want to get through the next step, and will be praying and looking forward to the end result with Kasey being cancer-free.
It is such a profound thing to happen, but obviously it is happening for a reason.

That being said, we are trying to live life as normal as possible until wednesday...praying for a clean pathology...successful surgery...speedy recovery...a positive outcome...patience...praising God that we have an amazing surgeon and that everything has been scheduled so quickly.
At this time there will be no more news until after wednesday, and I am hoping to get on here to post some new pics of Kenzie's Easter and some other fun things before then. It will be refreshing to put up some fun news, but no guarantees I will get it done this week...we'll see:).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kasey's Appointment

Yesterday we met with Kasey's Urologist for his post-surgery appointment and were met with some more news... some that we already knew but to hear it again seemed to make it much more of a reality. To sum it up, Kasey's blood work and pathology results came back and the Dr. told us that his tumor counts are lower this week which is very good. The tumor that was removed is a nonseminomous germ cell cancerous tumor, which means that it is a very aggressive tumor type, and it is highly recommended that Kasey follow up with treatment to prevent the spread of any cancer that may still be in his body that could result in another aggressive tumor. His CT scan came back clean, but if the cancer has spread or will spread, the lymph nodes are a major concern for this type of cancer. We will meet with his oncologist in Portland on monday to discuss in depth the options that were presented to us yesterday which were:
1. Treatment through chemotherapy (we don't know when treatment would start or how long it would go at this point, those are questions for monday)
2. Laparoscopic removal of Kasey's lymph nodes which could be followed up with chemo if needed. This would be our first option since it would help us to put off chemo for some time, and maybe even bypass chemo if all goes well. This surgery will not be an option if chemo is done first, but chemo could be done after the surgery if needed. Of course the surgery has its downsides as well which we will learn more about on monday.
The oncologist we are meeting is a specialist not only in oncology but also in laporoscopic surgery of the lymph nodes...We don't know if he will recommend the surgery to Kasey or if he will want to put him through chemo but at this point we are hit with the reality of the whole situation once again.
The time between now and any type of cancer treatment is so precious to us, and we have been trying to get back to our life in as much normalcy as possible, especially when we know that the next step of any treatment is going to radically change things for some time. We are praying that the Lord will continue to guide us and help us make the hard choices between treatments and to help us lean on Him as our world is rocked...what a blessing we have in a God who cares so much for us! He has been so present, and every day is a newfound blessing that we are so thankful for.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our Blog Debut!

Ok, so we finally caved and jumped on the band wagon.

In all reality, this is going to be the easiest way to keep everyone updated on Kasey's status through this journey God has started us on. Please know that we will do our best ot keep this updated, but with the future so unclear there may be times when the "blog" becomes lower on the priority list.

Just know that we love you all so much and are so thankful for you.

God is good.