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Joshua Casteel (In Memory) bio picture
  • "If I am bound to the belief that God is in control of the cosmos, and miracles can and do happen, then there is no 'hypothetical situation' wherein God's ability to perform miracles through the faithful actions of the merciful ceases to be a possibility."

    Joshua's above words continue to resonate with us, his family, friends and acquaintances seeking to live out that same belief. Though he is no longer with us bodily, we strive to faithfully remember and testify to Joshua's witness among us, through the establishment of The Joshua Casteel Foundation and other initiatives on which we will continue to provide update through this website. Thank you for joining us.

    "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." (Wisdom 4:7)

    Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), which ultimately took his life on August 25, 2012 at the age of 32. The many of us who survive and love him will continue to pursue the heavenly justice to which Joshua (in life, and now in death) testified.

He is Risen…Our only hope!!!

Happy Easter Everyone…We hope yours was a blessed reminder of the Hope we have in this life and the next because Jesus conquered death. And our hope is also that by conquering death he conquered life and all that might come at us. He is not only in control (sovereign) but with us through it all. THAT is what keeps us going and keeps us hopeful. Not that we don’t have hard days and weeks, but we know at the end of every struggle is God’s plan for us working together for good.

And this was one of those weeks. As I mentioned Joshua has had a lot of pain in his hip/groin/leg for the last 2 weeks at least. I lose track as we go from one thing to another. It came out of the blue and has gotten progressively worse. He had an MRI last week which showed no change of the spot that has been on his hip since his diagnosis, as well as no fracture which the Dr. was even more concerned about I think. Because of the pain and having to get around with a cane (actually his putter…the young man’s version of a cane…pretty cool actually) and feeling the most comfortable in his bed, we missed most of the Holy week celebration. So he was determined to try to make it to Mass either Sat. or Sun. I wasn’t sure given the time frame of Easter Vigil and the hard pews etc. if either would work out. Our priest suggested him sitting in the narthex outside the sanctuary in the comfortable chairs which I thought was a great idea and come a little late on Sat. night. Well, Sat. night I got one of the worst migraines I’ve had in awhile and I knew the incense would be a problem so I was under the assumption we’d go Sun. morning. But he really wanted to go Sat. night as well which he did. He took the advice to go a little late but did not take the advice about the chairs. He sat in the pews and also participated in the kneeling, sitting and standing that takes place during the mass. That was not in the plan, but I was not there to monitor and he really wanted to be in the sanctuary. (and decided that a little pain would help him connect with the message of the cross and what Jesus suffered for us). While I’m sure it did, as he really enjoyed the Mass, he did end up with greatly increased pain by Easter morning. He couldn’t attend with me and stayed home in his bed where he had the worst incident of extended searing pain that he’s had to date. He said it took about 20 minutes for it to calm down as he hung his leg over the side of the bed. The pain is always there but not always the searing sharp pain. To be honest I was frustrated about his choice the night before, but who am I to say what the Lord wanted to do through that experience?. It’s just very hard to see him suffer.

Consequently, we won’t be going to Chicago this week again for his class. The drive there and the three hour class is just too hard when he’s in this much pain and so immobile as far as sitting, getting in and out of the back of the car, and getting up and down. Walking is actually easier some times. So he’s pretty bummed about that and feels very badly that he has to miss yet another class. A friend is going to fill in, thankfully, but it’s certainly not what he was hoping for and he doesn’t like to let them down.

And so far we still have NO clue what is causing the pain, so that is our goal this week. We’re hoping the Dr. with Physical Medicine and Rehab. will have some ideas after looking at the MRI or in discussion with him. Please pray for wisdom for him. The oncologist didn’t seem to have a lot to say about it as it didn’t seem to relate to his cancer.

I want to thank both Dave Coates and Lovar Kidd. They responded immediately to my request for hiring someone to do my lawn. I’m not sure if they will let me pay them or not, but Dave spent all day last Friday working on it. The yard is bigger than it looks from the front, so I’m hoping they can share the load. What a relief and burden that takes off my shoulders. It was hard for me to keep up with when I didn’t have Joshua home to care for, even with a riding mower.

And friends continue to come visit, text, or send cards, some with monetary gifts in them. We are so thankful. God just continues to take care of us in so many ways and yet I find myself still feeling so overwhelmed at times, anxious, or just plain frustrated with all the stresses that are just a part of this whole process. I’m trying to not let it spill over to Joshua, he has enough on his plate. But I’m sure it does. He’s a pretty perceptive guy. But I feel so inadequate or ungrateful at times, seeing all the amazing things God is doing and yet having such a hard time keeping up emotionally without feeling so overwhelmed most of the time. It’s just so hard for me to have a back log of so many things that need to get done and not be able to get to them in the proper time frame. I am one to like order and a certain amount of simplicity, so having my world in such an upheaval is very hard for me. Sounds very much like the homily we had at Mass today…thanks Fr. Dave…I am trying to ‘listen’ and believe that things will get better or turn around in time.  In fact Samuel has been going through my mind lately, “Speak Lord, for I am listening” so I guess that’s my cue.

Again, I want to thank everyone who worked on the Online Auction. I heard today that it was very successful. Thank you so much, all of you.

You’ve probably noticed on line the video that Roger Routh put on of the acceptance of the Bishop Dingman Award for his work in the area of Peace and Justice that we attended in Des Moines last weekend. It was a wonderful night, and despite his leg problem he was able to give almost an hour long acceptance speech. I was very proud of him and he did a great job, considering his current physical state. He stood the entire time. Thanks for the video, Roger and all that you have done for us.

One positive thing that took place last week was going to physical therapy. Joshua laid out his ambitious goals, and the two young therapists listened and were positive in suggesting they just get started…but that they take it slow at first to see what his body can handle at this time. I breathed a sigh of relief as Joshua tends to assume he can do what he sets his mind to. Or maybe it’s just ‘wanting’ so badly to get back to some kind of normalcy giving him a little more hope. It’s got to be so hard to be stopped in your tracks as suddenly as he was. He’s done such a good job of not complaining and wanting to accept whatever God has for him to learn through all of this.

Well, I think that about covers it. I hope the next time I write we’ll have an answer to the cause of his hip and leg pain. And we’ll be doing what we need to do to let it heal.

We hope you are all well and you have blessings abounding.

Love to you all,

Kristi and Joshua

Ups and Downs…Such is Life!!

Just a quick note to let you all know both the ups and downs of our last 2 weeks.  We’ll start with the ups.  Since Joshua developed this hip/groin/leg pain that can be severe at times, we’ve had to pray for miracles to allow him to do the things that are important to do.  Saturday night in Des Moines, I mentioned that he was awarded the Bishop Dingman Award for his work towards Peace and Justice.  Bishop Gumbleton also spoke and it was very interesting and their talks complimented each other so well.  Joshua was in a fair amount of pain, even after his shot of pain killer, but he was able to talk for 45 min.-an hour.  He did a great job, and it was a real honor for both of us to see him receive this very important award.  He was very humbled.  The people were so warm and welcoming and they were very generous in giving us a gift as a donation at the conclusion of the evening.  What a great group of committed people.

 

Then we came home only to pack up the car to go to Chicago on Monday morning for his class.  We made it fine, but he was extremely tired after the class and felt he didn’t have what he needed physically and mentally to teach the way he would have liked.  He was tired and disappointed to some degree and slept the entire trip home.  Since then it has been a downhill slide  concerning his hip and leg.  We go to Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation tomorrow and we are praying that they can come up with some answers as to what may be causing the pain.  His MRI showed the same spot that was on his hip from the beginning, but it shows no significant change.  However, they did say he strained his left glut muscle but it is the right side that hurts.  So hopefully that piece of the puzzle will be figured out tomorrow.  Please pray for the doctors wisdom to look in the right direction for answers.

We are really hoping we can go to Mass on Sunday.  Right now his pain is too great to think of sitting in the pews, hard as they are, and definitely no kneeling, standing and sitting.  We’ll be very disappointed if we’re unable to go.

Since I am doing the juicing, there are a lot of things that just can’t get done.  One is cleaning the house.  I keep it fairly orderly but it hadn’t been really cleaned for weeks.  Today a very good friend came over and cleaned the whole house…minus Joshua’s room.  (he was asleep)  Oh what a blessing.  Not only did it relieve a big burden but it feels so nice to see things fresh and clean.  What a morale booster.  Thank you SO much Micaela.  I love you.

Also, I’m realizing that I am not going to be able to mow my lawn regularly this Spring and Summer, because of the added extra duties with juicing, cooking, more appointments etc.  If there is anyone out there who would like to earn a little extra money please contact me.  I have a nice riding mower that can be used.  That will take a HUGE  burden off my shoulders.

Last, but not least, a very good friend of mine just found out that she has breast cancer.  Supposedly it is the good kind that is not pervasive and she is a candidate for a lumpectomy.  She will have radiation as well as a back-up measure.  This is a shock and of course frightening as it enters her into the unknown.  Please pray for her.  I haven’t asked permission to give her name out yet, so if you could just pray for my friend I’d appreciate it.  Thanks so much.  There’s just way too much cancer in this world.

Again thank you to everyone that continues to give and help out. We are so thankful to God for each one of you.

God Bless and Happy Easter…He is Risen!!!

Kristi and Joshua

PS.  The auction is almost over and it went great.  Thanks so much ‘girls’!  🙂

 

Never a dull moment!!!

I wanted to drop a line or two about Joshua’s physical condition right now and what we all can pray for. Also to let you know what he’s up to, besides sleeping his life away. (side effect from Decadron withdrawal).

Before I do that, however, I want to add our thanks to Bobby, MaryAnn and Dave Snyder, and Kim for all their hard work in bringing the benefit concert to life. It was not only inspirational, Bobby was great, but a lot of fun with the raffle tickets and prizes. I think everyone who attended would say the same thing. Thank you all for your support in coming and giving.

Also, we want to thank Hannah Ilten, Jeff Tomsic,
Erin Gullickson, and Katie Coates for all their hard work in putting together the on-line auction and the weekend get togethers as fund raisers. You are all such loyal friends and so creative in your ideas. We continue to be so encouraged because of all of you. Even in the midst of some very hard days and bumps in the road. The withdrawal from Decadron has not been a fun experience. Poor guy could hardly stay awake and it took awhile to figure out what was going on. He’s a little better now, and yesterday was put on Hydro cortisone to jumpstart his adrenals and then will wean off of that. And if that is not enough, out of the blue came intense hip and groin pain. He had to use his golf club as a cane to get around for awhile. I know…we should have taken a picture of that one. He would fit right in if he was in England. But today he had a physical therapy session with a group at the hospital that deals with trauma patients and they were able to give him a shot in the bootie which has given him some very welcomed relief. Enough so we can drive to Des Moines tomorrow where he will receive an award along with a Bishop for his work in the field of peace and justice. Evidently it is given yearly and he is the youngest man to ever be awarded this particular award. We’re very proud of him. Please pray he feels good enough to go and to give his short speech. I’m sure God will give him the grace to do so. I’m going to try to remember the camera!!

Then we drive back Sunday to pack up the car for our weekly trip to Chicago for his class. So, this will be a potentially very tiring week. Please pray for him. He’s also getting an MRI on Wed. to make sure that the pain in his hip has nothing to do with the cancer, as he had something show up on one of his first PET scans. Dr. Wilbur just wants to make sure…and so do we, of course. We are very pleased with her as our oncologist. She is very open to our thoughts and questions and really tries to listen to our desires and come up with her best suggested treatment. We just found out at this last appt. that her sister and father both have cancer. So she understands what we are going through and I’m sure that adds to her desire to do all she can and the genuine compassion she exhibits. We’re so thankful that God led us to her.

Juicing is getting harder, as Joshua hasn’t been able to help lately and it is very time consuming. We’ve been getting one round a day now for a few weeks. We try to make more at that one daily dose, but there are just so many hours a day and there are so many things to do. His appointment schedule is enough to make a healthy person worn out and we’re worn out before we even start. Good sleep is a rare commodity around here. We’re both going to have sleep studies done to test for sleep apnea. Anything to help sleep more productively. And we’re hoping the hydrocortisone will help boost those adrenals and get him feeling a little more energy.

Well, that’s the latest. Hope you are all doing well. We think of you and pray for you all in our nightly prayers together frequently. This has been a very precious time together that I think we both will always look back on as a real gift.

Love to you all,
Joshua and Kristi

April 2, 2012 - 10:10 AM

Rodger Routh - The eveing of the Bishop Dingman Peace Awards was wonderful. Joshua you are the perfect choice for this years recipient, and your personal sharing was spell binding. We are all so very greatful that you and your wonderful mother were able to attend. I will be posting your talk soon so everyone can hear your remarkable journey. Bless to you and Kristi as you continue down this path.

April 6, 2012 - 11:00 AM

Rodger Routh - https://vimeo.com/39739113

check this video out of Joshua’s talk in Des Moines in his acceptances of the Bishop Dingman Peace Award.
Here is the Bishop Gumbleton talk as well.
https://vimeo.com/39799101

NYC – Event this Sunday!

Dear Friends in and around NYC-

On Sunday, April 1st from 4-7pm we will be hosting an afternoon celebration and fundraiser in honor of Joshua at the Black Rabbit in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Over the next couple weeks in Iowa and Chicago, friends and supporters of Josh and his family are hosting events within their communities and online to raise money that will help cover the considerable expenses related to his treatment. We in NYC want to do our part and thought a wonderful way to honor josh and show our support would be a celebration of spring and old friends.  The Black Rabbit has food, drinks, and a wonderful patio that we may enjoy if weather permits.  Donations are encouraged, and we will enter you into a raffle pool for some fun prizes! We encourage you to bring friends and spread the word-please email Hannah (hilten703@gmail.com) with any questions and if you plan to attend so we may gauge expected attendance.
 
http://www.blackrabbitbarnyc.com/blackrabbitbarnyc/hme.html
 
Many thanks, Hannah (ilten) Robertson and Jeff Tomsic