For some reason I can’t click on these to make them bigger for you, but if they’re hard to see and people want them posted bigger, just leave a comment and I will also post them at a bigger size.
First of all I want to thank all of you who have responded to Joshua with words of encouragement and letting him know that you are still praying for him. Of course that means the world to him. We are all very thankful for the news of the majority of the known cancer lesions to be gone…part two of the miracle (part one was getting out of Chicago alive and getting on the right medicine). The medication, his diet, and prayer I believe is responsible for the unbelievable quick reduction in the cancer.
I also want to thank all of you who continue to give to him to help in the very high costs of maintaining his organic diet and his trips to Chicago. It’s still amazing to me how much we go through in a week. We’re now buying his carrots in 50lb. boxes which really helps. Besides his juicing, he pretty much exists on oatmeal and fruit, rice and quinoi, salmon and vegetables, and his favorite manna bread with flaxseed oil and bananas on top. And it’s all pretty portable and easy to get when we go to Chicago every week. The restaurant where Naomi and I go for dinner while we’re waiting for his class to finish knows his situation and how he needs everything prepared in only lemon juice, and they do a really good job. After 13 weeks we’re going to be very good friends. And he is REALLY enjoying teaching the class. I’m not sure how he’d be doing without that to look forward to each week. They have offered him another one for next fall. He can drive short distances now, but he still has to lay down for longer trips, so not sure where that will stand by then.
This weekend has been hard as he hasn’t felt well…headache,achy, nausea, and diareaha. He’s on new and stronger antibiotics for his fingers (they have been very sore and difficult to deal with). So the Dr. is taking his Tarceva level down from 150mg to 100mg to see if that helps that side effect any. He’s on another antibiotic for the infection in his jaw which she said is not unusual with Tarceva. And they gave him a 2nd round of bone strengthening medicine by iV, so it’s really hard to know where some of these symptoms are coming from. And we have to watch his calcium level closely, because he tends to run low and his bone meds lower calcium. In addition the Dr. had some difficult things to say to him that took him off guard. One was that he has to realize that he has the spine (back) of a 60yr. old in a 32yr. old body, so he won’t be able to lift weights, work out, play any kind of contact sports (including soccer) again. He was under the assumption that his spine would heal and he could get back to those things. That was very difficult to hear. As well as he will have to be on Tarceva for the rest of his life to keep any dormant cancer cells at bay. That’s why they are trying to find a level he can take that is more tolerable in side effects. It’s been a more somber weekend, but his not feeling well surely played into that.
Now all of that is realistic medical diagnosis and we respect that. But we are also wanting to stay open to ‘all’ the healing God was referring to when he so clearly told me that we should pray for a miracle of healing. We recognize there has been a miracle already and we are so thankful for that, but we also want God to give us wisdom and the grace to pray for all that he wants for Joshua. Many have said to us that they believe God is going to restore him to full health. If that is the case, then we want to be open to that and not just accept the medical diagnosis as it stands. How many people have proven their diagnosis wrong and gone far beyond what Doctors expected or imagined. So we’re asking you to keep praying for the next miracle in his life, whatever that may be. He started meeting with our Parish Priest today for spiritual direction, and that was a real lift for him emotionally. He’s really looking forward to that. We’re actually considering taking a week off from his class (he has had professor friends offer to sub for him) if he doesn’t start feeling better. We also thought it could be lack of sleep as he has a hard time sleeping through the night and he’ll oftentimes get up and spend a couple of hours working on his fingers. The fatigue is playing a role in things I think also. He’s felt good for some time now, and him not feeling well and having to be concerned about his calcium level is sending me back a few steps in terms of anxiousness. It’s better, but I just don’t like being alone with him when he’s not feeling well and it’s a guessing game as to what is going on. So please pray for me in that, so I don’t pass on my concern and worry to him. Just pray that his calcium level stays elevated…it was great before they gave him the infusion on Wed. so he’ll probably feel better by tomorrow.
Thanks also to all of you who are working on fund raising ideas for him. We just still are amazed at YOUR fortitude. So often in crises after the main crisis is over things die down and it is very hard to stay involved. But so many of you seem to be in this for the long haul for him and that is not only rare but astounding. God bless you all.
We love you and pray for God’s grace to fill your lives ,
I forgot to add into my entry some pictures we took last week in Chicago. I’ll as Naomi to do that as they are on her camera.
We’re planning an online auction and need your help! Use your talents – or stuff - to help raise cash for Joshua!
Two ways you can participate:
1. Consider contributing to the auction. Do you paint? Record CDs? Write poetry? Walk dogs? Bake bread? Does the business you work for have a product or service to donate? Do you have gift cards to contribute? If so, pass these treasures (or talents) along! To donate, contact Erin Gullickson – firstname.lastname@example.org – by March 20th and share:
- Your name.
- What you would like to donate.
- Where it is located. Donations from anywhere will be accepted, but if shipping is necessary, bidders in the auction will be asked to cover the cost of shipping in addition to the bid, and those donating will be asked to package and ship the item to the winning bidder.
- A picture of the item, if applicable.
- If a business is donating, their web address – if they would like it listed with a link on the online auction site.
2. Take part in the auction! Stay tuned for dates and directions. All proceeds will go directly to the Casteels to help pay for Joshua’s juicing regimen, medical bills, and other costs associated with his care.
Thanks for your help in making our online auction a success!
- Erin and Hannah
I just wanted to get the word out on Joshua’s site regarding a fundraiser currently being organized on Joshua’s behalf by friends in Cedar Rapids for Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 pm.
Joshua’s friend Bobby Colquhoun will be performing a concert at Washington High Little Theater (2205 Forrest Dr SE, Cedar Rapids, IA). Tickets are $10 and further details can be found on Facebook, where an event page has been set up: http://www.facebook.com/events/315345931856998/
Mary Ann Cullinan Snyder is collecting donations and reserving tickets. Even if you can’t make the show due to geography or conflicts, feel free to “buy” a ticket in support, noting that you will not be in attendance so that seats can still go to those who will be able to attend.
If anyone who attends is able to take and upload any video of the event, that would be an excellent way for all of us to celebrate and support the Casteels. Feel free to post questions as comments below, and thank you all again!