Happy Christmas Eve to Family and Friends!!
First of all I wanted to let all of you know of a current very important prayer request. I have felt prompted all day to get this out to you all. As you know Joshua is done with his first round of radiation. They did not do the tumor at his C-2 (at the base of his neck) because they are hoping that the Tarceva may effect that one. There are also one or two in his lower spine. These tumors were not on the first scan so they appeared fairly quickly if I am understanding the Drs. correctly. The C-2 being so close to the brain is of concern to me and the wait will be one to two months before the next scan unless our new Dr. feels differently. This concerns me somewhat. So if we could all pray that the Tarceva (or God’s direct intervention) would target these areas in particular in these next few weeks we would really appreciate it. Radiation carries risks, especially to the surrounding organs and areas, which is why they are waiting, but we all know that it can spread quickly. Thank you again, everyone for your love and prayers. Knowing we can count on your prayers is such an encouragement. And we have all seen thus far what prayer can do.
Now I want to extend our family’s wishes for a wonderful and blessed Christmas with your family and friends. And I want to thank all of you for all you have given to us…in every possible way. We are so blessed and will be thanking God for each one of you as the best gifts we could have ever received.
Love and Prayers to you all,
Kristi, Joshua, and Family
PS. We plan to send a family Christmas picture (our version of a Christmas card when everyone gets home.)
Christmas has been nearly impossible to provide updates through anyway, so its a good time to work those bugs out. Christmas is a lot fun but feels busier and busier every year! Josh is doing great! He finished his last day of radiation on Tuesday, which was great. He had one 14 day course of radiation to two areas of his spine. His scans and pain level will dictate whether they treat other affected areas, but for now they’re done. His T1, and T7-T12 were radiated, and his C2, which is just at the base of his head, is an area they are considering radiating in the future.
The hospital does a great job providing volunteers that are so sweet and very passionate about the job they do! =) For those of you that have been a part of someone’s radiation or have received radiation yourself, you are probably aware of the bell that hangs on the wall beside the check in desk. When you finish your course of radiation you get to go and ring the bell and everyone claps for you. And there is a little old woman who volunteers who is passionate about getting people to ring that bell! A small thing, but when Josh first began his radiation we walked in on this little old man ringing the bell and having his hand shook and back patted while he walked out of the radiation center smiling. So cute! When I showed up yesterday to take Josh to his last day of radiation I came with a toy car from Radiator Springs, a superhero t-shirt, some of whom gained their super human abilities after being exposed to radiation, and a no-sew fleece blanket of superhero’s, which I quickly learned boys don’t find quite as fun to assemble as girls! Never too late to learn something new. I made Josh wear the t-shirt, and brought a camera for the “bell-ringing” ceremony, of which I cought the last 2 1/2 second of on video…grrrr. You’ve got to do those things though to make this journey fun. And Josh is a good sport, even though it was one of the ugliest t-shirts I’ve ever purchased for a grown man.
Like I said, Josh is doing really well. His pain is still under control, he is in good spirits, he is able to rest as much as he needs to, he gets out occassionally for short outings and even does some of his juicing himself. I’m going to post a link to an article that explains some called a “burn pit” that were operated in 80 locations across Iraq and Afganistan. Joshua operated a burn pit for a short period of time while stationed at the prison of Abu Ghraib, and now they are seeing a connection (for obvious reasons when you understand what these burn pits were) between many illnesses, like cancer, and those soldiers exposed to burn pits. Joshua is pursuing compensation and will be working with some individuals who will be filing his claim.
Okay, although the ending is rushed cause I have to pick up my kids from school…I’m glad to at least be able to update those of you who are so faithfully praying and supporting Joshua and our family. I pray your Christmas is a wonderful one and I will try to update as much as I can!
I’m going to ‘try’ very hard to write a short update…not an easy task for me as you have probably noticed. But we have to get up for radiation, a visit with the social worker at Mercy, and then down to Ia. City to visit with the VA as to their part in Joshua’s treatment. The Dr. here seemed very cordial and willing to play any part they could that would assist us the most, even if that was to only supply the med’s. Of course supplying the Tarceva cancer pill is the main concern as it’s cost is prohibitive to most everyone, unless their last name is Winfrey or Forbes. Anyways, we’re thankful for the first initial contact and are praying for an equally good relationship to develop with the VA in Iowa City. We’ll also find out about any other potential benefits…Joshua has been looking into the information on the burn pits that many of the soldiers manned unmasked or protected while in Iraq. This most likely will be a long term effort however, as not much discussion is being accepted by the military or political officials at this point.
This weekend we had visits from not one but 4 people from California. Nico, Betsy,and their 10month old baby, and Justice Frangipane whom Joshua has known since High School. What a blessing. They are all into eating healthy and spent the time they had here cooking and teaching me how to cook some more recipes that will be more substantial for Joshua. What a help that was…I now feel like I have a few resources at my disposal and not so overwhelmed, trying to pick out of all my books and info on the internet what would be best. There are differing opinions. And everything was so tasty. Joshua has finally gotten his wish to push me to expand my eating repertoire. They prayed together and just were such an encouragement. I can’t believe how fortunate I feel being able to meet so many of Joshua’s friends from different stages in his life…and they are all such wonderful, loving people. How blessed he is and now me. And his professor friend from Iowa Writer’s Workshop stops by now and then, but never without a few bags of goodies from the Co-op in Ia. City. So thoughtful and always interesting and encouraging conversation. Thanks to you all, we love and appreciate you so much.
As his friend put it, he was thrilled to see him up and feeling so good. He’s assuming and planning on his class to teach at the end of January. I”ll probably go with him the first few times just as a precaution, but pray that his goal can be achieved. Also please pray for the other spots on his spine that need to be radiated. He’ll finish plan 1 on Tuesday, but some of his recent pain came from his C-2 in the neck and lower back I believe. How we would love to have the Tarceva work on those so radiation wouldn’t be necessary. I feel like we are resting by the green valley as the moment…and who knows it may last for awhile. :-) We also received a cookbook and a financial gift from a friend out of the blue which was a real surprise…thank you, David.
Well, we hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your families and time together. Our emphasis will definitely be on the blessing of being together. (besides I’ve yet to get out to shop anyways). God is really teaching me to live one day/hour at a time this time around. Anything else would do me in. When I jump ahead and begin thinking about the ‘what ifs’, I can almost literally feel His hands on my face turning my head to look straight ahead, saying, “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and what He has told you…obey what you’ve heard”. Please pray that I will continue to be able to do that as time goes on. We’ve been getting communion brought to us several times a week, but pray that maybe one or both of us will be able to attend Church soon. It’s the sitting for Joahua in the hard pews, and if he can’t go someone has to stay with him so I can. We’ll work on that. Or maybe we can watch it on TV as we have that option now…that we forgot about.
Well, so much for my ‘short’ update. Impossible I guess. It’s almost midnight, the bewitching hour so I need to go to bed.
Hoping you’re all having a great Advent Season and wonderful Christmas. We’ll be thinking and praying for you all.
Love and blessings to everyone we’ve grown to love more and more…the best gifts we could have been given for Christmas.
Love and Prayers,
Kristi, Joshua, and Family
PS. Thanks Kathy for the offer of a meal to freeze for Christmas gathering time and Holly your gift and special note from you and your children brought us to tears…We’d love to thank you in person, but realize it’s Christmas and that will probably be impossible, so please accept our thanks in this manner.
And Doralyn, your love and support this second time around is more than we could ask for, thank you so much.
I wish we could thank every0ne and I’m sure we’re forgetting some of you, but please know every gift and expression of love is appreciated more than you know.