Happy and Headed Home

We continue to be so thankful that we’re at peace, great care (really liked Dr Lamont!), and NO PAIN! My breast sprung a leak on ’em and still bleeding but not painful. I opted for sedation instead of general anesthesia and am thankful for Dr Trevor’s input bc that worked fine and I’m awake/alert/happy:) I’m looking forward to lunch (no food except post-op crackers since dinner) and a nap. Gonna enjoy lunch w Scott somewhere outside since it’s a gorgeous day. Thanks for prayers and sweet texts. Clearly He’s answering!

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Here we go …

… in comes the port, then in comes the chemotherapy, and then surgery and, Lord willing, bye bye cancer!  So, it feels like tomorrow’s our big launch of this medical journey.  I think the poking, proding and peeing to date pales in comparison to what lay (or is it lays or is it lie?) ahead.

We’re glad to get started.  As an update from our last post, I passed the pee test:)  So, we’re all set for the port to be installed tomorrow at 9:45.  They’ll also do another biopsy for a tissue sample and, in that process, insert a metal ‘clip’ that will help them monitor the tumor by marking the center for future sonograms and surgery.  Not quite clear on exactly what the anesthesia will be but I know I’ll be out and the port will go in.  They say the port is a bit bigger than a quarter and will be a couple inches below my collarbone.

I’ve been a little sad the last couple of days about weaning Linc.  I know he’s totally fine and doesn’t much know the difference but it’s been physically and emotionally painful. I was telling Scott in the car on Monday night that I was sad – just feels like I’m cutting off a life-giving source that God designed to feed Linc and, before my body or Linc naturally wean, I’m painfully cutting off the supply.  As I was telling him, as if on cue, Martina McBride starting singing her cancer song.  As the Lord would have it, I heard it for the first time on the Wednesday (earlier this month) between the Tuesday when we knew something was amiss and the Thursday when the cancer was confirmed.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – a sweet reminder that my family, friends (y’all) and especially Jesus were “gonna love me through it.”  So, on Monday night, I had a good cry with Martina.  I heart country music.  As my friend Mel (aka, Big Mama) said recently –  I can find a country song (preferably from the 70s) to summarize almost all of life’s situations.  In this case, I didn’t have to find it – it just keeps coming on the radio at the most perfect times.   I asked Scott to sit quietly while I cried and she sang.  He doesn’t share my love of country music so he was kind to endure my ‘moment with Martina.’

Lots of PINK LOVE this week … pink cupcakes on my porch tonight from Sophie, pink bag filled with everything-a-girl-could-possibly-need-for-being-laid-up-and-not-feling-so-good from Alyson, and a real fun box of survival goodies for me, Linc and the hounds from Chandra and Linde.  And that doesn’t include the dinners!  Lots of fun things to come home too.  Lots of sweet friends.  Lots of love. 

PRAY.

We continue to feel supernatural peace.  There’s no other explanation than the Lord.  Y’all are praying –  we need it and feel it! He’s hearing us and answering.  We’re thankful!

I’d love your continued prayers for doctor’s wisdom and the procedure tomorrow. I’d also love your prayers for physical pain with the weaning (if the pain continues it will be a bonus to have pain meds tomorrow!) and my heart to accept this as part of the process – albeit a part I really don’t like.  And, I’d love your prayers for Linc.  He’s had several sweet babysitters this week – he had 2 different ones today while I went to Baylor for my urine test and went to the dentist (can’t do dental work once chemo starts because of mouth sensitivity but also because of risk of cuts/infection).  Thankfully, Linc did great for Alyssa and Auntie Cheryl and was a happy camper when I came home.  Again, he seems totally fine and resilient – but just sad reality for me more than him.  It’s a crazy situation where he’ll be with so many other people than us over the next few months.  Thankfully, they’re willing to help and they love him and enjoy him and he loves them!  My mother in law came in from Tyler today.  We’re thankful for her willingness to stay for a couple of days while we’re gone tomorrow and likely be a little drowsy for the rest of the night.  She’s great with him.  And great for us!  And we’re thankful for so many folks that love our baby are willing to take care of him for us.

We’ll give you an update tomorrow after the procedure.  Thanks for praying.

LOVE!

Little Miracles

Yesterday was a busy and tiring day – but, all in all, pretty good.  The highlight, without a doubt, was the nurse (Angelique) who summarized our little journey and my day perfectly when she said “your case has been rather unusual [referring to the insurance and, at that moment, to the concerns about a good image on echo cardiogram] but it just keeps working out … little miracles …”  It’s true.  This has been a slightly bumpy road but the Lord has smoothed our path.  Isaiah 26:7, “You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.”  Amen.  Here are a few of the ways the Lord smoothed our path yesterday or, as Angelique said, performed “little miracles…”

  1. We went to chemo class and, about ¾ of the way through, Scott handed me his phone and said “listen to this message…”  It was our financial contact at Texas Oncology celebrating with us that she’d heard back from insurance and they had removed the first year pre-existing condition clause.  THANKS LORD!  While we are thankful for the help and answer for our financial needs, it is also a blessing to have one less series of phone calls to make, questions to ask, and mental energy devoted to the unknowns of that unresolved issue.  We are thankful!
  2. Yesterday afternoon, I became quickly discouraged as we began the echo cardiogram.  I had been at the hospital all morning and gone back for the first time by myself – I’m learning my way around and Scott had a work appointment.  The technician began and, as I’ve heard so many times throughout the last 3 weeks, she said, “you’re nursing?!  I’m not sure this is gonna work …”  All I knew to do and say was “Lord, please make this work!” as she hooked me up with probes all around my torso and then she said, “well I can see your heart just fine!”  Considering I hadn’t nursed Linc since 7am, I wasn’t very hopeful.  But God worked it out.  And that’s when Angelique said, “your case has been rather unusual … but it keeps working out … little miracles.”  My first tears of the day were hearing her Indonesian accent so sweetly describe our situation and to get a glimpse of how God can cause others to see Himself through echo cardiograms, insurance woes, and everything else that lay ahead.
  3. The last “little miracle” that Angelique and I celebrated together at the end of the day was the scheduling of the port surgery.  It had been difficult to get that scheduled and she had heard from Dr. Lamont’s office that he had an opening at 10am on Wednesday but he works out of 3 surgical facilities and she didn’t know which one.  With Linc in mind, arrangements for him and going to new places at the crack of dawn sounded like a beat-down.  So, as she was telling me about the 3 possibilities and that she’d need me to come back to big Baylor anyways for lab work, my eyes were big and all I said was “oh, Lord, please work this out” and she said [I have no idea if she’s a Believer or not but so very sweet and dear and kind to me], “Well He’s done a lot so far.  Please sir?” And within :30, I had a call from big Baylor to begin pre-surgery admittance and I just felt myself sigh with relief when I said “so does this mean Dr. Lamont is doing the surgery at Baylor” and she said yes.  When I called Angelique back to tell her, she said it again … “another little miracle.”

It has also turned out that our willingness to participate in the research study has given us the blessing of another nurse.  Angelique is such a sweet lady and so attentive.  Our oncologist nurse was out of the office yesterday with a sick baby and Angelique followed me to every appointment (not necessarily part of her job but more reflective of her heart for patient care), even insisted on carrying my bag, answered all kinds of questions, and even has asked my permission to attend my surgery on Wednesday.  I’ve told her I feel like I have my own little personal nurse!

So, needless to say, the Lord continues to show Himself faithful.  And, His perfect love continues to cast out any and all fear.  I presumed that the chemo class might be a punch to the gut and reality might be overwhelming but, despite discussing all the side effects and unpleasantness in my body as chemo kills all fast-growing cells (so, not only my cancer but also cells in GI tract, mouth, and skin/hair/nails), I still felt at ease.  I turned to Scott and said, “are we really in here?!”  It still seems so surreal.  How does the girl who doesn’t check any of the boxes on the form about previous surgeries, illness, medications, etc. have cancer in her breast and lymph nodes and feel perfectly fine?!  Oh, that reminds me to tell you that I have an answer to a question many have asked but I hadn’t known before … what stage?!  My cancer is Stage 2B.  I’ve avoided the internet like crazy because know it can be a scary and unreliable source but this was the first thing I’ve looked up (to better understand what that means) and it simply describes the size of my tumor and how far it’s spread.

[If you are interested in more information, the chemo class recommended the sites cancercare.com and cancer.org which is the American Cancer Society’s site.  From there, you can learn much more about treatment and the drugs.  And, for you medical folks out there who won’t more medical details, my chemo regimen includes the drugs taxol, adramyacin, and cytoxan and there’s more information on cancercare.com about those drugs and side effects.]

On the PINK path, here’s what’s next …

  1. Wednesday: Port installed (is that the right medical term?! I don’t think so – I’m making my body sound like a car!) and another biopsy on Wednesday.  I don’t know what that means for anesthesia – all I know is that they said I’ll be “schnockered” so expect that’s a more serious surgery than I’ve ever had.  My only surgery in my life was last year’s c-section for Linc and, while they split my belly open, I was completely awake and remember almost all of it.
  2. Friday:  I’ll check in for lab work at 9:30, see the doctor at 10 (my doctor is still in Vietnam but I’ll see one of her partners) and then infusions begin at 10:45.
  3. Somewhere between Wednesday and Friday we’ll know if I was selected in the randomization for the research drug.  It’s real cute that Angelique is really cheering and hoping I am.  I’m truly happy to help with the research and they are so thankful that it truly makes me want to help the research team and, Lord willing, others in the future.

PRAY.

THANK YOU for praying with us about the insurance.  I know so many of you expressed care and concern and partnered with us in prayer.  He heard us.  And He answered.

The only other slight hiccup that I’m asking the Lord to resolve is that, in my urine test yesterday (did I really type urine?!  And, for that matter, if I really typed breast over and over?! I guess I’m gonna have to grow up and be a big girl …) there were signs of infection.  Angelique sent the sample for further analysis and to see what antibiotic to put me on.  She’s baffled because I don’t have any symptoms (pain or temperature) of any sort of bladder or urinary tract infection though my labs indicate otherwise.  It’s quite apparent that the chemo is a beating on the body so you have to be pretty healthy to get started – I am hopeful and prayerful that they’ll get answers quickly on Monday with a plan to proceed and that can be cleared up quickly and easily (with another urine sample, I’m sure, that has to be clear of infection) before Wednesday or Friday.

LOVE.

We continue to feel so blessed by the care and support of our friends and family.  I can’t thank y’all enough.  And, as noted above, God continues to demonstrate his “perfect love that casts out fear” in all the little and big ways He’s got us.  I came home yesterday from a walk to find men I don’t know mowing our yard – our friends the Lisles offered to take care of our yard for the next year.  However, Scott only agreed to a few months because he said a full year was ‘milking it.’  I, on the other hand, thought a year sounded great:)  We’ve continued to be blessed by kind and sweet texts and emails, thoughtful and generous gifts in the mail (like my favorite and ridiculously expensive perfume that arrived yesterday and a neat blanket designed to keep me warm but not restrict my arms because the infusion rooms are notoriously cold), and more offers to help.   Mandy and Kristi (co-captains of Team Linc) have offered to coordinate childcare for us but, so far, dear friends (who love Linc and that’s the biggest blessing!) have volunteered before I even had to express the need to Team Linc to check others’ availability!  Thanks so much Aunt B, Aunt C, and Auntie Cheryl.

This was a quick entry while Scott and Linc are at Home Depot and now I need to jump in the shower.  So, again, not enough time to properly edit so I hope y’all can make sense of my ramblings.  Off to another friend’s 40th birthday celebration … Happy Happy Birthday Kristi!

Chemo 101

PINK. So, the cancer update for today includes: insurance, chemo 101, and getting started …

1.  Insurance.  It’s still not settled.  BUT, despite being told that we’d be unable to proceed without resolution, we feel like it’s a sweet provision of the Lord that they’re going to let us proceed with cash.  Apparently, it’s common practice for insurance companies to have a ‘first year clause’ for any major issues that arise in the first year of coverage (and we consolidated our insurance as a family in August of 2011 which changed insurance providers for both of us).  But, we also understand that it’s not uncommon for them to remove that clause based on our ability to prove we had prior coverage and no lapses.  But, on Monday, they asked for 5 more days for review.  The financial folks at Baylor have been awesome and helpful (even calling insurance on our behalf) and an unexpected blessing amidst this world of unknowns.  We are thankful we can proceed with treatment.  And, Lord willing, once the insurance issues are resolved, we can be reimbursed.  Scott has repeatedly said, “if this drains our storehouses, so be it …” (while I agree, I may not say it with same amount of joy and ease that Scott can say it!) but he’s also been active with the insurance folks and, this week, I think he went from Mr. Patient to Mr. Justice.  And, albeit kindly, he expressed more concern than he has in the past and his desire for them to “do the right thing.”  So, we wait.  And we pray.  And we trust the Lord to provide through insurance or savings.  Of course, the former is preferred:)  And, the good news is that even if we did have to cover the bulk of the chemotherapy expenses ourselves, the hospital is granting us discounted rates (as if we did have insurance) and, by the time we got to the more expensive aspects (we presume) of surgery, the year would be up and we expect we’d be covered then.  We wait and we PRAY.  Thanks for praying with us.

2.  Chemo 101.  We attend a chemo class in the morning and have an echo cardiogram in the afternoon.  So, while I’m still really at peace, I suspect that the realities of the side effects and the weekly appointments may set in tomorrow.  But, the Lord has daily provided all the peace I needed – so I’m sure that tomorrow He can do the same.  And Scott still feels really good as well.

3.  Getting started.  We are on the schedule to begin infusions next Friday.  We still don’t have a confirmed date/time for the port placement surgery but our oncologist has requested Tuesday or Wednesday and working with the surgeon (likely Dr. Lamont at Baylor) to take care of that and an additional biopsy for a research study we’ve agreed to participate in.  We actually agreed to participate in 2.  One was a ‘no brainer’ as our doctor said because it is a biopsy tissue study that just provides more information for us about the cancer and how it responds with no additional effort or tests or medicine.  There were 2 other studies we could participate in if we elected and we’ve chosen to participate in a phase 2 drug study.  I am not 100% sure of the name but think it’s MM-121 and it’s a drug that is a bit different than the other drugs I’ll receive because it’s more molecular or biologically based (again, something like that – I’m too lazy to go read through all the paperwork or my notes).  This drug will impact our schedule in 2 ways: 1.  if I am selected (it’s randomized and we’ll know next week but out of every 3 candidates, 2 get the drug and only 1 doesn’t), I’ll have 2 weeks of infusions of this drug only before the ‘standard of care’ drug is added for 12 weeks (total of 14 weeks).  And, if selected, our infusions will take a bit longer since they’ll be administering MM-121 and taxol (the first of the 2 cancer-treating drugs).  This drug has similar side effects as regular chemo but doesn’t cause hair loss.  It’s a phase 2 drug so we don’t think the experimental side is too risky and the upside is access to a drug that could enhance the standard of care treatment.  But, really, when it came down to it and I asked Scott to decide he was compelled because it’s an opportunity to help others.  And that made our decision easy.  We didn’t run that by our babysitters but hoped they’d support our decision:)  Then, after the taxol and research drug (assuming both, it’s 14 weeks), we’ll immediately begin the second drug for another 8 weeks.

As I wrote in the last entry, my heart is full.  In the words of Matt Redman, there are “10,000 Reasons for my Heart to Sing.”  My friend Jenn played it for our Bible study group in South Dallas this morning – and my friend Kristin sent me the same song when she first heard the diagnosis.  As we sang today, the words brought tears and sweet encouragement to my heart …

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And here are just a dozen or so reasons for my heart to sing …

I feel LOVED, peaceful, confident in our care, only slightly crazy (but that is with or without cancer!), excited about the Lord drawing me near, super confident in Scott handling the insurance/finances/etc, thankful for friends who are prepared to help with our household needs, thankful for friends who love our baby (oh, and we’re down to 2 feedings/day and that’s going well – thankfully the little man just likes to eat and not picky about how it’s delivered!), rested after a fun birthday weekend, thankful for an easier week and chance to catch our breath before the real journey begins next week, perfectly timed gifts that have blessed our soul (lawn care, music recommendations and cds, food and more food, fabulous pink shoes, a photography session to capture our family on the brink of this journey, dinners, chocolate covered strawberries) and SO many words of encouragement.

He’s got us.  And He’s given us y’all as reminders of that truth.  We thank you.

And now off to get Linc ready for bed and then put a delicious meal by Jeannie Lewis on our table…

Seriously?!

Well, this should be SHORT (at least that’s my intention but those that know me well probably don’t believe it!) and hopefully SWEET.  I write because I find myself overwhelmed … and repeatedly thinking to myself, “Seriously?! …

…Is God really so good to me that, in the midst of this crazy news and loss of control (which I love far more than I should), that I feel so unbelievably loved, safe, secure, and BLESSED?! Has he really turned something like cancer into one of the biggest blessings and means of grace and love that I have ever experienced?!”  And, it is NOT because I have an amazing faith – many of y’all have been sweet to encourage me with admiration but this is NOT of me.  It’s ALL HIM.

The blessings of His grace FAR outweigh the burden! As I sat down for some quiet with Jesus today I found myself, within minutes, crying and asking “Lord, are you really this good to me?!” Y’all have inundated us with texts, calls, emails and concern – and inundated Cynthia with offers to help (note to self: next time you give out Cynthia’s email in a mass communication, don’t forget to give her a heads up that you’re finally getting around to sending the email that includes her name and contact information before your sweet friends flood her inbox with sweet offers to help!).  We feel SO loved.  Y’all have prayed for us, blown us away with offers to help, and reminded us that we won’t have to walk this road alone.  We feel far more blessed than burdened.  He’s THAT good.  Seriously.  And I’m SO grateful.

More evidence of His goodness …

For my 40th birthday (yesterday), my friends hounded me about how I wanted to celebrate but I resisted.  Between a wedding and all the related festivities in 2010 followed by a baby and all the festivities (more gifts, meals, parties, visits, texts, calls) in 2011, I felt more than adequately loved and celebrated.  By my faithful friends were quite persistent.  I didn’t want a party but I finally relented when we came up with the idea of “40 hours of fun with friends and favorite things” and strung together my favorite activities of Starbucks, church, breakfast, road trips, lakes, tennis, walking, jogging, JDs, nails, games, lemonade iced tea, mexican food, white cake and white icing, and lots of laughs with about 15 friends starting on Sunday morning in Dallas, to Tyler for the afternoon and night, and back to Dallas on Monday.  I spent the last of the 40 hours at a great dinner with Scott.  It was pretty much perfect. And, as if that wasn’t MORE than enough love, fun and celebration, then there were texts, calls, emails, cookie deliveries, flowers, cards, sweet and thoughtful gifts and countless other ways I felt loved.  I don’t know if it was turning 40 or having cancer but let me tell you that cancer + 40 = most awesome (and very PINK!) birthday ever!

And, again, I see that the Lord went before me.  When all these haggling over plans was going down, noone had any idea that my birthday would fall smack dab in the middle between a cancer diagnosis and my first rounds of treatment.  But God did.  And, He went out of the way to orchestrate the perfect birthday of my very favorite things with favorite people!

PRAY.

Many of y’all have said you’re praying about insurance and we THANK YOU!  We don’t have answers yet but have heard it might be Wednesday or Thursday.  So, we wait. And, as a result, we also wait to know when the port will be implanted and chemo will begin.  My idolatry of control shows its ugly head here because I hate the waiting, the ambiguity about the schedule over the next couple of weeks, and the inability to plan.  I don’t wait well.  I like structure and predictability.

As a result, I find myself doing stupid stuff like a mad dash to Target last Sunday (right after the diagnosis) to swap out diapers for a bigger size when I had a :45 window and Scott had suggested a nap instead.  Why was I at Target instead of curled up on the couch with my husband when I was exhausted?! This morning, in a short window before a photography session (sweet birthday gift!), I decided it was time to clean out any/all clutter and I started a Goodwill collection.  And, washed all the sheets.  Thankfully my mother in law was here to help enable my insanity:)  I find myself  in a ridiculous, futile pursuit of the allusion of control, order and cleanliness.  While I still feel good, while I still have some sense of control over my schedule, I have a ridiculous need to get all things in order – like I said, the allusion of control.  I’ve confessed this idolatry to the Lord (life is in Him not in an orderly home or schedule) but I would love prayer here because this will be a daily struggle as I face the loss of my life as I know it for a few months and anticipate a ‘new normal.’  I know GOD is in control – and He’s given me plenty of opportunities to see that! I don’t need to struggle, strain, or fret in pursuit of that (perceived) control and order.  Please pray that I can rest in the Lord, cease striving, embrace this new normal as an opportunity to mature in Him, and give up the pursuit of the allusion of control and order.  Thankfully, Scott doesn’t struggle in the same ways.  And he’s not hesitant to call out my insanity.

And, lastly, there has been another sweet gift … and another reminder of His provision … an unexpected check that covers our deductible.  God’s got us.  And so do y’all. And He IS that Good.  Seriously!   Thanks for all the LOVE.

PS I acknowledge that was not short.  But God is most certainly SWEET.

Welcome to our Wild Ride

Pink.

Well, since “pink is my signature color” (so perfectly said by Shelby in Steel Magnolias), thankfully I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer instead of colon cancer:)  And, pink makes for a fitting title for this new reality in our lives – it seemed much gentler than leading out with “cancer” and, without a doubt, we feel the gentleness of the Lord in everything we’ve experienced to date.  In summary, I felt a lump several months ago but we assumed it was related to nursing Lincoln so I didn’t go to the doctor right away.  I went to my ob/gyn February 1st and he also presumed it was a nursing-related cyst.  The breast surgeon he referred us to presumed the same but that all changed quickly last Tuesday (7th) when he tried to aspirate it and realized it was a dense mass (about the size of a marble) and not a cyst.  He also saw enlarged lymph nodes on the ultrasound.  He took cell samples and asked us to meet us back at his office on Thursday.  He then lovingly, compassionately and graciously told us that I had cancer in my breast and lymph nodes.  Thankfully, it’s nowhere else in my body.  And very treatable.

The treatment plan will begin soon.  The next steps (within a week most likely) are to have a minor surgery to insert a port and do another biopsy.  After the port is installed, I will likely begin chemotherapy within days.  There are 2 rounds of drugs and those will be administered in sequence.  The first round will be 14 weeks and I’ll go every week.  The second round immediately follows and is 8 weeks – I’ll go every 2 weeks.  The second round is harder on the body and I’d hoped to have the hardest round first but we agreed to participate in a study with another drug that requires pairing in a different order.  I have some encouraging signs that my body may not suffer the fullest extent of side effects as others – apparently, if you aren’t easily susceptible to nausea (i.e., motion sickness in cars, roller coasters, and pregnancy) then you’re likely to have less nausea with chemo.  And they promised there are medicines of all sorts to counteract nausea, mouth sores, tummy issues, etc.  We are wondering, however, with so much medical progress, where’s the drug to prevent hair loss?!  But, even on that front, I feel better about it than I would have expected and they can tell me, almost to the day, when I’ll lose my hair.  Looks like God’s gonna use medicine to help heal my body and work on my vanity in the process!

We have LOVED all of our doctors and their respective staffs.  Blown away by the breast surgeon’s (Dr. Kuhn) thoroughness, compassion, and kindness and we took his recommendation for a breast oncologist (Dr. Osborn/Baylor) and are blown away as well by her thoroughness, history, experience, and attentiveness.  And, as if I didn’t feel like I was in good enough hands (and we do!), Dr. Osborn then offered me her cell phone and said I could call in the middle of the night if we needed to.  Our mouths fell open and we felt so overwhelmed with that level of care – and this was in the middle of an appointment where she’d spent 1.5 hours with us answering questions and helping us understand my diagnosis as well as treatment plans.

After chemotherapy, I’ll have a 2-week break to let blood cells recover then surgery.  It’s unclear right now if that will be lumpectomy, mastectomy or double mastectomy.  Since there’s no family history of breast cancer, they want genetic testing to help determine future risks and the decision about that.  After surgery, I’ll have anti-hormone therapy to prevent recurrence and possibly radiation (depending on type of surgery).  So, in total 7-8 months of chemo/surgery before ongoing treatment.

Pray.

At this point, we feel SO covered by the prayers and support of friends and family and are so thankful.  As of today, my requests are for Lincoln (8.5 months), Scott (been nothing short of amazing so far but it will be a long, hard road for him), for doctor’s continued wisdom and guidance (huge praise that our care to date has been amazing!), for my body and strength during chemo and surgery, and for all the friends around us who have graciously agreed to carry this burden with us but we know it will become burdensome for them as well.

Our greatest heartache so far has been Lincoln.  We know that he’s a GREAT age for this because it will be a blur and he’ll be in great hands with friends and family but weaning has been hard for me and Scott and I both get most emotional when we think about him having to have his little world rocked over the next 6+ months.

The only major stressor for me (not Scott) at this point is insurance.  We have new insurance as of last August and it’s their practice to consider anything in the first year a pre-existing condition.  We have sent paperwork proving we had ‘credible coverage’ prior to our coverage with them but it will take 7-10 days to process that and, Lord willing, lift that clause.  To date, the doctors have been great to allow us to pay out of pocket (initially there was some concern about even taking us for the initial appointments) but, with the great expense, it is  Baylor’s policy not to accept any patients for treatment without sufficient insurance coverage.  We are praying that will be resolved quickly because I can’t start treatment until it is.

And, lastly, I’d really love your prayers for Scott.  He’s been a rock.  And He’s been SO trusting of the Lord with results, me and finances (not wanting to compromise treatment or timing even if it meant all out of pocket).  But this will be a long road for him as a caregiver to me, Lincoln, taking on much more of our house management, and trying to work as much as he can in the midst for income.  We are thankful for a great business partner for him that has more than been willing to fill in the gaps.  But Scott also loves what he does so know this will be a hard change of roles and jobs.  And I pray against the strain on our marriage when both of us will be physically, emotionally and spiritually weary.  At the same time, to date, it’s been one of the very sweetest seasons in our marriage.  I am so blessed with him.

Love.

We feel absolutely overwhelmed by the immense love and care we’ve received by our friends. Our God’s gone before us in so many very visible ways to remind us that though it’s a shock to us it’s NOT a surprise to Him! He’s paved the way in precious and gracious ways.  He knew this was coming in 2012 and He surprised me with Scott in 2010 then surprised us with Linc in 2011.  So the surprise of cancer is so graciously buffered by those other surprise gifts of grace.  My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.  And He’s granted a peace that surpasses understanding.  He’s got this!  And us!

And, the love from our friends has been AMAZING.  I can’t even begin to explain how surrounded, loved, encouraged, and served we’ve felt.  They’ve kept Lincoln, made baby food, cried with me about weaning him, swept floors, brought dinners, done laundry, begun organizing teams to meet needs, set up this blog, delivered Starbucks on multiple mornings, gone to the store for us, gave us a filing system to organize all the flood of information and paper … and it’s only been one week!  Again, we feel like God is providing our daily manna and promising He is more than able to do the same for tomorrow … and the next 6-9 months!  We’ve been so shocked by how many of y’all have asked how you can help.  What a gift! Cynthia is coordinating that and can connect you with the right person for whatever suits your desire.  If you want to do something, send her an email with our name in the subject line at cculver@watermark.org and tell her what you’d like to help with (meals, babysitting, household needs like groceries, laundry, errands, or anything else!)

With love and thanks from the House of Clouse!

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.