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.

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17 thoughts on “Welcome to our Wild Ride

    • My name is Sherry and am Praying for you and with you. May the Lord Almighty God heal you. I believe with you and your family. I join ya’all in prayer knowing there is power in agreement. Mathew 18: 20.
      I also believe you are healed by the the powerful blood and name of Jesus and the hand of God..
      Continue holding on God and hold on to faith. For the double edged sword: The Word of the Lord reminds us in proverbs 3 :25: “Have no fear
      “Verse 26: “For the Lord will be your confidence”.
      We will call call upon the Lord knowing He listens.

      Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you don’t know”.
      Believe and tap into Faith because Faith can move mountains. I believe for you and with you!
      Jeremiah 17:14. “Heal me O lord, and I will be healed.”
      I send you love and my prayers. May the good Lord be with you and do a new thing with you and heal your body in the healing powerful name of Jesus!!
      My words of love that I send you!!! Zephaniah 3:17,” The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love , he will rejoice over you with singing. So believe the Lord will do a good thing on your behalf and heal you.. We now know He is rejoicing over your healing with singing.In tough times Turn to The Lord.He will quiet you with his amazing love and grace. And give you peace that is beyond understanding.
      Word: Romans 12:12″Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Pray without ceasing for the prayers of a righteous man/woman availeth much!! Read Isaiah : 43
      God bless you and I love you in the Lord: Sister Sherry..

  1. hey my sweet friend, you and your precious family are in our prayers, God is great Jen, and he loves you more than you could ever dream of. we are always here for you at any time.

    love ya, laurie and Palmer

  2. Im wowed by your writing!
    I’m really sorry Jen about all of this you’re going through and for Scott

    You’re in my heart and prayers!

  3. You are amazing! I’m sorry I dont live closer, I would be there to help you out! I’m praying for you and I know you are going to be just fine!! I love and miss you old friend….
    Love, april

  4. Praying for you all… Trey especially….. He loves him some jennifer lewis…. We are here for you for whatever… I emailed cynthia I can do whatever you need… Boys would love to help with Lincoln… Love you friend…So thankful we believe in one who heals….

  5. Thanks for the update Jennifer! The nurse in me wants the details! Like I said before, will be bugging God on your behalf regularly! The soul of a pioneer is strong in you!

  6. Thanks for doing a blog. It will be super to know specifics for which to pray. My gang is on it (by gang, I mean adolescent and elementary age warriors … it’s always fun to watch God move their hearts in prayer). To the One who keeps in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in Him.

  7. Jennifer and Scott, You obviously have all the right ingredients for a strong marriage with God as your leader! First congrat’s on birth of your son Linc, what a honey! Secondly your love and strength with each other, level thinking and positive attitude will see you through this all. I am impressed with your writing skills, guess blogging was to be in your future as well and will give others the strength to endure their journeys as well.

    Love and Gods Blessings,
    Terry, Barbara, Tayler & Tyler Kerr

  8. Jennifer- or shall I say my lady o’ the house of clouse? Thanks do much for this update and allowing us to follow you in prayer and as you said- God isn’t surprised by this – so we can just cover you in prayer and allow Him to be glorified.

    Much love to you and we will be in touch with Cynthia to get tips on how we can support your sweet family in the coming weeks.

    Hil and Lisabeth Bowman

  9. Thank you for sharing Jennifer. My heart is all over the place and dont have many words to express but, yes, I will join in, with the many others, in praying for you all and I am looking forward to seeing how I can serve you all.

  10. JLEW, S-Murda & Lincy Linc Linc – We love you and are praying for you. (This is Rich writing from my mom’s email account.) I am here with my mom and Ash. We love you with all of our hearts. Please keep posting to your blog so we can stay tuned. Love you again.
    Richie, Ash, and Mary (and the Bun in the oven) and the entire Cray / Corrigan Clan

    • But God………..

      2 Corinthians 1:9-11

      Thank you for allowing us to be a small part through much prayer and love for all you have given to us.

  11. Loving your posts and thrilled that you have such a wonderful forum for sharing the journey. You are always faithful to Him, and He has given you this opportunity to let you shine light in the darkness, so shine on dear friend!!

    When i read about you having to wean Linc, I remembered that I had to wean Rachel at 4 months — much sooner than I had wanted. Ha! Turns out that she wasn’t picky about where her food came from — me or a bottle — she just wanted to eat! It was much harder on me than her, but nevertheless she has become an amazing young woman. And your precious one will also become a wonderful man 🙂

    Joining you on this journey in prayer — Katherine

  12. Hi Sweet Friend! Words cannot suffice what my heart feels. I am sending you the biggest hug from Austin though! You can count on me to also be a prayer warrior for you and your family (that little Lincoln is so darn cute!). Happy Birthday for yesterday too! I hope there was much sunshine added to your day in the midst of this storm. You have always been an inspiration to many. Lean on us. You have so many people behind you. I too know in my heart that God has you in His hands and will bring you through this. Much love and prayers your way!

  13. Jennifer, I am amazed by your outlook and so encouraged to see how GOD is working even now in and through this to bring HIM glory.

  14. Pingback: Life Goes On… | Pink. Pray. Love.

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