It’s been hard. God’s good. We have hope.

These are the times when I sooo want to update you all with what has transpired in last couple of weeks but can barely keep it straight in my own head or remember all the details myself or remember where we left off. I am writing today on the presumption that ‘something is better than nothing’ and will try to fill in a few details from our pink world. Here are some highlights …

– On Wednesday, 10.28, we met with Dr. Osborne and all agreed it was time to surrender the trial. We had learned that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with the pills and no one ahead of me on the trial was still on the trial. In the back of Scott’s mind, he’d had a hard time surrendering the trial ‘just in case this was the silver bullet that would work if you could just keep the meds down…’ He was more aware than anyone of the daily torture and hated that for me but he was also the most hopeful for it to be effective. But, once Dr. Osborne felt like the quality of life issues were overtaking the possible benefits, he was quick to agree. 

– On Friday, 10.30, we met with the palliative care team at Baylor … Wow. The place little overflowed with love and compassion and care. One nurse introduced herself, told some of her story (including personal loss of her husband and son), and described her job as ‘we are here so you can just breathe…’ and I looked up to see that tears were forming in both of our eyes. Just breathe?! Those were precious words. We spent the next hour learning about palliative care (pain management, child and family services, hospice) with Dr. Casanova listening intently to our needs and concerns. As we talked to him, I had to move seats (from chair to lay down on table) and he specifically commented on my visible level of pain. We discussed some of my other issues (appetite, fatigue, weight loss…) and he asked me to prioritize my needs so we could work on one at a time and not introduce too many variables. It was easy to choose pain management! He immediately increased my pain patch and switched me over from hydrocodone to diladid. Over that weekend, I was still in lots of pain and the days included lots of pills. But, day by day, we are making progress and I am so very encouraged! The pills still make me want lots of sleep but as the pain gets better and my body starts getting accustomed/regulated to the associated fatigue, hopefully I can be more active and, subsequently, more energetic. As it is now, I am pretty limited in how many activities I can (or can’t!) handle.

– Over that weekend (Halloween), we committed to having the hard conversation with Lincoln about the realities of our future. We had told him in many ways but not so directly as to say ‘because of cancer, Mama is most likely going to die.’ And we didn’t try to follow that up with any salve on the wound but just let those painful words hang in the room and let him ask questions (he didn’t…). It seemed to ‘go well’ though we had zero expectations – it ‘went well’ just because we had done what we felt the Lord had directed us (with input from child life specialist) to do, in the spirit of love and truth, for Lincoln’s benefit. 

– The only clues we had about what was happening on the inside was his outward behavior on the night of Halloween … And it was wheel’s off! As in, worst.night.ever. As a wise friend who has parented her kiddos through some hard situations said ‘what can’t come out through words will come out in behavior.’ And I would say that his behavior communicated that he was/is angry and confused and overwhelmed. But the ‘tiger chef’ sure looked cute didn’t he….?!  

His fun ended shortly after this moment and he was in bed by 6 because he lost the privilege (after yelling, screaming, spitting and blowing snot out of his nose!) of any more fun!

– In sharp contrast, the very next day, Sunday, was one of the sweetest days in the life of our family. After church, Scott crawled in the backseat of the car with Lincoln and put his arm around him. He said ‘Lincoln we had to give you some hard news yesterday…’ At this point, Mama interjected and said ‘what was the hard news?’ And Lincoln said, ‘that Mama us going to die…’ Scott picked it up so sweetly and said, ‘we know this is hard but there’s something else we need you to know … We need to know that God loves you, God can be trusted and He doesn’t make mistakes. And Daddy is going to take care of you. And Mama is going to take care of you as long as she can…’ And before Scott could finish these thoughts it was sooo cute because Lincoln started naming all of his ‘aunts’ and grandparents and our friends who would take care of him. They have given him a great deal of confidence that they will love him and take care of him. Ummm, is that not such a precious gift to all of us?!

– This past week, we began discussions about ‘what’s next?’ to get back to fighting cancer and not just manage side effects. We’ve explored 2 chemo-based options. One is a trial and the other is a standard of care drug (taxotere) that is usually used for lung cancer. Though Dr Osborne even reached out to the CEO on my behalf to request access to this trial, we don’t think I will qualify – one of my liver mets is above the maximum limit of 7cm (mine was 7.4cm as of last scan) and also because the HGB (red blood cells) need to be 9. And in recent weeks mine have been dropping below 9. They were 8.6 on Wednesday when I was at my appointment and we suggested I go back for blood work on Friday to see which direction it was going – it was going the wrong direction and down to 8.5. Given her assumption that the cancer is now in my bone marrow and my counts are dropping we are moving forward with the standard of care drug. It is administered every 3 weeks starting this Wednesday at 830a. 

Those are the highlights I can come up with right now. Not sure that ‘highlights’ is the best description for anything related to cancer but, in between the small font, I want to make sure you picked up that we have made some slow but noticeable improvement in my pain management plan – and that is encouraging!  There are still several other issues but it’s super encouraging to see progress with pain management and specific answers to prayers … So, again, thank you for praying! And caring. And rejoicing in good news. And concern for Lincoln. And loving our family.

I am too tired to edit so I apologize if you have to play a word game or two to interpret what I am trying to say or the chronology of events. Let me summarize: it’s been hard but He’s been good and we have hope💗

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47 thoughts on “It’s been hard. God’s good. We have hope.

  1. Jen and Scott, thank you once again for allowing us the privilege of seeing your heart and your thoughts through these very difficult days. I am so very proud of how you have loved one another and precious Lincoln! Again, you are the ones who encourage me by your faith!
    Continuing to pray for you 3.
    With love,
    Dianne

  2. Thank you so so much for the update! I know it’s not easy. I am so encouraged by you and your sweet family, as always and so so proud of ALL that you do to make Him more famous! We are praying BIG for you and yours. Love you so! xoxo

  3. Praying for you, Scott and Lincoln. I just cannot imagine how hard this is. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your journey. God is most certainly glorified through you.

  4. Clouses, There are no words. We are continuing to pray.
    Thank you for sharing with us and letting us see such incredible hope.

  5. Dear sweet new friend – everything about you screams strength to me!! I am praying continually for that to continue … I had Taxotere with my breast cancer – I will pray that they can make this happen for you… Meanwhile, the nurse in me prays for comfort and caring, the Mom in me prays for nurturing and nourishing, the wife in me prays for compassion and afternoon naps with your loves, the survivor in me prays that your warrior remains steadfast…. Love to you and this fight… Karen from camp

  6. Dear Jennifer, You and your family are loved and prayed for. Your journey is very similar to my Mom’s. As I read about your pain I pray fervently that you will have relief. Much love to you. I know the Lord’s plans are perfect. Trusting Him!

  7. Thank you for sharing and allowing so many to pray for you through your hardest time. As far as palliative care goes Dr. Casanova is AMAZING. He was sent by God to my mom when she was in such pain. He was such a blessing to us as I know he will be to you. Praying for you. xoxo

  8. Jennifer, Scott and Lincoln –
    I have been praying for you all this week. You continually point to Him in all you do. Your grace is such a reflection of his grace. As I write this I am praying that you are feeling his strength and comfort.
    Love and hugs,
    Lisa

  9. I came to “know” you because of Melanie (Big Mama) and have never commented, thought I have had you and your precious family in my prayers. But after your last two posts, I have to tell you that if I am ever in a similar situation I can only hope and pray to handle it with half the grace that you are displaying. Your blog is such a testimony to your faith and our God’s grace. I will continue to keep you and your precious family in my prayers…

  10. Sometimes I don’t comment simply because I don’t know what to say. But your faith is inspiring. Your ability to love is contagious. Your ability to face truth admirable. You are a wonderfully, authentic and true friend to everyone. I still remember being immediately attracted to you at NW Bible. You are winsome Jennifer. You win people to Christ because it’s so attractive in you. You are on my mind and heart which drives me to petition the Lord to put a hedge around you to continue to trust Him with your very life.

  11. Jennifer,
    I only know you thru your postings. I have followed you and your journey for some time now. I only wish we were friends because you are truly amazing, Your writing and sharing is remarkable and I pray that I have your grace and love of GOD for myself. You are a wonderful example of a life well lived.
    I wish you love and peace. Thank you for sharing your life.

  12. I’m inspired daily by your strength personally and as a family and your faith in God. I think of you every day up here in Canada and pray for you all daily – I have a young son too – you are a true inspiration Jen-
    Love another Jen

  13. Dear sweet Jen words fail me but prayers will not. Thank you for allowing me into your life. You are in my heart. Prayers for you and your precious family.

  14. Dear Jen ,Scott and Linc, reading this brings many tears and nauseous feelings, but thankful for your strong faith. Praying for pain free days along with energy and strength. Much love Kk

  15. What a gift these posts are. I know it must take such effort to write it out but through the words shine so many intangible things: grace, hope, wisdom. A clear miracle of faith. Love you so much.

  16. Thank you for taking the time to update! You are soooooo loved as is your precious family! The three of you and your extended family are always in my prayers! God is good all the time and I praise Him for progress in your pain control! Continuing to thank God for the miracles along the way and praying for many more miracles to come and your ultimate complete healing here & now with Scott and precious Lincoln!

  17. I’ve been praying for you and your family, and you have been on my mind and heart so much since you wrote your post with the words ‘palliative care’. I cannot imagine how difficult this has been for all of you. May He continue to give you and your family strength, wisdom, and grace in this journey, and may He be glorified through it all.

  18. “The chief end of man is to glorify God. And it is truer in suffering than anywhere else that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
    John Piper

    Jennifer, you bring glory to God…praying.

  19. “It’s been hard but He’s been good and we have hope”. This is going to be part of your fruit. Signed a sister in Christ who you’ll meet one Day.

  20. I continue to pray Romans 15:13 for you, Scott, Lincoln and your families and friends. May the peace of Christ continue to rest on you.

  21. My heart is heavy that you had to have that conversation with Lincoln…I am praying for a miraculous healing for you, relief from your pain, and comfort for Scott and Linc. Your commitment to Christ in every aspect of this battle is an encouragement to all. Love, hugs,and prayers to you guys.

  22. Thank you Jennifer for your faithful desire to keep us all informed. We want to know because we love you. You know the reality of hope and have hung on incredibly well. Your smile is real and your faith is amazing. While my heart is heavy, I am so thankful that you have such amazing strength. God provides what we need, when we need it. Your faith is bigger than your fear! Praise God! I love you!

  23. Nothing brilliant to say. But whatever life you have soak it up and make it beautiful and enjoy. It is all any of us have. Xoxo

  24. Jen, I love you and your courage and willingness to share such challenging details about this terrible disease. Your gift for expressing yourself, what’s happening and always with your smile shining through your tears and words is remarkable. We continue to pray for your strength and pain meds that work and cheer you on with your medical team that rocks and your beautiful family and friends who look up to you and cherish you in love all the time.

  25. Jennifer,
    I was listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio other day and he was speaking about the idea of ‘living your life as a gift to others’. I immediately thought of you and what an example you have been of this notion. Several gifts came to mind and yet I know this is just a handful of the many that have been bestowed on countless recipients through you.

    *Love for God’s Word: the first time I heard you- [early 90’s at Northwest Bible]. I was a relatively new Christian and you were speaking at some ladies gathering. Your talk was at least 75% straight scripture – I was awed and oh so challenged to get God’s Word in my heart.

    *Hospitality: a small group of ladies were welcomed in your home to study Philippians in the early days of Watermark.

    *Faithfulness: for years, hundreds of ladies [Thursday nights, South Dallas, etc] benefited from the commitment and willingness to prepare for and share God’s Word.

    *Surrender: The story of your courtship with Scott. Man, God writes amazing stories!

    *Discipleship: “No way am I going to try and teach anywhere near where Jennifer can listen”. This was my first thought when invited to Uganda. I was provided a safe place to do something that was out of my comfort zone and you supplied great encouragement along the way.

    *Laughter: I truly can’t remember how long it had been since I laughed as hard as I did during on the Uganda trip. I realize this wasn’t all you, but boy laughter is therapeutic.

    *Stewardship: I loved hearing about the wedding plans and yours and Scott’s heart behind your budget. Such an example of community living not to mention an amazingly beautiful experience. I know many were challenged to follow suit.

    *Intimacy: Scott gets to elaborate on this gift 

    *Life: pregnancy, delivery, nursing, diapers etc. Precious Lincoln has the privilege of being the only one to receive this sacrificial gift.

    *Vulnerability: many women were able to gather the gift of vulnerability from you as you shared leaving the work force and the impact on your identity at the Refresh Retreat.

    *Compassion: the talk we had at this retreat during my health crisis was such a boost and balm to my weary soul.

    *Faith: there is such a concrete picture of what faith looks like day to day on Pink, Pray, Love. And it’s far reaching, accessible and lasting. The words and emotions of this journey are being imparted to many.

    Sweet Jen, I don’t share these ideas with you to praise you (may it never be!), but to let you know that I have seen God impart His gifts to multitudes through the vessel I know and love as Jennifer.

    All for His Glory!

  26. You don’t know me… I am Meredith Ridgways mom, but……..
    Want to know my family will be praying for you and Gods glorious strength and for your lovely family.
    God is helping at this moment.
    Sandra and John Dickey

  27. Hello,
    Came across your story thru a friends blog–you are in my prayers! As I am a mom of a small boy and had a brother who passed away from cancer a few years ago at 38 I empathize. I just thought I would randomly reach out and extend a website and video series that I love–truthaboutcancer.com –the video serie is life changing. Natural remedies to heal our bodies with cancer –just thought I’d extend an arm because I would want to know. It may not be too late. Praying for you.

  28. Jen, I don’t even have the words to say to you. This one made me cry! Praying that they can manage the pain so you can be more active! Also praying for Scott and Lincoln and your Mom, and your friends. I could go on an on.

  29. Hello,
    Came across your story thru a friends blog–you are in my prayers! As I am a mom of a small boy and had a brother who passed away from cancer a few years ago at 38 I empathize. I just thought I would randomly reach out and extend a website and video series that I love–truthaboutcancer.com –the video serie is life changing. Natural remedies to heal our bodies with cancer –just thought I’d extend an arm because I would want to know. It may not be too late. Praying for you.

  30. Sending love and prayers to you and your family and close friends. You are such an inspiration to so many people.

  31. We’ve never met but your story and your faith are such a testament. I thank God for every remembrance of you…it makes me a better person to have “known” you and has made me desire to strengthen my relationship with Christ. My prayers are with you and your family for strength, comfort and peace.

  32. Dear Jen, Scott and Lincoln,

    We have never meet before. I stumbled across your story watching a Watermark Community Church podcaste. I have been encouraged and challenged as I’ve followed along and prayed for your family. Thank you for sharing and faithfully pointing us to Jesus.

  33. Ug. I hate this. I am so sad for your pain and cancer and ending the trial…so amazing you have the hope you have. Thankful you have always taught that, lived that and breathed that to yourself and others!!! You are a beautiful child of God.

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