"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Minor Setback...

Starting a couple weeks back Jeff started fainting randomly if he sat up too fast. As time went on the fainting became more frequent until yesterday at home he fainted right next to the kitchen table and just about hit his head. Tonya was luckily home and told Mom who then called the Doc. The Nurse Practitioner said they wanted him to come in right away for a cat scan. They were worried the tumor had changed which would trigger the fainting.

The scan result was clear, thank the Lord, but his white blood cell count was dangerously low. A normal white blood cell count is between 4,300 and 10,800. Jeff's count was 700. They immediately quarantined him and anyone around him must wear a mask. It could be life threatening for him to catch even the common cold. He was given blood just moments ago and antibiotics a few times a day. They will check his blood again tomorrow for a new count. We are believing in a much higher count! As soon as the count is up he may go home. They would like to see his white count to be at least 1,000 so that he may be able to fight any infections he comes across. We are waiting to hear from his oncologist, Dr. Alguire to see if she wants to give him a shot that will bring the count up or let his body do it on his own. His hemoglobin was also low so he got a couple units of blood today. We love and appreciate all the prayers and support!

He is doing well, his color even looks better that it had this weekend! He is at Mercy Hospital in Muskegon. He is not allowed any fresh fruits or flowers though because they can carry in germs. Thank you all again.

Friday, July 8, 2011

We Won't Stop Believing

     Jeff is doing incredibly well!  He finished his radiation treatment about 2 week ago.  He was thrilled to be done going to the hospital daily to receive the radiation.  Jeff did lose his hair which he has only had to shave a couple times, the scar from his surgery looks amazing it's even hard to tell it is there!

    On Friday, July 1 he had a surgery to place a port in his chest that directly attaches to a main artery for the chemo. It basically looks like a pop bottle cap under his skin which when it is pieced with a needle or whatever it reseals itself.  He starts chemo on Monday, July 11 which he has to do once a week for 8 months.  The appointment could sometimes take one hour or up to 3 hours. 

    The Marine Corps sent Jeff an Ipad 2 which will be nice to have with him at his appointments.  Prior to his surgery he had his first MRI since his surgery with all positive reports.  The cancer has not spread at all, there is swelling from the radiation which is normal but the doctors were all pleased with the results...once again God is so Good!!

    We are asking for continued prayers for the healing in Jeff and that he has a smooth transition into chemo.  We appreciate all the love and support while Jeff destroys the disease within him. He is and will continue to be doing better than anyone had expected...he is our Jeff :)

Taken on Mother's Day just before he started losing his hair...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

By His Stripes

Isaiah 53:4-5

Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

 
   Jeff started his radiation therapy today to shrink what is left of the tumor.  He has to go everyday Monday through Friday at 10:40am.  The treatment only takes about an hour.  The radiation is being focused on his brain and spine (as a precaution). 

   With gas prices so high it was another answered prayer that he is able to receive the radiation at the Johnson Cancer Center in Muskegon so they do not have to drive to Grand Rapids everyday! He will still have appointments with his Oncologist in Grand Rapids.  
   Radiation therapy is in itself painless.  Most side effects are predictable and expected. Side effects from radiation are usually limited to the area of the patient's body that is under treatment. One of the aims of modern radiotherapy is to reduce side effects to a minimum, and to help the patient to understand and to deal with those side effects which are unavoidable.
   The main side effects reported are fatigue and skin irritation, like a mild to moderate sun burn and hair loss. The fatigue often sets in during the middle of a course of treatment and can last for weeks after treatment ends. The skin irritation will also go away, but it may not be as elastic as it was before. ** 
   The radiation therapy will last about 4 to 6 weeks after which they will re-evaluate and determine if and when chemotherapy will start to completely demolish the cancer!!  We appreciate all the love, support and prayers from everyone!


Jeff and his girlfriend Ashton helping his niece Makayla color on Easter.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

God is Good

     Jeff and the rest of his family returned home late on Friday, April 1st. The Marine Corps arranged the flights home for the four of them and because of the busy season they were separated into two separate flight schedules. Jeff and Patti had angels watching over them because they just barely made one of their connecting flights! All four of them met in Denver, CO and took a connecting flight home, safe and sound!

     Jeff is so happy to be home and near all the family and friends that have been praying for him. His head was very swollen and he was in some pain after the long day of travel but with just a couple days of rest it is now back to normal! He is healing very well!

     On Friday, April 8th he has an appointment at The Helen DeVos Children's Hospital to discuss his further treatment needs and the best way to destroy the rest of the tumor. We are praying and believing for a quick and smooth remission.

     Thank you so much for the continuing prayers and overall agreement in Jeff's recovery! We appreciate it all. More good news to follow from his appointment...

Helicopter flight from Twenty-Nine Palms to Desert Regional Medical Center.....$25,555.95.

Brain Surgery.....$ hundreds of thousands.

Not only being a walking Miracle of God but also being medically covered by the Marine Corps.....PRICELESS!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homecoming

   Wow what a whirlwind this last couple days have been.  Sorry we haven't been able to keep up the posts but a lot has happened.  Jeff was released from ICU on March 25 and has been given a room in the Neuro Trauma Unit.  We now have better access and can visit whenever we want. 

   It was great that he was sent there before Justin and Kassie had to leave so they could get back to their beautiful girl Makayla.  It was Kassie's hope that she would see him out of ICU before she left and God answered her prayer.  This has been the theme all week.  God has been so gracious and has answered every one of our prayers. 

   When we came out here we had no idea where we would be staying we just knew we had to get out here.  Bob's office manager just happens to have a niece who is a nurse at the hospital that Jeff was admitted to and made arrangements for us to stay at the Hanson House which is a non-profit home set up for family members of patients and is a two minute walk from the hospital.  Then we found out that the Marines are going to pay for our plane tickets and our room charges.  We didn't even think to ask for this but apparently someone prayed for it because God provided this as well. 

   As for Jeff, he has amazed everyone especially the hospital staff.  They cannot explain it because only God can.  He has been cleared by the physical therapist and the occupational therapist with no rehabilitation needed as he has lost no motor skills or memory or anything.  The neuro surgeon cleared him to leave whenever he is ready.  We are waiting for word from the Marines that he is clear to go to Grand Rapids and we are hoping to get that Monday or Tuesday.  Once we have that we will be coming home with Jeff to start his treatment in Grand Rapids.  None of this would be possible without the miraculous power of our awesome God so please keep praying and know that God is on the Scene.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Day Another Answered Prayer

    This has been another amazing day that God has shown us how much He loves us.  Today we met with the oncologist to discuss the strategy for Jeff's treatment.  Yesterday we asked for favor with the doctors and the Marine Corps so we could get Jeff home to Grand Rapids.  This is a big deal because the Marine Corps have very specific protocols for these types of situations and the protocol is to send the Marine to the nearest facility that they have to treat the patient.  This would mean that Jeff would be sent to San Diego and we would not be able to be as involved because of the distance.
 
    We asked for everyone to pray for this situation.  God is sooooo great!!!!!  The oncologist did research on the tumor that Jeff has and it is a tumor that needs to be treated by a pediatric oncologist in a very specific type of program.  One of the best places for this treatment is the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI and San Diego has nothing that will work for this program.  Our God is amazing.  As of now, Jeff has already been admitted into the program at the Helen DeVos Hospital and his first consult is scheduled for April 6.  This means that we will need to be home by then.  In order for him to be admitted he had to have several tests done and he had to be under 23 years old.  All of the tests had already been done last night so he was immediately accepted.  Only God could have made this all happen. 
    Thank you all again for your prayers and please know that they are working.  God Bless you all.

The Lord was essentially saying, "Paul, don't ask Me to remove these things, but rather ask that My grace and strength will raise you above what you cannot handle.  Paul, where there are no obstacles, there is no need for power. A victory can occur only where there is a battle.  The greater the battle, the greater the victory.  A true soldier does not run from conflict but runs to it."
In the heat of battle is not the time to ask God to take us out of the war.  It is not the time to ask God to take us out of the war.  It is the time to pray for His grace so we may triumph in it.  God is glorified when we face something impossible to overcome in our human strength.  It is then that His strength rests on us for all to see.  God's grace conquers every fear and obstacle we face!  Encourage yourself with a few of God's exhortations:*

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.
--2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
--1 Corinthians 15:57



 What a goof!!
 He said he feels like Neo from the matrix...LOL
Hopefully the drain comes out today!

* Bevere, John. Breaking Intimidation. Florida: Charisma House, 1995.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Message From Jeff

Hello Everyone,
    What an amazing few days this has been.  We want to thank every single person who has been praying for Jeff and us through this whole process.  All of us can sense the Peace of God that has given us the strength to stand strong in our faith for what God is doing. 
     It was not a mistake or a misread pathology report, it was God doing His thing.  He removed the life threatening tumor that Jeff had and Jeff is being healed of the cancer that tried to take him away from us.  PRAISE GOD!!! and only God.  We are so appreciative for all of the support that has been sent our way (especially the gift basket with all of the candy and snacks, they're YUMMY!!!!). 
    We really want to ask for your continued prayers for the complete healing and also for favor with the Marine Corps and insurance company that they will see the benefit to Jeff of getting him sent home to Grand Rapids so he can receive the best possible care from the doctors and his family.  Jeff received a visit from his Staff Sergeant Hofman who brought him cookies.  He was very thoughtful and supportive, also made us laugh.  He said "If you like the cookies, than I made them. If you don't, than my wife made them!"
Thank you again and God Bless you all.
Here is a little video message straight from the patient...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Praise God

    We just received the report from Dr. Menoni.  Jeff's neuro surgeon received the pathology report and it is GREAT NEWS!!! Everything that the doctors saw and even the initial pathology report showed that Jeff had a Glioblastoma which has no known cure or treatment and a life expectancy of less than six months. 

    Prayers have been lifted to God for a miracle and we have received it.  The report was challenged and with further investigation it was found to be a PNET (Primitive Neuro Ectodermal Tumor).  This is the type of tumor that is more responsive to radiation.  He has to receive additional MRI's to rule out it having metastasized to his spinal cord as this type of tumor can do.  We are all ecstatic for this miracle. 

Finally eating some solids

A wonderful gift from Darl and Julie, Mike
and Tami, Rick and Pam, Charlie and Gisela, and
Burt and Rhonda....THANK YOU
Still smiling.....


Same ol Jeff...can't take a serious picture ;)


    Thank you to everyone who has been praying so fervently.  Please do not stop.  We are all believing for his complete healing and can't wait for the continued positive reports from the doctors.  Thank you all again and stay tuned for more good news. 

Keeping the Faith

Psalm 118:1-18

Psalm 118:17
     17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.


Jeff's favorite praise and worship song which we have listened to about 3 times today so far :)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Chorus:
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Chorus:

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Chorus: (2x’s)
"You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y83-vMeWc9E

Covered By The Blanket Of God

This is the second day after surgery. We (Jeff's family) have decided to start a blog on Jeff's healing process, this is easier than Facebook and anyone can see how things are going.
 
We still have a lot to do here to make arrangements and we are looking forward to the pathology reports that should be in later today but may not be available until tomorrow.  We are believing and trusting for a report that Jeff is healed by the stripes of Jesus. There are literally hundreds if not thousands that are praying for Jeff and we can truly sense the presence of God on him and our family.
 
The entire team of doctors and nurses are AMAZED at how well Jeff is doing. Yesterday while the nurse was administering some meds Jeff asked if it should make him feel groggy because it seemed to.  The nurse looked at Jeff and back at his Dad, smiled and said she really couldn't say how it should make him feel because whenever they administer these meds the patient is always in a coma and they cant tell the nurses how it makes them feel.  It is truly a miracle how he has been through this whole process.
 
The only challenge we have had with Jeff is getting him to shut up! The doctors and nurses said that the day after surgery, it is critical to have no stimulation so they keep the lights down and they want him to rest. Halfway through the day they just gave up and let him do whatever.  He is doing great!  We whisper to try to keep him from staying awake and he still hears everything we say.  He makes us all laugh just like he always did. 
 
The MRI showed that the tumor had forced his brain 12mm off center and the MRI the day after his surgery already showed it had moved back to only 4mm off center. This means that Jeff's brain is moving back to where it belongs.
 
Keep up the love and prayers, they are greatly appreciated!  We will keep everyone updated via this blog as much as we can.  

Below are some pictures of Jeff before and after his surgery!

Thank you everyone!


Before Surgery 

Jeff's famous "look"



After Surgery


still has a smile on his face








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