Thursday, December 27, 2012

Favorite Christmas Card


 
Christmas Day was actually easy.  I wasn't surprised.  But the day after....when everyone went home and the hustle and bustle was gone and the quiet seeped in....that's when it was hard. 
 
Why didn't they call us?
 
Why didn't they come here?
 
Why did this have to happen?
 
The battle against anger and bitterness.
 
The bad dream that will not end, the truth that continues to sting, the child that will be forever missed.
 
The comfort of Jesus who reaches us....and fills our every longing.
 
God WITH us.
 
This is the promise we cling to, this is the promise of Christmas!
 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grief Speaks 1


It's unpredictable as weather, only with more variations.

I can laugh, smile and cry at the same time.

I can hold a child while longing for another.

"You haven't combed your hair in how many days?"

Christmas music makes me cry.

Kindness makes me cry.

As a pastor and wife we are supposed to be reaching out....but we have so. little. energy.

I want to forget (or at least not think about it for awhile) yet I desperately want to remember! 
Every...little....detail.

I am so blessed, but I still want her back.

"How long will I hurt?" Oh...... it's only been 6 weeks.

Who's counting?  I am!!!!!

He has wiped every tear from her eyes, taken her pain away FOREVER.....
but I still hurt, and cry.

This is MY pain.

"No it's OUR pain"-God

You didn't heal her!!!!  "Yes I did...and unlike the miracles, the healing's in the Bible, I healed her permanently!"

Grief is the gift that keeps on giving...pain.

There is no such thing as good grief! 

Life is sweet, so bitter sweet.  I have learned it's ok to be angry, angry at God..... at life.  You can be angry with God but still trust Him.  He is my Abba Father.... my Daddy God.  I express my feelings to Him and He doesn't turn away.  I see His arms open in compassion and His eyes fill with tears....for me....for my pain. 

Rest assured your heart is broken and will break again.

My heart has been breaking one piece at a time since Karagen's diagnoses April 4, 2012.  That day will forever live in infamy.

There is a Savior,
What joys expressed,
His eyes of mercy,
 His word is rest,
For each tomorrow, for yesterday,
There is a Savior who lights our way

     While grief has no known route, and the road of it twists and turns unpredictably, God is helping guide us through this journey.  I feel like this journey has no "map", only a faithful ever present guide, the Savior who promised "I will be with you!"  Grief is a dark place....yet it does not consume.  Its darkness is lit by trust and hope, in our God who will never leave or forsake.  "When I could not come.... to where He was, He came to me!"





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Perspective

       Right now living .... I mean LIVING (not just going through the motions) takes perspective.  I think of the post I wrote the night before Karagen died, about the grass being green on both sides of the fence, but on my side (the side without her, the side of loss) the grass is beautiful and green, but shadowed.....dimmer.  My greiving words to Jonathan 2 weeks ago:  "My life was so perfect, 6 beautiful children....Karagen's life blessing mine, and now she's gone, life will never be perfect again."  When I said those words I meant them, but it's been 4 weeks since Karagen died and my grief isn't as raw, my perspective has changed. 

      I choose what my perspectives will be.  I am and forever will be a mother who lost her precious daughter to cancer.  Rather than dwelling on that brutal truth, I choose to look at ALL the other blessings in my life.  For me good, rock solid, perspective builds a wall of strength with grattitude.  My thanks before were heart felt, sincere and honest....but like feathers in weight.  My thanks now, laden with gratefulness I can FEEL are like stones, I have to heave and concentrate to give them, to build a wall of thanks.....but this wall is strong, oh so strong.  It's foundation is sheer determination and faith to trust the God who gives....and takes away.  The God who is GOOD all the time.


    I can't help but feel that all my lists of thanks before Karagen's illness and eventual death were different.  I meant them, but I still took things for granted.  We all do, we can't help it.  Most of us are welcomed each day with unumerable comforts and things in life that make our lives easier.  From washers and dryers, vehicles, warm beds with pillows, to grocery stores not far away and abundance of food.  Most of us in America have everything we need, a roof over our heads, shoes on our feet and food in our bellies.   Our families are safe, our children are fairly healthy, we ourselves can get up every day and do our thing all over again. We all take these things for granted..... every day. I enjoy my life and appreciate so much everything I have, but I see it differently now, I feel it differently now.  My grattitude was spoken before, today it is felt.

   I give thanks today, for renewed perspective. 
 I am building a wall of faith and trust with grattitude. 
The thanks I give this Thanksgiving is different. 
 
 
 
This year it's more than Thanksgiving.....it's Thanksmeaning
 
 I give thanks, and I mean every word!
 
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sifting....


 
Sifting through memories, through thoughts, through time. 
 
9 years.  Over. Gone. Done.
 
Have you ever tried to hold on to sand?  No matter how tight you squeeze, the tiny grains keep slipping out.
 
To hold time, close and intimate and as tight as I can, yet it keeps slipping away.
 
There is no more time.
 
There is no more hugs, kisses or carresses. No more looking at her sweet face, no more stroking her soft fuzzy head, no more holding her hand.  No more smiles and laughter, or reassurances...for her ....and for me.  No more conversations, no sound of her voice.
 
Silence.
 
And yet I tighten my grip....but they keep slipping through.  Those tiny, ever so tiny grains of sand.
And they fall, unable to be re-taken or grasped again.  They fall in with the other thousands of grains of sand.  I can't distinguish them from the others anymore, they all blend together in a blurr.....
 
Then I realize it's my tears, it's my heart with the ache that will not stop.
 
They fall and they fall, never easing the ache.  While looking at the pile of sand I try to grasp the truth that I will never see her again....here.  The small mound that was her life.... it's there but it's gone. 
 
So I cry, not for her, but for me. 
 
 I cry because I don't have her, I can't see her, hear her, touch her, feel her. 
 
What do I miss the most?
 
The answer is simple.
 
Everything.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Karagen's Tribute


      As we gather here today we do so with great sorrow.  Each and every one of us, to some extent were touched by Karagen and her life.  I am amazed how one little girl, living only 9 years could reach our hearts in such a powerful way.  She would want us to cry, because tears cleanse our pain.  She would want us to be happy even in her death because she is free!  She would want us to establish stronger family bonds, to love completely.  To see beauty in the faces and people around us, to always look beyond to the heart, to breathe deeply and enjoy life with every fiber of our beings, she would want us to live!
         In the coming days we may feel robbed and perhaps already many of us do.  We may feel like her little life was torn or stolen from us.  Let me assure your broken heart, she has not been stolen!  Stealing would suggest that some unknown, cruel person came and took her away from us while we were unaware.  This is not the case!  We know who came and took Karagen, tenderly and lovingly took her to Him.  Jesus came and with aching tenderness took her home!  He took her to be with Him, so He could cherish her completely and lavish her with love endlessly.  Yet, even while He did so, I believe His heart ached for us, knowing how losing her would pierce our hearts.  He did what was best for her yet grieves with us through our loss.  He rejoices that his little girl is literally His!  She is not in some far away place, she is with Jesus!  We are only separated by time.   She is lost, but she is found!  If I had to lose her to anyone, there is no one I’d rather lose her to than Jesus! 

  Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly her soul shall rest.

  Karagen taught me so many things as a mother.  When I think of her short life I think of firsts.  She was my first full term pregnancy, my first baby, my first girl.  She was the first person I never asked to love me, I never had to woo her or work hard in any way to receiver her love.  I remember her first smile, the first time she rolled over, her first tooth, her first steps, her first word, which was “tickle, tickle”.  She was my first baby to potty train, I remember her first day of school, the first time she rode her bike, the first time she played Amazing Grace on the piano here in this church.  So many firsts with Karagen!  I thought I would be the first one to make it to heaven, but she beat me to it, she got to go first! 
      She made me a mommy.  She made Jonathan a daddy.  She made our parents grandparents.  She made our sibling aunts and uncles.  In so many ways, she has helped shape me into the woman I am today.  She made friends easily, she made people come out of their shells and loved her.  She showed all of us what unprejudiced love looked like.  She loved people with abandon and blindness.  When she looked at them she didn’t see their faults and failings she just saw them!  She made messes, but she helped clean them up.  She was my right hand woman and helped me without being asked.  She was a mother hen and loved her siblings greatly.  She always felt responsible for them, in fact her last conversation with Emmaus was over what she ate at school, she wanted Emmaus to eat healthy.  She was the little girl who always had a sparkle in her eyes, who always gave and shared and who always noticed.  She was one of the six little people who kept my days full to overflowing with joy and happiness.

  I have not balked at taking care of her these last 6 and  ½ months.  Taking care of her was a privilege and an honor.  She told me several times in the last 3 weeks that I was the best nurse and told me all the time that I was the best mommy.  Through the tears and her intense pain she still said thank you.  She suffered patiently and quietly.  When her family or nurses spoke to her or were near, in spite of her pain she would muster a smile.  She cared about people, her hospice nurse was amazed at the details Karagen remembered about her. 

   If there was a word that described Karagen it would be caring.  So many times Jonathan and I saw her living her name!  I often thought that we should have spelled her name C-A-R-E  A-G-A-I-N, because that’s what she did, she cared again and again, over and over.  How she gave, and cared and loved was an inspiration and spoke to me as a tender example of just how much one can care, and show it.  When someone loves as freely and willingly as Karagen and tells us they care it is easy to believe.  I marveled so many times at how she reached out to people and how she touched them and wished I had the courage to love like that.
There's a whole in my heart that burns and aches. Her flavor, her sparkle, her light is forever extinguished. Every time I look at one of our children I see her. When I look at Jonathan I see her. When I look at her chair, the room she was in, her clothes, I see her. When I look out at our back yard, I see her playing there. All those glimpses of her, everything leads me to thoughts and memories of her. All those millions of times I have gazed at her these last nine years and have been filled with love and joy, she took my breath away.  She was so much a part of all of us. There's a face missing at the table, a warmth missing from our home. Our family will always be one too small. Oh the joy when you add another child to a family, the despair when one is taken away.
       In the coming days, months and years we will all feel an ache.  We will feel the loss and the hurt.  We must find a way to focus not on our loss but her gain!  She is safe with Jesus, she will never hunger or thirst or feel any kind of pain.  We must not pine and whine.  We must not focus on all the times we didn’t get with her, but on all the times we had with her.  If we run through the list of all the positives that she is missing we are in grave error!  We are the ones who are missing out.  Karagen is blissfully happy, she has seen the face of God!  Remember all the  negative things she is missing, she is missing all the pain and disappointments of this life, the aching and tears, she will never have to experience again!  She is in the very presence of all that is good and loving.  She is basking in the fragrance and feel of Jesus, of heaven.  She is hugging her loved ones, she has cuddled with Jesus, she is blessed, she is bliss!  So if you find yourself thinking, “poor Karagen”, like I have, stop yourself and list all that she has gained!   She is not poor, She is Home, she is Free!
        Karagen, heaven is not just a little sweeter, it's brighter and more beautiful. I have no idea what it really looks like or feels like or smells like. But you gave me gave us a little bit of heaven on earth. Because I know you, and what you brought to us, heaven is not just a place anymore, it's a home. It's not just a destination, it's a hope, it's not just a goal, it's a reunion. I will forever miss you, I will see you everywhere, always. I love you all the numbers in the world plus one! I love you the mostest with the hostest!  Thank you for all that you gave me as my daughter.  You loved me completely and understood me.  You lit up my heart and life with your own special unique light!  I promise you that I will love just as deeply if not deeper, even though I know how much it can hurt to do so.  I promise to continue to be the best mother and to hug and kiss all your brothers and sisters more.  I promise that even though I feel like a piece of my heart has been torn out I will still live to love.  I promise we will find a way to move forward, even if it is like we have had a valued limb amputated and we will spend the rest of our lives trying to live without it.  I promise to smile and laugh, to dance and sing.  I promise to love you forever and to cherish your memory.  You gave us so much and we promise to find a way to give and love like you did.

You will be forever in our hearts, forever safe in Jesus arms!

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Day After

   I woke up from a vivid dream @ 4am. A little precocious toddler, with a head full of light brown hair, smiling at me with that adorable twinkle in her eyes.  Then the realization socked me in my stomach and burned in my heart- she's gone!  Followed directly by thought: "God, you took her!" 

   I have spent so many nights for the last 3 weeks getting up many times a night to minister to Karagen.  I have spent the last 6 1/2 months researching, reading, applying, praying and desperately seeking for a way to help Karagen beat her cancer.  Jonathan and I spent hours trying to figure out ways we could help her body heal.

  She's gone.

  There's a whole in my heart that burns and aches.  Her flavor, her sparkle, her light is forever extinguished.  Every time I look at one of our other children I see her. When I look at Jonathan I see her.  When I look at her chair, the room she was in, her clothes, her blanket keeping me warm this morning, I see her.  When I look out at our back yard, I see her playing there.  All those glimpses of her, everything leads me to thoughts and memories of her.  All those millions of times I have gazed at her these last nine years and have been filled with love and joy.  She was so much a part of all of us.  There's a face missing at the table, a warmth missing from our home.  Our family will always be one too small.  Oh the joy when you add another child to a family,  the despair when one is taken away.

 For Karagen:
Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly her soul shall rest.
For us:
Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages, ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, wait till the night is over;
Wait till I see the morning break on the golden shore.

Karagen, heaven is not just a little sweeter, it's brighter and more beautiful.  I have no idea what it really looks like or feels like or smells like.  But you gave me-us a little heaven on earth.  Because  I know you, and what you brought to us, heaven is not just a place anymore, it's a home.  It's not just a destination, it's a hope, it's not just a goal, it's a reunion.  I will forever miss you, I will see you everywhere, always.  I love you all the number in the world plus one!  I love you the mostest with the hostest!

  I/we will find joy, we will find a way to cope, to function.  We will find a way to create a new family dynamic, new traditions, new beginnings.  God will be our ever present help, and has been! But for now, we survive.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Never Thought....

     I never thought we would be at this place....this twilight zone between death and healing.  It''s strange, surreal.  Realizing that at any moment Karagen could breathe her last breath and be taken from us forever.  Seeing her decline, loss of leg function, loss of arm and hand function, loss of all movement from the neck down.  It's a weird place to be, seeing with human eyes the IMPOSSIBILITIES yet seeing with the eyes of faith that there is NOTHING too hard or IMPOSSIBLE with God. 

      Here we are, on the fence so to speak...wondering which way things will fall.  Realizing the grass is the same shade on either side of the fence.  To have her here with us, to watch her grow up, to see her amazing and valiant spirit be a witness and inspiration as a living example of God's grace.  Or to let her go...release her to her heavenly Father, who loves her so much more than we do.  He would cherish her completely, comfort her and set her free.  You see, it's green on both sides, one side is loss (ours) the other is gain (hers-God's).  My side-the side of loss is shadowed and dimmer, but just as green.  Does this make any sense?

      I wish I knew the outcome, the final result.....and yet I don't.   Here we are, back at the place we always get to, the not knowing.  The strange, quiet place of what?

     God is an omnipotent God- He already knows what will happen.  I know He could choose to do either.  He could choose to heal her, He could choose to take her.  He is justified in doing either.  Both options are good-in the eyes of the Soveriegn.  My preference is clear, His is not.  My faith believes that He is MORE than able to bring healing and restoration.  My instincts and knowledge of Him (from brief glimpes of His earthly actions) tell me-no shout at me, that even in death He is not limited and He has the power to bring the dead back to life!

    I never thought we would have a child with cancer.  I never thought I would be watching my child potentially die.  I never thought I could hurt this bad but not shed a tear.  I never thought I could have such intense HOPE.  I never thought faith and trust could feel so heavy.  I never thought I could handle something like this.  I never thought about God's suffering when He watched His Son die.  I never thought how cruel life is to keep on moving and going while ours is stalled here.  I never thought I could love and sacrifice and love and give and cherish and hope and hope and hope and hope.  I never thought.....I never.....I.

    So here we stand, vigilently watching and waiting.  Here we must stay-for now.  When will the end come-when will the beginning begin?  We don't know-I don't know, but HE (God) does!

General Update:
Karagen is on day 26 of her DMSO treatment.  Today she has had some upper respitory mucous and is having difficulty breathing, she has oxygen on.  Today has been much better for pain, she is sitting up in bed, pain free and resting.  Her neck has lost its stiffness and we are able to move her more comfortably.  She is struglling with constipation from the morphine and lack of movement.  She has a hard time talking as it takes too much energy and has whispered most of the day.  She sleeps a lot and doesn't say too much.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Update on Karagen


    As many of you know we are trying to raise money for Karagen to go to a specialized Cancer Treatment Center.  We need to raise over 15,000.00 for the expense of this center as it is not covered by insurance.  There have been some concerns raised over the legitimacy of this center, we did not do an Internet search for cancer cures on the Internet and just happened to find it.  We were referred through Karagen's doctor.

     It is our hope and desire to have Karagen there by this coming week sometime.   This is possible!  Jonathan and I are desperate, but ever trusting in God.  We are willing to go into life long debt to save Karagen's life, we are willing to do whatever it takes to save her.  Let me state here strongly that I have a strong conviction that God has a plan for Karagen, He is NOT finished with her yet.  We believe that God can and could heal her at any time but that He also uses other methods to bring about healing and restoration.  When I say He is not done yet, I am not speaking as a mother who almost last her daughter over the weekend, or who could lose her any day if we don't find treatment, or as the mom who gets up all through the night and first thing in the morning to make sure she is still breathing.  I am speaking as the girl who has no where else to turn and who recklessly trusts her Heavenly Father to do what she cannot!

     So please, if there is anything you can do, give, pray whatever please consider doing it!  And as always thank you for all your love and support.  It will take all of us working together to help get Karagen well!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gerson Therapy


This is just a little update on how we are all doing.

About 2 weeks ago Kargen had an MRI which showed that all her tumors had grown some.  Her cancer is not as aggressive as origionally thought so this slow growth was good news-if cancer is ever good news-right?

We went to Disney World the Monday after and had an amazing time, I have few seconds to spare right now but will try my best to get some pictures posted sometime.  The kids were exhausted and so were mom and dad : )

Since we have been home Vaughn, Emmaus and Silas have all started school.  They are doing good and love it! 

We are also going full blast into Gerson Therapy with Karagen.  This is very intensive, if you want more info, go to the link or google it.  She drinks certain juices every hour, receives 5 coffee enemas a day and her foods are completely organic, cooked from scratch and prepared carefully to not deplete the vitamin and mineral content.  We rise at 3am every day to give her an enema, this is to stop her tumors from poisoning her body.  The theory behind the therapy is to bring the liver back to it's highest functioning state, to rid her body of toxins and to stimulate her immune system to destroy the cancer cells, digest them, then eliminate them.  We are a little overwhelmed right now trying to juggle everything, Gerson Therapy is a full time job, and we already have full time jobs. This therapy is to last 2 years at the least, but if God uses it to save Karagen's life it will be worth it.  If we lose her anyway, it will STILL be worth it!!!!

  God had provided the needs of buying her groceries and her medicines and supplements.  We simply could not sit by and do nothing while we waited for the tumors to take over her body.  The coffee enemas take her pain away and the juices give her energy, Karagen transformed before our very eyes on this therapy.  A HUGE answer to prayer was the only doctor in the US has agreed to be her doctor and oversee her treatment.  So far she has charged us NOTHING!   Our goal is to save enough money to fly Karagen out to get further treatments from her.

Today I was given a rare gift-time alone at home.  Three children are in school, a lady in our church is watching Jachin and GraceyAnna, and Jonathan took Karagen to her doctors appointment in DC.  I am trying to catch up on housework and laundry, the things I have very little time to do when Karagen is home due to the therapy.

Thank you everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flashes Of Hope








These pictures were taken on April 18, after Karagen had her surgery to remove some of the tumor that was compressing her spine.  In my mind and heart I remember this time period as very dark and very hard.  Adjusting to having a child with  a terminal illness, watching Karagen suffer from her surgery and contemplating the preceeding weeks of fitful sleeping and pain filled nights-all the results of her cancer.  Wondering every second what the future would hold and frantically trying to adjust my expectations, while desperately missing our children at home..  In the midst of all that- these pictures were taken.  I can't help but say-there were flashes of HOPE and that is what we did and DO hold onto! 

These pictures were taken at National Children's Hospital in DC in the Oncology Clinic waiting room by volunteer photographers.  They were completely free.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Look Who's Walking!

video



Look whos walking!!!  At 9 1/2 months she gets the record for the earliest walker in our family!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Looking Up

   Looking up when you're at the bottom is hard.  Facing literal death.  Facing impossible situations, looking up takes all your energy.  I just did a quick search in the Bible on not being afraid, there were over 85 verses about it.  God knows we humans are fearful, God knows I am.  God knows our situation and is NEVER caught by suprise.

                            God is drawn to our weakness!

 Jesus Calms the Storm
Mark 4:36-40  
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awoke him, and said unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

     I have felt like these disciples did here, "Don't you care?"  I have felt the intense, agonizing fear about the future.  Their lives were at stake.  They saw the wind, those waves threatening to capsize their boat.  Oh, it's so easy for me to see those things so clearly in my life.  Through the salt water stinging my eyes, through me shielding my face and body from yet ANOTHER wave, me cowering in the corner from the crashing of the thunder, I peek out from under my arm and find Jesus there!

      The hardest thing for these poor disciples was to look up.  The hardest thing for me is to look up, look up above to Jesus who has control of everything in my life!  He has control of my storm, He has control in my storm!  I have chosen to look to Him, when the thoughts of an uncertain future come rushing in, threatening to capsize my boat, I look up.....to Him!   When I am overwhelmed by the hurts and pains of this life, I look UP!



Does this look like the face of death?

I choose to look up to the Giver of Life, and trust Him for our daughters life!
And for everything else in between : )
      

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Worst Week Ever

Yet I WILL trust Him!

     On Wednesday Karagen had her first round of radiation.  She came out from that shivering uncontrollably, yet trying not to complain.  The shivering lasted over a half hour.  After that came the migraine like headache, then the throwing up, again and again.  I drove the 2 hour drive home with a little girl in agony.
     Once home she went  straight to bed and slept fitfully between puking.  We gave her some anti-nausea meds, tylenol and finally just let her sleep fitfully with nothing to comfort her except a cool wash cloth on her forhead.
      The next day Jonathan and I decided to discontinue her radiation treatments and to switch her over to palliative care- now it feels a little like we are letting our precious daughter die.  Being told your child has only a 15% chance of survival with aggressive treatment that will ruin her life for the next few months was too much-we called it.
      Thursday was spent grappling with the results and feelings of that decision, trying to cope and be strong and keep trusting in God.  Our faith reaching out to our Loving Heavenly Father.
       Friday morning (our 10th anniversary) we found out more devestating news concerning a close family member.  Lives and relationships shattered and family thrown away like garbage.
       Then today, our dear friend came over asking if Jonathan was home, he was away dealing with the above crisis, so I was asked to help come open a neighbors door.  Rose has two apartments that she rents out.  In one of them is a dear lady who has just had surgery.  Her front door was unlocked and the neighbor (the other apartment resident) had been worried because she had not seen the first lady all day which is especcially strange as she has a dog she walks regularly.  I helped try to open her locked bedroom door, and finally slammed it open with my shoulder.  I found her dead.

So I ask, could this week get any worse?  Please don't answer that!

   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You Gotta See This!

video

Karagen walking, with no walker for the first time since everything happened!
Look at her go!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day 2012












Gone Fishing

Karagen had enough energy to fish, so we took a quick trip to a friends pond and went fishin : )
Are we there yet?
Ready or not here she comes, swim away fish!
Ahh, I hope I get one!
"Hey, where's my pole?"
Emmaus caught 2 fish!
Jachin just kept getting his line tangled.
Silas caught 1 fish!
Karagen caught 3 fish!
Vaughn caught 1 fish!
Friday, May 18, 2012

Brain Tumor Scans

These are MRI pictures of Karagen's brain tumor.

This is before:


This is after 2 rounds of chemo:

We are so very thankful that Karagen's tumor in her brain has shrunk around 60%
She had a third round of chemo therapy over Memorial weekend and we are hoping and praying for more shrinkage.  Karagen still has a large mass in the middle of her spine and this area has shrunk very little, we are praying it too will shrink.
Karagen still has a long way to go but we are very hopeful that she will be cured of her cancer, only God knows what her future is.  Radiation will begin sometime in June followed by 4 rounds of high dose chemo, her treatments will last into November.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Believing Beyond Feelings

           This is an experience in life I would gladly change, erase it, fully eradicate it from my story....from Karagen's story.  Medulloblastoma......Cancer.....POOF-BE GONE!  Unfortunately things don't work that way and I can't re-write our story by simply grabbing a clean sheet of paper.  I firmly believe our stories are written by the Father before we are ever born.  He holds the pen and paper, He is the Author....in my story....in these preciously few chapters Karagen and I share.  This is my story..... our story....His story...for us.  I wouldn't take the pen from Him, even in these worst of circumstances, I  know I would mess everything up in an attempt to do "better".
  
            Through this chapter, the cancer chapter, I have gone to places I have never been.  Experienced feelings I have only contemplated and seen my daughter go through things from my worst imaginings.  This place, this strange new place where faith and feelings do not meet,  this place where up is the only direction to look.  This place where it is one foot in front of the other, this place that finds me on my knees in my heart constantly yet with no time for the literal bowing of my knees. The chapter I wish I could change, put the last period to. Rip it out- DESTROY it!

             So the feelings are there, oh yes!  The anger, the frustration, the "I can't take anymore!"  The fear, the heart break, the desperate need for hope, for faith!  So this is is how it feels to be HELD.  Strange.  The struggle..... the surrender.  Like a feral kitten needing to be tamed, fighting to trust and to be calmed.  This is the place where FAITH is reaching out without feeling!
        
            The woman with the issue of blood.  She had spent ALL her living seeking a cure.  No hope, doctor after doctor, the words were the same "no hope!"   She sought the comfort of healing, the surety of another day WITHOUT her disease.  She sought the ability to be normal, to have an ordinary day to just....be.  Unable to worship in the synagogue, unable to be touched by her husband (if she had one), unclean, desperate.  What would I do if I were her? She had to have been exhausted from her disease.... from seeking a cure, an end to the agony!   A private battle unseen perhaps by many, the battle inside disguised by human flesh.  Beneath those robes, behind those eyes, was a heart so hungry for healing.  This woman heard about Jesus, heard about a man who was changing lives, making blind men see, the lame walk, the DEAD to LIVE again!  So she fought against all odds, fought against the crowds of unseeing and unsympathetic people.  She fought against her weakness, her fraility.  She fought against ideas of her own making, "He won't have time for you",  "He won't even notice you", "There is no way He can make the difference".  But her faith reached out, lifting the arm so tired of trying.  Moving the feet so tired from her journey, lifting her tear dry eyes to Jesus!  And He NOTICED!   Not only did He heal her completely, He noticed her!  She believed beyond her feelings.

           Tonight, I am her.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Home







Home Coming!!

  Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Waiting to go home.

 Still waiting.
 On the way OUT!
 Just got in Pop Pop's truck.
 Wearing mommy's sunglasses

 Sweet Pop Pop came and carried her into the house.
He has been wonderful, he kept telling Karagen she was beautiful.
 On the back porch, soooo glad to be home!!!!





Everyone was thrilled to have Karagen home, she smiled so big, so much!