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 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!

Emmaus's 6th Birthday

We celebrated Emmaus's 6th Birthday Party on Saturday, April 28 at Children's National Hospital.
Her guests included- All siblings, Great Grandma Braisted and Pop Pop, Mommy and Daddy.
Emmaus and Karagen.
Everyone (except Jachin) piled on the bed to see the new ipad.
Emmaus and her balloons.

 Pop Pop and Gracey.
Great Grandma and Gracey.
Karagen was tired out!
Where's Emmaus?

Time to eat!  Where's the food?

Emmaus was heard saying (on her real birthday)  "I want to have a party today, the party on Saturday was just a fake party".  LOL  I am not sure what part of that was "fake" but that is a true Emmaus statement.
We love you so much Emmaus, you are bright, articulate and particular.  We love your beaming smile and are so proud of how brave and strong you have been.  You have worked hard to fill Karagen's shoes and have been so helpful!  Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!