Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for June, 2009

Cancer, cancer and more cancer

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Dr. Housekamp, the surgeon who performed the lymph node biospy and Power Port surgery, called this morning.  He said it was a difficult lymph node surgery because the lymph nodes were really hard to get to.  He did a lot of digging because they were quite deep.  He removed six lymph nodes and two of them came back with cancer.   They were hoping to do a MAC sedation which makes you kind of out of it and you won’t really remember it, but half way through the procedure they had to do a general.  I’ll spare you all the technical information, but they did a good thing by knocking me out completely.  Thankfully my throat doesn’t hurt from the breathing tube and I had no side effects from that. 

Dr. Housekamp (surgeon) is going to talk to Dr. VanderWoude (oncologist) about what the next steps are.  He said she may want to do a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else (I thought that’s what the CAT scans were for, but what do I know).  He also said she may want to do radiation in my armpit after chemo.  We will wait and see. 

Dr. VanderWoude hasn’t staged the cancer yet because she was waiting for the lymph node biopsy results.  Once I know what stage the cancer is I will pass it along to you.

Please pray that I will not lose my fighting spirit.  When I receive news like I did today about the lymph nodes, I find myself wanting to throw up my hands and have a big ol’ pity party for myself.  Everything I do takes energy.  I can choose to use the energy to fight rather than feel sorry for myself. 

God will help me beat this.  We’re going to fight together and win.  He’s got my back.  My God makes the sun rise and fall.  He is huge.  He is larger and more powerful than we can imagine.  He can move mountains.  He saved my little girl.  He can save me too.  Just believe it. 

I went to Chemoland!

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I wish I could say I’m going to Disneyland, but I have to settle for chemoland instead.  Today was my first chemo treatment and it went as expected.  Dusty went with me and we were fortunate to get a private room with a bed.  I took a nap and Dusty read a book I got him from the library.  It’s for husband’s who have wives who have breast cancer.  Chemo took two hours and I have used every anti-nausea drug they’ve given me.  I’m still a little nauseous, very tired and extremely sore from the biopsy.  I want to fast forward a couple days so the pain from the biopsy and discomfort from the Power Port placement can pass and then all I have to deal with is chemo. 

Brooklyn was so cute last night when I got home from the hospital.  She didn’t want to leave my side.  I went to bed around 8:30.  Brooklyn snuck in my room and quietly sat at the foot of the bed just looking at me.  She thought she was in trouble for getting out of bed.  I told her she could lay in daddy’s spot until he comes to bed, but that she had to be careful not to bump me because I was very sore.  She was extra careful and fell asleep.  It was one of those great moments I’ll never forget. 

Today was hard because it was the first day since we brought Samantha home from the NICU and I hemorrhaged that I didn’t hold the babies.  I couldn’t.  It hurts too much.  I know it’s for the better, but not being able to hold your kids and watching someone else do it is hard.  I’m so thankful they have lots of loving and caring arms to hold them.  

Thank you to the babysitters from today, the awesome meal that was brought in, the kind man who mowed our lawn and my husband whose plate is so full there is no more room.   Thank you to the prayer warriors, meal coordinators, and everyone who has sent us cards, comments and emails.  We can feel your prayers.  I feel a peace that reminds me of that intense peace I felt just 7 months ago when we had a still born daughter who was brought back to life.  Transferred to the NICU.  We were told she was severely brain damaged by the read out on her EEG.  We had people stomping the gates of heaven for her.  God heard our prayers and worked a miracle in her.  Today she is doing everything her brother does (and sometimes better).   God is amazing!

I’m nervous about whether I will be sick tomorrow.  Please pray that I’m not sick from chemo and that the pain and discomfort quickly go away and the healing from the biopsy and surgery is quick.   Please pray for Dusty because things are picking up at work and if you know Dusty he’s a perfectionist so he’ll be stressed about meeting deadlines and taking care of things at home.  Please pray for Brooke and the kids that they stay healthy and keep trusting in God that He will heal me.  Please pray for my parents.  My mom is a rock.  We actually call her glue.  Because sometimes she’s the glue that holds our family together.  Having twins is a lot of work.  Having cancer, chemo and twins is almost undoable.   She knows just when to come over and she blends right in knowing just what to do.  My dad is incredibly generous in helping us with anything we ask and he always does it with a smile on his face.   Please pray for Dusty’s parents too.  His mom has Parkinson’s Disease and they are concerned for us too. 

Meals on Wheels

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I started sleeping around 6 p.m. so at 1 a.m. I’m wide awake.   I went right to my computer to read the comments and emails (it’s like Christmas morning). 

Kathy Terpstra from Haven Church has been coordinating meals with our church family.  She’s had a few calls from our greater community to see if and when they can take a meal to us.  She has so kindly requested that I pass along her name and phone number if you want to get on the meal schedule. 

If you would like to bring a meal please contact Kathy Terpstra at 616-499-3578.  I have my schedule linked to my blog so your name will be added to it.  It’s on the left hand side of the screen entitled “schedules”.  I have babysitters listed, meal takers, my appointments and other misc. things.  This is simply an FYI so please do not feel like you have to bring a meal.  I know summer can get very busy and we all look forward to spending time with our kids and families. 

Dusty and I are so humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love and generosity from everyone.  We can’t wait to be on the giving side of it. 

Thank you!

Surgery Update

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This is going to be a quick post because I’m very tired, but I know some of you were wondering how the surgery went and were praying for me.  The surgery went okay.  It was twice as long as expected because he had a really difficult time getting to the lymph nodes.  He said he had to do a lot of digging.  He removed three lymph nodes and the port was successfully implanted.  Dusty has more details and that is all I remember.  I’m extremely sore and in pain and very tired, but I will be okay. 

My chemo will start tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.  Dr. Housekamp was able to keep an IV or tube or whatever it’s called sticking out of the port so they don’t have to poke me again tomorrow so I’m happy about that.

Thank you again for your prayers.  There is nothing better than feeling the presence of God.

Good night!

Plans to prosper and not harm…

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So what’s up with cancer anyway?  Doesn’t cancer know that we have 7-month-old twins and a 5-year-old and we don’t have time for it?  Our lives are chaotic already.   We’ve had a difficult year.  Okay, the pity party is over.    

I know that our Heavenly Father is the only one who will get us through this.  He will never leave us.  He is always with me.   Even when I’m scared and I don’t feel like going through cancer or going through chemo.  I don’t feel like having a surgery tomorrow.  I don’t feel like being tired and I don’t feel like being sick.  I just don’t want to do it.  I know He will carry me and my family through this.  I know these things.  I just have to believe and trust in them. 

I feel so blessed to have all of you in my life.  You are so encouraging and supportive that I have no choice but to be positive and lifted up by you.  I’m humbled by how many people are praying for us.  People I’ve never even met!

I received an email from another cancer survivor from Haven Church who said Jeremiah 29:11 kept popping up everywhere during her cancer journey.  It was even in the card we sent her.  So she sent it back to me in an email.  Then Sunday morning we had a guest pastor – Ren Broekhuizen and instead of the standard closing “….may God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and give you peace…” he said the verse from Jeremiah:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

I remember smiling and trying to pull my jaw off the ground because there was that verse again.  Now I’m excited to see where else I will hear it or see it.  God talks to us in so many ways.  He is so cool. 

So the plan for tomorrow is to get four injections at 11:00ish at HCH so they can do the lymph node biopsy.  The biopsy and surgery are happening at 3:30.  I still do not know if chemo will start on Wednesday.  I’m working on my patience and I’m hoping Dr. VanderWoude will be in contact soon about that. 

The kids are doing great.  I’m pretty sure Max grew another inch during his afternoon nap.  Samantha is super smiley and jabbering quite a bit.  Brooklyn is doing well.  She thinks my cancer will go away when I go to the doctor.  She’s still trying to figure out that it will take time for my cancer to go away. 

Please pray for my surgery tomorrow.  It’s a minor one, but I don’t like surgeries.  Thank God for all the wonderful helpers who are taking care of my kids – my mom, Kathy and Jill a.k.a. Jilly Bean.  (She gonna hate me for writing that).   As all mothers know, you can’t relax until you know your kids are being well cared for. 

Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for your support – I can’t believe you cut your hair and you know who you are!  Thank you for your comments (I love them).  

Have a good night 

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