Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
Breast Cancer Ribbon

Author Archive

New Friends

posted by:

\I’m doing well right now.  I love the warm weather and watching the kids play outside.

On Tuesday Jill and I are going to U of M to have a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis.  As you may remember, I get a bit of scanxiety and it has settled in.  Please pray for safe travels, a smooth scan, for the tumors in my lungs to be small, and for my kids and husband at home.

My Aunt Kathy teaches 2nd grade at Woodside Elementary.  She has shared with her students that I’m sick.  They have written letters to me and to Brooklyn because she is also in the 2nd grade.  I get two letters each week.  When the mail arrives and I see my aunts handwriting on the envelope, it’s exciting.

These kids are awesome.  Their writing is terrific.  I love their jokes.  I love to hear about school.

Kathy’s Class Ivan

Kathy’s Class Alicia R

Three Long Years

posted by:

It’s been about three years since I found my lump.  In mid April 2009, after being misdiagnosed with Mastitis and being put on three rounds of antibiotics, I was officially diagnosed with cancer on Memorial Day Weekend 2009.

Cancer has stolen from me the last three years.  Moments that can never be replaced.  I hate cancer.

However, I have learned a few things.  How to be more compassionate.  How to truly give.  What it means to surrender.  How it feels to talk to your child about death and dying.  How great our church and community is.  How awesome my husband and kids are.  Every giggle and smile.  When I see them running in the yard chasing a butterfly or bird.  It’s the best.  My parents and how much they do to help.  I am blessed because I am being held in God’s hand and cheered on by so many wonderful and loving people.

As for how I’m feeling, since the SRS surgery I’ve had less headaches and am doing alright.  I go back in May for a CT Scan to check on the cancer in my lungs and I’ll go back in June for an MRI to check on the results of the SRS surgery on the cancer in my brain.

Thank you for your love, prayers, cookies, cards and kindness.

Hats and Halos

posted by:

Look out proper ladies of London with your fabulous, whimsical hats that are precariously perched on your heads which defy gravity and the slightest breeze.

Stand guard you Fashion Houses of Milan.  Tip:  Begin working on your hat collection of 2013.

Look out Lady Gaga.  You have dared to wear the most outrageous hats, but have you ever worn…..

The Stereotactic Radiosurgery Halo?!?!

Lindy Ver Beek in Halo - March 2012 - with Lois VanderZwaag

I bet not.  Notice the steel frame.  This will stand up to the strongest gale force winds.  The silver will match nearly any outfit.  There is also plenty of room for a straw to fit between the hallow and your face.  The designers thought of everything.  I recommend having your make up applied before the halo.

In all seriousness, I’m very thankful yesterday is done.  It was a grueling day both physically and emotionally.  I was happy that Dusty could be there with me during the halo placement process.  Especially his hand – I’m surprised I didn’t break his fingers I was squeezing SO HARD.

My parents also came along and during the six hours of waiting we watched The Help and chit chatted while I was in a light, blissful fog.

The treatment lasted a couple of hours.  They treated two tumors.  Both in the cerebellum – one on the right and one on the left.  The radiation works immediately and continues to work for the next several months.  I will have a follow-up MRI in three months to see the results.

Currently I have pain in the four pin sites where they attached the halo to my skull.  I’m also quite tired.

When it was over, it was time to give back the crown or as they call the halo.  I won’t miss you crown.  I can’t wait to never see you again.  I’d much rather have a precariously perched hat that doesn’t scare small children and could fly away in the slightest breeze.

Our family and my parents cannot thank you enough for the prayers that have been said for us over the last few days and night.  I know yesterday would not have gone as smoothly without them.  So thank you for not forgetting about us and taking time out of your busy day and lives to remember us.

Go away

posted by:

I had my SRS MRI yesterday at U of M, met with Dr. Hesh (the neurosurgeon), and Dr. Hayman (the radiology oncologist). Upon comparing last Saturday’s MRI to the MRI I had in November, Dr. Heth and Hayman both discovered a new second tumor in my left cerebellum.  Go away cancer.

The SRS (Gamma Knife) is scheduled for next week Thursday, March 1.  March 1 also happens to be my mom’s birthday.   Happy Birthday Mom!  🙂

They will treat both tumors and we will pray that it is again successful.  

We’ll be there from morning til night and then I’ll go home. I’ll spare you the details, side effects, and possible risks.

Thank you for thinking, praying and supporting us.


posted by:

My cancer has been deemed “pokey”.  That’s a good thing.  While the scans from Saturday show that all the tumors are growing, they are growing slowly or as oncologists call it “slight progression”.  They did not find any new cancer.  Praise God!  What they did find, however, was a slightly enlarged lymph node in my abdominal region, but they’re not concerned about it right now.

Dr. Schott has recommended that I do stereotactic radiosurgery  on my brain.  This is the as Gamma Knife which I did at Mayo in 2010.  She is impressed with how I responded to that surgery and she would like to do it again on the new spot in my brain.

As far as chemo is concerned, she doesn’t see the need to start chemo right now because the spots in my lungs aren’t large enough (thank you pokey cancer).  She would prefer to save the chemo options for when I really need it.  As you may or may not know, the more chemo drugs a person is exposed to, the more immune the cancer cells become to the drugs, thereby becoming less effective.  I hope I’m explaining that right to all you medical people out there.

I’m going back to U of M Monday for a very specific MRI, to meet the neurosurgeon, and to meet the radiation oncologist.

I believe the next step will be the procedure.  Just thinking about the procedure puts a great amount of fear in me.  Call me a wuss, but having screws turned into your skull while awake isn’t fun.  🙁


posted by:

We are back from an amazing trip to Florida.  As you know, this trip was possible because of Inheritance of Hope (IOH).  They’re a non profit organization founded by Kristen and Deric Milligan.  Kristen is terminally ill.

To be honest, we went into this trip a little skeptical and not knowing what to expect.  We knew they had a tight schedule for our family of five, but we were going to try our best to work with it.  We were excited to go to Disney World and see all the characters and ride the rides, but this trip turned out to be so much more.

We were there with 12 other families (four pulled out at the last minute) from all over the country.  One of the parents from each family suffered from a terminal illness.  IOH is so warm, caring and incredibly detailed we could tell from the moment the volunteers picked us up at the airport hotel that this was going to be a great trip.

When we walked into our hotel room we had a bag of goodies from IOH and T-Shirts.  Then we noticed a BIG pile of mail.  We were so surprised and touched by the letters and cards you sent us.  Thank you Jill and Papa Dale for contacting so many people to do that.  We had over 60 cards and letters.

The first night we had a welcoming dinner where all the families ate in a banquet room.  Dinner was delicious.  At the end of dinner they had announcements and then said there was one more guest that was coming.  In walked Mickey Mouse!  The kids were so excited.  They were calling the families up to meet him in alphabetical order.  Being the Dutchies that we are, we were last.  Max ran up to Mickey and gave him a HUGE hug.  We had many pictures taken with Mickey.  We couldn’t believe it.  

The next morning the kids went to playgroup and the parents went to parent groups where we met everyone.  When we met up with the kids again, Brooklyn said to me “Mom!  I met some kids who have sick parents too.”  That was her “ah ha” moment.  Then we ate lunch, matched up with the best volunteers in the world and went to the Magic Kingdom.

We had two volunteers for the weekend.  They were Angie from Atlanta, GA and Mike (Golden Boy) from Mississippi who lives in NYC.  Let me say all the volunteers and staff for IOH have the light of Jesus shining in them.  They are amazing.  Angie and Mike pushed me in a wheelchair, carried water in their backpacks, took pictures, got us a medical pass so we could walk up to any ride or character and be next in line, helped with the kids anytime and anywhere.  We were incredibly blessed on this trip.  The kids even got to be part of the Lion King show!  

The day we left we had closing ceremonies and on the agenda, there was my verse – Jeremiah 25:11.  Kristen and Deric were there and had explained how they are usually on all the retreats, but couldn’t make it to this entire retreat.  After a very moving message from Kristen, she said when they get home it was time for her to contact Hospice.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

When we left, Brooklyn was full of tears because she was going to miss Angie and Michael so much.  She has already emailed Angie and wrote Mike a letter.  She also declared she’s going someday as a volunteer. 

This trip was way more than Disney.  I learned so much and will be forever blessed by the IOH volunteers and staff. Thank you to everyone for your prayers, cards, letters and love.

On Saturday I’m going to U of M for an MRI of my brain and CT scans of my chest (lungs) and pelvis.  Please pray that they go well for me.  I tend to get sick after the CT scan. 

Next Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) we go back to U of M for the results and decide what chemo to try next.

Thank you for the kindness and love you’ve shown our family.  If you run in marathons and want to run for a non profit, join the IOH marathon team.   


posted by:

My parents and our family went to Florida.   

After a four hour delay, we flew out of Lansing and said good bye to Michigan!


We arrived in Orlando and drove to our house by Cinnamon Beach.  By the time we got in bed, it was 2:30 a.m.

The next morning we woke up to the sun.  We ventured to the beach find sea shells.  Samantha and I were walking the beach together when, right in front of me, was a star fish!  It was beautiful.  It was missing a small section of its leg, but I didn’t care.  I took it back with me. 


The next day we went to an alligator Farm in St. Augustine.  For five bucks we could hold a baby alligator.  Later that week, the kids ate Fried Gator Tail.  After her first bite, Brooke exclaimed “It tastes like chicken!”




Every morning Beez and Papa (my parents) cooked breakfast.  It was always Orange Juice and Turkey Bacon.



We had a lot of time at the pool and the beach.  Nice jump Samantha!






We spent a cloudy day in Daytona Beach.  I drove on the beach!  It was so cool.  Another one I can check off my bucket list.


We went to Marine Land and we let Brooklyn pet and feed a dolphin. 

Brooklyn’s in the white shirt holding the dolphin’s tale. 

The dolphin jumping out of the water is the dolphin she just got done feeding.  Unfortunately, Brooklyn had her back turned at that very moment and missed the whole thing. 



On Friday, the day before we were leaving, Papa and Max went to the beach to find shells.  My dad found a starfish.  Only his was complete!  It looked just like mine, but it wasn’t missing part of its leg.  Later that morning, Brooklyn and I were sitting on the front porch going through the shells and deciding which ones to give back to the ocean and which ones to take home.  She said to me, “are you sad that Papa’s star fish is better than yours?”  I said “Why?  Because my star fish is missing part of its leg?”  She said “yeah.”  I said “No.  That’s my star fish.  My body isn’t complete anymore either and I think God put that starfish right in front of me because it’s meant to be mine.  Papa’s star fish is complete because Papa isn’t missing anything.  That’s Papa’s starfish.  Papa is complete.”  That seemed to be okay with her.  🙂

Then Saturday came and it was time to kick the tires and light the fires.  We were going wheels up!  


Soon we’ll be off on our next great adventure.  Thank you for your prayers.  I could feel them during this trip.  I had renewed energy.  I was able to keep up with my busy kids and have a lot of fun with Dusty and my parents.

Hello 35

posted by:

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but we’ve had a few things we were celebrating. 

First it was Thanksgiving.  The kids were going to have a Thanksgiving camp-out in the basement.  It never happened.  They got scared and slept in their own beds.  Oh well.  Maybe next year..


We made cinnamon ornaments with my mom.  They smell SO good!


We celebrated Dale Ver Beek’s (my father-in-law) birthday.  Happy Birthday again Dad!

This picture is from Christmas, but it’s the most recent one I have of him.  Besides, he’s holding a really cute kid.


The kids saw Santa.  Yep, his beard is real.


We had a lot of nice Christmas parties with our extended families and our own family.


Overall, we had a good Christmas and New Year.  I’m so happy I was able to do it off chemo. 

About a month ago, we booked a trip to Florida.  So we’ll take off for that soon.  We can’t wait!  The kids can’t wait and Brooklyn is counting down the days.  I look forward to the warm air, warm sun and the salt water ocean breeze.  We were planning on going to Disney for a day while we were there too. 

For those of you who know me.  I’m a kind of a control freak.  I’m a planner.  I like to have my ducks in a row.  I like to know what to expect. 

When I realized our plane doesn’t assign seats.  I bought them.  I bought row 6.  Why row 6 you ask?  Because I don’t want my family in the back of the plane.  Why?  Because they board back to front.  I would prefer our three-year-old twins to board last.  The less time they spend sitting on the plane while it’s not moving, the better.  The quicker they can get off the plane, the better.  Was it worth $80.00 round trip?  I don’t know.  We’ll have to wait and see. 

So for Disney, we weren’t going to buy tickets at the gate.  Oh no, I was going to buy the tickets on line so I can have them in my hand when we get to the gate.  But each time I went to click on the “check out” button something interrupted me from buying the tickets.  My phone rang, one of my children started crying, there was a knock at the door or I wanted to ask Dusty if he wanted me to book a meal plan with them. 

As you can see, I have a bit of a control/planner problem.

I have everything prepurchased, planned and we are starting to pack.  Except we don’t have Disney tickets.

Here’s where God comes in.

Around the same time we were planning a trip to Florida, we also filled out an application to Inheritance of Hope.  We sent it in and forgot about it. 

On Christmas Eve, I got a message from Jill at I.O.H.  When we connected again, she told me our family was chosen for their next retreat….drum roll please….to…….. Disney World in February!  I was shocked.  Completely speechless.  Mouth gaping open.  Never in a million years did I think we would have been chosen so soon.  Still sitting there with my jaw on the floor, she went on to say it’s all expenses paid, airfare included with four day Disney park hopper passes for everyone in our family.  Then she said to talk to my husband about it and let her know.  I picked my jaw up off the floor and said I would call her back in the morning. 

Dusty and I talked about it.  We decided that it’s doable with his vacation time.  Herman Miller has been wonderful to us.  They’re a great company.  The timing works well with my next scheduled appointments at U of M and it’s a long weekend so Brooklyn won’t miss a lot of school.  Then with me being a woman and needing extra support, I called Jill and my mom who both, without hesitation, said “GO!  Do it!”.  So….We’re going.  We’re doing it. 

Now here we are.  I’m packing the family to leave on what I thought would be our last great family trip.  I could lay eyes on the ocean at least one more time.  Pick up shells with the kids.  Watch the sunrise.  Who knows.  But God had something up his big giant sleeve.  A second trip to Disney!  Back-to-back Florida trips!  We are blessed.   

I think God made my phone ring.  He had someone come to the door.  And yes, had one of my kids cry.  It was His way of saying “slow down My little control freak, planner girl.  I have something better for you and your family.”  

Maybe you think that sounds a little crazy.  That God doesn’t work through Disney.  Even I think that sounds a little silly.  I know He worked through Inheritance of Hope.  Being able to do two Florida trips with my family before the next round of chemo is amazing.  I think that has God written all over it. 

P.S.  It’s my birthday on Saturday.  Happy Birthday to me.  Hello 35.


posted by:

We spent the last two days in Ann Arbor at U of M.  Monday was my scan day.  Tuesday we saw Dr. Schott. We were anxious to see how the cancer reacted to the Clinical Trial/Chemo I was on for the last nine weeks.  The results were disappointing.

The spots in my lungs shrunk slightly and the spot in my brain didn’t shrink at all.  With those findings and the side effects I was having from the chemo, Dr. Schott, Dusty and I decided to stop the clinical trial.  She said to take the holidays and January off from treatment.  Two months of freedom!  I will have scans again at the end of January and we will decide then what chemo to do next.

I am so thankful to spend the holidays out of a chemo haze and feeling better than what I did the past nine weeks.  

We’re going to try and squeeze in a family trip too.  It makes sense to do that now while I’m not on chemo and feeling as good as possible.

Thank you for your prayers, cards and continued support.  We love all of you and couldn’t do it without you.   

Snap Back to Reality

posted by:

A few months ago when I found out I had more cancer, I had an epiphany.  For two and a half years we’ve been praying that God will take my cancer away.  I’ve been prayed over.  Prayed on.  Hands have been put on me in prayer.  Prayed beside of.  Annointed.  We’ve begged God to heal me.  People I don’t know and have never met pray for me.  Beautiful little children pray for me.  Congregations pray for me.  People in other cities, states and countries are praying for me.  All of these people have said a prayer on my behalf! 

I know God hears these prayers.  Yet He is choosing not to answer them.  That hurts.  It’s confusing.  It’s personal.  I know He loves me and He can heal me, but He won’t. He’s choosing to let the cancer win. 

I was tired of begging for healing.  So I took a new approach.  Complete submission.  His will is perfect.  If His will is for me to have cancer, so be it.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t think I have to.  What I do understand is that He loves me.  He loves my family.  He will take care of my family.  His will is perfect.   So that is where I rest.  I’ve had so much peace since that epiphany.  No more wrestling with Him.  Simply submitting to His will.  He is in control.  

Yesterday I met with my doctor at U of M before chemo.  It was a wake up call.  Apparently I was living in an alternate universe where I thought I could still beat cancer.  I thought with the right concoction of drugs we could kill every last cancer cell and I would get my life back.  That is not the case.  There is nothing, short of a miracle, that will get rid of my cancer.  My disease is too progressed.  They’re giving me chemo to give me a longer life.  The Clinical Trial I’m on will not cure my cancer.  Nothing will.  We’re biding time.  They want to keep me alive and comfortable.   

I was told I am going to die from metastatic breast cancer.  That I should do things that I’ve wanted to do.  I’m only going to get worse.  That I should talk to my kids if I haven’t already.  No time limit was given.  All of that was hard to hear, especially before getting poisoned.   

It’s so unfair to Dusty and my kids.  That’s the worst part of all.  They have to suffer because of this disease. Thank you for your prayers. 

Please don’t stop praying.  Please be bold and ask for a miracle.  Please pray for my family and friends.  Prayer Requests:

    • My Family

    • Peace

    • A Miracle

    • A Cure

Notice: My hosting company 1&1 recently upgraded the back-end engine that powers this blog. In doing so, they deleted all the existing images on the site. They are not assisting me with replacing the images they deleted, so I will be adding the images back as time allows. Thank you for your understanding.